Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In French Polynesia
French Polynesia is without a doubt one of the most unique travel destinations in the world and its rural location makes it even more special. From world-class diving, dazzling sunsets, picturesque viewpoints, and incredible white, sandy beaches, it is the perfect spot to escape from the daily grind and unwind.
If you werent sure on where to stay in French Polynesia before, I hope this guide has helped narrow down the best places to stay that fit your wants and needs. In case youre still not sure, here is a quick summary
If youre looking for a place with more tourist infrastructure with plenty of restaurants and lavish resorts then picking either Bora Bora or Tahiti is probably your best bet.
On the other hand, if youre looking to head off-the-beaten-path then Maupiti and Huahine will provide you with a luscious getaway away from the crowds.
Finally, if youre wanting to save some cash then the easily accessible island of Moorea is a great option, plus theres plenty of hiking trails and diving spots for the adventurous traveler too!
Did you find what you were looking for? Let me know in the comments.
Things To See And Do In Tahiti Nui:
- Le Marché is a two-story marketplace in the heart of Papeete where you can grab a bite to eat and some unique souvenirs.
- Put on your hiking boots and head deep into the heart of the island for epic trails and unspoiled scenery. The Les Trois Cascades waterfalls are especially popular.
- Visit the Gauguin Museum, dedicated to the work of the famous French artist. It also has a beautiful botanic garden.
- Street food is super popular on the island . Poisson cru is a must-try delicacy .
Q: What Should I Avoid In French Polynesia
Even if youre offered the best deal on travel, avoid visiting French Polynesia during the height of the wet season . During this season, sudden heavy rainstorms form without notice and high winds are common.
While the islands are still beautiful this time of year, it may be difficult to make the most out of your trip with such unpredictable weather. And for the amount of money youll likely spend to get to the islands, you wont want to be disappointed.
Some diseases are more common in French Polynesia than they are elsewhere in the world, so youll definitely want to avoid getting sick during your trip. Ask your doctor about getting a Typhoid vaccine before your trip, as it is an unfortunate reality on the islands. Youll also want to pack a strong insect repellent to avoid any mosquito-borne diseases like Zika virus.
If youre planning on buying some of those famous Tahitian pearls, make sure you get them tax-free! A 16% value-added tax is included in the price of any pearl jewelry purchased on the islands. You can get that tax refunded by filling out a simple form at the airport after you clear immigration ask your dealer for more information when you buy.
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Gyms And Fitness On Tahiti:
Tahiti is an island built for outdoor fitness, walking or running around the shoreline, and, of course, a multitude of water-based fitness like swimming and rowing. But when you want time within a gym, there is a good selection of options. Here are a few that we enjoy:
- F45 Training: This great fitness program combines strength and cardio classes. This is a gentler version of Crossfit. Costs start at $120/month.
- Xtrem Gym: This gym is perfect for class-orientated workouts, such as circuit training. Membership starts at $52/month.
- Tahiti Fitness: It is a friendly, well-stocked gym costing $102/month.
There are also some great gyms in the hotels, such as Tahiti Intercontinental.
Like the rest of the world, Tahiti has come to love yoga. There could not be many better backdrops to practice yoga by yourself, under a palm tree with the rhythmic sound of the waves as your soundtrack. There are a growing number of dedicated yoga classes on the island, with many hotels offering wellness classes. Plus, most of the gyms offer yoga classes as part of their memberships.
- Yoga Tahiti: A dedicated yoga studio offering many types of yoga, including aerial and kids classes. They offer 24 classes a week. They offer packages, including a 20-class pass for $187.
There really is no bad place for a run or hike on Tahiti. My favorite place for a longer run is from the capital to a viewpoint, Belvédère.
Great stores to try:
Best Budget Accommodation In Maupiti: Sunset Beach Maupiti
The basic but clean rooms of this home are perfect for budget-conscious travellers! The property is primely located just 50 metres away from the islands beach, which hosts some of the best sunsets on the island. The hosts pride themselves and their property on having a welcoming and authentic atmosphere.
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Moorea Island Where To Stay In French Polynesia On A Budget
Arguably the most visually striking island in French Polynesia, Moorea provides travelers with spectacular views of glistening lagoons, jagged mountain peaks, and lush valleys.
The small island epitomizes the South Pacifics reputation of having laid-back vibes with a slow and relaxed pace of life. Guests can spend their days relaxing in the crystal clear waters where you can experience flourishing, colorful coral reefs, unlike many others.
If you want some more adventure, there are many hiking trails that run through the rainforests and across the volcanoes mountain peaks.
