Are you dreaming of a tropical paradise where turquoise waters meet lush landscapes, and your days are filled with adventure, relaxation, and delicious local cuisine? Look no further than French Polynesia, a stunning collection of islands in the heart of the South Pacific. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder French Polynesia is a highly sought-after destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable island experience. So, are you ready to explore this unique world and discover the best things to do in French Polynesia, creating memories that will last a lifetime? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the Society Islands, Tahiti Nui & Iti, and Overwater Bungalows in Bora Bora
  • Unwind in Moorea’s tranquil paradise & dive into French Polynesia’s marine life
  • Swim with Humpback Whales, explore Ancient Temples and Tiki Statues, and experience Local Markets and fine Dining; adventure Awaits!

Things to Do in French Polynesia

1. Discover the Society Islands

Sea and mountain landscape of beautiful tropical Island Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia.
Sea and mountain landscape of beautiful tropical Island Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia.

The Society Islands are a group of breathtaking islands in French Polynesia Tahiti, including Tahiti Nui, Tahiti Iti, Bora Bora, and Moorea. These islands offer many attractions and activities, from dreamy, over-water bungalows to thrilling hiking trails and mesmerizing lagoon tours.

The best time to visit French Polynesia and the Society Islands is between May and September, when the weather is dry and ideal for exploring, with temperatures ranging from the high 20s to mid-30s Celsius.

Are you prepared for a captivating exploration of the Society Islands? Here are some of the highlights!

Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti

Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti are the two main islands of Tahiti, known for their lush landscapes, stunning white sand beaches, and vibrant culture. These islands offer a variety of exciting activities, from surfing and stand-up paddleboarding to canoeing and kayaking. And for the ultimate Tahitian experience, stay in one of the luxury resorts where you can pamper yourself and enjoy all the amenities of paradise.

One of the best things to do in Tahiti is to catch some waves at Teahupoo. Here are some highlights:

  • Teahupoo is known for its consistent barrels and the “heaviest” wave globally.
  • Every August, the island hosts the Teahupoo surf event, an exciting professional surf competition that attracts surfers from around the globe.
  • The best time to surf in Tahiti is during the dry season, from May to August, when the waves peak.

Overwater Bungalows in Bora Bora

Villas in the lagoon with steps into shallow, clean water with coral.
Villas in the lagoon with steps into shallow, clean water with coral.

Imagine waking up in a luxurious overwater bungalow surrounded by crystal-clear waters and stunning views of lush mountains and vibrant coral reefs. This dream can become a reality in Bora Bora, where overwater bungalows originated in the 1960s. These unique accommodations provide guests direct access to the lagoon’s turquoise waters, making it easy to enjoy various water activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and jet skiing.

One of the most memorable experiences in Bora Bora is exploring the island’s lagoon, where you can snorkel with tropical-colored fish, harmless reef sharks, and giant manta rays gliding leisurely through the coral gardens. For an even more extraordinary perspective, take a helicopter flight with Tahiti Nui Helicopters and enjoy bird’s eye views of the lagoon, the overwater bungalows, and the heart-shaped island of Tupai.

Unwind in Moorea’s Tranquil Paradise

Colorful Cook's Bay Sailboats Mount Tohivea, the highest mountain in Moorea Tahiti, French Polynesia.
Colorful Cook’s Bay Sailboats Mount Tohivea, the highest mountain in Moorea Tahiti, French Polynesia.

Moorea is one of French Polynesia’s most scenically striking islands, with its breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and charming villages. Easily accessible by ferry or plane from Papeete, Moorea offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

While visiting Moorea, stay at the Sofitel Mo’orea Iaora, which offers stunning views of the island’s jungle-covered mountain range. For water enthusiasts, the Kia Ora Hotel provides kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, snorkel gear, and a dive center, ensuring endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation in the island’s translucent lagoon.

2. Dive into French Polynesia’s Marine Life

French Polynesia’s incredible marine life is a sight to behold, with its diverse and vibrant underwater world just waiting to be explored. From cetaceans such as:

  • whales
  • dolphins
  • sharks
  • rays
  • sea turtles
  • seabirds
  • a multitude of coral reef fish

French Polynesia offers countless opportunities for unforgettable encounters with the ocean’s most fascinating inhabitants.

Are you eager to discover an extraordinary underwater universe? Here are the optimum ways to experience the marine life of French Polynesia.

