30 Reasons to Visit French Polynesia
French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, comprises 118 dispersed islands in the South Pacific, stretching for more than 2,000km. Divided into the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu archipelagos, they're known for their coral-fringed lagoons and over-the-water bungalows. Here are 30 reasons to visit French Polynesia.
Rangiroa offers French Polynesia’s best diving. It is the South Pacific’s largest atoll and one of the largest in the world. Hordes of marine life including barracuda, tuna, turtles, and dolphins can be found in the waters as well as hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
If you’re not interested in diving, you can still experience the underwater world in French Polynesia by snorkeling.
Visit a Winery
How about sipping wine from a winery located in the midst of a coconut grove, flanked on one side by turquoise lagoons and the deep blue ocean on the other? Rangiroa is home to Vin de Tahiti, one of the world’s most scenic wineries.
Visit a Coral Church
Fakarava is home to the first island church built entirely out of coral back in 1862. Today, the outer structure still remains and is quite a sight to behold.
French Polynesia is closer than you think
Dining is notoriously expensive in French Polynesia, but not at the roulottes (or caravans), which serve tasty meals in huge servings.
Shopping for sarongs, baskets, carvings and pearls is a multisensory experience at Papeete's public market, where the sweet aromas of vanilla, coconut and monoi oil fill the air, musicians strum ukuleles and the vibrant flower and fruit stalls call for plenty of photo ops.
Surfers flock to Tahiti Iti (little Tahiti) to try their luck on the notoriously dangerous "heavy wave" called Teahupoo.
The Bora Bora-Tuamotu pass includes 10 islands in a loop (from Tahiti) and costs around €564.80.
The ultimate destination wedding location
In 2009, France approved a law allowing non-French nationals to wed in the islands of Tahiti (including same-sex couples).
Swimming with sharks
Learn about Polynesian History
Accessible from Puamau, Iipona is one of the best archaeological sites in French Polynesia.
Wander through Harrison Smith Botanical Gardens
Visit Gauguin Museum
This museum is host to many reproductions of Paul Gauguin’s paintings. His colorful style brought fame to the islands and he lived out his last years here painting traditional life.
Tahitian Cultured Pearls
Visit a Marae
Marae are Polynesian temples where people came to offer up gifts to the Gods.
Make a trip to Fatu Hiva
Fatu Hiva is the southernmost of the Marquesas Islands and is certainly the most isolated.
Most of wildlife here is found in the lagoons and surrounding waters as there are very few indigenous animals on land.
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).
Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, it’s known for its scuba diving.
Mo'orea is a South Pacific island, part of French Polynesia's Society Islands archipelago. It's known for its jagged volcanic mountains and sandy beaches.
The capital of French Polynesia.
Huahine is an island located among the Society Islands.
Raiatea, is the second largest of the Society Islands.
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands.
Manihi, or Paeua, is a coral atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Makatea, or Mangaia-te-vai-tamae, is a raised coral atoll in the northwestern part of the Tuamotus.
They are located towards the northeast, away from the main Tuamotu group.
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