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  Tahiti Cruise  -  Huahine

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Huahineisland  part of excellent 

(Diane and Buil's experiences follow the others):

All these from DianneC "Masked Traveler":

Last visit we rented a car and drove all around this lovely island.  This time we took it easy and rode the free bus into Fare and checked in with the Tourist center (about 1/2 a block from the dropoff).

They got us a taxi driver to take us to the Sofitel for $5 ea. one way.  We negotiated a bit on our own after that and he agreed to take us directly to the ship (about twice the distance) for $10 ea. The return route took us past the sad little eels and over the Belvedere with its great view of the ship. Couldn't stop because our driver had to be back to Fare for the big bucks at 4:02. That's when the ship folks start wandering in who missed the last shuttle back to the ship. 

At the beach by Sofitel, we ate our sandwiches from the Panorama Grill, snorkeled and fed the bread to the ever hungry masses of colorful fish. The hotel has day old bread out in baskets just for this purpose.) We considered this the 2nd best snorkeling of the trip (Bernard-Moorea was best.) 



Huahine was the most "typical Polynesian" island - tourism hasn't hit big there yet - we took the

"Le Truck" shuttle to Faaa and walked down the beach to a deserted hotel and parked ourselves on

the beach for awhile there.

I really loved this island...probably the least developed...tender to shore...they put you in a Le Truck and take you over to a little town called Fare...checked out the local stores (grocery, pharmacy, hardware)...a band was playing.

 If you want...horseback riding...went into the little store that is at the back end of the Le Truck when it lets you off (it sells postcards and jewelry and the like, and is next to the place that rents kayaks)...we asked the proprietor, a very tanned French guy, whether the stable was still operating...yes, and...the stable would come get us...stable is called La Petite Ferme; the number is 68.82.98 (ed. call ahead)

...what we did, is go to the Bali Hai hotel to use the beach. This will seem a little weird, as the hotel is for sale and empty, and there are all kinds of signs saying "No entry", "Tabu" and the like. However, the tourist office told us to go there, and lots of European tourists...there too. You find it by walking back up to the main road (when you come in on Le Truck you drive on the main road and then make a left-hand turn; the road goes a little way and then curves to the left again along the water; backtrack to the main road). Turn left at the main road and walk a little way. You'll see the post office on the right. There is a road opposite it (on your left, next to a car rental place, if I remember correctly) with the "No entry" signs. Walk down it until you come to the hotel, and just go on out to the beach. This is the one place you would want to have fins if you go out very far. There is a nice coral reef not far out, but the cross-current is extremely strong and it's very difficult to get back into shore without getting swept sideways (you wouldn't get swept out to sea, but you'd probably have to walk a long way back once you made it to shore) case you want to check in on the Internet, this is one of the two places where I saw a sign for Internet access (in the little town). The other one is in Bora Bora....

Huahine was our least favorite island...Huahine Highlights tour but kind of a tacky main town where another passenger, who had opted to take a non-Renaissance tour (which are definitely cheaper), had his wallet with everything in it, including the ship access card, stolen by a kid. We found out how fast Renaissance security went into effect, because we had to present our cards at the tender-dock already and thereafter at every island.  In the afternoon we took the “shark-feeding” tour which was definitely not worth it, it got choppy and dark and was not worth the price.



The first tender was scheduled to leave the R4 at 7:45am.  The last tender from the pier back to the ship was scheduled for 5pm.  The actual sailing time, we don't remember.

Going thru Farerea Pass, the R4 anchored in Maroe bay, tendering to shore with very little there except "le Trucks" (trucks converted to busses used throughout the Society Islands) and a few tents selling pareus and crafts.  The R4 provided free transportation to the town of Fare on these "le Trucks" which had ceilings so low that though people already on "le Truck" continually warned of low ceiling everyone hit their head on the ceiling several times before sitting down.  It was fun to experience as we only rode for about 10 minutes into Fare.  We walked about a block to a grocery store which had an Avis sign just above it, though Avis seemed not to be found.  After investigation, we were told to go thru the grocery store and across the back street to the car rental (side of gas station).  We shared rental with another couple of an ok car with air with another couple for 8500 CFP (6 hours + 1 free)  and put in 1,000 CFP gas.  We toured and drove by the airport, then stopped at the Maraes and it started pouring (10 minutes under thatched roof) then just stopped for the rest of the day.  We were given a talk by a Polynesian woman who stayed at the Maraes to do just that.  We drove along a bumpy unpaved road to the Sofitel Heiva Huahine hotel, nice but 60,000 CFP a night for over water bungalows.  We looked at the grounds, the very high Sofitel signature ceilings with large chandelier like groups of seashells (in all the Sofitels we saw), lush plants, though no air-conditioning in any of the rooms or public rooms.  This is where the R4 tour Huahine fest was held.  Some felt 6 hours there was long.  We drove on went by the stone fish traps, then inland and upwards for a while.  As we began to come back down we saw a lone ice-cream shop where we stopped and had good ice-cream and looked out on the R4 anchored in the Maroe Bay, an impressive sight.  We circled (and stopped many times)  both the Huahine-nui and the Huahine-iti islands (connect by short bridge) with about 1/2 of the roads paved.  We felt the vegetation was varied, heavy and somewhat beautiful, if we only hadn't seen Moorea first which was definitely better with its lush, beautiful plants and those majestic mountains in the middle, though all of us were glad we rented the car instead of any tour. 

Back on the R4, Diane purchased a crown of pastel tightly woven flowers ($5) from the "Mamas and Papas of Huahine" who were stationed around the pool selling crafts, pareus, and entertaining with music and Polynesian dancing.  Nice.  Huahine: True South Pacific Paradise



Sofitel Heiva Huahine

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