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Tahiti and...a toddler?!

Ontario, California
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Tahiti and...a toddler?!

Hello,

Thank you for all the valuable information I have found in these forums. I hope the experts here are getting some good travel karma for all they're putting out there!

My hubby and I need a relaxing vacation...with our 1.5 year old toddler! We're from SoCal and while I read the recent post with advice to take kids to Maui instead of FP....we've been to HI, and want to see somewhere new, and experience a foreign culture also. And FP is closer to us than the Caribbean! We have a sweet little boy who has already survived a 16 hour flight to Dubai and road trips around the Pacific Northwest...so we're not shy to traveling with a little one.

We want to do a trip on points and miles in September, so we'll be staying at the Hiltons on BB and Moorea. A few questions:

1. Are we completely crazy to take a 1.5 year old to FP and will we be completely out of place and not able to do anything? We don't want to disturb any honeymooners :). We don't dive or pursue active water sports. We might snorkel, play in the waves/sand, and would like to tour the island and take in new cultures and beautiful scenery.

2. Because we're using Hilton points, we can only get 4 nights at BB first and 6 nights at Moorea second, although I've read your advice on going Moorea first and then BB. Why the recommendation on Moorea before BB? And push-come-to-shove is it ok to do BB first? Is our most cost and time effective method of transport an Air Tahiti air pass to do Tahiti-BB-Moorea and then ferry from Moorea to Tahiti?

3. Any recommendations on where to stay for our one night in Tahiti? Is it worth looking around the island briefly before going on to BB? We get in late on Th 9/8 so we have to wait until Fri 9/9 to take a flight to BB.

4. I read something in a post about the milk being different in Tahiti. Given we have our son with us, anyone have more info on this? Although I read the advice on bringing snacks and a cooler since food is $$$$, I don't think I can bring a gallon of milk :).

THANK YOU in advance for your help, I really appreciate it.

Nazneen :)

Temecula, CA
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for Temecula
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1. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

Being realistic - you both cannot snorkel or play in the waves with a 16 month old baby - someone is going to sit out the fun on the beach with the baby or at best - be waist deep in the water while holding the baby.

I'm assuming that your son will be a lap child on the plane- not fun for anyone for 8.5 hours on that airbus. That plane is very poorly designed and definitely not designed for comfort with a lap child. If you can get him his own ticket - at least you can strap him down into a car seat for the ride which would make everyone happier, including him - they seem to relax better when they are in their own car seats on planes in my experience.

As said before, FP is more of a couple's destination. That being said, there were children at our resort and unfortunately for us, they were on either side of us in Moorea. I have 3 children (2 grown, 1 middle school). I love children, but I was not happy to listen to the baby's afternoon cry fest every day, nor listen to the 2 boys fighting between themselves on the other side nor having them run up and down the dock at all hours of the day and evening. The 'windows' in FP are actually wooden slats (i.e plantation shutters) there is no 'window' to close, just the shutters. Thus, noise travels between the units quite easily. Your son will have his fussy periods, its part of being a baby - so you will not be able to avoid disturbing others attempting to enjoy their 'relaxing vacation'.

I personally, as a mother, was never able to 'relax' and enjoy myself when the kids where younger and we were travelling. I always worried about someone doing something, and sure enough, we landed in an emergency room once in Canada with our son- and 10 sutures later, we were given the bill to pay in cash. In my 24 years as a mom - I have never used the words 'relaxing vacation' in the same sentence with '16 month old baby' (especially a boy - they are into everything at that age!) and especially out of country after a long plane ride.

As an example for what may await you - the resort where we stayed had private balconies for the OWB - but the 'railing' was comprised of a wooden frame with thick wires serving as the middle and bottom railings - easily slipped through by a toddler. The drop down was about 15 feet into about 5-6 feet of water. If you can relax in that scenario - you have my admiration. None of the units we stayed in had screen doors, so the sliders out to the porch are the only barrier between your son and the water. The same description held true for the entire dock going to the individual OWBs.

