Often referred to by the name of its main island, Tahiti, French Polynesia is an enchanting array of reef-lined islands and translucent azure lagoons.
Situated in the South Pacific, this group of islands is no longer a playground only for the rich and famous. Honeymooners will find some of the most breathtaking resorts of the world on the various islands, with service to match.
Many of the islands’ resorts have overwater bungalows that leading directly into the sea-life rich lagoon waters, allowing visitors to step directly into this underwater wonderland from their bedrooms. When to Go
French Polynesia is located south of the Equator, making its seasons reverse of those in the United States. French Polynesia’s dry winter season, from May to October, is the best time to visit. November through April is the summer rainy season, with the daytime often humid, cloudy and very wet. Most of the annual rainfall occurs during these months.
With the French Polynesia dry season coinciding with the wedding/honeymoon season in the United States, July and August become the peak months for travel. Flights and top accommodations fill up quickly and so it is advisable to book as far in advance as possible.
Throughout July, the Heiva festival is celebrated. This is when the region comes to life as locals celebrate Polynesian culture and the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in Paris. Where to Go Tahiti
Tahiti does not possess the sweeping white beaches and vistas of its sister islands. Instead, among its waterfalls, mountains and black-sand beaches, it is the heart and soul of French Polynesia that makes it so luring to tourists. Every July, it is here that you’ll see the country’s liveliest festival, Heiva, in action with percussion and heavy dancing throughout the streets. Centered around the small, but chaotic, capital of Pape’ete, it is filled with nightlife, shopping, cinemas, music and a wide variety of food. Days will be filled with visits to archeological sites and nights with the legendary nightclubs. Bora Bora
Bora Bora, famous for its hedonistic paradise, is well-known for its fairy-tale creation of jagged volcanic peaks set against crystal-clear sea blue lagoons. The most expensive island in French Polynesia, Bora Bora offers luxury previously only known to Royals. Labeled “pearl of the Pacific” by James Cook, many indulgent travelers insist that it is worth every penny for its magnificent beauty. Five star hotels abound, multi-course candle-lit dinners are the norm and breakfast is as extravagant as dinner. Mo’orea
A short hop and skip away from Tahiti, but lesser known, Mo’orea is a hidden beauty with picturesque mountains that rise vertically out of a clear lagoon surrounded by lush vegetation. Also more relaxed than neighboring Bora Bora, Mo’orea has a good range of accommodations that allow for both luxury and budget travelers to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. You can choose from daily activities like walking along the sea bed, snorkeling, cycling, hiking, scuba diving, visiting sacred sites, horseback riding or splashing in the lagoons.
Article and photos contributed by Parul Pillai of Highline Travel
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