There’s plenty of islands, but we were mainly interested in lagoons and sea life. Here’s the summary by archipelago:
- Society (Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatera, Bora-Bora, Huahine…): lagoons 🏖
- Tumuotu (Fakarava, Rangiroa…): wonderful atolls 💦
- Marquises: scenic views and culture 🌋
- Australes: best lagoons but slightly colder for the season 🛶
We decided to stay in the Society island for our trip since we had only 15 days and were really keen to see Bora-Bora and Moorea, and we weren’t disappointed. After picking the archipelago, we looked at each of the islands, and picked four:
- Huahine for its wilderness and relaxing vibe
- Bora-Bora for its worldwide famous lagoons and submarine fauna
- Moorea for it’s mountain reliefs and water activities
- Tahiti for its landscapes and its international airport lol
If you had a bit more time than us, we recommend you to check out Maupiti and/or Raiatera with Taha’a.
1. Huahine in 5 days
Jungle, lagoon and snorkelling
2. Bora Bora in 4 days
Lagoon, lagoon, lagoon
3. Moorea in 3 days
Boat, snorkelling and car
4. Tahiti in 2 days
Dark sand beach and waves
General Tips 👏
- Everything close very early, shops around 5PM and restaurants around 8:30PM.
- Polynesians people are very nice and organised, and mostly fluent in English.
- Winter is usually hotter but with more chances of rain, still considered as low season but real good (october is the best).
- All the islands are very quite at night, don’t expect party places like in Thailand.
- We recommend 100£/day/person, (50£/day for a car, 40£/night for hotel, 50£ for a frugal dinner out, 60£ for an activity like day trip or scuba dive).
- Bring your own fins because no one rent some, and some sea shoes since there’s a lot of rocks and corals in the water.
- There’s plenty of wild chicken and dogs in all the islands.
- It’s an expensive place, even to shop for basic stuff. Count more or less the double compare to London’s prices.
- Polynesia means a lot of islands, and refers to all the islands included in the triangle formed by New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island.
We spent 3500£ in 14 days, which means 250£/day, and that was a bit tight.
- Air Tahiti, the local airline, is operating all the flights in between islands on the whole area and is very reliable. They offer passes to visit multiple islands. If you do so, make sure to close your loop of flights to get the discount when booking. For example book Tahiti-Bora Bora-Moorea-Tahiti.
- Within an island, usually the best is to rent a scooter/car (or electric bike if you feel sporty), depending of the size of the island. We rented a scooter on Huahine and a car on Moorea and Tahiti.
- Netflix: Perfect for rainy days.
- XCurrency: Offline and up-to-date currency rates.
- TravelSpend: Log and budget your expenses day by day.
- Maps.me: Free offline map of the world, including trail paths.
- FourSquare: Perfect to find the best restaurants in a very easy way.
- AirBnB and Booking.com: The best to find cheap accommodations.
- Normal restaurants are quite expensive in average but high in quality, you can count around 3000XPF for one main.
- The roulottes, in between restaurant and street food, are everywhere in Polynesia and the best ratio quality/price. Portions are usually huge (one for two is normally fine). You can count 2000XPF for the grilled fish of the day with fries, serving two people if you’re not super hungry. They are also look a bit dodgy but there’s no sanitaries problem. Kitchen are clean and ingredients are super fresh.
- Buying food at the supermarket and cook at home is also possible, but won’t save much money. Everything is imported so be ready to pay more than usual at the grocery store (average double the price, like 6 pack local beer for 12£).
- Dishes to absolutely try (available both at restaurant and roulotte) are: grilled fish of the day with vanilla sauce, half-cooked fish (see Bora-Bora), fish cooked with coconut and tuna carpaccio.
- Usually restaurants have english menus.
There’s two main telecom operators in Polynesia: Vini and Vodafone. When we arrived at the airport, we bought a Vodafone card of 4GB for 40 euros. We had a pretty good coverage during our stay. We also didn’t ran out of data but it’s possible to top-up via vouchers.
No Visas are needed for UK/EU countries, however double check before booking your flight. Not even need to fill an immigration paper, which is pretty cool because if you come from somewhere else, the queue at the border is quite long.
We spent all our nights in AirBnBs (beside two nights in a resort in Bora-Bora) and they were all clean and basic. It’s better to book in advance since there’s not much of those still in Polynesia, but they’re usually a good value compare to the very high prices of the luxury hotels.
Most of them come with very comfortable amenities (washing machine, kitchen…) which is very useful after few days in the water or if you are on a budget. During your stay, don’t hesitate to ask your host for activities.
Most of the tourism in French Polynesia is luxury tourism (honeymoon in expensive resorts…). This started to change with more airlines operating the region and more private AirBnBs opening on all the islands. Now is a really good time to go since it’s slowly opening to the ‘alternative’ tourism and prices are very low. Checkout FrenchBee, the french low-cost for going to Tahiti from France, and AirBnB for accommodations.
Packing List 📦
- Beach gear (towel, swimwear, flip-flops…)
- Snorkelling gear (mask, snorkel and fins if possible)
- Rain jacket
- Foldable towel
- Moskito repellent
- Re-usable water bottle
Overall Experience 🤓
French Polynesia was very mystical for us since we were not sure of what to expect of such a remote place. We loved it, the landscape, the food, the lagoons and the people, really not disappointing. Coming from the Maldives in the same trip, we agreed that French Polynesia doesn’t have the best beach in the world, but clearly have the best lagoons and views.
The landscape where the high and very green volcanic mountains are merged with the blue lagoon are exceptional and worth to pay a visit. The big surprise for us was the food and local people. We were not expecting anything special but turned out every meals we had was fantastic (if you like fish), and all the people we met were incredibly kind, relaxed and helpful.
Make sure to get there at least one time in your life, but also make sure to save some money before getting there.
Hope this was helpful, you can leave comments if you need extra informations or if you have any questions or suggestions! You can checkout our summary video below built with 1 second a day, including our trip to Easter Island.
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Our 5 days stay in Huahine.