Ia orana…expect to hear this enchanting phrase every day on a trip to French Polynesia – never has a simple ‘hello’ sounded so soothing! There are many reasons to visit the French Polynesian islands of Bora Bora, Raiatea and Tahiti – to name just a few. Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the islands are remote, but definitely worth the travel time as it’s a tropical paradise. What awaits you are picturesque islands with soaring volcanic peaks, remote beaches with turquoise waters inside protected lagoons brimming with a kaleidascope of fish and colourful coral.
When to visit?
There are two main seasons in French Polynesia, the ‘hi-season’ which is the cooler, dryer months of April to the end of October and the ‘low season’ which is the hotter, wetter months of November to the end of March. You will pay more for flights, rooms or boats in the hi-season and considerably less in low season. In low season, expect to have a few heavy downpours each day but it’s a great time to visit with lower costs – just remember to take a rain jacket! The annual average temperature in Tahiti is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or 28 degrees Celsius but the difference between the coolest, driest months and the hottest wettest months is only about 5 degrees.
How to get there?
Flights leave LA daily and it’s an 8-hour flight with the very comfortable Air Tahiti Nui airline. Arriving in the capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, you’ll be greeted with a colourful garland of fresh smelling flowers and your first Ia orana of the trip – there is no better way to arrive at a holiday destination. For most people, Papette will be just a short airport visit before taking a smaller inter-island flight over the breathtaking lagoons to arrive at your island destination.
What to see when you get there?
Bora Bora: The legends and romance associated with Bora Bora bring an almost mystical presence to the island. Part of the allure, are the towering black peaks that dominate the center of this volcanic archipelago. The emerald waters of the lagoon and the surrounding barrier reef offer a kaleidoscope of colorful fish and living corals. You will be enchanted in this majestic place and by the friendly Polynesian people in this world-class destination. Make sure to stop off at the Bora Bora yacht club or the famous restaurant of Bloody Mary’s.
Raiatea: The island is located 193 km north-west from Tahiti. The island has an authentic charm thanks to its historical prosperity, its legends and sacral mountain Mount Temehani at 772 metres high. To the south of Raiatea there are beautiful waterfalls and the Faaroa river, that offers the possibility of kayaking to enjoy the unspoiled nature of this mystic island.
Huahine: Huahine is the wildest and most secretive island of the Society Islands it is composed by two islands: Huahine Nui (big Huahine) in the North and Huahine Iti (small Huahine) in the South separated by a narrow channel. Both offer a luxuriant vegetation, white sandy beaches, small coves hidden from the eyes, coral desert islets, a lagoon with turquoise colours and much diversified food and fruit-producing cultivation. A real haven of peace for recharging the batteries!
The best way to see the islands?
Being a remote island nation, French Polynesia is not the cheapest place to visit. Getting between the islands typically requires a short flight and as stunning as the views are down below, it does eat into travel time getting to and from island airports. Outside of flights, meals in restaurants can be a bit pricey due to produce imports from France but you will enjoy some of the freshest catches of the day! Having toured many of the islands, in our view the only way to explore these beautiful waters is by boat. You can always add a few nights staying at a bungalow over the water at the beginning or end of your trip.
We love French Polynesia and we’d happily share our knowledge with you, so to find out more about boats, tours and itineraries please get in touch.
As we see the world slowly starting to get back to normal post COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited that the gates to international travel are also beginning to open.
Have you ever pictured yourself swimming with pigs? We guess not! Well it is a real thing you can do in the Exuma islands if you take a sailing vacation in The Bahamas.