French Polynesia (Tahiti) Escapes
Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia, the South Pacific archipelago. Shaped like a figure-8, it’s divided into Tahiti Nui (the larger, western section) and Tahiti Iti (the eastern peninsula). With black-sand beaches, lagoons, waterfalls and 2 extinct volcanoes, it’s a popular vacation destination. Explored by Captain James Cook in the 18th century, it was also often painted by French artist Paul Gauguin.
The Islands of Tahiti
Located in the Pacific Ocean, The Islands of Tahiti are a mythical destination. The mention of Tahiti calls to mind visions of an idyllic island paradise and once you visit, you’ll discover that your imagination isn’t too off the mark. Secluded, tropical and lush, these islands are a universe where dreams meet reality.
SOCIETY ISLANDS: AHITI, TETIAROA, MOOREA , HUAHINE , RAIATEA , TAHA’A , BORA BORA
From the country’s main island, Tahiti, across to her enchanting sister island, Moorea, then up to Marlon Brando’s Tetiaroa paradise atoll, these Windward Islands are tropical dream islands! Choose between the various land/water activities or just relax by the pool. There is something for everyone in The Islands of Tahiti.
TUAMOTU ISLANDS: RANGIROA , MANIHI , TIKEHAU , FAKARAVA
The Tuamotu Islands consist of 77 atolls spread over 930 miles (1,497km) and the area certainly lives up to its reputation. These islands, located at the the edge of the world, are literally heaven on Earth. Coconut plantations cover the motu (islet) of the coral barrier reef, the pristine beauty of the lagoons and unique underwater world make the Tuamotu a very unique group of islands.
GAMBIER ISLANDS: MANGAREVA
Located more than 994 miles (1,600 km) southeast of the island of Tahiti and at the end of the Tuamotus, this archipelago is the most remote and also the least populated region of French Polynesia. Counting only 1,000 inhabitants, it shelters four mountainous islands lying within the same lagoon: Mangareva, ‘Akamaru, ‘Aukena and Taravai, with dozens of islets, called motu.
MARQUESAS ISLANDS – MARQUESAS
Legendary high cliffs, volcanic peaks, impressive remnants wrapped in wild nature, amazing beaches: the Marquesas are breathtaking. Located 932 miles (1,500km) away from Papeete, they offer the traveler a trip of a lifetime. The Marquesans call their islands “Land of Men,” or “Te Henua ‘Enana.”
AUSTRAL ISLANDS – AUSTRAL
As their name implies, the Austral islands, located south of The Island of Tahiti, on the Tropic of Capricorn, represent the southernmost boundary of French Polynesia. The climate is cooler than in Tahiti and the shape and ecology of these self-sufficient islands make them a charming world apart.
Crowned by a circle of majestic peaks, the Island of Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia, towers over the ocean like a proud and royal Queen. The mountainous interior is adorned with mystical valleys, clear streams, and high waterfalls. Most of the island’s population resides near the shore, leaving the interior of the island feeling almost untouched and ancient, despite such proximity to the bustling capital of Papeete. Papeete, meaning “water basket,” was once a gathering place where Tahitians came to fill their calabashes with fresh water. Now, Papeete, the touchstone of this island nation, boasts world-class resorts, spas, fine dining and unique restaurants, nightclubs, vibrant markets, museums, pearl shops, and boutiques.
Romance. Bora Bora rises from the velvet blues of the deep water up through the softer hues of the lagoon and into the air that surrounds the island. Its touch on the sea breeze tingles the skin. And its power fills each beat of the heart. A brief 50-minute flight from The Islands of Tahiti or Moorea, Bora Bora, with a lagoon resembling an artist’s palette of bright blues and greens, is love at first sight. Romantics from around the world celebrate Bora Bora where the lush tropical slopes and valleys of Mount Otemanu blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. Bora Bora’s perfect white-sand beaches give way to blue waters where tropical-colored fish animate the coral gardens and giant manta rays glide leisurely past. This could easily be defined as the center of the romantic universe, where luxury resorts and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, thatched-roof villas, and a fabled ambiance. Simply put, Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Moorea rises magically out of the ocean like a cathedral. High, sharp, inspiring green spires, crowned by clouds. Poetic threads of waterfalls tumble down fern-softened cliffs. Peaceful meadows flanked by pinnacles of emerald green will renew your belief in the majesty of nature, and Moorea’s bright blue lagoon will bring to life the South Seas idyll of your dreams. Pastel-painted houses, surrounded by gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise, circle the island in a necklace of happy, simple villages that will elevate your senses and remind you that this is what life is all about. La vie heureuse, as they say in Tahiti, a happy life. One of the most memorable locations in The Islands of Tahiti, Moorea’s beauty is unforgettable.
