Nowhere on earth is ‘tropical’ quite like on the islands of French Polynesia, with Tahiti and her accompanying Society Islands at the very heart. There is truly nothing to top their jagged mountains dripping with rainforest, no coral reefs to match the underwater magic of their lagoons, nowhere to equal the vibrancy of their red sunsets, turquoise waters and emerald-green trees, and even the cultural richness of their native ceremonies cannot be found elsewhere in the world.
The mythical island of Bora Bora is best explored by private yacht. Its dark-green mountains, known locally as Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia, appear to hover as they rise up out of a deep, blue lagoon, their peaks lost amid the clouds that choose to huddle over the islands rather than the vast expanse of ocean that surrounds them in every direction. Cruise through the lagoon and take in the views over the foothills covered with frangipani and hibiscus, passing through Te Ava Nui and into the open water. From here it is a short hop through the Pai Pai Pass lagoon that surrounds the island of Taha’a which lies silhouetted against the magnificent Polynesian sunset.
Neighbouring Raiatea’s rugged interior is equally as impressive as its surrounding beaches. Lying in the same lagoon as Taha’a, Raiatea is home to French Polynesia’s most sacred temple, dedicated to Oro, the god of war, and once the site of human sacrifices. High above the temple, the formidable Tapioi Mountain rises out of the morning mist and makes for an energetic hike to discover a spectacular view over Raiatea, her surrounding lagoon and neighbouring islands.
For the ultimate tropical idyll, see here for a sample itinerary from Fakarava to Tahiti.
- Take a tender out to one of the lagoons and float amid the rippling rainbow of fish, including striped snapper, parrotfish and angel fish.
- Enjoy watching the sunset from your deck after a day exploring deserted islands whilst sampling some local Hinanu beer.
- Snorkel in the glorious lagoons set between volcanic formed mountains on the island of Huahine.
- Kayak up the Faaroa river into Raiatea’s tropical interior and visit the island’s horticultural gardens.
- Enjoy freshly caught lobster prepared by your chef on the deck of your yacht.
- On your last night experience Tahitian dance and music around a blazing camp fire as the locals perform a special farewell ceremony for you.