French Polynesia is really more than just Bora Bora and Tahiti. There are more than 115 islands dotting the turquoise waters. These are scattered across more than 1000 miles of ocean from California to Australia. A paradise for beach lovers, this far-flung paradise is one of the greatest places on Earth. Treasures of Oceania.
My favorite place in French Polynesia is the island of Moorea (pronounced Mo-ro-uh). It is a dream destination for white sand beaches, lush rainforests and exotic animal encounters.
Planning your ultimate tropical escape? Here are the top things to do in America.
Rent a Beach Buggy
I had a blast driving around in my beach buggy, and I would highly recommend that you rent one for the rest of your trip. I did not rent a car for the rest of the trip, so driving around in your beach buggy was a great way to experience the edges of the islands.
We paid $150 dollars. That is not very much money! For around $150 you can buy a beach buggy to explore the shoreline.
Renting a scooter is another popular way to get around, and you’ll find an array of choices that will make it easy to go from point A to B.
Swim with Humpback Whales
In July and November, humpback whales leave the freezing waters of the Antarctic Ocean to find warmer waters of French Polynesia.
In late summer and early autumn, whales will be mating and giving birth near French Polynesia.
If you are lucky enough to be in Korea during this prime time, you will find a range of tours that allow you to swim with these gentle giants.
See the Rays and Reef Sharks
There is a shallow sandbar where you can stand in the clear water and watch in wonder as these inquisitive little guys will come up to meet you.
This is another thing to sign up for a tour. They will take you out when the rays are feeding and the sharks are swimming.
Do you remember the movie Jaws? You know, the one with Roy Scheider? I have a different experience swimming my sharks in French Polynesia, but it is not scary.
Visit a Farmers Market or Fruit Stand
Sample the very fresh fruit grown right outside the door. Little fruit stands have the freshest options and are always worth a visit.
Popular farmer’s markets like Fire Tutava are great places to stock up on fresh snacks, delicious jams and tasty smoothies. For those of us who are used to getting fruits after they arrive jetlagged on our side of the planet, the flavors of fresh fruit straight from the plantation are delicious. Incredible.
Visit Belvedere Lookout
Belvedere Lookout is one of the most beautiful vantage points in French Polynesia. It is an essential selfie spot, so bring your camera and hike up for a sweeping view of Opunohu Valley as well as Cook and Opunohu Bays.
When you go on ATV tours, you will find a variety of routes to the top. Plan around three hours of hiking with nothing too strenuous, though be sure to wear proper shoes.
If you do not want a guide, plan your itinerary ahead of time and bring an offline map and GPS so you don’t get lost. The hiking path isn’t always obvious as you go along.
Go hiking at The Pass of the Three Coconuts.
I would recommend starting early for this hike. I would plan to be out on the trail for 4 hours.
After you climb about 850 feet you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the ancient volcano. If you are going to Belvedere Viewpoint, which I would recommend, you can make an easy detour over to this impressive site.
Are you thinking of making a trip to French Polynesia? Check out my guide to getting there. I guarantee it’s easier than you think.
All the Water Sports
I found it impossible to leave the stunning turquoise seas. The warm waters are just oh-so-inviting and there is always a new slice of paradise to discover. Whether you want to dive or snorkel in the crystal clear waters or hop on a jet ski or surfboard, you can do it all here.
Many hotels offer beach gear and free rentals. Check with the place where you are staying to see what kind of beach gear they provide.
Try the Poisson Cru
Poisson Cru or Tahitian Raw Fish is a must-try for seafood fans. Take the national dish of Tahiti, which is like Peruvian ceviche or Hawaiian poke, and make it your own.
You will find some variations of the dishes but they will all have the basic foundation of raw fish, lime juice, coconut milk, and cucumbers.
In the islands, the best poisson cru on the islands is at Snack Mahana. Make sure to stop by this place at least once (or more, because it’s that good!).
Take in the views at Cook & Opunohu Bay. At Cook, you can take in the views of Opunohu Bay.
From the Belvedere Lookout you will get amazing views of Cook’s Bay and ‘Ōpūnohu Bay. Once you have seen it from above, look at it from the ground level.
In the quiet town of Paopao on the north coast of the island, you will find the start of two miles of Cooks Bay.
This shallow bay is surrounded by a striking mountain landscape dotted with waterfalls. This spot is perfect for swimming or just laying around to admire the view. For a prime snorkeling spot with a prime vantage point for watching the sunset, try the ‘Ōpūnohu Bay.
Stay in an Overwater Bungalow
In French Polynesia, the overwater bungalow is hard to beat. In fact these serene tropical spaces are probably exactly when you think of when you imagine the perfect accommodation.