What do you imagine when you hear Tahiti or Bora Bora? You probably think of the endless blue ocean, white beaches and lazy palm trees overlooking the scenery. While you can find this sort of postcard-worthy sites almost everywhere you turn, there’s much more to French Polynesia than that. So, if you’re intrigued but have no idea how to approach your tropical vacation planning, here are a few things that might help you have the best vacation ever.
There are more than 100 islands to visit
While Tahiti is the largest of the islands and the most popular, it’s definitely not the only one. Most travelers recommend visiting more than one island during your trip so that you can get a more complete picture of all the beauty this country has to offer. Make sure to also visit Bora Bora, the “ultimate island paradise” where all the celebs and honeymooners go to enjoy their vacation. However, don’t miss other less-known islands like Rangiroa or Moorea. However, no matter if you’re a beginner traveler or someone with more experience, keep in mind that French Polynesia is huge, roughly the size of Europe with a lot of ocean separating every island, so be careful with your island choice unless you’re ready to spend a lot of time in a plane.
Accommodation is expensive
It’s very hard to travel to French Polynesia on a budget. Overwater bungalows often go for thousands a night and you might end up splurging everything on that one thing and missing out on a world of other attractions. Luckily, there are amazing travel agencies that do think about your wallet! For instance, reliable Tahiti Travel Connection offers sales and deals on all sorts of vacations to French Polynesia from overwater villas to regular resort rooms. If you explore a little, you can save thousands of dollars and have a perfect stay.
Don’t miss out on diving
This is one of the things you practically have to do in French Polynesia—diving! Almost every island is blessed with amazing underwater life, from barracudas and dolphins to turtles and manta rays. There are even hammerhead sharks if you’re brave enough to face them during your dives! However, if diving seems like too much work, you can still experience what hides underneath the surface by snorkeling. Some resorts offer the equipment you can rent, some give it out for free, but you can always bring your own mask and snorkel. For instance, the islands of Huahine and Rurutu are the world’s top snorkeling destinations, so you must check what all the hype is about.
Do leave your resort
While you can basically find anything you need at your resort, make sure to leave it and go explore. For instance, you can see Tahiti though Paul Gauguin’s eyes in his museum of paintings. Or you can visit Harrison Smith Botanical Gardens that contain hundreds of plant types, trees and flowers characteristic of the area.
If you can find a place to rent a bike, do it! It will slow you down and allow you to truly experience life on the island. On your bike, you’ll always be moving slow enough so that you don’t miss anything. Locals will greet you, you can stop to take amazing photos whenever you want and you can enjoy the touch, smell and sights of nature. Plus, most of the roads are paved, so it will be a pleasant ride.
French Polynesia is suitable for kids
While most people think Tahiti and Bora Bora are reserved only for lovers and honeymooners, you can have an amazing family vacation in French Polynesia. You will not find any costumed characters strolling the resort and entertaining kids and you will not find any waterparks around (this is a more sophisticated type of vacation) you can still have so much fun with your family exploring, snorkeling and enjoying nature. If you love adventure, make sure to take va’a lessons. Va’a racing is the national sport and an obsession of the locals and it requires a lot of collaboration to steer, so it will be a perfect exercise for you and your family.
Hopefully, this made things a little clearer when it comes to organizing your trip. Don’t forget to keep an open mind when island hopping and choosing your accommodation. If you go with a flow (something Polynesians love to do) you’ll have an amazing trip.