Heiva: a guide to celebrating the culture of French Polynesia
'Bora Bora Heiva flower floats' by MarkWallace. Creative Commons Attribution Location: To’ata Sq, Pape’ete, Tahiti Dates: July 4-20 2013...
Places in French Polynesia
While Tahiti isn’t the white-sand island of your holiday brochure, it is the heart of French Polynesia, and it would be a shame to bypass it. Waterfall-laden, shadowy mountains; unpretentiously beautiful black-sand beaches; and a distinctly Polynesian buzz make Tahiti a gem in its own right.
This is it, the one. As you arrive by plane the view says it all. The promise of a wonderland is instantly made good: a ring of sand-edged motu (islets) encircle a glinting turquoise lagoon around soaring rainforest-covered basaltic peaks. With such a dreamlike setting, Bora Bora is, unsurprisingly, a honeymooners’ choice.
Metropolis this is not. Pape’ete is really just a medium-sized town (by Western standards) of moulding architecture with a lively port, lots of traffic and plenty of smiling faces to pull you through it all. You’ll either get its compact chaos and colourful clutter or you’ll run quickly from its grimy edges and lack of gorgeous vistas.
Mo’orea is so beautiful you’ll be rubbing your eyes at your first glimpse of it from Tahiti. The loveliness of the island intensifies as you draw nearer. That turquoise lagoon that you were sure was Photoshopped in the brochure? It’s better in real life. As you admire the near-vertical emerald cliffs, you’ll wonder if you are the luckiest person in the world.
Tours and activities
Tips and articles
Island hopping in French Polynesia
With over 100 islands spread throughout five archipelagos, French Polynesia is as varied as it is exotic...
How to choose a South Pacific island
The South Pacific confounds even the savviest map buffs with its splatter of dots spread across the world's biggest ocean...
Bora Bora beyond the beach
Bora Bora is world-famous for its glinting turquoise lagoon, dazzlingly white sandy stretches of beach and luxurious resorts...
Tahiti and French Polynesia on a budget
No, there's no need to remortgage the house to visit Tahiti & French Polynesia...