If you’re anything like us, our vacations are always fast paced, packed with activities, and while fun, a little exhausting. We decided this year we needed to slow down and enjoy a vacation of R&R, which is exactly what we got while visiting the Hotel Kia Ora Rangiroa in French Polynesia!
French Polynesia is made up of many islands, the most popular ones being Bora Bora and Moorea. While we considered these islands, we were very intrigued with Rangiroa, which is known for having some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world (fun fact: did you know we have 3 scuba licenses?). Rangiroa is the second largest atoll in the world, meaning there is water surrounding you from all directions – it’s the bluest and clearest water we have ever seen. Though it’s super far from Texas, it’s absolutely worth the distance! We stayed at Hotel Kia Ora Rangiroa, which is the most luxurious hotel on the island. This hotel was nothing short of perfection. From the moment we checked in, the service was perfect and the locals couldn’t have been any nicer.
We stayed a few nights in a pool villa, which consisted of a house with a living room, huge bedroom, waterfall shower, an outdoor bathtub, and private swimming pool. The house was surrounded by a wall, so we had complete privacy – but the blinds allowed us to have an incredible view of the ocean.
To experience all that Kia Ora offered, we switched rooms half way and spent a few nights in an overwater bungalow – which I feel like everyone must do when visiting French Polynesia! It way exceeded my expectations and completely blew me away! This hut was very modern and large, and our patio was pure heaven. I completely underestimated how awesome it would be to wake up above the ocean, and it was so fun spending the mornings on our patio jumping into the water to snorkel and feeding all of the fish. Speaking of fish, the hotel provides bread everyday for guests to feed the fish. The fish were of all sizes and colors and looked like an aquarium at our feet.
WHAT TO DO:
The Blue Lagoon Excursion was our highlight! I can’t believe the blue lagoon actually exists – it looks like a spot from the movies. The hotel organized this full-day excursion, which leaves from the hotel dock and is about 8 hours long. The boat ride is about 1 hour to the blue lagoon, and once we arrived we spent the day on a tiny island enjoying authentic BBQ and listening to live music. We had so much fun snorkeling around the island in the Tiffany Blue water – you really have to experience it to understand how clear it was!
The final highlight of our Blue Lagoon Excursion Day was visiting “Shark City” on our way back to the hotel. I’m still shocked we jumped in the water with these Black Fin and Lemon sharks, but it is something we will always remember! Our Tahitian boat drivers swore there had never been a shark attack on Rangiora, so we took their word for it and highly recommend it for anyone visiting the island.
As I mentioned earlier, this trip was all about R&R so we didn’t overbook ourselves with activities. We rented bikes one day and explored the tiny island, which is about 4 miles long and a quarter mile wide. We stopped along the way for a bite to eat, saw the local church, and found our favorite sunset spot at Les Relais de Josephine dock. We learned during our delicious and casual lunch at Chez Lili that the locals don’t speak much English (French is the main language) and credit cards work occasionally.
One evening we went to the Rangiroa Winery, which is the only winery in all of French Polynesia, and fortunately it was only 10 minutes from our hotel! We learned all about the wine making on a tropical island and got to taste all the wines, as well as a local Rum. Cheers.
We spent most of our time at the resort and the food was great. The breakfast was included in our hotel stay and it was a great mix of French and Asian influence. I’m pretty sure my husband had tuna sashimi for breakfast daily, and he was happy as ever! The fish was very fresh and the food options were great, even if you’re a picky eater like myself. Two evenings a week the hotel puts on a Tahitian Luau and buffet. They like to get hotel guests to participate, so Peter got picked and we had a good laugh!
As I mentioned earlier, the island is known for scuba diving and snorkeling, so we loved seeing everything from colorful fish, black tip sharks, eels, manta rays, and a sea turtle!
HOW TO GET THERE:
We flew Southwest to LAX. We then switched airlines to Air Tahiti Nui which flew direct to Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. Air Tahiti Nui doesn’t have online check-in, so the earlier you are in line the better your chances are for a preferred seat. We were lucky enough to get an exit aisle both ways, which was definitely needed on an 8 hour flight. Once arriving in Papeete we switched airlines again to Air Tahiti and flew 1.5 hours to Rangiroa. This felt like a bus in the sky, but was all we needed! The Rangiroa airport is a tiny open-air hut with views of the ocean on either side and about a 5 minute drive to the hotel. The hotel bus was waiting on us with flower lei’s and fresh juice.
WHAT TO PACK:
**The island of Rangiroa is very remote and there isn’t tons of shopping options, so planning ahead is needed.
– Water shoes (the beaches have lots of coral fragments and little rocks/shells, these are a must have)
– GoPro or Underwater Camera
– LOTS of sunscreen
– Breezy Maxi Dresses
– Swimsuits and coverups – I spent everyday in a bikini and coverup. The resort is super casual in the day, so pack lots of beachwear!
It’s safe to say the Hotel Kia Ora Rangiroa was absolutely stunning, so we took SO many photos during our vacation. Keep scrolling to see more snaps of our getaway!
While this post was in partnership with Hotel Kia Ora, the opinions expressed are my own.