Reef Breaks and Scuba Diving

Rangiroa in French Polynesia.
Rangiroa in French Polynesia.

Experience world-class reef breaks and scuba diving in French Polynesia, with its diverse marine life and stunning underwater landscapes. As you descend into the depths, you’ll be greeted by walls of sharks, families of friendly dolphins, and an array of vibrant coral formations.

The best places to dive are the atolls of Rangiroa and Fakarava, where you can explore the underwater world and witness the spectacular marine life that calls French Polynesia home.

For an even more thrilling experience, visit the ‘cleaning station’ in the Maupiti lagoon, where you can witness giant manta rays up close and personal. Whether you’re an experienced diver or just starting, French Polynesia’s crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life offer a diving experience.

Swim with Humpback Whales

Humpback whale under the sea.
Humpback whale under the sea.

Swimming with majestic humpback whales in the warm waters of French Polynesia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed. These gentle giants migrate to the region from July to October, offering an unparalleled opportunity for close encounters. The best time to swim with humpback whales is during their migration season, ensuring an unforgettable journey into their world.

One of the best places to swim with humpback whales is the island of Rurutu in the Austral archipelago. Visitors are only allowed to enter the water with humpback whales with the approval of a biologist on board. The biologist must ensure it is safe for the guests and non-invasive for the whales before allowing entry. This ensures an ethical and awe-inspiring experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for these magnificent creatures.

3. Immerse Yourself in Polynesian Culture

French Polynesia is known for its breathtaking landscapes, fascinating marine life, and vibrant Polynesian culture. French Polynesia offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in fascinating traditions and customs, from traditional dance and music performances to ancient temples and tiki statues.

Are you eager to immerse in the enthralling realm of Polynesian culture? Let’s get started!

Traditional Dance and Music

Experience the vibrant Polynesian culture through traditional dance and music performances, showcasing the rich history and heritage of the islands. The traditional dances of French Polynesia, such as the Otea and the ʻōteʻa, are deeply rooted in Polynesian culture and are accompanied by percussion instruments like the To’ere and Pahu.

The traditional music of French Polynesia is characterized by its use of percussion instruments, such as the To’ere and Pahu, as well as traditional singing and chanting. These captivating performances offer a glimpse into the unique world of Polynesian culture and provide a memorable experience for all who witness them.

Ancient Temples and Tiki Statues

Tiki sculpture on the Marae in Tahiti.
Tiki sculpture on the Marae in Tahiti.

Discover ancient temples and tiki statues hidden throughout French Polynesia, offering a glimpse into the region’s fascinating past. These sacred sites, known as marae, were built by the ancient Polynesians as places of worship for their gods and are considered sacred sites even today. Some of French Polynesia’s most notable ancient temples include Marae Taputapuatea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Arahurahu Marae, and Marae Anini.

Tiki statues in distant Hiva Oa are another fascinating aspect of Polynesian culture, representing the spirits of their ancestors and gods. Exploring these ancient sites allows you to step back in time and gain a deeper understanding of the rich cultural heritage that has shaped French Polynesia into the captivating destination it is today.

4. Adventure Awaits in the Marquesas Islands

Bay of Anoha and Haatuatua in Marquises Islands, French Polynesia.
Bay of Anoha and Haatuatua in Marquises Islands, French Polynesia.

The Marquesas Islands are an exciting group of volcanic islands located in French Polynesia’s central South Pacific Ocean. Known for their:

  • stunning rugged landscapes
  • thrilling mountain hikes
  • mysterious sacred tiki statues
  • laid-back lifestyle

The Marquesas Islands provide an enticing escape for those searching for adventure and serenity.

Are you set for an adventure to the Marquesas Islands? Let’s discover the marvels that lie ahead!

Hiking Trails and Ancient Ruins

Explore the rugged beauty of the Marquesas Islands, with their challenging hiking trails, ancient ruins, and breathtaking views. The best hiking trails in the Marquesas Islands include Atuona Valley and Fatu Hiva Road – Omoa to Hanavave, where you can enjoy stunning views and challenging terrain. These trails offer a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty and rich history of the Marquesas Islands, providing unforgettable memories for those who venture off the beaten path.

In addition to the stunning landscapes, the Marquesas Islands are home to fascinating ancient ruins and sacred tiki statues. As you explore the island’s trails, keep an eye out for these mysterious relics from the past, offering a glimpse into the unique history and culture of the Marquesas Islands.

