No matter how much you hear about the 118 islands that comprise the 5 idyllic archipelagos that make up French Polynesia, nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking scenery of the islands’ towering volcanic peaks, rugged cliffs, emerald lagoons and stunning palm-fringed beaches. Despite being heavily influenced by French culture, the region has managed to retain its own colourful and distinctive culture through its traditional food, music, and local handicrafts. Divers and snorkelers can marvel at the area’s extraordinary range of marine life, while hikers explore the islands' lush jungle-clad volcanic mountains. History enthusiasts are equally well sated with numerous archaeological sites revealing traces from its Pre-European past. With all of this remarkable scenery, diverse marine life and fascinating culture on offer, it is no wonder that French Polynesia has become one of the Pacific’s most exclusive and popular tourist destinations
Days 1 - 2
Tahiti is the stuff of legends and Gauguin paintings, and with good reason. the island’s scenery is second to none: spiked volcanic mountains blanketed with lush jungle, deep valleys, and pristine black-sand beaches melting into aquamarine ocean. But R&R is not all Tahiti has to offer - leisure activities on offer include taking a 4x4 safari into the island’s mountainous interior, world-class surfing at Teahupo’o and Tahiti Iti, and exploring the ancient archaeological sites at Huahine. And for those looking for entertainment, the island’s capital, Papa’ete, has a vibrant waterfront area and a lively nightlife. The most festive time of the year is during the Heiva festival in July, whihc is celebrated with drumming, dancing and widespread exuberance.
Days 2 - 5
Aptly dubbed ‘The Vanilla Island’, the small, tranquil island of Tahaa is famous for its abundance of sweet-scented Tahitian vanilla orchids and is arguably the quietest and most unspoiled of The Society Islands. Along with Raiatea, Tahaa’s larger and more developed sister island, the island is surrounded by a single continuous coral reef which encloses a magnificent translucent lagoon dotted with some spectacular, secluded little islets blessed with pristine, secluded beaches. The waters surrounding Tahaa are home to a number of caverns, shipwrecks, and shallow coral gardens creating a paradise for avid scuba divers and snorkelers. Visitors can also enjoy jet skiing, fishing, sailing or hiking the island’s fertile valleys and sloping hillsides covered with banana, watermelon and coconut groves.
Days 5 - 8
Holiday destinations don’t get much more idyllic than Bora Bora. Known as the ‘Jewel of the South Seas’, it has been consistently voted among the best islands of the world. Its mountainous interior is swathed by verdant jungle and encircled by a vividly turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef. Bora Bora’s setting lends itself to a host of aquacentric activities, with snorkelling and scuba diving at the top of the list due to the rich marine life supported by the surrounding barrier reef. Other popular leisure options include jet-skiing, boat cruises, kitesurfing and - for more adventurous travellers - parasailing and sky-diving. The island’s main settlement, Vaitape, is dotted with boutiques and restaurants, where you can indulge in retail therapy or sublime cuisine respectively.
Tetiaroa Private Island
Days 8 - 11
Comprised of a dozen small islets, Tetiaroa is a delicate atoll surrounding a sparkling lagoon, 30 miles north of Tahiti. What was once a popular retreat for Tahitian royalty, was bought by the famed Hollywood actor, Marlon Brando in 1966 and converted into a small village and later an exclusive, luxury eco-resort. The all-inclusive resort features 35 deluxe villas each with its own private beach area and plunge pool, restaurants showcasing Polynesian and French cuisine, a wonderful spa, a lagoon-view bar, beach bar, pool, library, pearl shop, boutique, and an exhilarating array of watersports. Despite its ultra-luxurious facilities, Tetiaroa has managed to retain a sense of the island’s original unspoilt beauty. By hardly leaving a carbon footprint on the earth, this tiny, remote destination will leave a lasting impression on your heart.