Tahiti - French Polynesia: what to do, what to see…

Follow Paul Gauguin to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The five archipelagoes of French Polynesia contain 118 islands - 76 of them inhabited - and just as many landscapes, from volcanoes to coral reefs. The Society Islands, the Marquesas Islands, the Austral Islands, Tuamotu and Gambier: enough to inspire the most demanding traveller! Surfing, swimming, hiking, diving... But where to begin?
WHAT TO SEE

• Point Venus beach
• Bora-Bora lagoon
• The pink sand of Fakarava
• Taipivai waterfall on Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands
• Rangiroa, the coral reef island in the Tuamotu Islands
• Rurutu caves in the Austral Islands
• Maupiti in the Society Islands
• The pearl farms at Manihi in the Tuamotu Islands
• The beaches of Tikehau in the Tuamotu Islands
• The churches in Gambier

WHAT TO DO

• Fall asleep to the rhythm of the waves in a stilt house on Bora-Bora
• Succumb to the sensuality of Huahine, one of the best-kept secrets of Polynesia
• Search for bargains in Papeete market
• Come face-to-face with rays and dolphins with an incredible dive in the Marquesas
• Play Robinson Crusoe on Tikehau
• Spend the whole day on Bora-Bora beach
• Gather your thoughts among the sacred Marae at the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site of Taputapuatea
• Join in the Heiva i Tahiti festivities held every July to celebrate traditional Polynesian culture
• Following the footsteps of the first missionaries to Gambier
• Get a front row seat for whale watching on Rurutu in the Austral Islands

WHAT TO EAT

• The national meal: raw fish in coconut milk
• Chow Mein
• Fafa chicken
• Coconut bread
• Punu Pua'atoro
• Tuna and sesame seed chaudfroid
• Chao pao
• Fafaru
• Taro chips
• Banan po'e

WHAT TO BRING BACK

• Monoi fragranced oil
• Polynesian tikis
• Pareos
• Tahitian black pearls
• Tifaifai fabrics
• A Polynesian tattoo
• Mother-of-pearl jewellery
• Tahitian vanilla
• Wooden sculptures of Polynesian gods
• Bamboo fish traps

Getting to Tahiti