Black Sand Beach at Tahara'a - Tahiti Tourisme © Myles McguinnessBlack Sand Beach at Tahara'a - Tahiti Tourisme
©Black Sand Beach at Tahara'a - Tahiti Tourisme|Myles Mcguinness




Huahine is nicknamed the «Garden of Eden». Situated 177 kilometers northeast of Tahiti and less than an hour’s flight from Papeete with Air Tahiti. It is composed of two islands joined by a bridge and the special magic of Huahine can be sensed as soon as you arrive in the warm smiles of the local people, proud to welcome you to their island. Even the village where the airport is located is named «Maeva» which is Tahitian for welcome! A 32 kilometer road winds its way round the island, passing through small villages and climbing up hills to offer spectacular views over white sandy beaches and the shimmering, turquoise waters of the lagoon. The restored marae (temples) and the centuries-old stone fish traps are vestiges of an ancestral culture which has been passed down from generation to generation and now belongs to the residents of this magnificent paradise. Huahine is an agricultural island, rich in melons and watermelons. Vanilla, coffee, banana and taro plantations can be found all over the island, as well as groves of breadfruit, mango, and papaya trees and fields of cultivated flowers. It is also an internationally renowned surfing destination with world-class waves at the Avamoa pass.  Each year Huahine is home to the start of the Hawaiki Nui Va’a, the most important outrigger canoe race in the world. But above all, visitors fall for the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful scenery of this very special Pacific island.

Raiatea and Taha’a, are about 200 kilometers northwest of Tahiti, and share the same lagoon surrounded by a single coral reef.

Raiatea, known as «the sacred island», is the most venerated island in the South pacific. The Kings of neighboring islands used to assemble on the Marae at Taputapuatea for ceremonies and important negotiations. Reconstructions of these ancient ceremonies help visitors understand and appreciate the unique and sacred aspect of Tahitian culture. The only navigable river in The Islands of Tahiti is at Fa’aroa in Raiatea. Paddling up the cool, green water in an outrigger canoe is a unique pleasure.

For yachting enthusiasts, Raiatea, home to companies such as Moorings and Stardust Marine, is Tahiti’s nautical base. Both experienced navigators and beginners (with a skipper) can enjoy the pleasures of sailing in the Leeward Islands. The Pacific breeze and calm lagoon provide perfect conditions all year round for sailing as well as for deep sea fishing. High up on Mount Temehani, visitors can admire (but not touch) the tiare Apetahi, a rare flower which, despite the best efforts of botanists, refuses to grow anywhere else on earth. According to legend, a very beautiful young lady once fell in love with the son of a Tahitian king. She wasn’t allowed to marry him and so she died of a broken heart. The five delicate petals of the tiare Apetahi are the fingers of her hand and if you go to the top of Mount Temehani in the very early morning, the flowers open with a pop, which is the sound of the young lady’s heart breaking.

Taha’a is less than 10 kilometers from Raiatea and offers a taste of the traditional and peaceful Tahitian way of life. The island’s 4,000 inhabitants are fishermen and farmers. It is known as Vanilla Island, and the delicate and rich aroma of this rare and precious spice perfumes Taha’a. Each November, the island hosts a traditional stone fishing competition. The men go out into the lagoon in their outrigger canoes and begin striking the surface of the water with a stone tied to a rope. This creates a sudden frenzy that terrifies and disorients the fish, which are then “herded” towards the shallows where the people from the village encircle them. The end result is a sumptuous feast for the whole village.



The Tuamotu Islands are the most extensive archipelago in Polynesia, consisting of 76 islands and atolls spread over an area of 850 square kilometers, to the northeast of Tahiti. Four of the islands – Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau and Fakarava – offer a vast selection of accommodation and activities, including world-class diving, shark feeding and deep sea fishing.

Rangiroa is an hour’s flight from Tahiti and is the second biggest atoll in the world. Seen from the sky, it looks like a magnificent pearl necklace floating on the surface of the ocean, encircling the deep turquoise and shimmering blue of what is known as the «endless lagoon». The calm waters are at a constant 26° degrés Celsius and so clear that visibility in places is as deep as 45 meters. The renowned Tiputa Pass offers an opening to the ocean rich in marine life and is one of the best dive sites on the atoll for observing sharks, including blacktip, whitetip, gray, lemon and nurse sharks. Freediving enthusiasts will enjoy swimming with the dolphins which gather in large numbers close to the pass. A two-hour boat ride will take you across the lagoon to the Kia Ora Resort & Spa, a hotel that is both luxurious and simple. With no electricity, it is a haven of peace and tranquility in a truly glorious setting.

Manihi is a small atoll with less than 1,000 inhabitants. Known as «pearl island», it was home to the very first pearl farm in the Tuamotu Islands. Black-lipped pearl oysters are only found in The Islands of Tahiti and it is these oysters that produce the magnificent black pearls for which Tahiti is famous. A visit to one, or severa, of the pearl farms adds a touch of luxury to a day spent on the lagoon.

Tikehau, famous for its pink sand, lies about twenty kilometers from Rangiroa. It is an oval-shaped atoll and a major source of fresh fish and coprah. Its pink beaches and turquoise waters teeming with sea life, make it a favorite spot for scuba divers and freedivers, especially Tuheiava Pass where they can observe manta rays, barracudas, tuna, sea turtles as well as gray and whitetip sharks. Tikehau is also home to many species of birds and one motu, the nesting place of red-footed boobies and brown noddy terns, is even known as bird island.

Fakarava, is called the dream island and is the second biggest atoll in The Islands of Tahiti after Rangiroa. Together with six neighboring atolls, Fakarava is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This very delicate ecosystem is home to a rare selection of flora and fauna, including Tuamotu palm trees, maritime squill plants, kingfisher birds, slipper lobsters, and a ‘wall of sharks’ in the south of the atoll. You can also visit one of the very first Catholic churches in French Polynesia, situated in the village of Tetamanu. The original structure was built with blocks of coral in 1862.



The Marquesas Islands are about 1,500 kilometers northwest of Tahiti and three and a half hours by plane. Air Tahiti has twelve flights a week from Papeete to the Marquesas Islands. There are twelve islands, of which 6 are inhabited, and they offer spectacular, rugged scenery. Unlike the other archipelagos of French Polynesia, the Marquesas Islands do not have lagoons, but are surrounded directly by the ocean. Green and mountainous, the islands are covered in thick vegetation with vertiginous cliffs and waterfalls up to 3,500 meters high. It is possible to travel to the islands aboard the Aranui, a cargo vessel which carries passengers in conditions that have nothing to envy a luxury cruise. Herman Melville lived in the Marquesas Islands, and both Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel chose to spend the latter part of their lives there. The most populated islands are Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa where a selection of small hotels and Tahitian Guesthouses provide comfortable and convivial accommodation.