15 incredible facts about the islands of French Polynesia
27th May, 2023
the islands of French Polynesia are absolutely fascinating! But why should you travel here and what should you know before you go? Keep scrolling to find out…
- Islands of French Polynesia – 15 Fascinating Facts
- 1. Tahiti – Biggest Island of French Polynesia
- 2. Bora Bora – Over-The-Top Luxury Resorts
- 3. Moorea – A Paradise of Lush Green Hills Rising Out of the Sea
- 4. Tikehau – Known for its Pink Sand Beaches
- 5. Raiatea – The Spiritual Center of the Islands
- 6. Manihi – Famous for its Black Pearl Farms
- 7. Rurutu – Home to Striking Coral Reefs
- 8. Ahe – A Remote Atoll with Pristine White Sand Beaches
- 9. Huahine – A Hidden Gem Surrounded by Ancient Stone Walls
- 10. Fakarava – The Second Largest of the Tuamotu Atolls
- 11. Tetiaroa – A Small Chain of Islets Owned by Marlon Brando
- 12. Hiva Oa – The Burial Place of Artist Paul Gauguin
- 13. Tahaa – Known as Vanilla Island
- 14. Maupiti – A Breathtakingly Beautiful Volcano Island
- 15. Makemo- A Paradise for Surfers
- Summing Up The French Islands Of Polynesia
Islands of French Polynesia – 15 Fascinating Facts
Have you ever dreamed of escaping to a tropical paradise surrounded by turquoise waters, lush greenery, and warm sunshine? If so, you may be interested in learning more about the islands of French Polynesia, an archipelago in the South Pacific that boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery and cultural heritage.
The diverse array of islands in French Polynesia offers unique attractions and characters to everyone, making it one of the world’s most popular destinations.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into 15 incredible facts about the islands of French Polynesia, from their fascinating history to their amazing natural wonders. So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or simply looking for your next dream vacation, join us as we explore the marvels of this stunning corner of the world.
1. Tahiti – Biggest Island of French Polynesia
Tahiti is the largest island of French Polynesia in the South Pacific. It boasts an area of 1,044 square kilometers and a population of over 189,517 people who mostly inhabit its two main cities – Papeete (the capital) and Faaa. Tahiti is renowned for its lush tropical forests and white-sand beaches, as well as its vibrant culture and colorful art.
It is also feaures the highest peak in French Polynesia – Mount Orohena, which offers stunning views across the islands. The islands’ culture is steeped in Polynesian traditions and customs, with the language (Tahitian) spoken by most of the population.
Music and dance are also integral parts of life on Tahiti and its islands – from traditional chanting to modern-day reggae music. Moreover, visitors can discover the fascinating art of islands of French Polynesia, with works of art by legendary painter Paul Gauguin being particularly prominent.
2. Bora Bora – Over-The-Top Luxury Resorts
Bora Bora is the ultimate honeymoon destination, and it’s not hard to see why. There are over-the-top luxury resorts and spas, glimmering lagoons, and a culture that reveres relaxation. You’ll find no shortage of ways to indulge, from overwater bungalows to beachfront villas, airy spa pavilions, and private plunge pools.
You can spend your days paddling among vibrant coral gardens, riding a kayak in the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon, or simply laying back and soaking up some sun.
For nightlife options, there are plenty of bars and restaurants for a romantic dinner with a view, or you can head to the legendary Bloody Mary’s Bar in Vaitape. Or if you feel like getting active, there are plenty of outdoor activities, such as horseback riding and hiking in the picturesque valleys. You’ll be sure to create memories that will last a lifetime on this idyllic island.
3. Moorea – A Paradise of Lush Green Hills Rising Out of the Sea
Moorea is one of the captivating islands of French Polynesia, known for its lush green hills and clear blue waters. It has been compared to the Garden of Eden due to its beauty and serenity. The island is surrounded by a ring of coral reefs, providing great opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. In addition, it also boasts some of the best beaches in the region, with white sand and clear water.
So, if you’re an avid hiker, Moorea has plenty of trails that offer stunning views of the islands. In addition, Moorea is filled with a variety of wildlife, such as dolphins and sea turtles. With its relaxed atmosphere and picture-perfect setting, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to this island paradise.
4. Tikehau – Known for its Pink Sand Beaches
Tikehau is one of the most beautiful islands of French Polynesia. It is famous for its pink beaches, abundant marine life, and crystal-clear waters. The islands are part of the Tuamotu archipelago and consist of several coral atolls surrounded by a shallow lagoon.
