French Polynesia is a perfect getaway spot. Well, to be fair, it would be incorrect to call this gargantuan collection of islands a “spot,” it’s more like an assembly of getaways that will leave you spoiled for choice. The gigantic group consists of 118 islands that make up five distinct archipelagos, but above all else, Society Islands is the group most in the spotlight. I was really intrigued to find out why, so I took one giant trans-oceanic flight to Tahiti, the central hub of the island collection, and from there, I embarked on my own personal escape to Bora Bora and Tahaa, by far the best of French Polynesia vacations.
The beauty of Bora Bora
In many ways, Bora Bora is the poster child of French Polynesia. Even though Tahiti is the main island that’s also home to the capital Papeete, the tropical beauties of Bora Bora simply take the cake. In fact, they both make the cake with chocolate frosting on top and then devour it with shameless gusto. As a small ferry approached the docks of Bora Bora’s Vaitape, I was absolutely floored by the coral-induced kaleidoscope of crisp aquatic colors that stretched directly into the lush greenery of the island.
A Paradise to Enjoy
Vaitape is the only town of significant size on the entire island of Bora Bora, with a few hints of civilization strewn about here and there – and this is exactly the beauty of this place. You can truly feel like an adventurer as you explore the island’s rich biome and untouched natural landscapes. Don’t let the apparent lack of facilities fool you – there is an overwhelming number of interesting Bora Bora activities to enjoy, including maritime lagoon tours, Jet Ski adventures, eating at a number of exquisite traditional restaurants, etc.
Of course, the island is a true paradise for people who’d love to get up close and personal with incredible endemic marine life. You can visit Le Meridien Bora Bora ecological center and turtle sanctuary to inspect some truly fascinating and rare species. If you want to get immersed into the aquatic surroundings and truly see what the coral kaleidoscope is all about, you can go on aqua-safari helmet dives, aqua-bike underwater tours and (if you don’t want to get wet) glass bottom boat – which is something I truly recommend to all newcomers.
Tahaa (or if you will Taha’a) is somewhere between 30 and 40 kilometers closer to Tahiti than Bora Bora, and it stands right between the two more renowned islands. Still, even though it is not as famous, Tahaa is a worthy companion to the prestigious Society Islands. This is actually the first island I visited on the tour due to the aforementioned practical reasons, and simply because I am a big fan of vanilla. Did you know that Tahaa is known locally as Vanilla Island because it grows a staggering 80% of all vanilla produced in this corner of the world? I knew I simply had to visit Vallee de la Vanille Farm and savor the sweet fragrance for myself!
It is also just as lush as Bora Bora, but it lacks its signature glamour, which can actually be an upside for some people who want a more casual tropical adventure. To be honest, it also doesn’t hurt that it’s much more affordable destination than Bora Bora, which is an island that often boasts ridiculous price ranges. While you are visiting Tahaa, make sure to reserve one whole afternoon to go snorkeling and really see what the uninterrupted marine environment looks like. At the end of the day, visit the captivating Champon Pearl Farm to learn how pearls are cultivated and harvested.
Tropical paradises have always been my forte when it comes to great escapades, but hardly any other island havens stole my heart with such efficiency as Bora Bora and Tahaa. They are, to be perfectly blunt, absolutely sublime and I am aware this might be completely subjective. After all, what’s a perfect destination for one person is a playground of torture for another. But here’s the thing: unless you pay these islands a visit, you’ll hardly know to which part of the spectrum you belong.
About the Author
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She spends most of her free time at home walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
I took my honeymoon in Moorea, another island in French Polynesia. Read about my trip or get ideas for other honeymoon destinations. -Jamie