Black Pearl Farms and Artisan Crafts

Visit black pearl farms and local artisan workshops in the Marquesas Islands, showcasing the region’s unique crafts and traditions. The Champon Pearl Farm on the Island of Taha’a is one of the most exciting black pearl farms in the Marquesas Islands, where you can learn about cultivating and harvesting these precious gems.

The Marquesas Islands are also home to various incredible artisan crafts, including wood carving, basket weaving, and jewelry making. Visiting these local workshops provides a unique opportunity to witness the skill and creativity of the Marquesan artisans and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir to remember your incredible journey.

5. Savor French Polynesia’s Delicious Cuisine

Tahiti food National dish local typical cuisine - Tahitian Raw Fish salad called Poisson Cru in French Polynesia.
Tahiti food National dish local typical cuisine – Tahitian Raw Fish salad called Poisson Cru in French Polynesia.

French Polynesia’s delicious cuisine reflects its diverse and vibrant culture, offering a unique blend of flavors, ingredients, and culinary traditions. From mouth-watering seafood dishes to tantalizing tropical fruits, French Polynesia’s cuisine will surely delight your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Are you prepared to relish the tastes of French Polynesia? Explore some of the region’s most delicious dishes and dining experiences!

Taste Poisson Cru and Coconut Bread

Poisson Cru, a traditional French Polynesian dish, is made with fresh fish, raw (usually tuna), marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, and is often served with crunchy raw vegetables and rice. This delicious dish is a must-try for seafood lovers, showcasing the fresh and vibrant flavors of the islands and providing an authentic taste of French Polynesia.

Coconut bread, another staple of French Polynesian cuisine, is made with coconut milk and flour, resulting in a soft, moist bread often served with jams, honey, or butter. This delicious treat perfectly accompanies your morning coffee or afternoon tea, offering a taste of island life and a delightful addition to your culinary adventure.

Experience Local Markets and Fine Dining

To immerse yourself in French Polynesia’s vibrant food scene, explore the bustling local markets, such as the Municipal Market Mercato Coperto di Uturoa in Papeete and the Marché Couvert De Raiatea. These markets offer a unique opportunity to sample fresh, local produce and interact with the friendly locals, providing a taste of authentic island life.

For those seeking a more refined dining experience, French Polynesia’s fine dining establishments offer exquisite island cuisine featuring fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and local specialties. Whether you prefer to indulge in a lavish meal or savor the flavors of the islands at a local market, French Polynesia’s diverse and delicious cuisine is sure to satisfy every palate.

6. Austral Islands: A Hidden Gem

The Austral Islands, the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, consist of:

  • Tubuai
  • Rurutu
  • Rimatara
  • Rapa
  • Raivavae

These lesser-known gems offer a tranquil escape from the more touristy areas of French Polynesia, boasting pristine lagoons, abundant marine life, and stunning landscapes.

Are you prepared to discover the hidden treasures of the Austral Islands? Let’s uncover the wonders that Rurutu and Raivavae have in store!

Explore Rurutu’s Whale Watching Opportunities

The port and village of Moerai, Rurutu island, Austral islands (Tubuai islands), French Polynesia, Oceania, South Pacific Ocean.
The port and village of Moerai, Rurutu island, Austral islands (Tubuai islands), French Polynesia, Oceania, South Pacific Ocean.

Rurutu, an island in the Austral archipelago, is known for its incredible whale-watching opportunities, with majestic humpback whales migrating to the island’s waters from July to October. The crystal-clear waters offer unparalleled views of these mighty creatures, providing an awe-inspiring experience for all who visit.

The best time to visit Rurutu for whale watching is during their migration season, ensuring an unforgettable journey into their world. With responsible tourism practices in place, visitors can enjoy a thrilling and ethical experience, gaining a deep appreciation for these magnificent creatures and the enchanting waters they call home.

Discover Raivavae’s Blue Lagoons

Beautiful lagoon.
Beautiful lagoon.

Another hidden gem in the Austral group is Raivavae, an island known for its pristine blue lagoons and breathtaking coral reefs. These tranquil waters provide a serene escape from the more touristy areas of French Polynesia, offering the perfect setting for:

  • swimming
  • snorkeling
  • kayaking
  • stand-up paddleboarding

As you explore the azure waters of Raivavae’s lagoons, you’ll encounter abundant marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and manta rays, making for an unforgettable underwater experience. The pristine beauty and serenity of Raivavae’s blue lagoons will leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.

