French Polynesia is a breathtaking archipelago in the South Pacific an 8.5 hour flight southwest of Los Angeles. A total of 118 islands over 2,500 square miles make up the territory. Many of them are uninhabited. But, breathtaking Tahiti, Bora Bora, Mo’orea and a few other atolls call the area home and are popular tourist destinations.
Papeete is the capitol of French Polynesia and located on Tahiti.
Although two towering volcanic cones make Tahiti habitable only along the coast and valleys, it boasts the highest population of any surrounding islands. Nightlife, entertainment, and shopping are vacationers’ activities of choice on Papeete. Most airlines fly into Papeete, making it the jumping off point for travel throughout French Polynesia.
Mo’orea island lies 12 miles away and is more laid back. Ferries run on a regular schedule. The scenic crossing takes 30 minutes. Mo’orea’s varied terrain ranges from white coral sand beaches to rainforest and cattle farms inland. As with all the islands, the diverse marine life makes snorkeling a highlight.
Another stunning French Polynesian island is Bora Bora. Surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and protective coral reef, it’s nicknamed “leading lady.”
Bora Bora’s beaches are ranked among the top 10 in the world, and a scuba divers’ paradise. Luxury resort bungalows perched over the water on stilts are coveted by vacationers.
A few fun facts about French Polynesia…the fragrant tiaré flower is used to signify relationship status. Placing the single white flower behind your left ear shows you’re in a relationship. Placing it behind the right ear means you’re single.
Vanilla beans and pineapples are two widely grown crops on the islands. Noa Noa Vanilla Paste with it’s thick consistency and bits of vanilla bean seeds is a favorite souvenir. Tahitian pineapples and the libations made with them are a close second.
French post-impressionist artist, Paul Gauguin, moved to Tahiti in 1891 and spent the next 12 years painting brightly colored scenes of the local culture until his death in 1903. His artwork is seen throughout the islands.
While there are many reasons to visit French Polynesia, here are 10 photos to inspire you to go!
Noa Noa Tahiti Vanilla Paste can only be purchased in French Polynesia. But, Tahitian vanilla beans to use in ice cream, flavored sugar and more are available to order here: https://amzn.to/3nNA9zV