If you are really determined to make FP your destination, do yourself (and your heart) a favor and get a beach bungalow - that way if your son escapes the unit when you turn your back 'just for an instant', at least you have about 20-30 feet of sand slowing him down before he reaches the water.

With respect to your BB vs Moorea first question - it doesn't really matter in which direction you go - you won't need an airpass because you are only going between the 2 islands via air - so it will be about $500 per person roundtrip between PPT/BOB or MOZ/BOB.

I highly recommend the Paradisus in Riveria Maya - if you want to think of another 'out of country' destination. Their kids club is the best we have ever encountered for when our youngest was really young. Best part - Cancun is about 2.5 hours via plane from SoCal and its relatively inexpensive when compared to FP.

Best of luck to you.

San Luis Obispo
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2. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

I have a lot of passion on this subject so I haven't posted yet but it keeps starring at me. I will simply say don't do it! But if you do there are a few places that would suit your situation best. Stay away from the major resorts until your child is a bit older. On Moorea I would recommedd Les Tipiners. Lots of kids, great location for cafes, shopping and snorkeling plus the price is good for FP standards.

On Bora Bora there are a few pensions that you might want to consider.

There will be others that don't agree but when a honeymoon couple spends $10K plus they usually don't want to here young kids. I know, your child is different - not! Just my 2 cents worth.

No I must tell you the FP locals love kids but they aren't the ones chucking out $10K for paradise.

Chico, CA
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93 posts
10 reviews
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3. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

I am one of those who will say DO IT! We have traveled with toddlers and are planning on doing so again. Sorry for those who do not want to see or hear them but guess what, kids are welcome and accepted many places. If you want a honeymoon destination without kids then go to an adults only resort. As I've stated before on other threads, there were plenty of children on our last trip to Bora Bora. It was spring break and kids from all countries. I am staying in a house and cannot help you on the where to go and stay points but having taken a 20 month old to the beach in Hawaii with just my husband and I, I want you to know it is possible to have a great and memorable time! The beaches are some of the safest to hang out and play, much safer than California's! Do you have a problem taking your toddler there? Probably not. :) And we went to Bora Bora without kids last time, we did not care whether we saw them on the beach or not. My husband was more jealous that some families did bring the whole family along. I say start them early on other cultures and they will be more openminded later. Have a great time!!

Vancouver, BC
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4. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

We just took our daughter to FP for the first time last November when she was 7, we all had a blast. She loves to snorkel. No way would I have stayed with her in and OWB when she was only 1 or 2. Definitely go for a beach bungalow. Or maybe look for a smaller hotel or pensione with a small kitchen in the bungalow.

We took her to Maui for the first time when she was 15 months old and we had a blast and never felt stressed and always felt relaxed. I guess we're just lucky to have a kid that sleeps on most flights, is quiet (yes really) and falls asleep with great ease. Knock on wood.

Las Vegas, NV
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5. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

I guess I'll chime in on this one too. While I personally would not bring a child under 4 to a location like this...primarily because 3 or 4 is the age where they start having a reasonable understanding what is acceptable behavior and can actually explain what their problem is when they have one...BUT I know many people who have brought babies and toddlers on long trips to vacation destinations and have had a wonderful time.

If you have confidence in the behavior of your child then go for it. Some children, even babies, are much better travelers than others.....only you know how well your child will likely do. Obviously the worse part could be the flights....Sitting next to a screaming child for 8.5 hours is no ones idea of fun. Air Tahit Nui has a children fly free fare, so he could have his own seat and be able to sleep in his car seat.

I would bring a supply of RX medicine for him if he should happen to get an ear infection or have teething issues or something else that might cause him great discomfort and therefore lots of noise! Ask his Dr for some.

I personally would not be comfortable with a child that age in an overwater bungalow....although some of the hotels do have safety screening to attach to the railings for just this situation. If you are staying on points at the Hilton's, then you likely won't have an over water bungalow anyway...as you have to pay an additional upgrade from the points room for them.

