French Polynesia is the dream’s holiday of many tourists, a country worth the trip of a lifetime. White sand beaches, lush vegetation, clear sea and friendly welcoming people, French Polynesia is a gem to explore, made of five archipelagos and a total of 118 islands, which only 67 are inhabited.
The Society Islands are French Polynesia’s heart and they include Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea. Bora Bora is the absolute gem of the Pacific thanks to its wonderful lagoon already visible from the sky when arriving by plane. Tahiti if undoubtedly the pulsing heart of French Polynesia offering a lot thanks to Tahiti Nui (its ancient volcano), the capital Papeete with its street food night market and Maraa Caves. Moorea is easily reached from Tahiti and only a few km away and it offers some incredible sunset over Tahiti Nui always visible at the horizon.
The Austral Islands are seven islands further away from tourist tracks as they are positioned below the Tropic of Capricorn; they are distinguished by alternate seasons and heavy rains. The bigger islands are Tubuai, Rurutu, Raivavae and the best time to visit them goes from May to November, outside typhoon season. They are volcanic limestone islands with a rich landscape of mountains and plains. These islands are self-sufficient thanks to their agriculture and local craftsmanship, and they are the best example still standing of a traditional Polynesia before mass tourism arrived 70 years ago.
The Marquesas Islands, where French painter Paul Gauguin lived and died, are the most northern group of islands in French Polynesia nearing the Equator. Being at the extreme end of the country they have remained solitary and true. Twelve islands form this archipelago and only six are populated, charming its visitors with splendid natural bays and jagged coasts. Most important island is Nuku Iva hosting Hakaui Valley, one of the archipelago’s evocative landscape.
The Gambier islands are almost the extension of Tuamotu Archipelago. With exemption of Temoe Cay (an unpopulated island), every island is found in the same reef group long 60 km. Locals’ main activity is farming pearls named after the archipelago’s biggest island Mangareva. Sea life if extraordinary offering many chances of snorkeling or scuba diving.
The Tuamotu Islands, famous of its pearls, has three main islands: Rangiroa, Fakarava and Tikehau. Rangiroa’s Lagoon is world second largest lagoon and nature is everywhere: coconut palms, rich marine fauna and a unique peace make this place a true paradise. Fakarava is among world’s best scuba diving location while Tikehau is renowned for its snorkeling where a multitude of fish can be seen at Tueiava Pass.