Think of Tahiti and the word ‘paradise’ may spring to mind. Sure, you know about Bora Bora and the beautiful overwater bungalows that makes it so famous, but there’s more to French Polynesia than that. Here are the most beautiful spots in Tahiti.
The Rangiroa Atoll is part of French Polynesia’s Tuamotu archipelago, and the second largest atoll in the world. Known for its impressive snorkelling and scuba diving sites, there are several resorts for guests to stay on Rangiroa. The name itself means “endless sky” in the local language.
Rurutu is part of the Austral archipelago, initially formed over 12 million years ago. Over time it’s endured plenty of erosion, creating lots of caves on the island. Each year between July and October the humpback whales arrive around this island and can be spotted not far from the beach.
Huahine is a 40 minute flight from Tahiti and is part of the Society Islands. Blanketed in a tropical jungle, Huahine is home to many different plantations from coconuts to vanilla, banana and breadfruit. The island also has the largest concentration of ancient temples in French Polynesia.
Surrounded by a glimmering lagoon, it’s not hard to understand why Tetiaroa was the favoured escape for Tahitian royalty in years gone by. Many ancient marae, or temples, still exist on the island, which is now a private resort. Conservation programmes are in place to preserve this exquisite sanctuary.
While most visitors think of an idyllic ocean view, Bora Bora has another incredible beauty – Mt Otemanu. This impressive pinnacle is a stark contrast from the flat haven of the lagoon, but every bit just as impressive. Jump in a helicopter for an aerial view of the old volcano or hire a guide and get sweaty as you attempt to climb as high as you can.
Motu Teta is a nine-acre private and exclusive island, offering visitors a pristine environment to relax, swim, snorkel, kayak or even windsurf. It’s the ultimate retreat for those wanting to get away from it all, with a personal chef on hand to fill hungry tummies.
Located on the spectacular island of Moorea, Opunohu Bay is a three-kilometre long bay, with less development than some of the other nearby beaches. On calm days, the water resembles a lake, with dolphins frequently seen visiting the bay.
This atoll in the Tuamoto Archipelago is the gateway to some of the best diving in French Polynesia, with more marine life than people on the island. The postcard perfect views of the lagoon feature the white and pink powdery sand and there’s a feeling of complete isolation, with the northeastern part of the atoll virtually uninhabited.
The impressive island is the largest in the Marquesas Islands, with countless natural wonders from waterfalls to natural basins and canyons. The Vaipo Waterfall on Nuku Hiva is the third highest waterfall in the world, dropping from 1148 feet (350 metres).
Standing at 3,960 feet (1207 metres), Mt Tohivea is the highest peak on Moorea. Like many of French Polynesia’s pinnacles, it’s a dormant volcano and can clearly be seen from Tahiti’s capital Papeete. There are a number of hiking trails around Mt Tohivea, but the mountain itself is said to be near impossible.