We did a couple of tours while we were in Tahiti. The first was Patrick Adventure Tours. We found out about him online and booked a tour that took us into the interior and for great views, waterfalls and included a local lunch. Patrick is a real professorial type of person, full of information but beware if you try to interrupt or ask a question before he is ready to address it. He has his syllabus and it is well versed, you will learn an incredible amount of information about the fauna, flora and history of Tahiti.
Patrick picked us up at our hotel and our first stop was at a small bakery/deli that sold sandwiches, quiche and other foods for lunch. The next stop on the shore road was at a lovely fruit stand, with an incredible view. No farmer could afford to put their stand at a spot like that in most places in the world.
The road we took started out narrow and a bit windy but that was nothing compared to what lay ahead of us. Along the way Patrick stopped to show us different plants and explain what they were. He also knew all the best spots for photos. As we climbed, the roads became nothing but hairpin turns and wide enough for only one vehicle. A few times we played chicken with a vehicle coming from the other direction and one of us had to back down. The cliffs in spots were straight drops to the bottom with nothing between us and the edge, and I was in the back of the truck on bench seats with a perfect view of the abyss.
I am not a fan of heights but often find myself facing my discomfort by being places that are quite terrifying. In this case I was glad that I was naïve about what the tour included because I might have opted not to do it. As many butterflies as I had in my stomach on more than one occasion I was glad that I did the trip it was worth the sweaty palms and breathless moments. The views were incredible and except for the few vehicles we were the only people for miles.
We stopped for lunch just as it started to rain and ate under a tin roof close to a waterfall. Some of our group cooled off in the water but I found the rain cooled me off enough. At times, as we approached the summit it was quite cool, add the rain and/or mist and you forgot that you were in the tropics for a brief time.
After lunch at the waterfall we stopped at a small restaurant out in the middle of nowhere for dessert. And that is when it really hit me that there was only one way back … Alas we were not even yet at the highest point.
During the rainy months these roads are impassable and you can see why with the light rain we had the roads were slick and in two places we literally had to drive through rushing water. There are a lot of waterfalls in this area and Patrick explained that during the rainy season in places the entire mountainside becomes a waterfall.
At the highest point that there is a road we drove through a tunnel and saw that the road on the other side was in no condition for vehicles to travel, so that was the point that we turned back and went back down the way we had come. At this point, we parked our car and Professor Patrick went into great detail explaining the creation of Tahiti and the other islands in French Polynesia. The information was detailed and he used maps to help us visualize what he was explaining. Tahiti is the second youngest in the Society Islands Archipelago, but all of them originated from the same hot spot or weak spot in the earth’s crust. The Tutamotu Islands, just to the northeast of the Societies are the oldest in French Polynesia, and the volcanic mountains have literally sunk into the sea. We really appreciated Patrick’s information as we traveled the Tutamotus and Society chains because it made it easy to understand the different places we visited.
As with any trip, the ride back home always seems much quicker and that was the case as we went down the mountain, and I was on the far side away from the edge. The only down side to our trip, which Patrick had no control over, was the traffic we ran into on our way back to the hotelYou really don’t want to be stuck in the back of a pickup truck breathing in the fumes while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.
I would absolutely recommend Patrick’s Adventure.