French Polynesia’s islands fascinate with their jagged peaks, palm tree-lined beaches, blue-green lagoons and tropical rainforests. Dive with sharks, tour ancient temples, journey through forested valleys and relax on a beach with a cocktail.
Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. Visit Papeete, the capital city, for markets, museums and shops that specialize in Tahitian black pearl jewelry. Trek through the Fautaua Valley for the 985-foot (300-meter) Fautaua Waterfall. Take the children to Maui Beach to swim in the shallow water. Go on a four-wheel-drive tour through valleys and rainforests and along the coast. Stay in an overwater bungalow on stilts above the sea.
Most of the islands are surrounded by lagoons, providing ideal settings for water pursuits. Charter a boat for deep-sea fishing. Scuba dive or snorkel in the vast lagoons of Tikehau and Fakarava. Experienced divers venture under the water to study the behavior of different shark species, such as white tip lagoon sharks. Embark on a dolphin and whale-watching expedition from the island of Moorea. Take part in a range of watersports including jet skiing, surfing, windsurfing and kayaking.
Reserve time to visit the other islands. Lounge on Bora Bora’s secluded beaches and see prehistoric temples on Moorea. At the pearl farm on Huahine you’ll see how French Polynesia’s famous black pearls are cultivated.
The volcanic and coral islands of French Polynesia lie in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Most visitors reach the tropical getaway by flying into Tahiti, the only island with an international airport. Travel between the islands by chartered or scheduled flights or by boat.
With a tropical climate, temperatures are warm throughout the year. One of the best times to visit is between May and October when the temperature is comfortable and rainfall is scarce.
French Polynesia is a popular vacation spot, particularly with honeymooners, offering a good combination of excitement, relaxation, beaches, nature and adventure.