Although it is preferred to do Bora after Moorea, it is not necessary. Just keep your mind open that you may be taking a slight step down in luxury. Personally I much prefer Moorea to Bora Bora anyway and would have NO issue doing them in reverse order.

As for the milk issue. They do not have a lot of fresh milk in French Polynesia. But they do have powdered and they also have boxed....unless he is ultra fussy, those should be just fine for him.....obviously there are tons of Polynesian children who drink it just fine. My husband and his 5 brothers and sisters were raised in Hawaii in the 60's with no fresh milk, and they did just fine on powdered. I'm sure if you REALLY wanted fresh some of the markets would likely carry fresh imported from New Zealand....at a very high price.

A place to stay in Papeete...if it's just an over night, and you aren't interested in a nice hotel, I would recommend Fare Suisse. It's a small pension (B&B) in a residential area near downtown Papeete...owned by a Swiss man. It is small...very nice, very clean. Beni, the owner, also provides free pickup and delivery service to the airport and/or ferry docks. If you wanted a resort hotel to stay in, I would suggest the Intercontinental. If you just want a place very close to the airport...I'd suggest the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

I have seen many children...toddlers and babies in my trips there and have never yet had an issue with any of them. Every flight I have been on has had a few kids and I never hear them...although I do wear Bose noise cancelling headphones! LOL!

San Luis Obispo
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6. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

KCHULL - no need to get personal, we all have our own opinions. I for one have been to many upscale places where young mothers & fathers let their kids run around like wild indians.

If this wasn't a problem there wouldn't be USA restaurants banning kids under age 6, yes it is happening. Can't blame the kids, it's the adults that don't have control.

I've said my peace, this isn't about not be tolerate, it's about self accountability and doing the right thing.

Peace

Ontario, California
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7. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

Thank you all for your honest, helpful advice. I really appreciate everyone being so candid. I have to finalize my flight reservations by tomorrow, and I think I'm leaning towards going, but sacrificing on the over water bungalow. Although staying in one is on the bucket list, nothing comes above my child's safety, and as I read the first post before going to bed last night, I kept having these awful visions of the baby falling off the railing into the water....God forbid! Since we're on points, we'll save that upgrade $$ for food and drinks, and hold off on an OWB until either present and/or future kids are older, or I can convince DH to take me back alone. :)

Patti - thank you for the suggestion of Fare Suisse, it looks perfect for a quick night in Papeete. Hopefully I can work out flights to Moorea so that we can explore the market before leaving.

Las Vegas, NV
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8. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

Great....if you are confident in your sons ability to handle it, then go for it. Please come back in here with a trip report and tell us how your son did.... with the flight...the hotel...the milk..etc. Lots of parents come in here with questions about bringing their kids....and quite honestly...it really depends on the individual kids (and more so the parents!!!)....some are great little travelers and do just fine...and others should NEVER attempt a trip like this. How your child acts at home should be a HUGE indicator of how he will act on the road!

Again...bring a supply of medicines if in case one of the typical toddler medical issues should arise and cause the child discomfort....and therefore make everyone elses trip miserable. It's an easy fix if you plan ahead for these things.

San Luis Obispo
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9. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

Nazneen80 - Have a great time, you are braver than most. Remember it's all about personal responsibility. I love to see kids play and enjoy, having time with mom & dad, just respect others rights and privacy to quiet time and such. You might want to ask the Hilton for a more isolated room, one that gives you guys a bit more buffer space. You will have no problem finding a place to call your own on the beach, lots of space. At the Nui the best bang for the buck will be at the roulottes in town, cheap and good plus you will get to hang with the locals. Just remember the boat schuttle charges after 6 pm, they try and keep you close for dinner ...........

Washington
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for Papeete, French Polynesia
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10. Re: Tahiti and...a toddler?!

First thing you should do is to buy a very good life jacket for

your toddler to wear everytime you go near the water.