There are close to two hundred French Polynesia islands în the South Pacific. All of them populated by swaying palm trees and surrounded by azure lagoons that make up some of the world’s most breath-taking exotic places. Couple that with international hotel chains and world-class resorts and you will most likely think of French Polynesia as heaven on earth!
After all, islands such as Tahiti or Bora Bora have become world-famous vacation destinations that almost everyone wants to visit. But what if mainstream exotic destinations are not something you’re interested?
If you travel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower you will certainly marvel at its architecture. However, there will be no thrill of discovery on your part. You’ve already seen it in dozens of movies and magazines so far. Likewise, there’s no shock in seeing the Grand Canyon. Why? Because you’ve already heard and seen everything about it either in documentaries or movies.
This is exactly why we’ve prepared these top 4 underrated French Polynesia islands for our adventurous readers! While world-famous destinations are certainly worth seeing, there is no novelty in the experience.
Traveling to an underrated destination that is genuinely scenic and awe-inspiring, like these four French Polynesia islands are, can be a truly unforgettable experience!
Best Underrated French Polynesia Islands:
1) The Island Of Rangiroa
While less than an hour’s flight from Tahiti’s International Airport, Rangiroa ranks as the largest atoll in the world. However, it’s smaller by comparison to Tahiti and Bora Bora. This means the entire island is mostly made up of sandbars covered in coral, making it the ideal destination for the adventurous type!
This 558 square miles large island is inhabited by less than 3000 people. This gives it not only a “deserted island” feel but also a virgin status. It has numerous reef inlets that are covered in lush vegetation. Therefore, besides long tours of the island, where you can marvel at exotic flowers and local fauna, the most exciting activity is diving. If you’ve never dived before, you can take up courses with the locals. They’re equally fun since just below the surface are large schools of colorful fish!
2) The Island Of Raiatea
If you’re a history aficionado, then Raiatea will mesmerize you through its rich culture. Raiatea is considered to be the historic center of French Polynesia. Its locals and tour guides know the place’s history and origin. This is also the very first island that was inhabited by ancient Polynesians centuries ago. Besides indulging in plump pineapples or freshly squeezed coconut water while you listen to the rich history of the place, you can explore the island and its geography.
One of the most spectacular sights on Raiatea is the Taputapuatea marae UNESCO site. This is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of land that includes two forested valleys, a lagoon and a coral reef that extends into the open ocean. At the very center of Taputapuatea marae lies a political, ceremonial and funerary center. Taputapuatea is considered by the locals to be a place where the mortal world intersects with the world of the gods. Legend has it that Hawaii was discovered first by Polynesians. As they laid in the tall, green grass of the island, they decided to venture out into the ocean to see if there was a world outside theirs.
3) The Island Of Taha’a
While there are no planes that go to Taha’a, you can certainly get there by boat. This is a testament to the secluded and laid-back nature of the island. There are no airports on Taha’a to disturb its inhabitants with noise because this is the island of relaxation. This makes it the ideal destination for the wellness traveler.
The best keywords to describe this South Polynesia island would be wellness and relaxation, which certainly translates into the island’s numerous resorts and spas. Thanks to the island’s geography, some hotels have slow, shallow rivers that run up to their doorstep, guests getting back to their hotels via kayaks.
If you’re looking for activities and adventures, the only exciting thing you can do is admire the scenery. Taha’a is a place where people go to sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible vistas. Just a few miles away, separated by a stretch of the South Pacific lies Bora Bora. It is visible from the comfortable chaise longues of Taha’s hotels. Of course, if you want to be more in tune with nature, you can opt for a romantic overwater bungalow. Rumour has it the sunsets are spectacular from the bungalows!
4) The Island Of Moorea
While Rangiroa seduces with its long and flat geography, Moorea will amaze you with its natural splendor and high and powerful mountains. Lying northwest of Tahiti, Moorea is one of the many French Polynesia islands that have volcanically formed. However, this one is a little bit more special. Because it’s so beautiful it is hard to believe without seeing it with your own eyes!
Surrounded by an azure lagoon, this islands is basically a hidden paradise. From impossible vistas to buzzing marine life, there is no shortage of beauty on Moorea – or activities! For example, snorkeling fans can check out the Lagoonarium de Moorea, an area of the lagoon where you will see the most vibrant coral reefs in your life.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you can also swim with the sharks, rays or exotic fish. You can also take a charter flight that gives you an aerial tour of the island. If you’re not into high-adrenaline activities, you can always sit back by the pool at one of the island’s luxurious resorts and hotels.
French Polynesia Islands: They Are All Beautiful
These were a few of the beautiful French Polynesia islands you can visit. While some offer more than others in terms of activities and culture, they are all, make no mistake, incredibly beautiful places. No matter which island or islands you choose to visit, rest assured, you will always be surrounded by white sand beaches, swim in crystal clear waters and take in incredible sunsets.