When designing trips for my clients, I always focus on building itineraries around special, memorable experiences.
Moments like watching the sun rise from the back of a camel in the Moroccan Sahara desert; shopping at a local market followed by a cooking class in the home of a Cuban family in Havana; and soccer loving families touring behind-the-scenes at Camp Nou (home of FC Barcelona) with a local soccer reporter are just a few experiences my clients have been raving about in recent months.
Now, the experience that has always been right at the top of MY family’s bucket list is snorkeling in the pristine lagoons of Bora Bora, silently gliding through the turquoise blue water with the peak of Mount Otemanu towering in the background.
But Tahiti isn’t always the easiest destination for family travel. Many of the resorts are oriented to adult couples, focused on relaxation vs activities and adventures and the distance between islands can create complex, costly logistics especially for larger families.
So … I was thrilled to finally discover the perfect way to do Tahiti for families; a small ship cruise through the Tahitian islands with Paul Gauguin, a cruise line that operates small ships in French Polynesia. Here’s why this is the ideal trip to Tahiti for families!
The Gauguin Ship
Designed specifically to glide through the shallow seas of the South Pacific, The Gauguin is the flagship of Paul Gauguin Cruises. With a total capacity of just over 300 people, this ship can access intimate ports that larger cruise ships simply can not.
Pricing includes pretty much everything from the moment you arrive in Tahiti. Transfers, food, drinks and on board programming including water toys is all included, making this also very good value in Tahiti for families.
The Gauguin when docked has a back end that opens, converting into a specially designed “watersports marina” stocked with kayaks, snorkel gear, paddle boards and more.
Rooms are large by any cruise ship standard, and nearly 70% of suites and staterooms have private balconies. All feature an ocean view, temperature control, queen-size bed and a limited number can have twin-bed configuration.
Stewards of Nature Kids Program
Paul Gauguin Cruises offers an incredible kids program, developed jointly with the Wildlife Conservation Society. During the summer months and holiday season, this “Stewards of Nature” program, is offered aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin and invites kids to discover and value nature through hands-on, interactive learning.
Each day there is a combination of naturalist-led island and/or beach excursions, science activities, crafts, games, and other adventures. Kids can learn about underwater life during a snorkeling excursion, observe the ocean or the stars through binoculars or an onboard telescope, learn about different kinds of marine life and their habitats, reinforce their discoveries by playing Ocean Trivia or Oceanopoly, go on a dolphin-watching expedition, swim with sharks and rays, play beach games, race hermit crabs, and enjoy a dance performance or a movie and a pizza party on board.
Best Itinerary in Tahiti for Families
Finally, this itinerary allows you to really see and experience a lot of Tahiti, not just one resort or island. You’ll wake to discover a new and exciting port every day and your family can be as active or relaxed as you wish.
While of course snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, and swimming will fill the days, there are also some really unique ways to experience the local culture of Tahiti.
A few of my favorite excursions for families in Tahiti include:
Atuona to Taaoa (Atuona, Marquesas): Discover the ancient tribes of the Taaoa Valley with a visit to an archeological site. The Tiu, ancestors of most of the Hivaoan tribes, and several other tribes once lived in the Taaoa Valley. Visit the Upeke Ceremonial Center, which comprises house platforms, a tohua (tribal ceremonial center), public and sacred marae (archaeological ruins), and storage pits of breadfruit paste for feasts.
Coral Garden Drift Snorkeling (Taha’a, Society Islands): Located along the west coast of Taha’a, snorkel with a guide as the current carries you through the shallow lagoon on the way back to the boat. The drift can be moderate to strenuous depending on the strength of the current. The drift is done in a single line with one snorkeling guide leading the 12 snorkelers spaced 10 feet apart and one snorkeling guide closing up on the group. This area abounds with a spectacular variety of tropical fish and amazing coral.
Interested in Tahiti for your next family trip? Contact me now to start customizing your adventure!