If you’ve always dreamed of a ‘desert island’ holiday, then French Polynesia’s collection of idyllic islands and atolls prove that dreams do come true. Dubbed the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’, its stretches of heavenly sand, turquoise lagoons and over-water bungalows have long tempted honeymooners. While this has cemented its reputation as a relaxation haven, there are still plenty of things to do in French Polynesia beyond the beaches…


Explore Tahiti

Home to French Polynesia’s international airport, many travellers pass through Tahiti before island hopping across the archipelago. Yet it’s worth taking time to explore the central hub and experience its culture. Discover the island’s lush mountainous interior and tour one of its local towns filled with vibrant flower markets, such as Punaauia. The Musee de Tahiti on the outskirts of the town merits a visit and gives an interesting overview of French Polynesian geography and history, while Tahiti’s exotic flora-filled botanical garden is also nearby. If you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll find some of the freshest at its water-front restaurants.


Enjoy Local French Polynesian Cuisine

On the subject of seafood, indulging in local French Polynesian cuisine is a must during your stay. The food features a blend of South Pacific ingredients and French flavours, with seafood as the star player of most recipes. The resorts and hotels are well-versed in the art of fine dining and expertly craft delicious traditional dishes, but it’s also worth frequenting some of the islands’ local haunts. La Villa Mahana and Bloody Mary’s offer charming dining experiences on Bora Bora, while Le Mayflower and Painapo Beach are favourites on Moorea. Join Tahitian locals at Les Roulottes of Papeete in the early evening, as they gather around tables set up on the bustling quay and enjoy meals from various food trucks. Offerings include fish of the day, grilled steak and poisson cru, raw fish marinated in a zesty mix of lime and coconut milk.


Go Island Hopping

With over 100 islands making up French Polynesia, it would be remiss of us to recommend visiting just one of them, as each has its own distinct character and can be reached via ferry or seaplane. During your journey between islands, you’ll also be treated to spectacular views of the surrounding landscape; keep your eyes peeled for Mount Otemanu’s volcanic towering peak as you fly from Tahiti to Bora Bora. Our travel experts can help craft an island-hopping itinerary with all French Polynesia’s best bits, including Tahiti, Moorea, Rangiroa, Fakarava and Bora Bora. It’s worth checking the cultural calendar of each island as your travel may coincide with their vibrant festivals. For example, Tahiti puts on quite the show during July with the month-long Heiva celebrations, a traditional dance and music festival held annually.


Snorkelling and Diving

It’s no secret that French Polynesia is hard to reach, yet divers have long been willing to make the epic journey for its pristine reefs and close shark encounters. Exploring the archipelago’s azure lagoons reveals spectacles as stunning as its on-land views, such as untouched coral gardens teeming with rainbow-hued fish. Even if you’re not an avid diver, there’s plenty of sea life in the shallows that can be observed while snorkelling and you can also take to the waters on a dolphin watching boat cruise to see these friendly ocean mammals in action.


Lounge on Bora Bora

Bora Bora is the French Polynesian island that tends to top most bucket lists and it’s easy to see why; luxury villas hover above the cobalt water, which laps at immaculate palm-fringed beaches. Visitors can spend laid-back days alternating between lounging on the sand-ringed motu (outlying islands) and getting stuck into water-based pursuits, like snorkelling, diving and parasailing. The interior – complete with extinct volcano and dense foliage – is best explored during a 4x4 tour or on a guided hike, while its underwater world is equally inviting.


Hiking on Moorea

The petite island of Moorea is only 10 miles wide and still manages to comprise verdant jungle, shimmering lagoons and tumbling waterfalls. Hidden among the jungle vegetation are myriad hiking trails, which run through coconut groves, past coffee plantations and via a few small towns. If you’re craving some movement in between sunbathing sessions, lace up your walking boots and set out on a hike through Moorea’s glorious nature. You can even stop to bathe at the base of waterfalls along the way. Aim for the viewpoint of Col des Trois Cocotiers and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the jungle landscape and surrounding sea at the end of your walk.

Useful information

Contact one of our French Polynesia specialists