7. Water Sports and Fun in the Sun

French Polynesia is the perfect destination for adventure and fun in the sun, offering various water sports and activities to suit all interests and skill levels. From scuba diving and snorkeling to spot reef sharks, stingrays, and various tropical fish up-close to kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing, there’s no shortage of excitement in the beautiful waters of French Polynesia.

French Polynesia is an idyllic setting for a memorable island adventure, whether you’re an adrenaline enthusiast or someone who enjoys basking in the warm sun and crystal-clear waters. So, arm yourself with sunscreen, pack your swimsuit, and immerse yourself in a world of fun and thrill in the South Pacific!

8. Gambier Islands: A Diver’s Paradise

The Gambier Islands, located in the remote southeastern corner of French Polynesia, are a true diver’s paradise. With crystal-clear waters, abundant marine life, and stunning coral reefs, the Gambier Islands offer an unparalleled diving experience for novice and experienced divers.

Some of the best diving spots in the Gambier Islands include Zentacle, which offers impressive dive sites, sneaky snorkel spots, and breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Another option is to explore the pristine underwater world of the archipelago, discovering the unique marine life and vibrant coral formations that call these waters home.

No matter where you choose to dive in the Gambier Islands, you’re sure to be mesmerized by the beauty and diversity of this incredible underwater paradise.

9. Tuamotu Archipelago’s Pink Sand Beaches

Boat excursions are one of several activities offered to visitors to the island of Anaa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia.
Boat excursions are one of several activities offered to visitors to the island of Anaa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia.

The Tuamotu Archipelago, also known as the Tuamotus, is a chain of islands and atolls in French Polynesia. It’s a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts, boasting some of the world’s most beautiful and unique beaches. One of the archipelago’s standout features is its pink sand beaches, a sight to behold and a must-see for any visitor.

These pink sand beaches owe their unique color to crushed coral and shells mixed with white sand. The result is a stunning, soft pink hue that contrasts beautifully with the clear turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. These beaches are beautiful, serene, and relatively untouched, providing a tranquil setting for relaxation or a romantic getaway.

In addition to their beauty, the pink sand beaches of the Tuamotu Archipelago are also home to a diverse range of marine life, making them a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. Visitors can explore vibrant coral reefs and come face-to-face with colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and other marine creatures.

Whether you’re a beach lover, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, the pink sand beaches of the Tuamotu Archipelago are a must-visit destination.

10. Plan Your Trip with Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui aircraft (Airbus A340) descending toward LAX for landing.
Air Tahiti Nui aircraft (Airbus A340) descending toward LAX for landing.

To make the most of your French Polynesia adventure, plan your trip with Air Tahiti Nui, the flagship carrier of French Polynesia. Offering convenient flights and travel packages, Air Tahiti Nui provides service from:

With connections to over 30 other exciting destinations through partnerships and codeshare agreements.

When planning your trip, be sure to book a window seat on your Air Tahiti domestic flight, as the aerial views of the islands are simply breathtaking. From the moment you board your flight to your final approach into French Polynesia, you’ll be treated to a unique and unforgettable journey that will leave you longing to return to this enchanting corner of the world.


In summary, French Polynesia offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and a taste of paradise. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant marine life, rich cultural heritage, and diverse activities, there’s something for everyone in this captivating South Pacific destination.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream trip to French Polynesia today and prepare to be captivated by the beauty, culture, and adventure that awaits you in this enchanting corner of the world!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days is enough in French Polynesia?

With so many islands to explore, ten days is the perfect time to experience French Polynesia’s beauty. Whether you seek romance in Bora Bora or unforgettable diving experiences in Rangiroa and Fakarava, the islands offer something for everyone!

What is French Polynesia famous for?

French Polynesia is renowned for its stunning beaches and luxurious resorts, but it also boasts a vibrant culture that’s being celebrated by its younger generation!

Is French Polynesia expensive to visit?

French Polynesia is not a budget destination, as the average visitor spends around F18,275 ($165) daily! Be prepared to spend F5,279 ($48) on meals and F5,972 ($54) on transportation.

Is Tahiti or Bora Bora better?

Tahiti and Bora Bora have many similarities but distinct differences – Tahiti is more urbanized, while Bora Bora is a more intimate, high-end location. Ultimately, the decision of which is better comes down to personal preference.

What is the best time to visit French Polynesia?

If you’re looking for the ideal time to explore French Polynesia, look no further than May through September for a fantastic dry season experience.