After a brilliant and incredibly relaxing four days on Moorea, we jumped on an island-hopper to continue our belated honeymoon on the coconut-palm-laden coral atoll of Tikehau, 340 kilometers northeast of Tahiti.
Tikehau is part of the Tuamotus Island group in French Polynesia. You probably haven’t heard of the Tuamotus—neither had we, before doing research for this trip—and after having visited, we have mixed feelings about telling you all about them. If you visit, you just might feel like keeping them a secret as well! The Tuamotus sit conveniently hidden in a vast expanse of blue ocean, resembling a scattered handful of loose rubber bands. You have to view the satellite imagery to believe it! Zoom in closer and you realise it’s more like a beaded necklace of tropical islets, herein referred to as mini-paradises. We started our Tikehau adventure on the main island, where the security-less airport stood in a grassy field sans walls. Tikehau definitely gets my vote for “Best Airport”!
We transferred by car for several hundred meters on a sandy road until we reached our accommodation, one of the five bungalows at the Pension Hotu guesthouse. It’s a tough call, but I think Erin may have looked even happier on our honeymoon than our wedding! ;) If there exists an optimal set of elements, that then when combined, work together to take Erin’s happiness to the max, then we had found it! Hammock on a tropical beach? Check.
Super-lovey perpetually purring kitty cat? Check.
Unspoiled beaches, crystal clear azure waters, and endless coconut palms swaying in the breeze? Check, check, and check! Erin was in heaven!
You might think that lovey cats are dime-a-dozen. Heck, you might even have a cat sitting on your lap right now! I hear you asking, “What’s the big deal?” Well… does your cat come straight to you when you call out to her? Does your cat call a tropical paradise her home? Does your cat hang out with you on the freakin’ beach!?
Will your cat jump in your lap and sleep with you on a freakin’ swinging hammock!? I seriously doubt it. So I’m pretty confident that you’d agree with me, when I say this is… the BEST CAT EVER.
Okay, as awesome and surprising as they were, and as grateful as we were, we didn’t come to Tikehau for its beach-loving cats. We came because the brochures promised views like this:
The incredibly remote atolls that make up the Tuamotu Islands are remnants of ancient volcano calderas whose centres collapsed long ago, leaving behind gorgeous blue lagoons teeming with tropical fish. On our second day there, we signed up for a lagoon excursion to explore the vast Tikehau lagoon. At our first stop, we found ourselves walking down this postcard-perfect boardwalk to a mini-paradise called L’ile d’Eden, or Eden Island.
Next stop was Bird Island, a tiny motu that served as the home for many colonies of beautiful sea birds and their adorable chicks! This was a birdwatcher’s paradise!
Finally, we made our way to another remote mini-paradise for some swimming and snorkelling along pink sand beaches after enjoying a lovely Tahitian barbeque.
Soon, we would have to face the reality that the sun was setting on yet another day of our long-awaited honeymoon.
For the last two days of our honeymoon, we decided to go out with a bang. If ever there was a chance or excuse to splurge and stay in overpriced overwater bungalows, it was now! Erin began fantasizing about staying in one of these as soon as the word “honeymoon” was first uttered. So off we went, to the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort.
And well, I gotta admit… it was divine! There was a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our bungalow, and so we toasted to our relatively recent wedding and the lives we had decided to spend together.
As with everywhere else we visited in French Polynesia, we didn’t hesitate to jump into the warm tropical waters and take advantage of the spectacular snorkelling literally underneath our feet!
Did I mention the sea life in Tikehau was absolutely incredible? And after I heard about the Giant Manta Ray cleaning station in the lagoon, the scuba tanks and masks were on in a “Jeffy”! We just sat on the lagoon floor as these gentle giants, with wingspans up to 4-metres wide, glided peacefully around us.
As you can imagine, it was really hard to leave this paradise we had so briefly visited, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. Bye bye heavenly sunsets and glorious sunrises, bye bye wonderful starry night skies, bye bye beach huts and lazy beach cats, and bye bye glassy waters teeming with tropical fish… ’til next we meet. Parting was such sweet sorrow.
We had always thought that visiting French Polynesia would be a once in a lifetime treat. But after experiencing the friendliness of the Tahitians, the romantic way-of-life of the French-influenced culture, the wonderful seafood and the thriving seas, we have no doubt in our minds that we will return. So we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to our Honeyfund and helped give us the honeymoon of our dreams! And a very special thank you to the biggest contributor… you know who you are! :-D
If you enjoyed our photos, you can see more and even buy prints from our French Polynesia gallery. Have we inspired you to pack up your bags? Or do you have your own French Polynesian stories or tips to share? Let us know in the comments!