With it being easily accessible just a short ferry from the international hub of Papeete, along with being less well-known than its famous neighbor Bora Bora, Moorea is the ultimate place to stay in French Polynesia if youre on a budget.
The island is also uniquely shaped resembling a heart and provides an epic view from the sky if you choose the more lavish option to fly to the island.
Working While In French Polynesia:
Tahiti offers the best office views, and work can easily be accomplished here
Currency: Pacific Franc
Euros are also accepted in the capital, Papeete, in some larger stores. There are plenty of ATMs and cards are accepted in all major stores. Cash is needed for markets, public transport and smaller stores.
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Tahaa: For The Wellness Traveler
The only way to get to Tahaa is by boat, and that boat also only docks at the end of a restaurant. If you can pass through without ordering a meal, then bless your soul because it smells too good to be true. But we were on a mission, so we swiftly exited to get to our next hotel destination: Le Tahaa Island Resort and Spa.
What we learned almost immediately is that there really isnt anything to do on Tahaa island, except sit back, relax, and enjoy the view of Bora Bora just a few miles away. And theres no better place to do it than right from the end of the hotels overwater bungalows. Be ambitious and get up with the sun, and youll be handsomely rewarded with a sky that turns a mixed shade of burnt orange, red, and pink that you didnt even know was possible.
Of course, if youre really ambitious, you can also book a Tahiti Air Charter flight like we did, which will pick you up at the end of the hotels dock and take you away on a stunning 10-minute flight over Bora Bora.
The plane is about the size of a car, so its certainly not for the faint of heart, but on our return trip, we spotted what we thought was a mirage: a massive, angelic manta ray floating under the clear blue water below. Watching it drift and flap its wings made us feel like we were in a Disney movie and made the turbulent water landing well worth it.
What to do: Take a Tahiti Air Charter
Unbeatable Areas Where To Stay In Tahiti
Welcome to one of the most exclusive destinations in the world! Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia and its located in the central part of the Pacific Ocean. If youre planning a trip here, then youre super lucky!
The island is split into 2 sides, Tahiti Nui in the northwest, where the capital city is located, and Tahiti Iti in the southeast, which locals mostly populate. However, the entire island is stunning, and youll find tropical gardens, white sand beaches, and the bluest water that youll probably ever see!
Tahiti its so secluded that it will feel as if it is your own private paradise! For which you dont have to pay a fortune to visit! Sure its expensive, but there are ways to travel to French Polynesia on a budget.
Stick around a little longer, and Ill show you where to stay in Tahiti and which hotels to book, from luxury resorts that offer a welcome bonus and are surrounded by a coral reef, to affordable accommodations.
If you want to get a fair price and a good deal, even in luxury resorts, youll have to book your accommodations in advance! The island is one of the most famous places in the world, and there are many things to consider when going there.
Lets go, the colorful fish are waiting for us!
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The Best Areas To Stay In Tahiti
About halfway between Australia and America, Tahiti is firmly part of French Polynesia, yet over 15,500km from Paris. The 5 archipelagos of 120 islands and atolls rightly invoke images of tropical paradise with white sands, sloping palms, and turquoise lagoons, and islands with exotic names like Bora Bora populated by gorgeous young ladies in grass skirts and portly old men playing ukuleles. But theres even more: rainforests peppered with waterfalls, mountainous interiors begging to be explored, ruins of villages that predate colonization, and world-class diving among shipwrecks and luminescent reefs.
Still substantially French in history, culture, food, and of course, language, Tahiti is not as developed as its Melanesian cousin: New Caledonia . Tahiti is more urbanized than Fiji and Vanuatu, but also among the most expensive places in the Pacific, with costs exacerbated by the isolation. Tahiti does receive vast amounts of aid from France, yet many residents predominantly the unemployed and indigenous still actively seek independence.
Tahitians and tourists who tsk-tsk the over-development, crowds, and traffic of Papeete and western Tahiti Nui flock to Moorea Island, barely 30 minutes by ferry from the city center. Almost condensed enough to cycle around, this enchanting island offers comparatively undeveloped snow-white beaches and enclaves radiating a tropical holiday vibe.
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Search For Tropical Fishes
Scuba diving and snorkeling are amongst the coolest things to do in French Polynesia islands. You can spot reef sharks, stingrays, and various tropical fish up-close from the water or the boat.
Depending on the weather conditions and time of year, you will also have the chance to spot sea turtles, dolphins, leopard rays, and humpback whales.
Things To See And Do In Tahiti Iti:
- Take a self-guided food tour around the area. Each town has at least one restaurant, café or patisserie offering something unique.
- Grotte Vaipori is pretty hard to get to , but its well worth the trip for stunning photos.