It is an ideal destination for travelers looking to get away from it all, boasting some of the most pristine natural beauty in French Polynesia. Furthermore, Tikehau is also known for being the preferred destination for Jacques Cousteau, who declared its lagoon to be the richest in French Polynesia.
The island is a haven for scuba divers looking to explore the coral reefs and abundant marine life, making it especially popular amongst avid divers. In addition to this, its pink sand beaches make it a perfect spot for travelers looking to relax in paradise.
5. Raiatea – The Spiritual Center of the Islands
Raiatea is known as the ‘Sacred Island’ and is said to be the birthplace of Polynesian culture. It holds a special place in the islands’ history and mythology, with many sacred sites located here.
One of its most significant sites is Marae Taputapuatea, a temple complex that is said to be the birthplace of Polynesian navigation and voyaging. This site was an important hub for the islands’ religious, political, and economic activities during its heyday from 1000 BC to 1700AD.
Additionally, Raiatea is known for its warm hospitality – plenty of friendly locals will be more than happy to show visitors around the islands’ many attractions. You’re sure to have a wonderful time exploring such islands of French Polynesia.
6. Manihi – Famous for its Black Pearl Farms
Manihi is an atoll located in the Tuamotu Archipelago. It is one of the famous islands of French Polynesia, renowned for its black pearl farms. About 75% of the world’s black pearl production comes from Manihi; it is a great place to visit if you want to see how they are harvested, cultivated, and sorted.
In addition, the island’s numerous lagoons and atolls make it a great place to enjoy water activities such as diving, kayaking, and exploring the coral reef system. Visiting one of the pearl farms while scuba diving is even possible.
7. Rurutu – Home to Striking Coral Reefs
One of the most breathtaking islands of French Polynesia is Rurutu. Located in the remote Austral islands, this paradisiacal destination boasts striking coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and diving. It is known as a haven for whales and dolphins, with several species that can be spotted throughout the year.
Nature lovers will be enthralled, as the island is contains countless species of birds and dense, green forests filled with endemic plants. Aside from its stunning beaches and diverse wildlife, Rurutu also boasts an intriguing history. It was once a major trading post for the islands of French Polynesia.
8. Ahe – A Remote Atoll with Pristine White Sand Beaches
Located in the heart of the South Pacific, the Ahe Islands are a group of atolls that offer visitors the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. With crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and a relaxed, laid-back vibe, these Islands are the perfect destination for anyone looking to unwind and recharge.
The islands of Ahe have one of the longest barrier reefs in the world – measuring a whopping 23.5 kilometres long. These islands also boast some of the most beautiful white sand beaches found in French Polynesia. Its crystal clear turquoise waters and abundant marine life make it an ideal place for underwater adventures and diving.
When it comes to accommodation, the Ahe Islands offer a range of options to suit all tastes and budgets. Be it luxurious overwater bungalows or cozy guesthouses; there’s something for everyone here. And no matter where you stay, you’ll be treated to the warm hospitality and laid-back charm that the people of French Polynesia are known for.
Ahe is rarely visited by tourists due to its remote location, so you can experience a slice of untouched paradise that is seldom seen by other tourists.
9. Huahine – A Hidden Gem Surrounded by Ancient Stone Walls
Located in the Society Islands, Huahine is known as the ‘Garden of Eden,’ and it’s easy to see why. As this island’s jungles, beaches, and ancient stone walls surround its villages, it is no wonder that it has been referred to as a hidden gem of French Polynesia.
It was once home to powerful royal families, whose ancient stone walls still stand around Lake Maeva and the surrounding mountains. The island is perfect for those who seek an adventure off the beaten path.
Tourists can explore the island’s sacred blue-eyed eels, take a drive around the empty emerald bays and find their spot on miles and miles of white-sand beaches. You can visit ancient temples and immerse yourself in local culture – you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you entertained.
10. Fakarava – The Second Largest of the Tuamotu Atolls
Fakarava is one of the best places for underwater exploration. With its wealth of coral reefs, diverse marine life, and coloUrful fish, it’s no wonder that Fakarava was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1977 by UNESCO.
Its aquamarine lagoons and white sand beaches make this island paradise an ideal getaway spot. If you’re looking for an adventure you won’t soon forget, Fakarava is a must-visit destination in French Polynesia.
Aside from scuba diving and snorkeLling, Fakarava offers plenty of other activities like sailing, cycling, fishing, or bird watching – there are over 100 species of birds to be found on this island. And don’t forget the unique and historic sites, like the ancient stone idols that can be found in Hanavave Bay and the remains of an old German fort perched above Napuka Island.
