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© Achim Baque / 123RF
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Tahaa

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Our Editorial team's advice

A high island located in the wake of Bora, Huahine's neighbour and surrounded by the same coral reef as Raiatea island, Tahaa is both a chic and nature-oriented destination. The hotels located on motus have exclusive standards (high quality service and reduced capacity); accommodation on the high island (small hotels and guesthouses) blend in with the surrounding nature (Polynesian chestnut forests, coconut trees on the beach, tiare flowers, bougainvillea). As the population is low on Tahaa island and there is little traffic, the island's ring-road is perfect for walking or cycling. The beaches lining the high island are very narrow and covered with golden sand; whereas on the motus, they are covered with white sand and they look out to coral gardens boasting extraordinary colours. They are an absolute must-see, during an excursion to Motu Ceran, for example, or by choosing to stay on a private motu (Tahaa Resort's or Vahine Island's).

To see

Tiva's coastal church, on the high island (one of the island's emblems). You can get to it from the sea by catching the island shuttle (Tamarii, from Patio). The centre of Tahaa, during the course of a three-hour hike along Patio's crossing track on Haamene Bay.

To do

Preferably Polynesian specialities: Tahitian-style raw fish, mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) flavoured with Tahaa's vanilla. However, as this is a chic destination close to Bora Bora, you will find everything on the menu, as well as a gastronomic restaurant (at Tahaa Resort).

pros

  • +  The high island has nice preserved greenery
  • +  Numerous vanilla plantations
  • +  Superb beaches on the motus

cons

  • -  The shuttle boat running times aren't adapted to holiday-makers
  • -  Mosquitoes

To think about

Opt for a hotel on a motu for the beach; and a guesthouse (or a small hotel) on the high island if you want to go on excursions. Beware, banks and cash machines are only to be found on the high island, in Patio only. There aren't any cash machines at the airport (on Raiatea island).

To avoid

Guided tours on land - they are very expensive. If you want to explore the island, hire a car and drive along the ring road (42 mi). Other possible options: a club-car (from the Tahaa Resort), or else cycling.

To try

Preferably Polynesian specialities such as Tahitian-style raw fish, mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) flavoured with Tahaa vanilla. However, as this is a chic destination close to Bora Bora, you will find everything on the menu, as well as a gastronomic restaurant (at Tahaa Resort).

To bring back

Vanilla, which is still in its pods, or incorporated into syrups, jams, etc. Tahaa vanilla is one of the best reputed in the world because of its exquisite taste.
Tahiti pearls, after you have visited one of the island's pearl farms.
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