- Visit Tautira a small town offering unique insight into local life as well as some attractions about ecological measures on the island.
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Hike Up To Mont Orohena
With an elevation of 2241 meters, Mont Orohena is the highest mountain peak in French Polynesia. It is located in the island of Tahiti and known as an extinct volcano. Climbing Mont Orohena is one of the most famous things to do in French Polynesia for the adventure-seekers. Hiking and mountaineering are also popular activities here. There are trails for different levels of hikers and each one of these is the best way to explore the Tahitian beauty.
Luxurious Hotel In Tahiti: Manava Suite Resort
If youre coming to Tahiti you might as well splurge! This stunning hotel is among the best-reviewed on the island, and its easy to see why. The huge pool deck is right on the coast, offering breathtaking views across the Pacific Ocean. Its only a ten-minute drive from the airport, with regular shuttles for those that dont have a car.
Tahiti is a pretty small destination, and is really easy to get around if you have a car. In that instance, we recommend you take a circular tour around both parts of the island. Havent got a car? Buses are pretty infrequent, but you can still figure out some day trips. During the peak tourist season, youll also find some great excursions on offer from local guides.
The island is split into two areas Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti . Tahiti Nui is home to the majority of the population, and is the best place to stay for first-time visitors. It provides tours or buses to other parts of the island, and is home to some of Tahitis top attractions.
Tahiti Iti feels like a completely different experience in many ways. Bar Taiarapu-Est is the town that connects to the two sections. Youll need a car to get to anywhere on this part of the island. If you can drive, however, it is well worth the visit. This is a less touristy part of the island, where you can learn more about Tahiti and its people.
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The Best Islands For Scuba Divers
The Tuamotus are a chain of islands best known as an incredible scuba diving destination. There are three main islands to go to for diving: Tikehau, Fakarava, and Rangiroa – and all three offer something different.
The highlight of Rangiroa is the dolphins. At the Tiputa Pass, there is a pod of about 30 dolphins that swim and play in the area year-round. Of those 30 dolphins, 4 of them are incredibly social and will come up to scuba divers in the hopes of getting a belly rub. However, even if you arent lucky enough to see one of these specific dolphins on your dive, you will likely still see and hear the pod.
Fakarava is famous for its sharks. There are two main passes here, the south pass, Tumakohua, and the north pass, Garuae. Both are fantastic dive spots, but the south pass is the best spot to see the sharks. It is estimated that there are between 250-700 grey sharks in this area and no, they are not baited. The shark wall is a sight to see, but divers should be aware that the currents here can be quite strong and may be difficult for inexperienced divers.
Finally, there is Tikehau, which was named the fishiest atoll in the world by Jaques Cousteau. This statement is immediately obvious as you drop below the surface and are surrounded by schools of colorful fish, cheeky puffers, barracuda, and some curious white tip reef sharks. Lucky divers here may also get a chance to see hammerhead and tiger sharks by the islands only pass.
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Cute Treehouse In Tahiti Iti: Vairao Lagoon
Nestled among the trees just outside Vairao, this treehouse is the perfect spot for a peaceful retreat. We love the local area as it isnt visited by many tourists, meaning youll get to mingle with locals and discover a more authentic way of life. The bungalow itself is made out of bamboo, giving it a rustic charm. The host also runs excursions for those interested in whale watching and scenery.
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The Best Island For A Road Trip
If you are thinking about renting a car and exploring an island, then Huahine is the place to go. Its one of the larger society islands but can still be explored by car in a day. There is a lot to see and do from archaeological sites to sandy beaches and snorkel spots, scenic viewpoints and vanilla farms.
Make sure to have a swim at Avea Bay and stop for the views at the Panorama de Tefareii. As for the most unique stop on your Huahine road trip, that will be to see the sacred blue-eyed eels. They are about 1.8m in length and can be found in a small river near the village of Faie. Locals have been feeding them for years. As such they are used to humans and, if you like, you can feed them too without concern.
Insider tip: If you are planning on renting a car and driving anywhere in French Polynesia, you will want to ensure that you know how to drive a manual automatic vehicles are very difficult to come by.
Moorea Island Beach Hotel
Located just 14 km from the airport, Moorea Island Beach Hotel is a 3-star hotel and a good choice when youre deciding where to stay in Moorea on a budget. It has its own private beach area, a garden, and free bike hire, as well as comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and seating areas.
This Moorea hotel has a spacious main area with a terrace and outdoor lounge facing the beach, as well as two solariums where you can watch the sun go down. Theres also a kitchen on-site that serves an à la carte or vegetarian breakfast.
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