11. Tetiaroa – A Small Chain of Islets Owned by Marlon Brando
Tetiaroa, a small chain of islands found in French Polynesia, was once owned by the late actor Marlon Brando. He purchased this set of islands in 1967 and used them as an escape from his hectic life. Today, it is has The Brando resort, which offers guests luxury accommodations and a nature-focused experience.
This resort is powered by solar energy, making it an environmentally conscious choice for visitors looking to enjoy the islands of French Polynesia. The resort also offers a variety of activities, including snorkeling and swimming with turtles – giving guests a unique way to explore this beautiful destination.
Aside from its celebrity ownership, Tetiaroa is also known for its rich history and cultural significance. As one of the islands of French Polynesia, it has a long tradition of being hub of royalty and nobility. In fact, it was once the seat of power for the Pōmare Dynasty, which ruled over Tahiti until 1880.
12. Hiva Oa – The Burial Place of Artist Paul Gauguin
The islands of French Polynesia has many notable places, and Hiva Oa is no exception. Located in the southeastern region of the Marquesas Islands, it’s famously known as the burial place of famous artist Paul Gauguin. He moved here in 1901, and just three years later, he died on the island and was buried here, leaving behind a lasting legacy that can still be seen today.
Moreover, this island also served as a source of inspiration for renowned artist and singer Jacques Brel. He visited Hiva Oa in 1975 to film his movie “Man and Child” and was so captivated that he decided to stay there for the rest of his life. Thus, Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel were the islands’ most famous visitors.
It’s not difficult to understand why these two renowned artists fell in love with Hiva Oa. Here, nature is king, with luxuriant forests and imposing cliffs dominating the landscape. It’s a place of mystery, culture, and beauty that will stay with you forever.
13. Tahaa – Known as Vanilla Island
Tahaa is the only island in French Polynesia to have a lagoon that is entirely enclosed by a single coral reef. This makes it an incredibly popular destination for swimming and diving due to its diverse aquatic life. Additionally, Tahaa is contains some of the islands’ best beaches, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the islands’ stunning sunsets and views.
Furthermore, Tahaa is renowned for its abundance of vanilla plantations, with the island producing some of the world’s finest vanilla beans. As a result, Tahaa is sometimes referred to as ‘the vanilla island. ‘Visitors can purchase locally produced products such as freshly made icecreams and homemade jams.
14. Maupiti – A Breathtakingly Beautiful Volcano Island
Maupiti is one of the islands of French Polynesia that’s particularly stunning. It is a spectacular volcanic island made up of three mountaintops and has one of the most impressive views on the islands. Its lagoon is also have some amazing marine life, making it a great destination for diving enthusiasts.
The island is still relatively untouched by tourism, making it a great spot for anyone looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Plus, its friendly locals and delicious cuisine make it the perfect place to relax and take in the breathtaking panorama.
From Maupiti, you can catch a boat to the nearby islands of Bora Bora and Moorea. Despite their proximity, each island is unique and offers something new to explore. Whether it’s swimming with giant manta rays or scaling Mount Teurafaatiu for spectacular views, the islands of French Polynesia are a traveler’s paradise.
15. Makemo- A Paradise for Surfers
Makemo is one of the southernmost islands of French Polynesia, and it’s an excellent destination for avid surfers. With its warm waters and consistent waves, it’s a great spot to practice your surfing skills or just take a leisurely ride on a longboard.
The island is has some of the best breaks in French Polynesia, ranging from beginner-friendly waves to more challenging advanced spots. Makemo also offers plenty of amenities and activities, so even non-surfers can enjoy their stay in this beautiful paradise.
In addition, there are many lodging options on the island, ranging from beachside bungalows to luxurious resorts, so there is something for everyone. It’s no wonder why Makemo is a favorite destination among locals and visitors alike.
Summing Up The French Islands Of Polynesia
The islands of French Polynesia are a paradise for anyone who loves the sun, sea, and sand. The islands are home to stunningly beautiful lagoons, lush rainforests, breathtaking waterfalls, and much more.
In addition to its rich history as a French colony, French Polynesia’s vibrant culture offers an unforgettable experience. These islands are perfect if you’re looking for an adventure or a relaxing getaway. Take a trip to French Polynesia, and you’ll see for yourself why the islands are so popular.
If you enjoyed this article about the islands of French Polynesia and you’re looking for new places to explore, why not check out some of these amazing islands worldwide? Here are a few to check out.
- 12 essential things to know about the Aeolian Islands before you visit
- 15 Fascinating Facts About the Islands of the Pacific Ocean
- 13 Fascinating Facts About the Islands in Micronesia
- Spain’s islands- 15 fascinating facts
- 16 shocking facts about the islands in Dubai