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Travel Directory / Oceania / French Polynesia

French Polynesia Travel Guide

Around 20 million years ago, volcanoes bestowed mankind a treasure which will enamor even the most skeptics around: French Polynesia. Prized paradise came in the form of approximately 118 islands and unbelievable as it may seem, those islands, if combined, is equivalent to the total area of Europe.

French Polynesia is an archipelago strewn across the South Pacific Ocean, halfway between California and Australia. It is a French overseas territory and has five major island groups which are Austral Islands, Gambier Islands, Marquesas Islands, Society Islands and Tuamotu Archipelago. Do not be overwhelmed though. While the other four island groups remained high islands, the Tuamotu Island group is made of atolls. Atolls are islets which have long sunk below the ocean surface, leaving only the barrier reef.

Tahiti is the largest and most famous atoll of them all. It is located in Society Islands and other well known islands are: Ahe, Bora Bora, Hiva 'Oa, Huahine, Maiao, Maupiti, Mehetia, Moorea, Nuku Hiva, Raiatea, Tahaa, Tetiaroa, Tubuai, and Tupai.

Aside from lounging at your beach front casita, most of the activities which might interest you are done outdoors and the weather will greatly influence your trip. It's recommended to go from may to october, which is their dry winter period. Climate tends to be cooler and there's less rainfall. From November to April is their wet summer season. Bear in mind that it can get humid, cloudy and terribly rainy. Almost 75% of their annual rainfall occurs within this period. So unless it's alright for you to stay indoors while on vacation, it's best to check the predicted weather on your chosen travel dates.

Water sports are one of the best activities to do while frolicking around the country. Scuba diving is offered by most resorts but for those who favor to explore the shallower waters, snorkeling is also available. Due to the remoteness of the archipelago, astonishing underwater scenes will leave you breathless because they were able to maintain the diverse marine life of the country. While basking in the sun, let yourself experience tanning and moisturizing your skin using "Monoi". This is strong scented local Tahitian oil that can be bought for a reasonable price. You can also try wearing a "pareu", which is typical Tahitian clothing that can be used as a cover-up, summer dress, shawl and many more.

Some equally nice spots to include in your island trip are The Arahoho blowhole which is located on the northern side of Tahiti Nui, Les Trois Cascades which are three beautiful waterfalls also in Tahiti Nui and Pointe Venus Lighthouse which is a sandy black beach with clear blue water by a fishing reef.

Of course, if you rather hang out in less aquatic areas, make a quick trip to the Tomb of French monarchy-King Pomare the Fifth. You can also drop by Arahurahu Marae. It is a religious site that is dedicated to old gods and where important ceremonies used to take. Also worth to visit is the Botanical Garden, designed by Harrison Smith, located alongside the Gauguin Museum in Motu Ovini.

Overall, distant as French Polynesia may seem, the possibilities to enjoy in their country are endless. Whether you are a certified beach bum, honeymooners celebrating their passions or even a curious traveler with the need to scratch his travel itch, this country are proving everyone that they welcome even the weariest.