French Polynesia: Tahiti and Bora Bora!
French Polynesia consists of 118 islands, all dazzlingly different in terrain and nature, that are considered by many experienced and travelled adventurers to be a true heaven on earth. If you’ve seen memorable pictures of a stunning tropical paradise in travel brochures they were likely of French Polynesia. “Endless white beaches?” Plenty. “Crystal clear coastal waters?” Of course! “Colourful schools of tropical fish?” Where would we be without them? “Lush tropical greenery?” You get the idea.
The most amazing thing is that everything mentioned above? It’s all true.
Although no, the most amazing thing is that we go there with you!
Of course, the exploration of all of the islands of this archipelago can take up half your life, so to help with this dilemma we suggest:
Our 10-day sea adventure, with a special focus on the main diamonds of Oceania – the islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Huahine, and Tahaa – where you can feel like a true pioneer, a James Cook of our time; immerse yourself in a completely different culture and way of life; explore the intricacies of local leisure and cuisine; and swim with sharks and rays in the perfectly clear waters of the Pacific Ocean, for the daring.
Let’s fulfill these dreams together!
A trip to French Polynesia will be like no other you take in your lifetime. It’s hard to imagine that just 6 time zones away lies a culture and mentality so vibrantly different from our own, with its rich heritage, traditions and customs, cuisine and nature…the tour of French Polynesia will differ from the usual week on a yacht and instead you will be transported to 10 days of pleasure in paradise! So, shall we start packing?
P.S. And yes, be prepared that in the description of the program you may periodically encounter unfamiliar words and concepts – do not worry, we will acclimatize quickly!
The following well thought through itinerary has been designed and kindly shared with us by Aleksandr Travel .
Here begins our familiarization with French Polynesia. We fly to Papeete, the capital of the island of Tahiti, and make another flight - an internal flight from Papeete to Raiatea Island, where our catamarans - Catana 55 and Catana 47 are waiting for us and will serve as our floating hotel for the next 10 days. We get acquainted with the catamarans and the team, listen to the briefing, and go to the nearest supermarket for provisions. In the evening (around 5 pm) we make our first crossing to the eastern part of the island of Tahaa. The crossing takes several hours, but the first of many vivid scenes that we will encounter on our adventure will already be unfolding before us - we watch the sun as it set over the unending Pacific Ocean!
In the evening, we dine on the beach and get acquainted with the local cuisine and the peculiarities of its preparation - since ancient times, the islands have had their own unique way of cooking. Outside the house, in the yard, an earthen oven (imu) was made, where food (traditionally vegetables and fruits or fish) was cooked on red-hot stones, wrapped in banana leaves. Such a tradition exists to this day, it does not matter where you are going to eat - in an expensive restaurant or a local fast food joint.
Early in the morning we need to prepare to leave for the island of Hua Hin - the crossing will take about 5-6 hours, so we suggest arriving by noon.
Hua Hin are two islands in French Polynesia: Big Hua Hin (Nui) and Small Hua Hin (Iti). They are connected by a bridge, and protected from the waves by coral reefs.
The locals call this place mystical and believe in the legend that Hua Hin appeared when the god Hiro once hit his canoe on this beach, and so the Bay of Marae emerged. There is indeed something mysterious in these places and in truth, these two islands still keep traces of the presence of ancient civilizations and ancient beliefs live among the indigenous population to this day.
These places are considered the most beautiful in French Polynesia. The reason for this is not only the luxurious beaches and views of the bay and coral reefs. Here, one can observe a unique optical illusion - the "green ray effect". At the exact moment the sun sets, the sunbeams are refracted in the atmosphere in such a strange way that they acquire an emerald shade and the stunning colour can be briefly visible (from 2 seconds to 5 minutes).
