The Austral Islands are a place of quiet beauty, peacefulness and pride. Traditions thrive in this remote corner of the world, where past and present ideals blend together in harmony. The island of Rurutu, known as a refuge for whales, is the ultimate attraction in this distant archipelago.
The Marquesas are as wild and untamed as the horses roaming freely through their rugged terrain. Unlike the other islands in French Polynesia, there are no lagoons or protected coral reefs surrounding these landscapes. Instead, steep volcanic mountains plunge straight into the pounding Pacific Ocean, while jagged ridges lay interspersed between deep valleys and thriving jungles.
Undoubtedly the most celebrated island in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is French Polynesia's leading lady. Her beauty is unrivaled and her fame, unwavering. Bora Bora is one of the few places on earth that everyone hopes to witness in their lifetime—and once you see it, you are forever enamored.
The island equivalent to the Garden of Eden, Huahine is an immense tropical jungle thriving with coconut plantations, vanilla orchids, banana groves, breadfruit trees and watermelon fields. Beyond its lush landscapes and bright blooms, Huahine is also a culturally preserved sanctuary with sacred temples hidden throughout dense vegetation. Undoubtedly, this island will leave you spellbound.
Believed to have inspired the mythical Bali Hai from James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, Moorea is one of the most scenically striking islands in French Polynesia. Despite her immaculate beauty, she is far from unapproachable. Possessing a relaxed vibe and welcoming spirit, Moorea is just as warm and inviting as the Tahitians lucky enough to call this island home.
Raiatea is rich with cultural and historical significance. Believed to be the original birthplace of Polynesia, this legendary island is a secret garden of ancient myths and hidden temples. Her unique and fascinating heritage gives the island of Raiatea an intriguing sense of place.
Taha'a is a true botanical beauty. Her fertile valleys and sloping hillsides are covered with banana, watermelon and coconut groves. Suitably shaped like a flower, the island is also an immense natural greenhouse for the highly prized Tahitian vanilla orchid. Thanks to this abundance, the intoxicating scent of vanilla pervades the air in Taha'a, meaning this island is just as sweet as it sounds.
The heart and soul of the South Pacific, Tahiti is the largest in a chain of islands that make up French Polynesia. The name can either refer to the main island or the entire destination. Commonly referred to as The Islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls scattered across an impressive nautical surface area the size of Western Europe. Still, these tiny islands—many of which remain uninhabited—make up a total landmass of only 1,600 square miles (4,100 sq. km).
Tetiaroa, best known as Marlon Brando's private island, is a retreat fit for royalty. Once considered a playground for the wealthy, this atoll served as a summer residence for the former chiefs and kings of Tahiti. Currently inaccessible to the general public, a new eco-friendly, ultra-luxurious resort will soon change that.
Located southeast of Rangiroa, Fakarava is home to the second largest lagoon in the Tuamotu Atolls. This rectangular reef encloses such a rich ecosystem that it has been designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. The area both inside and around Fakarava is known to safeguard a variety of endemic wildlife. In fact, out of the entire commune including small atolls such as Niau, Raraka, Taiaro and Toau, some are completely closed to the ocean, creating a nursery for precious underwater flora and fauna.