The Islands of French Polynesia
Society Islands – Tuamotu Islands – Gambier Islands – Marquesas Islands – Austral Islands
Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea…names that bring visions of paradise with clear blue water and incredible secluded beaches. Rugged mountain peaks, coral reefs and turquoise blue lagoons waiting to be explored.
My dream of traveling to French Polynesia came true…I was not disappointed!
I combined cruising the islands with a land stay on several islands, including an over-water bungalow in Bora Bora…it was amazing!
Tahiti covers over 2 million square feet, is comprised of 118 islands and 5 archipelagos. The area is as large as Western Europe, put all the islands together and the land mass would be slightly larger then Rhode Island.
The most visited set of islands are called The Society Islands and include:
Tahiti – Queen of the Pacific
Is the largest of the islands of French Polynesia and home of Faa’a International Airport, the arrival point for most tourist. Papeete is the capital and economic center and busy harbor town…make sure to visit Le March an open air market in the center of town. In the evening the waterfront area is alive with music and gourmet catering trucks – Les Roulottes. Locals and visitors come together for a wide range of meal options and to enjoy the evening.
Bora Bora – The Romantic Island
Known as the Most Beautiful Island in the World! Imagine sitting on the deck of your private overwater bungalow, enjoying the breathtaking beauty. Surrounded by dramatic peaks and the lagoon’s crystal clear water in shades of blue, sapphire and turquoise. Take a swim or go snorkeling off your private deck, or stroll the white sand beaches.
Moorea – The Magical Island
The perfect South Pacific island with cascading waterfalls, lush emerald mountains, pastel painted houses and quaint villages. Moorea was the inspiration for James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. Surrounded by her eight majestic mountain ridges and gardens of hibiscus and bird of paradise he created Bali Hi.
Huahine – The Garden of Eden
Two islands, Huahine-Iti and Huahine-Nui are surrounded by a clear deep lagoon and circled by coral. Lush forests, untamed landscape and a few villages are home to a slower way of life. Also known for Polynesian culture and home to important archaeological sites including ancient temples known as marea.
Raiatea – The Sacred Isle
The second largest Tahiti Island and considered the home of Polynesia. Raiatea was the center of religion and culture over 1000 years ago and called the most sacred island of the South Pacific. The sacred Mount Temehani is located here and legend has it is the birth place of gods.
Tahaa – The Vanilla Isl
This lovely island is only accessible by boat from Raiatea. Guest come for the beautiful beaches and coral garden snorkeling and hiking through lush tropical forests. While you are here don’t forget to buy some Tahitian Vanilla, Tahaa is the largest producer in the area.
Tetiaroa – The Bird Island
When Marlon Brando was filming Mutiny on the Bounty he fell in love with French Polynesia and bought Tetiaroa which he described as “beautiful beyond my capacity to describe.” The island is now home to one exclusive eco luxury resort called The Brando, featuring 35 villas on white sand beaches. The island is also a natural sanctuary for tropical birds and marine life.
The Travel by Tatten Advantage
When you book one of my partner hotels and resorts worldwide you receive a special amenity; breakfast for two daily, a dining or resort credit, spa credits, complimentary round of golf and welcome amenities – Benefits vary by property. On thousands of cruises enjoy exclusive benefits such as exclusive savings, upgrades, shipboard credits and more.
Cruising the Islands
A great way to visit the Tahitian Islands is on a small ship, going where the large ships just pass by, enjoy a 7-night French Polynesian cruise and add several nights in an overwater bungalow…Imagine the possibilities!
Three of the cruise lines sailing the islands, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Aranui 5 a freight/passenger ship.
Did you Know?
- Tahiti – is 5 Archipelagos with 118 Islands.
- Flight time – 8 hours non-stop from Los Angeles.
- Time zone – same as Hawaii.
- Population – just over 245,000, about 75% are Polynesian, 15% European and about 10% Chinese.
The well-trodden path is not always the right path