Traditionally a symbol of paradise, French Polynesia and especially Tahiti have always been in the hearts of people around the world. But far from the clichés, what is it in reality ? With the prices of the flights which fall below 700$ the round trip. It is time for you to make up your mind.
So, does Polynesia deserve your attention? What to expect? All these questions and many more will be answered.
Did you say Polynesia ?
Extending over a territory as large as Europe in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the 118 islands of Polynesia have always been a dream. With the reputation of being an hidden paradise (thanks to the many sailors who started these stories), French Polynesia and especially Tahiti is well known around the world.
In the common mind, there is a great confusion between Tahiti and Polynesia.
We often hear: "I'm going to Tahiti" while people are going to Polynesia.
It must be recognized that these islands have many advantages and each archipelago has its particularities.
It is the most famous archipelago, not by name, but it is here that you will find the big island of Tahiti accompanied by her little sister Moorea and the little protege Tetiaroa (who was ceded to the Brando family for 99 years).
These are the islands that saw the first tourists, especially Bora Bora. With these lagoons of incredible colors, it is home to the most luxury hotel and remains popular with honeymooners around the world.
There is also a small protected island that the local population refuses to open to mass tourism to maintain its authenticity. This is Maupiti. Real little jewels, to get to the island you have to book several months in advance.
The other islands are wilder but not without charm. Huahine, the wild with these magnificent beaches and its maraes lost in the primary forest. Raiatea, the cradle of Polynesian culture is a place of pilgrimage for all the inhabitants of the Pacific from Hawai to New Zealand. Tahaa which shares its lagoon with Raiatea and a peaceful island known for its vanilla. There are other islands that are part of the archipelago, but they are: prohibited and/or difficult to access.
These are the oldest islands in Polynesia. So ancient that they have turned into an Atoll where only the coral crown remains submerged. These are often timeless places of incredible beauty, but we have to admit it or there is not much to do other than rest and dive.
The largest is Rangiroa, which has experienced considerable tourist development in the last few decades. This is also the case with Fakarava, whose 400 sharks wall is a diving spot that attracts enthusiasts from all over the world.
There are dozens of other more or less known and more or less touristy atolls. Only the most experienced skippers can claim to have visited them all.
The Austral archipelago is certainly the least known of all the Polynesian archipelagos. Located much further south the temperature can drop between 10 and 15°C during the winter period (July / August). This marked climate as well as the richness of these very fertile volcanic lands make it the farm of Polynesia.
These islands are unique by their climate but also their landscapes and their culture. For example Rurutu is an island which has risen in two stages. Thus, it is surrounded by a belt of surreal cliffs. Or Rapa which is only accessible by boat from the neighboring island.
Speaking of a forgotten archipelago, the Gambiers are well positioned. Completely east of the Tuamotus, it is known for its intense black pearls which have made the wealth of the archipelago and Polynesia for many years.
We come to visit Mangareva to rest at the end of the world or reconnect with a forgotten past. The other islands of the archipelago are anecdotal unless you really like the solitude.
The Marquesas have been and are a world in their own right. Many personalities came to end their lives there. Far from the world, far from everything. And yet ... every year more and more people decide to go and visit these wild islands.
Here, there are 2 things to do: Enjoy the landscapes and discover the Marquesan culture which is quite unique throughout the Pacific. And if you want to discover the whole archipelago, you have to have time in front of you because there are no air links and everything is done by boat.
Watch Out, those who tried the experience fell in love, we will have warned you.
Why come to French Polynesia ?
The diversity of the different archipelagos is not the only reason to come to Polynesia. It shines with many other more or less recognized aspects.
Polynesian culture, unique and so rich, is one of the main reasons that push travelers to explore these islands.
We can cite the Tamure, this hypnotizing dance with catchy rhythms, wood or nacre sculpture, the art of tattooing, the marae mystics and of course all the local legends, the true foundation of Polynesian culture.
There are 2 worlds in Polynesia, The mountain and The sea. Each of them has their codes, their wonders and their problems.
The particular geography offers a field of choice for many endemic species. And even if unfortunately many of them have disappeared or are in voices of disappearance. In particular following the introduction of invasive species by European navigators.
There are still species that have become true national emblems.
On the sea side, it is mainly pollution and overfishing that threatens the diversity of the lagoons.
Polynesia is especially famous for its pelagic fish (rays, sharks, ...), but its real richness comes from its lagoons which include many endemic species.
Besides the flora and fauna, the Polynesian landscapes are simply as varied as they are wonderful. Or the most beautiful shades of blue rub shoulders with the magnificent shades of green.
If you have the opportunity to take a little height, you can admire some of the most beautiful views in the world.
Unlike other Pacific archipelagos, Polynesia is full of activity. There is something for all tastes and all budgets. From exploring the isolated valleys in the heart of Tahiti to diving into the shark wall of Fakarava.
Whether you prefer nautical or land activities, you will easily find the ones that will blow you away.
What made the reputation of French Polynesia is especially its paradisiac beaches and its lagoons with the marvelous colors. Many choose to come to relax, reconnect with themselves or simply enjoy the sun with a cocktail in hand.
After all, that's also what vacation is about!
How to travel to Polynesia?
You must not hide it to come to Polynesia, you must not be sick of air or be impatient.
Come to Polynesia
The easiest way is to book your tickets with one of the companies that make regular flights to and from Tahiti. Often expensive, low-cost competition in recent years has made these islands much more accessible.
If you don't like the plane, there is always the voice of the seas either on board your own sailboat or as a crew member in that of another. In any case, you will have to be patient because it takes several weeks of navigation to cross the Pacific to the first Polynesian islands.
If you really want to explore Polynesia, it is advisable to make several archipelagos.
The simplest is still to take the plane to do the flea jumps between the different islands. However, this solution is often very expensive.
Air Tahiti sometimes offer good deals on multi-destination routes, but you have to fall at the right time. If you are going to live in Polynesia, then also consider taking their family discount cards which offer up to 25% discount on flights.
Also, more and more people are opting for the voice of the seas. On board catamarans rented for the occasion, all-inclusive cruises or simply with their own sailboat.
French Polynesia is an incredible place, filled with contrasts which make its strength. It has the power to enchant all travelers who take the time to discover it.
Are you ready ?