What To Do & Where To Go In Tahiti & French Polynesia?

Guest post by Vincent Simon.

In need of plain sun, sand beaches and warm water? Tahiti is a dream destination, and you’ll need to pinch yourself every now and then to make sure you’re not dreaming. It’s easy to prepare your vacation in Tahiti, and a lot of information can be found on the internet, for instance on the official website of the touristic organization. It’s not the point of this article to summarize the best things to do in French Polynesia (besides, I haven’t visited all of it), but to share a few advises and give you a few ideas of some must-be-seen spots and activities.

Tahiti Sunset

Tahiti Sunset by Jon Rawlinson via Flickr

Try to see as much islands as possible and organize your trip:

There are exactly 118 of them around the archipelago, and each one is different. To get from one to another, you can take a boat, but plane is also recommended: it’s worth buying a pass for the length of your vacation and to plan your tour in advance so that you can go around all the islands you’ve selected, and not go backward. Seen from the sky, the islands are incredibly beautiful. Since you’ll have to find a new accommodation at least twice a week, a good idea is to contact an agency that helps you to organize your trip around Tahiti, so you won’t have to waste time looking for an hotel and get a discount: French Polynesia is not a very cheap destination, so plan your budget in advance.

Spend (only) a day or two in Tahiti:

You’ll arrive in the capital Papeete (that’s where is located the international airport), and if you come from Europe or America, you’ll be jet lagged. So think about reserving an accommodation for the first few days, for that will be enough to see Papeete, a busy and noisy city. Take the time to go the market and check on the (french) website of the Papeete city hall to see if there is a festival or a dance show, for they can be very impressive. In July, the Heiva is a famous festival, it lasts two weeks so don’t miss it if you’re around. Pay a visit to the museum, and then leave for a more peaceful island, for instance Moorera, who can be reached in 40 minutes by plane.

Bora Bora is really worth its reputation:

You’ve seen the pictures, you know it’s beautiful, amazing and all, but once arrived on the spot, you’ll be surprised: it’s even more than what you thought. And yes, it’s very touristic, It might be expensive to spend a night in a submarine hotel, but behind the scene, authorities have done everything that’s necessary to preserve the nature and the turtles you’ll swim with are protected, touristic complexes have a serious concern for the environment. Don’t worry, the beaches are not crowded.

Le Méridien

Le Méridien

Visit a pearl farm:

This industry is part of the local culture, and Tahitians are supposed to be the best producers of pearls in the world. Some say their particularly cheap nowadays, particularly when bought directly in those farms, but it’s an interesting spectacle to observe how they harvest the oysters, open them and, eventually, find a something in it. You can find some of those farms on the Manihi island, where Tahitians started to culture pearls (and have a look at the church in the charming village, since the altar is covered by pearls).

Swim with manta rays in Maupiti:

Only 40 kilometers away from Bora Bora, it’s where manta rays flew away from tourists. Take a small boat and your snorkel, and enjoy this incredible moment. Be careful, because rays can be enormous, and even though they’re not aggressive, they can be dangerous. The rest of the island of Maupiti is incredibly beautiful, especially seen from the top (half an hour walk on a well indicated path).

Spend a few days in the Tuamotu archipelago:

Tikehau is a small but charming island, almost deserted, located 300 kilometers away from Tahiti, and, one might add, away from everything. There aren’t any hotels there, just family pensions, and you’ll feel in Heaven – and actually, there’s an island nearby called the Garden of Eden where inhabitants live almost in autarky. Generally, the French Polynesia isn’t much populated and has been (yet) invaded by tourism, but it’s especially the case here.

Discover the Mao’ri culture in Raiatea:

The island is the cradle of the Maoris Culture, and, in the south of the island Raiatea (40 kilometers away from Tahiti), you can find an archeological complex around what’s left of a Marae, a site dedicated to religious and meetings centuries ago. Its name is Tapu-tapu-ate and everything’s done so that tourists can discover Polynesian Culture. Even now, locals are sincerely attached to their traditions, and you might be surprised to see how proud they can be when it comes to this matter.

Author Bio: Vincent is a 37 years old French digital nomad, he has gone several times in Tahiti and intends to go back.

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