The islands of Tahiti may be a honeymooners' paradise, but family travel is increasingly on the upswing. Here are some tips and strategies if you plan to visit Tahiti, Moorea or Bora Bora with your children.
Stick With the Major Islands
Aside from the threat of sunburn and mosquito bites, Tahiti is a generally safe destination for travel with even very small children. But since kids tend to get bored easily, can be finicky eaters and get sick more often than adults it makes sense to focus on the three major islands-Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora-where there's easy access to activities, packaged foods and medical care. Should any major medical emergency arise, the main hospital is on Tahiti and flights from outlying islands in the Tuamotus and Marquesas are less frequent.
Seek Value or Added Space in Rooms, Beach Bungalows and Villas
While Tahiti is famous for its overwater bungalows, they are expensive and not the best choice for families. A number of resorts offer rooms, suites and villas better suited to travel with young children.
On Tahiti, these include the Garden Suites or Lagoon Suites (sleeps four and has a kitchenette) at the Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, the Panoramic Rooms (with two queen-sized beds) or the Motu Overwater Bungalows (king bed and sleeper sofa-but see notation about overwater bungalows below) set around the shallow Lagoonarium at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort, and Garden View of Deluxe Lagoon View rooms (ask for two connecting rooms) at Le Meridien Tahiti.
On Moorea, check out the Garden View Duplexes (sleeps five) and Beach Bungalows (sleeps four) at Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa, the Lanai Suites (sleeps 4) and Garden Pool Bungalows and Beach Bungalows (sleeps four) at the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa, the King Garden Bungalows (sleeps four) at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa and the two- and three-bedroom villas (sleeps four to six) at Legends Resort Moorea.
On Bora Bora, the options are decidedly more expensive, with the best choices for families being the Beach Suites (sleeps four) at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, the Motu Family Suites at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (sleeps four), the Two Bedroom Beachfront Villas with Private Pool (sleeps six) at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, and the Pool Beach One-Bedroom Villas (sleeps four) at The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort.
Use Caution If You Do Book an Overwater Bungalow
Many overwater bungalows can accommodate up to four guests (there's typically a king-sized bed and a sofa bed), but because of their location, set over the lagoon with easy access to the water via outside decks and steps, they are not always a good choice for families with smaller children or even with older kids who are not strong swimmers. Some resorts do offer child proofing for guests who want an overwater experience.
Kids Clubs and Babysitting are Available
If you dream of having a few hours each day entirely to yourselves, book a stay at a resort with a kids program or a babysitting service. On Tahiti and Moorea, there are no kids programs, but the major resorts all offer babysitting. On Bora Bora, the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has a Kids Club, a dedicated Chill Island for teens and babysitting available; The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort has a Kids Creativity Club as well bicycle rentals and a calm Lagoonarium for snorkeling; and both the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa and the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa offer babysitting upon request.