French Polynesia, a world-famous stunning South Pacific paradise has 130 islands and atolls scattered across the South Pacific Ocean halfway between California and Australia. Think to overwater bungalows, perched in translucent turquoise waters, towering green mountains rising out of the sea, with Polynesian culture, and you've arrived in holiday heaven.
Here, venture into a sea of dazzling blues for brilliant snorkelling and diving and swim safely with tropical fish, reef sharks and rays, or simply relax in the sun.
Tahiti is the largest island and home to the capital Papeete, the gateway to French Polynesia. Papeete is worth an overnight or two to enjoy, especially in the evening and into the night. There are markets, night shopping, the Vai'ete Square and the dockside area of Papeete that often becomes an open-air park and carnival with food trucks to entice and lure you to the multiple cuisines of the region. The crépes, steak frites, fresh fish are excellent, and all the food is locally sourced. Shoppers can find a Tahitian Black Pearl, 'monoi', a gardenia scented beauty oil, or a local handicraft like a delicate carving. Then hit the road and discover the largest of the isles in this magical region making sure you mark Matavai Bay, where the Mutiny on the Bounty against Captain William Bligh took place in 1788.
Venture to other isles and each has something a little different. Moorea, Tahiti's sister island, is very popular and easily accessible. The warm sandy lagoon welcomes newcomers to the underwater world, where you can see a kaleidoscope of colourful plant and marine life by merely dipping your head below the sea. Experienced snorkelers and divers can go to outer reefs, wrecks, drop-offs and mesmerising subaquatic treasures.
Jagged mountains are steeped in dense rainforest and provide hikers and nature lovers time to explore. Anna, an enormous oval-shaped atoll east of Tahiti, is spectacular as are so many others.
Travellers Tip: Don't pack much, you won't need it. Swimmers, a hat, hiking gear and that's about it.
Warm temperatures year-round and the almost guaranteed crystal-clear waters draw visitors from around the globe. June and August are its driest months; the weather is balmy and considered the best time to visit. Temperatures sit around the 20s to mid-30s Celsius. Don't overlook the months either side for lower rates and fewer visitors.
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