South Pacific Dream!
118 islands and atolls make up French Polynesia, which surprisingly, covers an area as large as Europe. The romance of these islands is legendary, considered by many to be heaven on earth.
French Polynesia boasts idyllic beaches, Instagram sunsets and amazing turquoise blue waters with an abundance of marine life.
French Polynesia’s Society Islands, primarily Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, and Taha’a, form the prime areas for international visitors, but there’s far more to explore and discover beyond.
Tahiti Island – is French Polynesia’s largest and most populated island and usually gateway and ideal base from which to explore the region.
Capital Papeete is French Polynesia’s largest population centre, boasting famous pearl shops, friendly markets, museums and lively night life and ‘roulottes’ (local food trucks). Use Papeete as a base to experience everyday Polynesian life, as well as to explore Tahiti’s historical sites, mountainous interior and rugged coastline.
Moorea – Just 20km and a 30 minute ferry ride from Papeete, this beautiful island is less populated and developed than more famous Tahiti. Why not explore the mountainous area by 4WD vehicle and from on-high, view the two small bays on the north shore, which are home to most of Moorea’s resorts and hotels.
Bora Bora – Perhaps the most idyllic honeymoon destination imaginable! Bora Bora’s natural lagoon is overlooked by rugged Mt. Otemanu. Bora Bara’s waters teem with colourful tropical fish and in the right season, imposing manta rays.
Luxury resorts, including some with overwater villas / bungalows offer a one in a lifetime experience, making them the most perfect honeymoon (or second honeymoon) destination.
Raiatea and Taha’a – These islands can be seen from Bora Bora and offer amazingly clear tropical waters in a peaceful, relaxing and natural setting – truly idyllic ‘get away from the modern world, leave all your cares behind’, destinations.
Raiatea is the larger and more visited of the two islands and is believed to be the staging post from where Polynesian migrants embarked to Hawaii and other parts of Polynesia in centuries past.
Tuamotu Islands – Made up of 76 coconut palm studded coral atolls, surrounded by azure seas. Offering world class diving, life here is even quieter, simpler and far less developed. Don’t go for the shopping or nightlife!
Highlights of this expansive coral atoll archipelago include Rangiroa and Tikehau, where pink sand beaches open onto clear tropical waters, alive with colourful tropical fish – truly a mecca for divers and snorkelers.
Marquesas Islands – Located about 1,500km and a three hour flight from Papeete. There are no protective reefs here and the coastline is dominated by rugged cliffs and wind swept bays. These quiet islands are known within French Polynesia for their rich culture, ancient ruins and breathtaking natural beauty.
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands and known for its lush valleys, waterfalls and ancient sites. Hiva Oa Island, final resting place of famed artist Paul Gauguin, is visited for its wild landscape, giant stone tiki and interesting history.
What To See and Do
- Walk Papeete’s exotic markets
- Island hopping by air? Make sure to get a window seat for memorable vistas
- Hit the road by car or scooter, for cultural immersion and spectacular views
- Visit Marae Taputapuatea on Raiatea Island and feel the power of an ancient Polynesian temple
- Include Hiva Oa Island and see the amazing huge stone tiki statues and explore Hiva Oa’s secret beach
- Hike Mt. Aorai on Tahiti or the peaks of Moorea
- Explore a pristine lagoon – the oink sands of Pakarava, or swim with the nurse sharks in Bora Bora
- Scuba dive with the manta rays in Maupiti Lagoon
When To Go
The vast archipelago of French Polynesia offers a tropical climate, influenced by the south-east trade winds, with a hot and humid season from November to April and a cooler season from May to October. The hot season is also the rainiest and from December – April there’s the risk of cyclones. Temperatures vary little throughout the year, but are higher on the northern islands and gradually cooler as you move towards the south. Daytime temperatures are generally in the 28C – 32C range and 22C – 24C night time.