French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France is an idyllic archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean and is often referred to as paradise on Earth. It has gorgeous beaches dotted with overwater bungalows, extensive coral reefs and the rich Polynesian culture of the indigenous people. French Polynesia’s pristine and remote environment makes it one of the most exclusive honeymoon destinations on the planet.
Made up of over 100 islands, French Polynesia is mainly divided into five island groups – Society, Marquesas, Tuamotu, Gambier, and Austral. Tahiti in the Society island group is the main island and home to the capital Pape’ete. Its vast and varied central market known for the ever popular activity of shopping gives insight into the life of the people and this city is also the location of the Robert Wan Museum – the only museum in the world dedicated solely to showcasing pearls. Tahiti island is also known for the Heiva i Tahiti festival, which features traditional Tahitian dance.
While Tahiti island and its museum have their charms, the islands of Bora Bora and Mo’orea are the real pearls of the Society group. As one can expect, both these islands house some of the world’s most beautiful white sand beaches, most luxurious resorts and picturesque lagoons. While Bora Bora is more well known and sought out, this cannot diminish Mo’orea’s status as the birthplace of overwater bungalows – a breathtaking concept, both to witness and live in. Society group’s second-largest island Ra’iatea compensates for its lack of beaches with verdant mountainous landscapes and the UNESCO listed Marae Taputapuatea – a sacred Polynesian site. The car-free island of Maupiti has a lagoon that offers great diving and kayaking experiences.
Unlike the white-beach landscape prominent in the Society islands, the Marquesas group offers a mountainous alternative leading to an excellent site for eco-tourism. It comprises 15 volcanic islands of which Nuku Hiva is the largest (second largest in French Polynesia). Known for great hiking and horse riding opportunities, Nuku Hiva features some ancient ruins as well. The other popular islands in the group are Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, and Ua Pou, which offer similar experiences as Nuku Hiva.
Tuamotu Archipelago is a group of about 80 islands and atolls, and Fakarava and Tikehau are its most exotic atolls. Both are dotted with palm-fringed white-sand beaches and endless corals that offer excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities. To enhance your underwater experience, visit the Tiputa Pass – a strait joining the Rangiroa lagoon to the Pacific Ocean.
French Polynesia’s striking beauty makes it one of the most romantic destinations on earth. Be it the laid-back lifestyle or the fascinating culture and tradition of the local people, you just can’t get enough of this pearl of the South Pacific.
Made up of over 100 islands, French Polynesia is mainly divided into five island groups – Society, Marquesas, Tuamotu, Gambier, and Austral.