Lonely Planet Writer

5 things to know about French Polynesia after Obamas' vacation

So you’ve read that the Obamas have been taking some much needed holiday time over in French Polynesia with their besties, including Bruce Springsteen, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks, and now you’re thinking maybe it’s time you took a week out too? Here are five essential things to know about this Pacific paradise to get booking your dream vacation.

Long jetty on Ahe lagoon in the Tuamotus
Long jetty on Ahe lagoon in the Tuamotus Image by Getty Images

1.  As well as some downtime at the exclusive resort The Brando on the tiny island of Tetiaroa, the Obamas reportedly headed on a friend’s yacht to Tahiti’s ‘little sister’ island of Mo’orea. Famous for its brochure-perfect turquoise lagoon, white-sand beaches, a lush-green forest covering jagged peaks, this is the perfect spot for adventure as well as unwinding at a resort.

Moorea, French Polynesia
Moorea, French Polynesia Image by 500px

2.  Visitors to French Polynesia are spoilt for options when it comes to filling their days in paradise. You can learn to kitesurf, play golf, take a hike, go on a whale- or dolphin-watching tour, hire a bike or a kayak, or go horse riding. While on the water, popular excursions include diving, snorkelling, paddle-boarding, jet-skiing and ‘motu picnics’.

Bora Bora Bungalow
Bora Bora Bungalow

3.  Despite being 15,700km from Paris, French Polynesia’s closest ties are with France which means the TV news covers a mix of local stories, and features about Europe – a welcome break perhaps if you’ve just departed the White House? Recently the country has fostered closer relations with the rest of Polynesia from Hawai’i to New Zealand.

4. Made of 118 islands spread over 2.5 million square kilometres, French Polynesia sustains a population of around 300,000 people and welcomes around another 150,000 to 200,000 visitors each year. The main languages spoken there are French and Reo Maohi (Tahitian).

A post shared by France Hazar (@fleaohazar) on Apr 19, 2017 at 5:28am PDT

5. While it’s mostly the domain of high-end accommodations, some with overwater bungalows, French Polynesia does offer a host of smaller garden-based guesthouses for people looking for something a little more rustic and affordable.

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