Days evolve quietly on Tikehau. From the sky, this graceful atoll, a 55-minute flight from the kinetic bustle of Papeete in Tahiti, looks like a crown of white and pink-sand beaches shimmering around the Tikehau Atoll lagoon making it almost too breathtaking to be true. Only about 500 Tahitians call this tranquil world home, generations of fishermen whose lives revolve around the sea. And, it’s a life of both peace and plenty.
Some places you can feel. They cast their spell on you immediately. This is Tetiaroa. A haven for birds, sea turtles and all kinds of marine life, Tetiaroa is treasured among Tahitians who know it as a sacred place. So sacred, that at one time the coconut-dotted white sand beaches and crystalline lagoon of this uninhabited atoll was an exclusive getaway for Tahitian royalty. It’s not surprising that actor Marlon Brando fell under its spell during the filming of “Mutiny on the Bounty” in 1960 and later went on to become its owner. Now you can follow in the wake of kings and Hollywood royalty with a quick 15-minute private charter from Tahiti or Moorea.
- Romance is Everywhere – The Islands of Tahiti are surely the prototype for the concept of the far-flung, south seas romantic escape: archipelagos of volcanic islands isolated in a gigantic blue ocean, protected entirely by barrier reefs that form some of the world’s most fabled lagoons. Hundreds of empty white-sand beaches fringe these still turquoise waters, while the forest-covered mountains of French Polynesia’s dramatic volcanic hinterland rise hundreds – sometimes thousands – of feet into the blue skies above.
- Historical Tours – The history of The Islands of Tahiti is a rich and fascinating one. Around 4000 BC, a great migration began in Southeast Asia with early settlers traveling across the vast, open ocean to explore the Pacific Islands.
- French Polynesian Culture – Tahitians today have inherited a rich, expressive culture from their ma’ohi ancestors. From the ma’ohi, came the pulse of Tahitian life, a world where the lives of gods, warriors and men crossed in colorful legends. Tahitian culture is a place where the music and dance and art rose from the wonder of everyday island life.
- Outdoors – There are so many ways to discover the outdoors in The Islands of Tahiti, and so many opportunities for hikes and excursions in island valleys or over hilltops where the breathtaking views encompass a full 360-degree panorama of mountains, bays, lagoons and on the horizon, the immense Pacific.
- Polynesian Spas – With soothing lagoon waters, a rich botanical environment, air scented of vanilla and tiare flowers and the blissful tranquility of each island, The Islands of Tahiti offer a “spa within a spa” experience, found nowhere else on earth. Featuring the bounty of oils, flowers and plants found only in The Islands of Tahiti, each spa has a full menu of treatments for couples and individuals alike.
- Traditional Cuisine – French Polynesia benefits from fantastic weather all year round. It’s a virtual Garden of Eden, where exuberance and abundance go hand in hand. In this sunny country, farmers grow a wide variety of fruits, spices and vegetables with evocative names reminding us of faraway places.
- Diving & Snorkeling – Proudly displayed on the bodies of Tahitians, you’ll find manta ray, shark, whale and sea turtle tattoos that tell the story of a people defined by the sea. Divers come from around the world to experience these sacred sea creatures, which, in The Islands of Tahiti, hold a place of reverence among the gods.
- For Golfers – What’s more appealing than an afternoon of golf? How about an unforgettable round of golf with the gorgeous backdrop of The Islands of Tahiti? French Polynesia offers golf fans two magnificent golf courses, one in Tahiti and another in Moorea. A mini golf is also available on Raiatea.
- Shopping – Jewellery, crafts, sarongs, monoi oil, and gourmet products … the list of souvenirs you can bring back from The Islands of Tahiti is endless. Leave lots of room for your shopping finds when you pack for your next trip. You won’t regret it.
- Come Sail Away – To truly experience the awe of The Islands of Tahiti, nothing beats approach them from the sea. Feel the transition from the deep, untamed royal blues and rolling waves of the Pacific to the welcoming hues of a quiet, hushed lagoon.