Island hopper in Paradise!
Famous for its paradise coral lagoons, white sand beaches and pristine natural environment, the Polynesian Triangle boasts up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. From holiday paradise like Bora Bora and Tahiti to unique cultural heritage of Hawaii and Easter Island, it is easy to see why this splendid and distant region of the world is so desirable for travellers.
After a short first stay in Tahiti, you will fly to Mo’orea! If you’ve been dreaming of holiday-brochure turquoise lagoons, white-sand beaches, vertical peaks and lush landscapes, you’d be hard-pressed to find better than this gem of an island. Hovering less than 20km across the ‘Sea of the Moon’ from its big sister, Tahiti, Mo’orea absorbs its many visitors so gracefully that its feels surprisingly nontouristy.
As you arrive by plane, the view says it all. How not to be mesmerised by this stunning palette of sapphire, indigo and turquoise, all mixed together in modern-art abstractions? And these sand-edged motu (islets) and soaring rainforest-covered basaltic peaks? With such a dreamlike setting, Bora Bora is, unsurprisingly, a honeymooners’ choice. But there’s much more to do than clink glasses with your loved one in a luxurious hotel. The good thing is that you can mix slow-paced sun-and-sand holidays with action-packed adventures. Diving, snorkelling, lagoon tours, hiking and parasailing are readily available. What you shouldn’t expect, though, is a thriving nightlife. Bora Bora is a quiet island. And this dream destination is much more accessible than you think. As well as five-star resorts, a handful of low-key midrange hotels beckon.
Bora Bora’s discreet little sister, Maupiti is one of the most ravishing islands in French Polynesia. There’s a shimmering lagoon with every hue from lapis lazuli to turquoise, a perfect ring of islets girdled with sand bars, palm trees leaning over the shore and large coral gardens. Although this little charmer is no longer a secret, it still remains a hideaway where visitors come to absorb the lazy lifestyle. There’s only one road and virtually no cars, just bikes; there are no showy resorts, just a smattering of family-run pensions where visitors can sample delicious local-style meals and genuinely interact with their hosts. And when you want to play, there’s just the right amount of activities to keep you buzzing, from walking and lagoon excursions to diving and kayaking.
Ra’iatea and Taha’a are encircled by a common lagoon, but the two islands couldn’t be more different. Ra’iatea is high, imposing and fiercely independent, has the second biggest town in French Polynesia after Pape’ete and is considered by many to be the spiritual seat of the Polynesian Triangle. Taha’a, on the other hand, has graceful low hills, is famous for its sweet-scented vanilla and is arguably the quietest of the Society Islands. Both islands are ideal places to explore a mysterious and wild-feeling Polynesia.
Huahine is immaculately tropical and effortlessly Polynesian. Lush and scarcely developed, this is an island to visit for extreme calm, communing with nature and a genuine taste of culture. There are plenty of opportunities for diving, surfing, snorkelling, exploring top-notch archaeological sites and horse riding, but the beauty of this place is just how easy it is to relax and do very little at all. The days go by, your skin gets a little darker and your smile a little wider.
What Tahiti lacks in wide white-sand beaches, it makes up for in waterfall-laden, shadowy mountains, unpretentiously beautiful black-sand beaches, sheltered blue lagoons and a distinctly Polynesian, modern buzz. This is the heart of the islands, where the cultures from all the archipelagos are mixed in the cacophonous, dusty, yet smiling and energetic capital of Pape’ete. Outside the city, explore the majestic, mountainous interior on a 4WD tour, learn to dive in the translucent lagoon, wander amid mystical archaeological sites, and from July to October go whale-watching. In July, catch the country’s most spectacular festival; the percussion and dance-heavy Heiva. Stay at a resort or head to Tahiti Iti to experience a more traditional pace of life – all international air travel goes through Tahiti, and it would be a shame to miss such an essential part of this region’s cultural puzzle.
You can read a trip report written by one of our editors about his experience with Air Tahiti’s Island Hopper >>>
Europe – San Francisco: November 5, 12, 13, 18
San Francisco – Papeete – November 6, 13, 15, 17, 19
Papeete – San Francisco: November 25, 28
San Francisco – Europe: December 1, 2, 3
Zurich – San Francisco – Zurich
Brussels – San Francisco – Brussels
Vienna – San Francisco – Vienna
Munich – San Francisco – Munich
Frankfurt – San Francisco – Frankfurt
Paris – San Francisco – Paris
London – San Francisco – London
San Francisco – Papeete – Moorea – Bora Bora – Maupiti – Raiatea – Huahine – Papeete – San Francisco
How to book:
Follow the links below.
Baggage during the trip:
British and Virgin Atlantic: One cabin bag and one checked bag per passenger.
French Bee: One cabin bag per passenger.
Zurich – San Francisco – Zurich >>>
In San Francisco, Minna Hotel has a good price and good reviews. Centrally located in San Francisco, this hotel features 24-hour front desk service and free Wi-Fi.
In Papeete we reccomend you to book Punatea Village with good reviews.
In Bora Bora we suggest you staying at Hotel Maitai Polynesia with very good reviews.