Updated: Aug 9, 2020
The Frech Polynesian, as well as Tahiti, has to be the closest thing to paradise on earth. Most think that the tropical destinations are only for the famously rich and honeymooners looking to start their marriage with a lot less money, but that's not true! You can go to the French Polynesians with or without your significant other! There are so many different possibilities with over 118 islands spread across a vast distance that is the size of Western Europe. With so many islands to choose from, where should you go first? Here's our list of the top 10 places you must go and visit!
10. Rangiroa: "The Infinite Lagoon"
Like a gleaming pearl necklace, the South Pacific Oceans Rangiroa is the second biggest coral atoll in the entire world. It happens to be so big that you could fit the large island of Tahiti inside its lagoon and still have space leftover. Each year thousands of divers from all around the world take the journey to a place with no dreamy beaches. People long to visit because of the thrilling cliff dives, encounters with tons of friendly dolphins, and you could also find a few scary-looking tiger sharks. You can come here for diving, but be sure to look out for what is lurking in the "Deep Blue."
9. Bora Bora: "The Romantic Island"
Why do we list Bora Bora in the number 9 spot? It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but everyone wants to visit it, so it's crowded with tourists. Bora Bora is known for its many luxury resorts, but it might be better known as an island paradise to those who visit. To its many tourists, they may enjoy the crystal clear waters, soft white sand beaches, and the majestic blue skies that invite seclusion. Few things can beat a day in the lagoon where you can swim with nurse sharks and feed stingrays. You can create the perfect day by starting and ending on Matira Beach with its white sand and turquoise water.
8. Tahiti: "The Queen Of The Pacific"
70% of Tahiti's population lives on the big island, which can be overlooked by many travelers, but that is a huge mistake. The city of Papeete in French Polynesia can be quite pleasant, so you should take a full day to explore. Check out Papeete's exotic market by day, shop for black pearls during the afternoon, and grab dinner with the locals at the legendary roulotes food trucks at the Place Variety. The real adventure begins once you leave the crowded city. The lush forest along the coastline is home to the tropical gardens, black sand beaches, and crashing waves that attract the world's best surfers. The interior is mostly visitor free, and it invites you to embark on challenging hikes.
7. Raiatea: "The Sacred Island"
This island not only has a beautiful name, Raiatea but is one of the best places to visit while on an island-hopping journey in the Frech Polynesia. Raiatea offers tons of different hiking opportunities. You can travel deep into the rainforest in search of three beautiful waterfalls. Don't miss heading up to the plateau to search for the Tiare Apetahi, one of the world's rarest flowers. The flowers only grow on that specific patch of land. This island is a fantastic place to take a road trip or venture out into the remote southern end to pay a visit to the famous ancient temple, the Polynesian Triangle. This island also shares the same lagoon with Tahaa Island, which is home to the world's finest vanilla.
6. Moorea: "The Magical Island"
Moorea is close to Tahiti's big island but feels like a world away. You'll fall in love with Moorea because of its laid back charm. On the map, it has a heart-shaped appearance carved out by its deep twin bays. In Moorea, there is something to do for everyone. You can lay on the beach or hike around the many different beautiful sights of the island. Scuba diving, feeding sharks, and stingrays are part of the tourist's daily routine. Many travelers fall in love with Moorea and end up retiring here!
5. Huahine: "The Garden Of Eden"
Huahine is a great place to relax and recharge or explore its natural beauty. Once home to a powerful royal family, you can visit the ancient temples, still protecting the coastline of Lake Maeva and the surrounding mountains. If you are looking for a Sunday scenic drive, Huahine is the perfect island to take it. Plan a tour to see the sacred blue-eyed eels and find a spot on the miles of white sand beaches spending the afternoon around the empty emerald bays. You also must check out the Huahine's lagoon, where you can create memories by feeding the sharks.
4. Fakarava: "The End Of The World"
A wonder of the many islands Fakarava is one of the best-kept secrets from the French Polynesian. It's a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with an extensive coral reef that offers some of the world's best scuba diving. Wake up in the morning to go swimming with a giant family of sharks in majestic spots like "Alibaba Canyon." Let your afternoon cycle to a remote beach for lunch with Robinson Crusoe. Then for dinner, grab a delicious bite of red tuna and fall asleep to the sounds of the crashing waves outside your bungalow. Also, while you are there, don't forget to check out the incredible pink sand beaches.
3. Hiva Oa: "The Island Of Gauguin & Brel"
Havia Oa is the seahorse-shaped island and is considered the garden of the Marquesas. Located between fertile mountains and raging oceans, the Marquesas Islands, known as "The Mysterious Islands." Hiva Oa is a breathtaking island which will leave you without words for your entire stay. It is all about history and nature on the island of Hiva Oa. It captured the hearts of Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel, who couldn't leave the island after setting foot there. You can explore the island by horseback, on foot, or in a 4X4 and uncover all the secrets beaches hidden by the bay. Time stands still while you enjoy this island's history. Don't miss standing next to the enormous Ancient tiki statues.
2. Nuku Hiva: "The Real Jurassic Park"
Some of nature's most exceptional accomplishments are in the remote Marquesas Islands of Nuku Hiva. The 90-minute flight from the dusty airport will be the most memorable airport pick up before heading to the island, which it's beauty is beyond your imagination. It's not exactly the place to charge your battery, but it is a perfect place to explore the hidden waterfall, deep jungle, or hike to unspoiled beaches and panoramic views at every bend in the road. The islanders will go above and beyond to show you their life in paradise and showcase the rich history of ancient Marquesan culture. You could see a haka dance in the middle of an ancient temple or a hunting expedition in the middle of nowhere. Nuku Hiva is just plain and simple out of this world.
1. Maupiti: "The Preserved Island"
Maupiti is impossibly beautiful. It is the closest thing to paradise on earth and doesn't understand the world "stress." With many lagoons to see and the friendliest people in the world, you must plan to visit this island. Maupiti is similar to Bora Bora but without the tourists. Maupiti is less crowded due to the islanders preserving this island for the locals and not promoting it for tourism. You will not find any resorts out here, just many islanders who bring their families to enjoy the island. They have plenty of fantastic food and tropical flowers blooming in there gardens. You can Hike up Mount Teurafaatiu for a life-changing view or walk across the lagoon to your very own beach and swim with the manta rays. Maupiti beauty is undiscovered by the rest of the world and where couples can rekindle their love.
There you have it; those are our top picks for the best places to go in the French Polynesian. You can start planning your bucket list dream vacation with Staybalnced Travel! If you're ready to explore the destination ideas, click here to schedule a call!