We are being spoilt by French Polynesian paradise. Case in point is the island of Huahine, one of the Society islands. Located less than a day’s sail from Tahiti, Huahine offers fun on land and water. We spent a week exploring and discovering the Huahine highlights.
Huahine, pronounced “Hoo-a-he-nay” by locals, is part of French Polynesia’s Society islands, with Moorea, Tahiti, Raiatea, and Bora Bora, most notably. The island’s population is around 6,000, bigger than any of the Tuamotus. Since it is close to Tahiti, only 100 miles, the island is easy to visit, accessible by regular flights and ferries from Tahiti.
Huahine consists of two islands, Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine), surrounded by fringing coral reefs and little motus. We spent a little over a week exploring this lovely island, visiting three different bays by boat, and cycling around the big island.
We spent a few months in the Tuamotus, and would gladly return, because the water is beautiful and the living is easy. We visited several islands in the archipelago, enjoying our experiences in each. Read on for our Tuamotus favorites: where to anchor and eat and fun activities to enjoy.
This is for the sailors out there, and is based on our limited knowledge of only a handful of motus. We barely scratched the surface in this archipelago. Still, we can’t talk about our Tuamotus favorites without mentioning our favorite spots to stay on the boat for a while and these are definitely worth mentioning.
Hirifa is paradise for liveaboards. It has almost everything a cruiser needs: good internet, calm water for swimming and paddling, nice beaches for chill time, and for the kiteboarders, a sandbar for launching and consistent winds. Friends spent so much time there, they started a cruisers net.
We spent longer than expected in Panama’s Bocas del Toro archipelago, mostly because of the community and activities. Also because we waited to get new lithium batteries. In all we stayed in Bocas for three months because there’s a lot to enjoy, so here are our Bocas del Toro favorites.
With a lot of different islands in the Bocas, there are also a lot of beaches. Not 365 beaches like in Antigua, but a good assortment with options for all different beach goals. There are more remote beaches with fewer people, like Wizard Beach on Bastimentos, busy party beaches like at Red Frog, lots of surfer beaches across the islands, and Starfish has a whole row of beach bars. Bocas del Toro will satisfy anyone’s beach day requirements.
Cartagena is one of the biggest cities we’ve sailed into, and even with Covid lockdowns, we found it lively and entertaining. Even though this isn’t our first visit to Cartagena, we still had a lot to see and discover. I went on some tours my first time here, but I’ve done a lot in the 5 years in between visits, so the city seems new to me. It’s been a blast exploring Cartagena again. Read on for my Cartagena highlights.
Orientation to Cartagena
When you arrive in Cartagena, the views are stunning. The ocean is next to skyscrapers and old stone walls. There’s an ancient clock-tower and a modern gold building. On the water are old wooden sailing ships and luxurious catamarans. On the streets are women in colorful traditional costumes, including fruit hats, alongside hundreds of people driving mopeds.
When someone mentions Key West, you think sunshine, music and beachy cocktails. Having come from there just now, yes, yes and yes but so much more too! We found there was a lot to do in Key West, and here are our recommendations.
About Key West
Key West is known as Margaritaville after Jimmy Buffet, who lived and worked on boats there in his 20s. Much of the music style heard in the bars on Duval Street today is a descendent of Buffett’s “yacht rock”.
Key West is also known as The Conch Republic. We learned something about this and other bits of history on our tour with Key Lime Bike Tours, an entertaining 3 hour roll through the town’s highlights. Key West became The Conch Republic after a P.R. succession from the union to protest a government roadblock at the entrances to The Keys. It worked! Locals call themselves conches ever since.
We loved The Conch Republic and its residents. They embrace weirdness and like to have fun. Like Nashville and New Orleans, the bars are open early and full of live music. The restaurants are also good, serving local seafood and Cuban cuisine.