Maupiti is a small island in French Polynesia in the Society Islands archipelago. The island is located 40 km west of Bora Bora and is served by a small airport located on a “motu” which has air connections to the islands of Tahiti and Raiatea. The “motus” are coral sand islets that form along the coral reef. Maupiti is formed by a lagoon with a mountainous island in the center, surrounded by 5 motus and connected to the ocean by a single, deep and narrow pass.
The island has been inhabited by Polynesians since the 9th century. The first European to discover Maupiti was the Dutch navigator Jakob Roggeveen in 1722. Just a few months before reaching Maupiti, Roggeveen had discovered the mythical Easter Island.
POLYNESIA AS IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO
Maupiti is an ideal destination for those who want to discover and experience French Polynesia in contact with the local population. Unlike the other main tourist islands of French Polynesia, in Maupiti there are no large 5-star hotels, but the island has excellent pensions managed by the inhabitants. This allows a stay in close contact with the inhabitants. Maupiti represents the typical Polynesian island made of spectacular nature, a beautiful blue lagoon dominated by a volcanic mountain and surrounded by paradisiacal sandy islands. Here man and nature live and merge in harmony.
A SINGLE ROAD DOES THE ISLAND TOUR
Most of the population of Maupiti lives on the main island in the village of Vaiea. The village extends for about 1 km along the east coast of the island. An asphalted road makes the tour of the island in 8 kilometers. You can rent a bicycle or you can walk around the island in about 2 hours.
Along the southern coast of the island just beyond the village, after passing the ship anchorage, there is an ancient Polynesian temple, the Marae Vaiahu. It seems that in this area, in the past, the noble families of the island lived. Behind the Marae stands an imposing rocky wall.
The road along the southern coast continues until you reach a short uphill stretch, the only one of the whole road, from the highest point you have a beautiful view of part of the lagoon and the nearby motu. After a short descent you arrive at the beautiful beach of Tereia, a white sand beach dominated by coconut trees and bathed by a transparent sea where the water is very low for several meters from the shore. A wonderful place also suitable for children’s bathing.
After passing the far north of the island, a path that goes to the interior of the island leads, in a few hundred meters, to another historical place on the island: the Haranaie valley, where some petroglyphs are visible, the most beautiful of which is the one depicting a turtle.
A BEAUTIFUL LAGOON CONSTELLED WITH ISOLETS
The lagoon of the island allows excellent diving, but even just snorkeling will allow you to admire the marine fauna of the island: you can meet colorful fish and sea turtles, small black fin sharks, stingrays, moray eels and manta rays among the coral gardens. Paddling with a canoe in the crystal clear waters of the Maupiti lagoon at sunrise or sunset will make you feel like a real Polynesian.
Besides the beautiful Tereia beach on the main island there are no other beaches. The beaches border most of the island’s “motus”. The largest of these sandy islets is the Motu Auira which is located in the western part of the lagoon. In the motu of Maupiti the main cultivation is that of watermelons, there are also plantations of tiare, noni, bananas, mangoes and other fruit trees.
The Maupiti mountain, Mount Teurafaatui, is 380 meters high and can be climbed with a nice walk. From the top of the mountain the island of Maupiti appears in all its beauty. The lagoon takes on unique colors when the high sun illuminates its waters, the motu that surround most of the island face the lagoon with their strips of white sand. The lush tropical vegetation contrasts with its shades of green, the blue of the lagoon and the blue of the ocean. In the distance, the unmistakable silhouette of the island of Bora Bora stands out.