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Practical advice for a travel to French Polynesia

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The islands of French Polynesia, as well as all the beautiful islands of the South Pacific, are one of the favorite travel destinations for honeymooners. In this article I try to give some indications for those who want to make a travel to these dream islands with which I fell in love.

The only international airport in French Polynesia is Tahiti Faaa (Papeete), on the island of Tahiti. So all tourists arriving by plane will arrive here.

If you decide to take a travel to French Polynesia you can book hotels on each island. But you will have to choose how many islands and then which islands to visit. Much depends on the time you decide to spend in French Polynesia. In my opinion – due to the long flight, usually more than 20 hours in total from Europe and Asia – at least two weeks of stay are required.

All the Society islands (i.e. those closest to Tahiti) can be reached by a flight operated by Air Tahiti (there is also a ferry, but more time is needed). For example, to reach Bora Bora (the most touristic island) it is necessary to take an internal flight from the same airport of Tahiti, the flight time is about 50 minutes.

There are essentially two types of islands, the volcanic ones and the atolls. I recommend visiting at least one atoll and at least two volcanic islands. The minimum stay per island is 3/4 nights.


For the islands to choose, it depends a lot on personal tastes, in my opinion, in the Society archipelago it is better to visit Moorea (for its mountains), Bora Bora (very touristic but both its lagoon and the bizarre mountain that dominates the area are really beautiful), Maupiti (the smallest, but the most authentic, a miniature Bora Bora) and Huahine (with numerous archaeological remains).

Among the atolls of the Tuamotu islands, Rangiroa is the best known. But are very beautiful, among the most touristic ones, also those of Manihi, Ahe and Fakarava.

In the Austral islands the most beautiful island is Raivavae. While for those who love adventure the Gambier islands and the Marquesas are two truly remote, but very beautiful destinations in French Polynesia.

Those who travel to French Polynesia should know that in this part of the world one must prepare to appreciate the wonderful nature of the islands (including geckos, we are in the tropics). In these islands besides nature there is nothing else. So in bed early and wake up at dawn to admire the fabulous Polynesian sunrises …. At the limit in the evening, if there is no moon, you can admire the spectacle of the night sky, I assure you it is really worth it.

I happened to find some tourists fleeing 15 minutes after arriving at the hotel due to the presence of a small gecko in the room … without even seeing the island and running back to Tahiti and the “civilization”. If you want “civilization” it’s better stay at home.


Another thing to consider is the choice of the category of the hotel in which to stay. If you decide for luxury hotels that is those presented in the catalogs of the agencies. In addition to the stratospheric cost of nights, you must also consider the stratospheric costs of meals and any extras.

If you are sporty and have traveled extensively, I would suggest – both to reduce costs and because contact with the locals is much more beautiful – to stay in facilities managed by Polynesians. These structures are often nice wooden bungalows with bedrooms and private bathrooms. And they usually offer half board or full board accommodation at really affordable prices (for French Polynesia).

For flights between the islands there are Air Tahiti passes which include the possibility of visiting various islands and various archipelagos.

One thing to know: most of the mountainous islands of French Polynesia do not have many beaches. Postcard beaches are usually on the motu (islets) of the lagoon. For example if you visit Bora Bora you should know that on the main island there is only one beach at the Matira Point. While the other small beaches are located in the islets of the lagoon (motu). In these islets there are also most of the luxury hotels and therefore if you are on a hotel on a motu you will be forced to eat in the hotel usually with stratospheric prices. Very recommended in these cases half board or full board.

If French Polynesia is too expensive, in the Pacific there are destinations that have nothing to envy to French Polynesia, but at a lower price, such as, for example, the Cook Islands and Samoa islands.

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