On this day, we suggest that everyone go explore the island itself - Hua Hin is considered the most mysterious of all the Polynesian islands. Hua Hin is rightly considered the largest archaeological center in the Polynesian triangle. On the island there are many untouched places, therefore archaeological excavations are constantly conducted here. It was here that traces were found of the oldest Polynesian cultures, dating back to 800-900 AD. Near the village of Maeva, traces of ancient civilizations were discovered, and to date, more than 200 such sites have been restored, including many marae. Marae are large stepped temples, sacred places of pre-Christian Polynesians.
To name a few other attractions on the islands we can visit - a farm for growing black pearls; vanilla plantations; botanical gardens; a shark feeding ceremony; hand-feeding ocean fish, rays, and sharks ... sounds tempting doesn’t it?
The evening will be spent in the town of Fare, which strongly resembles an ancient colonial city, drowning in lush greenery.
In the meantime, our catamarans, will pass to this part of the island and will wait for our arrival - well fed, slightly tired, already sunburnt, but still very hungry for the Polynesian adventure!
In the morning we leave early and return to Raiatea (the transfer will take about 6 hours). We will have to replenish our reserves and, finally, get acquainted with the island itself!
Raiatea, the second largest island in French Polynesia, is not as popular as Tahiti or Bora Bora, which makes it even more attractive for us, since no other people will then get in the way of us getting acquainted with everything this wonderful place has to offer!
Raiatea, or "holy island", is not considered the birthplace of all Polynesian civilizations for nothing. Once upon a time, a Maori tribe lived on the land of Raiatea, though back then it was called Hawaii (or Hawaii'Nui) funny enough, and was the religious and cultural center of all of ancient Polynesia. According to ancient legends, it was from this island that representatives of Maori were sent to travel, they were considered first-class navigators and discovered many islands in the Pacific Ocean - from the Hawaiian Islands to New Zealand. Since then, Raiatea preserved amazing archaeological and historical monuments. Among them, for example, is the ancient temple of Tamutapuatea Marae. It is dedicated to the god of war and is the most famous and largest mara (sacred place) in all of French Polynesia. Here, on the west of the island, there is another mara - Tainu. It was built as a small copy of the Tammutpuatea. The main temple actually consists of seven stone temples. As the legends say, it was here that the priests gathered from all Polynesian islands and performed sacrifices, and it was here that the most important issues were always addressed. There are also many fragments of terraces, various ancient cult objects, tools, and weapons on the island. Most of them were found in the valleys of Aver and Haapapar.
In addition to viewing historical monuments on Raiatea, there are many other ways to spend leisure time here. For example, you can take a cruise on the only navigable river - Faaroa. During it you will get acquainted with the unique animals and plants that grow here, for example, the exotic tiara apetachi flower. This beautiful four-leafed white flower opens only at dawn, and it produces a crackling sound. Many locals specially come here to spend the night in order to "hear" how the tiara apetachi unfurls. And after visiting the market town of Uturoa, you will get the opportunity to buy both products (exotic fruits, seafood, local sweets), and all kinds of products handcrafted by the Polynesian masters.
Again, an early morning crossing to the island of Bora Bora, which will take about 7 hours. In general, we very much want on this day to be in the ocean and enjoy the fantastic scenery to the fullest extent. Fishing, snorkeling (and places around Bora Bora are famous for it like no other in the world!!), kayaking, and other activities. In the evening we get into the marina and go for a walk around the town of Vaitape. We plan that the next two days we will explore the island of Bora Bora itself and select whichever activities will suit your taste.
The next 2 days we fully devote to the exploration of Bora Bora.
The main draw of Bora Bora, the thing that attracts travelers from all around the world, is the magnificent nature that the island is generously endowed with - mountain peaks, overgrown to the very tops with magnificent tropical greens; a variety of beautiful flowering plants and delicious fruits; and a colorful, densely populated, and fascinating underwater world. The locals are proud of their island and hospitably receive numerous guests, doing everything to introduce them to every corner of Bora Bora.
The island offers a lot of excursions - on foot, horse, or by jeep - along the shore or deep into the island. Everyone can look at the strange temples of Marae, which are still venerated by the indigenous Polynesians, and the village of Faantui, which used to be the residence of local leaders. You can also see the ruins of the US naval base that have remained since the war with Japan, as a reminder of some of the most tragic days of the history of the island.
