Tikehau! YAY, finally our flight name is called. The announcement is made first in French and everyone stands up to board. Frustratingly for us, it seems everyone else speaks French but we don’t. A large number of people have just arrived. We have been waiting for an eternity, yet we are at the back of the line because we had to wait for the English announcement. Don’t feel too bad for us because we are still here and still on our way to Tikehau.
Air Tahiti (different airline from Air Tahiti Nui) has a free seating plan. Which is part of the reason we wanted to be at the front of the line. We board from the back and everyone seems to sit in the first seats they come across. TW says it seems to make sense to sit at the front first and fill backward for speed. That isn’t what happens though. We board. Being small inter-island planes it isn’t long before we take off.
Our flight goes to Tikehau and then on to Rangiroa. The flight is full but only about a third of passengers are going to Tikehau. Everyone else is heading on to Rangiroa.
Those travelling on, stay on the plane and others leave. There is mild confusion among some passengers. Announcements are made in three languages but it appears that this does not cover all languages of those flying today. Additional clarification is required.
Triston and I, in our excitement, are among the first few off the plane. A short walk to the terminal building sees us meet the hotel guide who hands us enough luggage tags for the number of bags we checked in on the plane. We tag our bags and they put them on a luggage vehicle and take them to the dock.
We wait for a few minutes and then get in the transfer van. There are two vans, ours fills quickly and we head to the dock. The boat has not arrived yet so we take a tour of the town. It is a small and island-like town. Island, in that it was small and laid back, not bure, hut, big wood built with a thatched roof and airy spaces style houses, cute, small and laid back. Chickens roaming at their will, appearing to be wild and free though I am sure someone owns them and will eventually eat them or at least eats their eggs.
A few well-kept dogs appear from an empty yard. An air of contentment and positivity. You know, just that nice feeling you get when you visit an island village. Most buildings were brick or fibro/Hardiplank. It seemed both out of place and fitting. Back to the dock, the boat has arrived but it waiting for another boat to depart so it can dock. The other transfer van arrives. We all board, luggage is put on and we make that final journey to our hotel.
Sitting at the front, TW’s idea, not the best plan. Our boat moves reasonably fast and spray smacks us in the face, specifically targeting the eyes. I close mine and enjoy the rollercoaster ride. I create a rollercoaster in my mind when I feel seasick. TW hastily finds sunglasses and puts them on to keep the spray out of his eyes.
20 minutes or so and we are at the resort dock Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort. We fill out forms, put our card down for incidentals and provide the vouchers for the stay and transfer. Once all of the English speakers have also completed their registration documents we get a quick tour of the hotel and then we are taken to our rooms.
Our room is first, the others are sent ahead to wait and we are walked down to our room. This set of overwater bungalows is in a Y shape, the traditional y where you have a diagonal long line and a small perpendicular line. We are on the small line and even better, we are the tip of it. The other rooms on this little line face 90 degrees away from the boardwalk where ours faces the same direction. With the balconies on the far side of the room away from the boardwalk the other balconies look on to each other whereas ours sees none of those.
We can’t see any other rooms, or balconies unless we try. Meaning they can’t see us unless we stand in those spots. This is fantastic. Living in a building of over 500 units, we can not see any other room from our room. We sit in bed and cannot see any buildings on the land or over water. It feels secluded, we leave the front door open because we kind of forget other people are here also. The downside of this room, one that we knew before we arrived, there is no steps down into the water.
Tikehau overwater bungalow
Luckily the hotel is very specific in the room, this room has no air conditioning, no direct water access but nor do the other 4 on this arm. We think we have the best room for the money. The funny thing about this hotel is that the rooms on the beach are more expensive. We had to stick to a budget so we took the cheapest room. The cheapest room just happens to be over water. The beach bungalows do have air conditioning but we have the most amazing, constant breeze. It is so lovely to be inside, look out at the reef and fish and ocean and just have this constant breeze come into the room. We don’t get it at home. We don’t have air conditioning at home either but we don’t have a wonderful breeze like this to make hot days bearable.
The constant rumble of the ocean waves breaking on the reef is quite relaxing
Direct water access would be nice. We will need to walk back over to land and then snorkel from there, most likely we will head to under our bungalow as there is a lot of reef and fish here. It would be nice just to step in and snorkel from our bungalow but it is also nice to holiday within your budget and not worry about money so we made the compromise and the room would be perfect if we didn’t have the ability to snorkel so being able to snorkel from the resort if just a bonus really. At this price point, everything is a bonus.
The growth of some large corals would make it hard to position a ladder to get into the water without damaging something. It would be nice but we are happy with this room and the price of it. If we really wanted stairs, we could have paid extra as the hotel offers many bungalows with direct water access. The bungalows on the long part of the Y have direct water access and the other set of overwater bungalows (overwater suites) also have it. I enjoyed the novelty of booking the cheapest possible room and being over the water.
We have seen some great things in our little “looking glass” in the middle of our room so overwater is still worthwhile even if you can’t jump straight into the water and the pricing here is far more reasonable than some of the other islands that are certainly more heavily marketed in French Polynesia.
Tikehau pink sand
We decided on Tikehau for the pink sand and the pass diving, we did a lot of research and then had to check availability and pricing to put all of the islands together but the pink sand and pass diving were the main draw. TW isn’t sure if he will go on the pass dive. It sounds a bit scary to me. I can’t dive so he has to go without me if he does go but the hotel has pink sand all around it so we have that box checked without the need of any great exploration (although there is a debate on how pink the pink sand actually is).
Tikehau day 1 was 27 March 2018
Updated 22 September 2019