French Polynesia holidays
© Aranui Cruises
The traditional greeting of "Maeva" meaning welcome can be heard throughout this group of islands located in the South Pacific and covering a huge area of ocean encompassing some 4 million square kilometres, which equates to the same area as Europe.
However, dry land only represents 4000 square kilometres divided among 118 islands and separated into five archipelagos: to the north you have the sharp cliffs of the Marquesas, the majestic Society Islands and the jewel islands of Tuamotu are located in the centre, the fertile plains of the Australs sit to the south and the less visited Gambier archipelago is positioned to the southeast for those seeking remote adventure.
Sprinkled like a handful of stardust from space, the Islands of Tahiti are easily characterised by their isolation. Most islands are only sparsely populated and forty of them remain uninhabited to this day. The Polynesians are happy to share their natural joie de vivre (joy of living) with travellers and they are incredibly proud of their islands, this joy is expressed in their dance and music.
Tahiti is the heartbeat of French Polynesia. The island of Tahiti is made of two volcanic mountains: Tahiti Nui with its highest peak Mount 'Orohena and Tahiti Iti with Mount Mairenui. Not only is Tahiti the main port of call when arriving into Tahiti it is also home to Papeete, the capital city of French Polynesia. Papeete delivers a beautiful harbour, lush gardens, unique boutiques, friendly food trucks and colourful market stalls.
A few minutes flight from Tahiti, or just 30 minutes on the ferry, Moorea, the "sister island" is a magical island set on the most perfect lagoon. The island is divided by a couple of majestic bays, Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay, where the rich mountainous landscape contrast with the crystal clear blue lagoon. Its sweet pace of life and timeless charm immediately appeals to those seeking the quiet life.
Bora Bora (Pora Pora or Pōpora) the name sounds like a promise, the promise of an earth paradise discovery, which these islands are often associated to. It is fair to say the shape of the island and its lagoon are of a surreal beauty and fascinate visitors thanks to its mythical attraction. Bora Bora is a volcano set on one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. The over-water bungalow concept is a must, a peaceful haven over the lagoon offering direct access to the sea hosting manta rays and sharks.
The Marquesas archipelago is a powerful landscape, with its deep valleys and sharp peaks, there are few coastal plains or white sandy beaches, the main attraction of the Marquesas is its wild simplicity. Geographically isolated and one of the most remote archipelago's from any continent, the Marquesas is located 1500 km North-East of Tahiti and spread out over 12 islands of which only 6 are inhabited. Each island features spectacular untouched landscapes and a unique rich culture.
A great way to discover these islands is onboard the extraordinary passenger freighter, Aranui 3 or Aranui 5, where passengers are warmly greeted by the Marquesans and then given the opportunity to explore the natural and cultural discoveries of the islands, meanwhile the sailors deliver goods to the local people.
French Polynesia holidays
Cruise the Marquesas Islands
Discover Bora Bora
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