118 islands spread across 5 archipelagos
With a maritime empire expanding over 5 million sq km (equivalent to the size of Europe), only 3,500 sq km is actual land. This land forms 5 different archipelagos: The Society, the Tuamotu, the Gambier, the Marquesas and the Australs. French Polynesia is also part of the Polynesian Triangle, which borders Easter Island, New Zealand and Hawaii. Located between California (6,195 km.) and Australia (4,989 km.), Tahiti is 8,803 km. from Tokyo and 7,500 km. from Santiago in Chile: a perfect location in the heart of the South Pacific.
THE SOCIETY ISLANDS:
A DREAM COME TRUE
From the country’s main heartbeat island, Tahiti, across to her enchanting sister island, Moorea, then up to Marlon Brando’s Tetiaroa paradise atoll, these Windward Islands are the utmost of dream islands. The deep valleys and high mountains offer incredible hikes, or with a 4WD one can discover the legendary archaeological remains of ancient Polynesia.
The Leeward Islands, or Raromatai consist of five islands: Huahine, sought after for her mysterious charm; Raiatea or “The sacred island”; Taha’a, a genuine Garden of Eden surrounded with colours and scent; Bora Bora, “The pearl of the Pacific”; and Maupiti – the smallest and least developed of all, but nonetheless as beautiful.
THE TUAMOTU ARCHIPELAGO:
PARADISE ON EARTH
The Tuamotu Islands consist of 77 atolls spread over 1,500 km. and the area certainly lives up to its reputation! They are the best representation of the “edge of the world” and quite literally paradise on earth. Coconut plantations cover the motu (islet) of the coral barrier reef, white sandy beaches, the pristine beauty of the lagoons and unique underwater world make the Tuamotu a very unique group of islands.
THE GAMBIER ARCHIPELAGO:
A WELL-KEPT TREASURE
Located more than 1,600 km southeast of the island of Tahiti at the end of the Tuamotu’s, this archipelago is the most remote and also the least populated 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. This archipelago lives to the pace of Christian faith, pearl farms and fishing. Thus, visitors will discover the many secrets of these authentic and discreet islands, including one of the most beautiful lagoons in the region (featuring unbelievable shades of blue) and untouched and colourful marine life.
THE AUSTRAL ARCHIPELAGO:
As their name implies, the Austral islands, located on the Tropic of Capricorn, are the southernmost boundary of the Polynesian archipelago. The climate is cooler than in Tahiti and the shape and ecology of these food self-sufficient islands make them a charming world apart. Rurutu, Tubuai or Tupua’i, Raivavae, Rimatara and the southernmost Rapa are high mountainous islands of real character. Rurutu, over the years, has become a great place to watch whales. Its crystal clear and calm waters allow the traveller to approach these sea giants in a privileged manner.
THE MARQUESAS’ ARCHIPELAGO:
THE FORCE OF CULTURE
Legendary high cliffs, volcanic peaks, impressive remnants wrapped in wild nature, amazing beaches: the Marquesas are breath-taking! 1,500 km. away from Papeete, they offer the traveller an appealing, unforgettable and unmatched program. “The land of Man”, or “Te Fenua ‘Enata”, as the Marquesans name their islands, has various faces, all shaped by its inhabitants. Each of the six populated islands are proud of its characteristics and boasts high-quality traditional and creative handicrafts, tattoos, singing and dancing – such as the rhythmic and impressive haka.