French Polynesia, also known as the islands of Tahiti, is a group of 118 islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which is the absolute dream destination of all travel destinations for many tourists. Miles of snow-white sandy beaches, waving palm trees, secluded bays and the most glorious sunshine:
The islands are the epitome of exotic vacations and fascinating Polynesian experiences. The most important airport for vacationers is in Tahiti’s capital Papeete, which is served by several airlines via the USA, Oceania and Asia. From here it is usually on to such enchanting islands as Bora Bora, Moorea, the Tuamotu Islands or the Marquesas.
Below we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in French Polynesia.
1. Vaihiria Lake & Vaipahi Gardens in Tahiti
In addition to its numerous enchanting beaches, the fabulous main island of Taihi also harbors magical highlights that provide true exotic experiences. On the south coast of the island, in Mataiea, about 49 km from Papeete, are Tahiti’s fairytale Vaipahi Gardens, one of the very special sights in French Polynesia, which is home to a treasure trove of natural and magnificent wealth.
On an area of over 10,000 m², visitors can admire an incomparably beautiful flower paradise in an unparalleled variety. More than 75 different fauna species are presented in lush greenery, which can be explored on three different, half-hour hiking trails and past archaeological sites. Lake Vaihiria, located at an altitude of 465 m, is a clear freshwater lake that is perfect for swimming and eel fishing in a unique landscape.
2. Hike to Mont Otemanu on Bora Bora
The volcanic island of Bora Bora is one of the most fascinating islands in the world. The lagoon, shimmering in a thousand different shades of blue, is home to millions of colorful tropical fish species and magnificent coral gardens. The port with its admirable overwater bungalows, so typical of Bora Bora, is located directly on the fabulous bay. Immediately behind it the Otemanu volcanic mountain rises at a height of 727 m and offers a spectacular backdrop for the lagoon location. The Otemanu can be easily climbed on a guided hike, which basically ends at the sacred Anau cave, below the summit.
The ascent begins at Vairau Bay, takes about 2.5 hours and leads up to a mountain path through a lush jungle forest. The panoramic view from the first viewing platform of the Otemanu over the entire Vaitape Bay is simply breathtaking. The second section of the hike leads past monoliths, while the cave entrance is reached via a rope. From here there is a sensational view of the more distant islands of Tupai, Raiatea and Taha’a.
3. Belvedere Lookout on Moorea
A fascinating panoramic view awaits Moorea visitors at Belvedere Lookout Point. The unobstructed view of Cook’s Bay, Opunohu Bay and Mount Totui offers sensational opportunities for unique shots. The picturesque landscape and the fabulous view of the magical island and its beautiful coastline make the trip to Belvedere Lookout Point, which can be reached both on foot and by car, a very special experience on Moorea.
There are some historical ruins to discover on the way up that are free of charge. At the top there is a small viewing platform for the perfect souvenir photo. However, we recommend applying mosquito repellent, as the rather humid forest area up here is home to some pests. Adventure seekers can also take part in a guided quad tour over Moorea, which also includes a photo stop at the Belvedere Lookout.
4. Blue lagoon in front of Rangiroa
On the largest atoll of the Tuamoto Archipelago Rangiroa is the Blue Lagoon, an overwhelmingly beautiful Blue Lagoon beyond compare. The excursion to the Blue Lagoon is a must for Rangiroa visitors: the lagoon water shimmers in the most wonderful turquoise tones, brilliant coral reefs make the heart of every diving enthusiast beat faster and the brilliant variety of tropical fish species will definitely delight every visitor to the atoll during one of the guided snorkeling trips.
The lagoon is about an hour’s boat ride from Avatoru and is the epitome of a South Sea dream come true. More paradisiacal clichés are hard to find on the magical islands in the Pacific. Particularly fascinating is the fact that the lagoon has created its own small lagoon in its center – a kind of pool that is ideal for swimming. The day trips often take place in a glass-bottom boat and dolphins are often spotted on the trip.
5. Pearl Farm & Pearl Lottery on Fakarava
The gorgeous island of Fakarava belongs to the Tuamoto Islands and is the second largest atoll in French Polynesia and especially famous for the numerous small islets that form a ring around the fascinating lagoon. In the heavenly warm waters there are impressive corral reefs and a unique undersea fauna and flora, which are part of the UN Biosphere Reserve due to their spectacular marine ecosystem.
