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Discover Tuamotu, the island paradise

  • French Polynesia Tuamotu, French Polynesia
    © iStockphoto.com / Mlenny Photography
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination French Polynesia

With their extraordinary underwater fauna, the Tuamotu were for a long time the exclusive kingdom of scuba divers. For a few years now, Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau and Fakarava, to mention just the islands with tourist infrastructures, have slowly been opening up to more extensive seaside tourism. Travelling to French Polynesia will undoubtedly be an experience like no other.

French Polynesia Tuamotu: the key figures

Surface area : 0.0 km2

Population : 110000 inhabitants

  • Tahitian hotels are up to your dreamiest expectations. The image of the idyllic "fare" on piles has now gone round the world.
  • Lagoons on one side, mountains to the other side: you can diversify pastimes and spend, to your choice, either a sportive or relaxing holiday.
  • This destination is particularly far away.
  • The important jet lag can be difficult to get over within one week only.

French Polynesia Tuamotu: what to visit?

Islands

  • Manihi
  • Rangiroa , French Polynesia
    Rangiroa
  • Rangiroa , French Polynesia

Diving

  • 0 , French Polynesia
    Diving
  • 0 , French Polynesia

Landscapes

  • The lagoon
  • The seabed

The fauna and flora

  • The marine fauna
  • The birds

French Polynesia Tuamotu: what to buy?

Art galleries and curios (local handicraft shops) on Tahiti sell high standards products. Do not miss out on Papeete's central market, which offers the most varied range in local handicraft stands.
Carved wood statuettes, copies of tiki gods or warriors, are of unvarying Polynesian arts inspiration. On the souvenir winners list are: mother-of-pearl ornaments and jewels, sea shell necklaces, which reflect the tradition of hospitability "a la tahitienne", collector's sea shells, from most common to most exceptional, which you will find in Papeete, monoi based oils and cosmetics, the famous plaited hats, made with coconut or pandanu leaves, the pareus, rectangle pieces of cloth with traditional patterns which women wrap around themselves in many different ways (the most beautiful are in Papeete city centre's specialized shops). You can also take a little vanilla back home (roughly 1 euro for a pod). Finally, if you decide to treat yourself to a black pearl, mounted as a jewel or not, you should know that there is enough to cater for all budgets and that the value in Tahiti is unbeatable. Ask a specialist to help you make your choice. For a "good deal", see the B or C category round pearls (from 130 euros). Allow roughly 20 euros for a pearl of lesser category.
Shops are open from 7.30 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday.
There are very few shops on the Tuamotu islands, except in major hotels but the archipelago is the black pearl's privileged territory which you can buy for a reasonable price directly from the producers.

French Polynesia Tuamotu: what to eat?

Raw fish, macerated in lime juice and coconut milk is the great Polynesian speciality. Other delicious meals: mahi mahi or swordfish skewers, vanilla of the island flavoured lobster, varo or mantis shrimp (long and very tasty shell fish), giant river prawns, seasoned with curry or American sauce... A great gastronomic moment not to be missed: the tamaaraa, a traditional Tahitian banquet, regularly organized by hotels. In an oven dug out of the ground, the ingredients, covered by banana leaves, hessian and sand, are steamed for 3 to 4 hours. The food, which consists of suckling pig, chicken, fish, fafa (taro leaves), uru (breadfruit), fei (red bananas) and poe (baked papaya and coco milk dessert) deliciously melts in your mouth. Exotic fruits are the obvious winners: the flavour of the grapefruits, small limes, bananas, pineapples, graft mangos, avocados and melons is truly beyond compare. You can also try out some very refined French restaurants: their meat is excellent, cheeses and wines as varied as in France. As for the very many Chinese restaurants of Polynesia, they are known as some of the best in the world.
This is a reputed place for its traditional, family style cuisine: "Chez Pauline", the oldest inn on Moorea, located in the village of Afareaitu. A tremendously quaint hotel, housed in a superb colonial-style building.

French Polynesia Tuamotu: travel tips

Among all different water sports activities offered by all major hotels, do not miss out on a sail mini-cruise (often on a catamaran) for a day or at sun set. It is the best way to observe, from the lagoon, the superb panoramas of the island. You can also rent a sail boat with or without a skipper. If you dream of a 100 % Polynesian holiday, choose to stay with local people: a thatched fare by the lagoon will generally be suggested. It is the best way to go straight to the heart of Tahitian life style (information and addresses at Papeete Tourist Office).

French Polynesia Tuamotu: Latest hotel reviews
  • 9.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort
    Tikehau - French Polynesia
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    Like the other hotels of the Polynesian group Pearl, the Tikehau ...

  • 8.5 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    White Sand Beach Resort Fakarava
    Fakarava - French Polynesia

    The Maitai Dream is Fakarava's only hotel, it is therefore the ...

  • 8.1 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Kia Ora
    Rangiroa - French Polynesia
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    This 3* hotel has higher standards than most in its category ...

  • 7.7 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Novotel Rangiroa Beach Resort
    Rangiroa - French Polynesia
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    Comfortable bungalows scattered in a little park near the lagoon, ...

  • 7.25 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Aito Motel Colette
    Tikehau - French Polynesia
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    A family hotel located just a stone's throw from the village ...

  • 7.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Havaiki Pearl Guesthouse
    Rangiroa - French Polynesia
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    The Havaiki Pearl is a simple, friendly guesthouse and the perfect ...

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