French Polynesia is so much more than a grouping of archipelagos – it is one of the biggest and most breathtaking collections of tropical islands and hidden paradises you can possibly imagine. It boasts a whopping 118 islands and covers over 7,000 square kilometers. Still, every such collective need a central hub and an administrative center, and the “capital” island of French Polynesia is a volcanic pearl of the Pacific known as Tahiti. It is part of the collection known as Society Island, which also boasts Bora Bora as its member – one of the most popular tourist spots in the entire world. If you are yearning to have a captivating adventure in this corner of the world, here’s what you need to know about visiting Tahiti and Bora Bora, the most amazing islands of the Pacific Ocean.
Tahiti – Basics
Tahiti is the largest of all islands in French Polynesia and it is a home to the collective’s capital city Papeete. With a population of circa 190,000 people, over 80% of them are of Polynesian descent. In fact, the ancient Polynesian people have settled into these corners of the world more than 4,000 years ago. The city lies on the north-western coast of the island, below Mount Orohena. It has a very distinctive appearance – it consists of two volcanic peaks that rise in a spectacular fashion out of the deep Pacific waves and which are connected with a narrow parcel of land. If you are arriving in Papeete via plane, the aerial view of the island is truly remarkable.
Tahiti – Papeete
The capital city of French Polynesia is not exactly a metropolis but it boasts all the amenities and services the spoiled tourist might require. Most of all, it is a hectic harbor city that is constantly in flux – countless freighters, yachts and cruise liners course through its port. The town has many quaint accommodations and a lot of charming nooks and crannies which can easily be explored on foot since the town doesn’t cover a lot of square footage. Still, with a population of 27,000 people, it is the “biggest” urban area in entire French Polynesia.
Bora Bora – Basics
Bora Bora is the jewel of French Polynesia and the most popular island in the grouping. It might not be the closest island to Tahiti (that would be Moorea) but it is the most renowned one for a very simple reason – it is the most gorgeous tropical paradise in the world. A volcanic island that is surrounded by the “ringed” reef looks more like a figment of someone’s playful imagination than a real place. It might not be the most populated island nor is the one that is rife with modern buildings or cutting-edge technology, but that exactly is the point! As unspoiled by civilization as it stands, Bora Bora is a marvel to behold and a playground to revel in!
Bora Bora – The accommodation
Since Bora Bora is so popular among the globe-trotting travelers, it boasts some of the most luxurious accommodations out there. However, these incredible locations, like for example the sumptuous St Regis Bora Bora resort, are not designed to stand out like a sore thumb in the lush landscape. Accommodations are made to blend in organically with the surrounding nature and one of the best and most iconic examples of this is the famous Bora Bora bungalows, which are as popular now as they ever were.
Bora Bora – the playground
Still, Bora Bora is not merely a convenient background for a number of interesting hotels. There are countless locations and activities to enjoy as you trek across the island and its reef. In fact, if you are a spoiled traveler, you should know that you can find a number of pampering establishments where you can get a spa, beauty treatments, and massages. However, be forewarned: because it is so popular and exclusive, Bora Bora is also incredibly expensive. Thankfully, there are ways to go about the island without spending too much money, but there are several things you definitely have to try out – like going on the underwater adventure through the lagoon to inspect the marine life up close in a way that is quite unprecedented!
Tahiti and Bora Bora are, for all intents and purposes, the absolute perfect “specimens” of tropical islands – the lush, beautiful, awe-inspiring corners of the world that have become engraved in the collective unconscious as the archetypes of tropical islands. Once you pay them a visit for the first time, it is easy to become addicted to the atmosphere, the vistas, the rhythm of life that pulsates through this region. Like the most beautiful people in the world (beautiful in all the ways that count), the Polynesians will grab you by the heart and make you wish you could stay with them forever.