French Polynesia is a group of 118 islands and atolls that is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic. All of these islands are spread across more than 2,000 kilometres in the South Pacific Ocean. Turquoise waters and sandy beaches make the islands in French Polynesia a paradise of their own. Among the 118 islands, only 67 are inhabited. Tahiti is the most populous; 69% of French Polynesia resides there. We’ve chosen 8 of the best islands in French Polynesia that would make great destinations for your next vacation!
The most romantic of all, Bora Bora is synonymous with the ideal honeymoon destination. Lagoons, luxury resorts and sunsets to die for, the island is a gorgeous getaway for newlyweds. Bora Bora perfectly mixes low-paced sun-and-sand holidays with action-packed adventures. The island is quiet and peaceful and offers a variety of activities to visitors. Go diving, snorkelling, hiking and parasailing in this lovely little dream world.
Rangiroa is one of the largest atolls in the world and is called the ‘infinite lagoon’. The island is the hub of French Polynesia’s wine industry. Vines grow along the lagoon mostly next to coconut groves. Go diving on the island and spot tiger and hammerhead sharks, as well as dolphins, green turtles and eagle rays beyond the reef. Rangiroa’s appeal lies in how secluded yet accessible it is.
Competing with Bora Bora for sheer natural beauty, Moorea has stunning sceneries. Villages encircled by gardens of bright hibiscus and low mountains rising above wide meadows of grass are some of the picturesque sights you are sure to come across. With a vibe that is warm and welcoming, the island is the pride and joy of French Polynesia. It is easily accessible by ferry and plane.
If you’re the adventurous type then head to Nuku Hiva. Spend all your time hiking through jungles or horseback riding through this cosy little island’s desolate roads. Nuku Hiva is brimming with natural wonders guaranteed to mesmerise you. From volcanic cliffs to majestic waterfalls, the island has true marvels. It is also an important spot for archaeological sites. Taipivai Valley houses several temples and large tiki. Further, the village of Hatiheu offers walking tours of petroglyphs and ruins.
With over 70% of French Polynesia’s population residing within it, Tahiti is a massive island! Pape’ete, in Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia and is considered the only ‘real city’. It’s a lovely place to explore for a full day. The exotic Pape’ete market is where you can shop for some exotic black pearls! If the crowded gets too much for you, you can head to the lush coastline that is home to black sand beaches and tropical gardens. Additionally, the waves attract some of the world’s best surfers.
Raiatea is home to one of the most important ancient temples in all of Polynesia- Marae Taputapuatea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the ideal place to go on long, picturesque hikes where you can immerse yourself in lush rainforests and go in search of the tiare apetahi – one of the rarest flowers in the world which only grows on this specific patch of land. Raiatea also shares the same lagoon with Tahaa Island which is home to the world’s finest vanilla.
Maupiti is a small volcanic island surrounded by a coral atoll. It almost feels like a mini Bora Bora with its high peaks. The five islets in Maupiti are ideal for leisurely boat rides and beach-side picnics. For a stunning view of neighbouring islands, head to Mount Teurufaaitu, the highest point in Maupiti. Further, Maupiti is covered with archaeological remains dating all the way to 850 AD.
Huahine was once home to powerful royal families, whose ancient temples still inhabit the coastline of Lake Maeva and the surrounding mountains. The island is a great place to recharge your batteries and set out on long, lazy road trips. Head out to see the sacred blue-eyed eels or choose to drive around the secluded emerald bays. With miles of white sand beaches, Huahine should definitely not be missed!
Are there any other amazing islands in French Polynesia that we’ve missed? If so do share them in the comments below.