Although we've concentrated on Tahiti and Bora Bora, the two stars of Polynesia with their white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and their hotels on stilts, there are also 12 other less-well known islands that are not as touristy but just as beautiful. A day trip can be a good way to explore them. Even though there are a number of luxury establishments in Tahiti and Bora Bora, you can also opt for one of the smaller and simpler ones, or accommodation with the locals on these or one of the other islands of the archipelagos!
If lazing around isn't your cup of iced tea, you can throw yourself into the range of activities available in both winter and summer, on both land and sea. Go hiking in the awe-inspiring nature, swim in the waterfalls, go horse riding or quad biking, or go diving in the deep seabeds that seem to have been specially designed for divers from around the world!
Don't miss out on a visit to Papeete. In addition to the beautiful colonial houses and the thousands of shops, it also has a market where the stalls shine with the rich tapestry of the local cultures. Everything you need to satisfy your eyes and your shopping desires!
Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora are islands with high average altitudes because of the old, extinct volcanoes. They have an impressive background with alternating eroded mountain peaks, domes and sharp edged basalt rocks shooting up from the lush greenery. These three islands are circled by a coral reef, a magic ring which marks the limit of a clear blue lagoon.
The fauna and flora compete in brightness and diversity. The emblem of Tahiti, the tiare flower, is seen everywhere, just as coconut trees are, whether shooting up straight or leaning towards the lagoon. Under water, you will see turtles as well as a multitude of colourful fish swimming across the corals.
Whether it is the result of local traditions or of travelling artists who lived on the archipelago, art in Tahiti depicts the lush and varied landscapes as well as seemingly eternal spiritual motifs.
Tahiti and Bora Bora have kept some beautiful archaeological remains, especially the ancestral places of worship called 'maraes.' A family marae was dedicated to one god or goddess only, whose favours were sought through offerings. A community marae, social symbol for the members of a tribe, was the setting of great ceremonies dedicated to one major god. The maraes consist of a sacred esplanade ('tapu'), sometimes surrounded by a dry-stone wall, the access to which was strictly reserved for priests and chiefs. On this terrace stood a large altar ('ahu') used for standing the idols upon it (in Tahiti it is in the shape of a levelled pyramid), some ?resting stones' and a stone for the offerings. Outside the walls, stood small, simple buildings ('fare'), one of which used to deposit the bodies of important locals, whereas another sheltered the pirogue of a god.