Huahine is the kind of place you'll either love or hate. Surfers and backpackers following the chill-out, beach-bum trail fall hard for its savage beauty and lower-than-usual prices, while those in search of posh pampering and constant entertainment quickly tire of its sleepy island vibe. Despite being blessed with untouched beaches, isolated coves, enchanted lagoons, killer reef breaks and the most extensive complex of pre-European marae (traditional temples) in French Polynesia, Huahine has managed to escape the rampant package-tourist overdevelopment afflicting neighbouring isles. There's only one real luxury resort and locals aren't keen on developers' plans to construct any more. They'd rather keep their island as it is - relatively secret, unpretentious, authentically Polynesian and well off the mainstream tourist's radar. A place to just kick back and watch the world go by.
Huahine comprises two islands of fairly similar size - Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) to the north and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south. According to local oral history, this wasn't always the case. Polynesian legend has it that the split came after the god Hiro ploughed his mighty canoe into the land, cutting the place in two. The split is still evident today, not only because of the tiny gap that separates the two islands but also in their distinct personalities. Huahine Nui is more developed and noisy, home to the bustling little village of Fare and most of the main tourist and administrative facilities. Rugged and isolated, Huahine Iti offers the islands' best beaches, most wonderfully azure lagoons and a serene, get-away-from-it-all atmosphere.