Credit: Tahiti Tourisme
Credit: Tahiti Tourisme

Immerse Yourself in the Culture of French Polynesia on a 10-Day Adventure

Overwater Bungalows to Exciting Valley Excursions, The Islands of Tahiti Are a Bucket List Destination

The islands of Tahiti, located in the South Pacific, are made up of five different island chains and 118 different islands like Bora Bora, Moorea and Hiva Oa. The bluest waters imaginable, lush greenery, overwater bungalows and once-in-a-lifetime adventures make French Polynesia a bucket list destination. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more than 3,000 miles from any other continent, this is the ultimate place to disconnect and go OOO in 2023. Immerse yourself in the culture of the islands no matter how you find yourself in this magical corner of the Earth.


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Getting There

Fly directly to Papeete, Tahiti

Best of French Polynesia - Tahiti Tourisme
Credit: Tahiti Tourisme

West-coasters have the advantage of visiting Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui’s direct flights from Los Angeles (eight hours) and its recently added Seattle route (around 9.5 hours). There’s truly so much to explore among the different islands, and Tahiti itself is not to be overlooked upon arrival. Expect to be greeted with beautiful leis upon arrival at the different airports and hotels. Polynesians give the warmest welcome with live music using ukuleles and drums. Stay with ocean views and iridescent sunset scenes at the recently opened Hilton Hotel Tahiti. Go on an authentic, all-day excursion with the passionate and inspiring Olivier Lenoir through the Papenoo Valley while you learn about Tahitian culture, natural remedies and intriguing history. 



Take the 30-minute public ferry 

Just a short 30-minute ferry ride away is Tahiti’s sister island—Moorea. A well-known tourist destination, Moorea exudes a peaceful, serene vibe offering authentic experiences and a peek into the Polynesian lifestyle. A variety of cultural activities such as crown making, dancing and braiding can be learned at Espace Loisirs Kultur. And while overnight accommodations are available through hotels and family pensions, even just one day spent on Moorea will be one to remember. 


Hiva Oa

Fly 3 hours from Papeete to Hiva Oa

A three-hour flight from Papeete and part of the remote Marquesas Islands is Hiva Oa— otherwise known as “The Land of Men.” Only about 2,000 people live on this island (a total of seven villages), making it an exceptionally special place. Everybody seems to be a cousin, uncle or friend of one another. Hiva Oa Hanakee Lodge, made up of 11 villas, is the only hotel on the island, which offers peaceful ocean views and a genuine feel. There are beaches and rainforests to explore across the island along with remarkable tikis, petroglyphs and archaeological sites to discover. 



Bora Bora

Fly 50 minutes from Papeete to Bora Bora

Known as the Pearl of the Pacific, Bora Bora transports you to another world. No worries, just pure bliss exists within this iconic destination. Upon arrival at the airport, your swanky water taxi awaits you to take you to paradise. With the world’s most renowned resorts located here, the luxe atmosphere paired with the local culture is a match made in heaven. The overwater bungalows at Conrad Bora Bora Nui are not to be missed and worth the splurge—fall asleep to the sound of the ocean, sunbathe on the white sand beach and lounge on your private terrace after taking a dip in the water. Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts also offers overwater bungalow accommodations that are just a 20-minute boat ride away. Hop aboard the Okeanos Pearl, the only solar-powered luxury catamaran, for a sunset cruise after checking in. 

Raiatea and Taha’a

Fly 10 minutes from Bora Bora to Raiatea 

Best of French Polynesia
Credit: Tahiti Tourisme

From Bora Bora, do not miss out on the chance to visit Raiatea and twin island Taha’a. It’s one of the shorter flights you’ll ever take—about 10 minutes from Bora Bora. Head straight to Edwin Mama’s Taha’a Tour Excursion where you’ll hop on his boat from Raiatea to Taha’a. Once on land, take a ride in his 4×4 truck to visit a rum distillery, a vanilla plantation and a pearl farm before experiencing vibrant coral gardens when you snorkel through crystal clear waters. Stay at Le Taha’a by Pearl Resorts for a (less-touristy) overwater bungalow experience that might even top that of Bora Bora.

French Polynesia is a real-life daydream—even waking up here each morning, it’s hard to believe it exists. Each different island is an opportunity to relax and ‘enjoy life’ as the locals say—while also experiencing its unique aspects and heart-pumping experiences. The people on each island are friendly and welcoming, greeting everyone with a warm smile and “ia orana” (hello in Tahitian). Dive in head first on your first (or next) French Polynesian adventure.

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Taylor is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. She is our Los Angeles and Orange County editor. You can find her dining at a new restaurant, in the ocean or planning her next adventure. Say hello!


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