The Hinano Pearl Farm Fakarava is a special highlight for island visitors, because here they have the wonderful opportunity to take part in a highly interesting tour of the Hinano Black Pearl Fishing Farm and marvel at the brilliant quality of the pearls and the imaginatively crafted pieces of jewelry. Of course, a visit to the in-house shop is also included at the end, but nobody is forced to actually buy anything.
6. Maeva Place of Worship & Fare Potee – Huahine
About 40 minutes’ flight time from Tahiti and halfway between Moorea and Taha’a is the magical island of Huahine. Picturesque location on a graceful, crystal clear, turquoise blue lagoon, Huahine offers a wonderful hilly landscape overgrown with lush vegetation, secluded bays, white sandy beaches under palm trees and picturesque villages – an absolute insider tip!
To the northeast of the pretty town of Fare is the lagoon town of Maeva, which is known for its farming methods. An ancient legacy are the stone fish traps that are still used in this place today. Several providers also offer sailing boat trips along the beautiful coastline off Huahine – including snorkeling in pristine and impressively beautiful coral gardens.
7. Overwater bungalows on Bora Bora
For exclusive vacation days, the fantastic overwater bungalows by Bora Bora are the perfect choice. The unique overwater bungalow concept offers fantastic rooms and suites on floating villas, which correspond to the traditional Tahitian construction and from which visitors can enjoy direct access to the wonderful blue lagoon and experience unforgettable beautiful sunsets – the perfect romantic retreat for the most beautiful honeymoon!
Of course, this luxury has its price and can be found on Bora Bora in several 5 star resorts on the island. We particularly recommend the villas of the St. Regis Hotel, the Four Seasons Bora Bora and the Intercontinental Thalasso. If you want to snorkel on stilts right in front of your own villa, we recommend the Sofitel Motu and the beautiful Hilton Nui. Almost all hotels enjoy spectacular views of the lagoon and Mount Otemanu!
8. Vanilla plantations on Taha’a
Taha’a Island is just a short boat ride from Raiatea Island and is the absolute vanilla island, cultivating 80% of the total vanilla production in French Polynesia. An exciting excursion through the enchanting vanilla valley “La Vallée de la Vanille” is a truly fascinating experience for all the senses when visitors can try the bewitchingly fragrant and enjoyable aromatic spice vanilla tahitensis.
It takes a lot of patience and experience to successfully grow the precious Tahitian vanilla aroma plant on Taha’s suitable soil. Afterwards we recommend an excursion to one of the offshore islands, the so-called Motus. Here you can, for example, enjoy a delicious picnic, explore the underwater world or just relax and unwind. Because one thing is certain – hectic and stress are absolutely foreign words in Taha’a!
9. Nordby shipwreck off Raiatea
Raiatea is only 3 km away from Taha’a and shares the same fantastic lagoon. The sacred Taputapuatea Marae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a very special place on the island of Raiatea and is considered the prehistoric center and cradle of Polynesian culture, which began from here to discover and settle their paradisiacal islands, Hawaii and New Zealand. In the waters around the small Motu, diving fans can expect sensational coral gardens!
Particularly exciting in front of Raiatea is not only the unbelievably large biodiversity of the underwater world, but also the wreck of the three-master Nordby, which sank near Pearl Beach in 1900. It is about 25 meters deep with mostly clear, good visibility an overwhelming experience! The Danish ship is the only larger wreck on the Society Islands and, due to its location in the largely sheltered bay not far from the Hawaiki Nui Hotel, is also well suited for beginners.
10. Lagoonarium on Moorea
Not far from the coast is one of the most important and most visited attractions of Moorea, the Lagoonarium. It is a protected underwater area that can be easily reached on a three-minute boat ride. From here visitors can admire the fantastic and lush fish and flora off Moorea on guided snorkeling and diving trips and explore the wonderful and colorful coral gardens.
The Lagoonarium is located on a small islet and offers guests the necessary equipment and numerous opportunities to get up close and personal with turtles, large rays and peaceful blacktip reef sharks. Next door is a small but fine beach, which is ideal for relaxing before going back on an underwater exploration tour. The Lagoonarium is also highly recommended for families with children and is one of the main attractions of the region!