UCB Parents Recommendations for Places to Go
Going to South Pacific Islands
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We are considering a trip to either Fiji or Tahiti this fall with an almost
2 year old. Any
recommendations on which island to go to and where to stay? Are these
islands child friendly or
are we crazy to think of doing this with a 2 year old?
We took our then 2 year old to Bora Bora last July and had a wonderful time!
Flying to Tahiti is a long flight. Fiji's even longer. We stayed one night
at the Tahiti Sheraton (it's great), then flew to Bora Bora the next day and
was shuttled by boat to the resort.
We stayed at the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort in a beach bungalow. I wouldn't
recommend the over water bungalows with a toddler (for obvious reasons).
Our daughter adored it. She still talks about drinking out of coconuts
everyday. It was very kid friendly and not very crowded. Lots of cruise
ships, though, and young honeymooners.
The only flights back from Tahiti leave at 10 PM and ours was packed with
people. If you can fly direct from Oakland/SF do it. Changing planes in
LAX on two hours of sleep with a two year old is challenging, to say the
We bought our whole package from www.travelbound.com and was very pleased
with the results.
I don't know anything about Tahiti, but I would probably not go to Fiji
with a toddler. It is a wonderful place to visit, with spectacular
diving in particular, but it has some rather formidable biological defenses.
When we were there a few years ago, I contracted some sort of tropical bug
and wound up in bed for a five days with a 105 deg. fever. I would go
again, but I wouldn't want to take my 2-y-o daughter there.
Hawaii, on the other hand, is _wonderful_ with a toddler!
I was in Tahiti a while back before I had a kid. The Tahitians appear to
love kids. However, there's not much to do there except for beach activities
so unless your kid does well at the beach I wouldn't recommend going
there. It's hot and humid there which takes a little getting used to even
for a grownup. It's also pretty expensive.
On the other hand, it's absolutely beautiful there and I had a great time so
as long as you're prepared to do all the things you'd have to do anywhere
with a 2 year old, and your kid likes the beach, you'll probably have a good
I have been to Fiji 3 times and it is a wonderful place. I went before I had
kids so I'm not up to date on what there is on offer in that department but
I know that a lot of people from New Zealand and Australia go there on
holidays with children of all ages in tow. There are many small cosy places
to large resorts with kid programs to choose from..... and compared to the
Bay area some of the Islands are deserted!!!
We recently went to Rarotonga, Cook Islands with our children who were at
the time nearly 3 years old and 17 month old. We found it very difficult to
find a travel agent who is knowledgeable about the South Pacific and what it
can offer for a cosy relaxing family holiday. Anyone we contacted directed
us to the Hawaii style expensive resort where you only seem to meet other
So we found our own airfares, route of travel and accomodation using the Web
and Lonely Planet. Everything came together easily and we had a wonderful
holiday. Many of the places of accomodation have web sites and email
addresses so you can contact them directly with questions and bookings. I'm
sure you could do the same for Fiji.
Incidently I would recommend Rarotonga, if relaxing and spending time
together is what you are looking for. Not much to do but hang out at the
beach - our kids were never bored - having their parents full time
attention, swimming and building sandcastles, snorkelling, going on walks,
riding the bus around the Island. If you want more information feel free to
I can't speak about Fiji, but I think Tahiti (Society Islands) would be
fairly child-friendly. Tahitians are very indulgent of children and very
friendly generally (especially if you're not French!). Another nice thing is
that the snorkeling and swimming are very good, and you don't have to worry
about rogue waves and currents at the beaches, because they are all protected
by barrier reefs (except Tahiti itself, where you wouldn't spend much time).
Watch out for sea urchins, though.
What's not child-friendly are the prices. Tahiti is one of the most expensive
tourist destinations in the world. Most places to stay are very high-end, and
meals in restaurants are very expensive.
I would not recommend Bora Bora--the people are tired of tourism there, and
it shows. Stick to Moorea and Huahine and maybe Raiatea/Tahaa. Moorea has a
reasonable diversity of cheaper places to stay, as does Huahine (but these
are surfer hangouts in the surf season). Tahiti itself has little appeal for
the vacationer, and a night or two at most would be sufficient.
A good bet would be a package deal, even if you are opposed to them in
principle and prefer to make your own arrangements. It can cost roughly the
same to fly to Tahiti as it does to fly there and stay for 7 days in a nice
hotel. There's also a Club Med on Moorea and one on Bora Bora, if you like
that sort of thing.
We went to Moorea with our 11-month-old girl. All the local people LOVED her
(and even quite a few of the French). There is a great Kids Camp at the
Moorea Beachcomber where we stayed although our daughter was a little young
to make use of it. Kids are clearly in the minority in French Polynesia. But
the gentle lagoon waters are pefect for kids and we adored having her with
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UC Berkeley Parents Network and
should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the
University of California, Berkeley.