On part of the island themed picnics are thrown, where young Polynesians will talk of tying pareos or smashing coconuts, about the secrets and customs of the island's native people, about which of the local plants can be eaten and how to cook them, and many more interesting things.
In the south-western part of the island there is a real "Coral Garden" where, under the guidance of an instructor, you can sink to the bottom of the lagoon to see the magnificence of the underwater world for yourself.
In the town of Tupitupiti, it will be especially interesting to go scub diving, here barracudas, tuna, and large sharks are most often spotted. The most daring scuba divers can even feed these predators. The climax of the excursion program can be a helicopter tour around Bora Bora to see the breathtaking panorama of the island.
Impressed by the unparalleled beauty and landscapes of Bora Bora, we go in search of more adventure!!
We straighten the sails and set off towards the island of Tahaa. Throughout the day we revel in nature, sunshine, the ocean, fishing, and swimming. In the evening we arrive at the island and have dinner on the beach.
This day is dedicated to exploring the island of Tahaa - the "vanilla island" of French Polynesia.
Among the historical monuments of Tahaa there are several perfectly preserved Marae, the ancient temples of the Polynesians. Three of them are on the shores of the Bay of Waimai, and five are in the Mao Bay. In one of the marae, the ceremonial platform (aha) is perfectly preserved.
On Tahaa there are only three villages scattered on its different shores. In the coastal waters of Tahaa, fishing is excellent. Usually fishing is done from the side of the boat, but if you want you can try having a go at underwater fishing.
Once you step on the shore of Tahaa, you will immediately understand why it was called the "vanilla island". The delicate aroma of this spice spreads far beyond the vast plantations that occupy most of the island. The smell of vanilla, piercing the air of the island, makes rest on Tahaa even more romantic. All those interested will be shown the vanilla plantations, and explained how the trees are grown, and how the vanilla is pollinated and ripened.
In addition to the vanilla trade, local people earn by selling unique black pearls, which are grown on several farms. Black pearls of the island of Tahaa are known to jewelers and lovers of precious ornaments all over the world, because they are of the highest quality. On one of the farms you will learn how to evaluate the quality of pearls, hear lyrical stories, and have the opportunity to buy a thread of amazingly beautiful pearls.
The pride and object of special care of the islanders is the turtle reserve. In it, under the care of kind-hearted people, many turtles spend their days in well-being, some of them belonging to unique and rare species, while others can boast of a truly advanced age.
We continue to explore the island of Tahaa and focus on its main asset - snow-white beaches and the clear, gentle waters of the lagoon. Here we will bask in the sun on the beach and swim in the azure water. The local beaches here have no bustle like large resorts and in this freedom and there is a hint of savagery and a special charm. The life of both native islanders and tourists coming to Tahaa flows slowly, as if everyone, getting here, gets a secret knowledge that life and beauty are eternal, and after a happy day will surely come a next even happier one.
In the evening we return to our home marina on the island of Raiatea.
In the morning we still have to say goodbye to our catamarans and get ready for a long flight home. But we are firmly convinced that the experiences impressed upon us of one of the most striking adventures of our lives will always remain with us!
- 10 days of impressions and life sailing on a catamaran
- professional skipper services
- final cleaning of the yacht
- bed linen, towels
- Outboard motor for boat
- food on yacht
-limited bar on yacht
What is extra?
- Flight to Tahiti and domestic flight from Tahiti - Raiatea
- restaurants and meals on shore
- Personal shopping
The program is preliminary and can vary depending on the weather conditions or the wishes of the crew.
- from USD: 2500
Trip Dates:2019-10-01 - 2019-10-12
Number of crew members:2
Number of participants:
2 of 12
French Polynesia: Tahiti and Bora Bora
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French Polynesia: Tahiti and Bora Bora
French Polynesia: Tahiti and Bora Bora
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