South Pacific Islands
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 least.
We bought our whole package from www.travelbound.com and was very pleased with the results. Good luck Brook
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! Andrew
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 time. Jon
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 American tourists.
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 email us.
Good Luck. David
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. VM
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 us. Sara