A blend of colourful culture and breath-taking nature – the gateway to French Polynesia
The main public services are based in the Society Islands, especially Papeete (Tahiti), the capital of French Polynesia. The development of French Polynesia today originates from the Windward Islands.
Tahiti, the country’s largest island, is made of two volcanic mounts: Tahiti Nui with its highest peak mount Orohena (elevation: 2,240 m) and Tahiti Iti with mount Mairenui (elevation: 1,300 m). A short ferry ride from Tahiti lies the peaceful but nonetheless enchanting Moorea with its glittering lagoon and lush, sharp mountains. The second gem of the Society Islands is the Leeward Islands.
From a geological point of view, they are older than their Windward “cousins”.
TAHITI (the Queen island)
Also known as Tamure Island or the island of marinated raw fish & sweet fragrances, Tahiti is the heartbeat of French Polynesia.
Not only is it the main port of call when arriving into the Islands of Tahiti via Faa’a International Airport, it is also the main location for public services and the home to Papeete, the capital city. From Paea to Papenoo, Tahiti boasts beautiful scenery, varied activities and has a surprising number of archaeological sites. The mountainous inner part of the island is a green kingdom, where waterfalls, lava tubes and sacred sites can be found, with, as a backdrop, the sharp peaks of mounts Orohena and Aorai.
TETIAROA (sanctuary of mythical birds)
With limited ways to travel to this island, the best way is to join a weekend cruise departing from Papeete in order to access this fragile but still preserved island, which serves as a bird sanctuary, also known as a vacation island for the Royalty. Before, the Royal family, the Pomares, used to go there to spend their leisure time.
The Brando: Launched mid-year 2014 on Motu Onetahi, The Brando is setting new standards and has raised the bar to the highest possible level in terms of eco-friendliness. It is unique in all respects and relies entirely on renewable energy with solar panels and coconut oil. Sea water air conditioning (SWAC) is a key element, utilising cold ocean water from 960 meters deep.
MOOREA (the timeless island)
The beauty of enchanting Moorea is enthralling, with its amazing scenery and pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. The lush mountainous landscape contrasts with the crystal clear blue lagoon. Resorts of bungalows and Tahitian guesthouses are scattered on beautiful white sand beaches, among flowered gardens or over the lagoon allowing one to discover the best of Moorea’s spirit, famous for its pineapple fields and its pineapple juice.
HUAHINE (the authentic island)
An area of about 29 sq. miles, Huahine is made up of two islands: Huahine Nui up North and Huahine Iti at the South, both connected by a bridge overlooking the lagoon. Secluded and authentic, Huahine inspires the traveller with an enchanting, secretive and mysterious magic. It is shaped like a sleeping woman, which inspired the movie Moana.
RAIATEA (the sacred island)
A 45-minute flight from Papeete will take the visitor to Raiatea, the second largest economic area of Polynesia – an island boasting dramatic scenery. It is a major nautical base for numerous sailboats and charter companies. A 3km channel separates Raiatea from its sister Taha’a, both lying in the same lagoon. The scenery of Raiatea is dramatic. The former name of Raiatea is Hawaiki Nui. It is a sacred island because of the marae Taputapuatea, a world heritage site. From there, the migration to the other Polynesian islands started, to Aotearoa – New Zealand and Hawaii (Hawaiki).
TAHA’A (The Vanilla Island)
The island is akin to a huge colourful and scented garden where vanilla, a precious orchid, reigns as princess. It is indeed in Taha’a that 80% of the famous Tahitian vanilla is produced. Taha’a has a superb lagoon, quiet and beautiful, where one can don a mask, and discover pristine coral gardens around the motu.
BORA BORA (The Pearl of the Pacific)
Bora Bora (or Pora Pora originally) is the promise of a paradise on earth, to which these islands are often compared. It’s fair to say the shape of the island and its lagoon are of a surreal beauty and fascinate visitors thanks to its mythical attraction. famous Hollywood stars, dreamers and lovers choose mythical Bora Bora as their romantic destination of choice thanks to its enchanting scenery, its lush vegetation, relaxed ambience and also for the natural locals’ discretion.
TUPAI (The island of Pere, goddess of fire and passion)
Located 10 miles North of Bora Bora, the islet of Tupai, viewed from the sky, looks like a heart. Nobody lives on the island and of course, there is no accommodation, however, the most romantic will have a chance to visit for just a few hours and share a memorable glass of Champagne or celebrate their wedding surrounded by breath-taking scenery.
MAUPITI (The Untouched Island)
Located 35km west of Bora Bora, Maupiti is a tiny island (10 sq. km), secluded and authentic. Magnificent scenery, endless white sandy beaches both on the island and the motu, legendary rocky peaks and ancient marae all blend nicely with the friendly and smiling style of the islanders.
THE PAPEETE MARKET
The Papeete public Marketplace covers 7,000 sq m and is the lively authentic heart of the city. Particularly crowded in the early morning, the section devoted to flowers and fruits should not be missed. Flowers such as tiare Tahiti, taina, Plumeria, pitate and many more species will engulf the visitor with their sweet perfumes. The place to shop is on the top floor of the market, where typical Polynesian hand-made products await the traveller: pareu, hats, bags and baskets, wonderfully carved wood objects, fabrics, bed covers with vegetal patterns or hand-sewn ethnic decorations, tifaifai.
- The “heart” of French Polynesia
- Jagged volcanic mountains meet crystal blue sea
- Culture, nightlife and cuisine