Islands and lagoons of French Polynesia in 3 weeks
In our opinion, it is a pity to come to French Polynesia for less than 3 weeks, given the cost of the plane ticket, the distance of the destination itself and the size of the territory! Of course, the services are quite expensive on the spot, but if you do it right, you can still manage to keep the costs under control...
The indicated itinerary is, of course, theoretical, but gives a good overview of three archipelagos of Polynesia. Those seeking more peace and quiet will omit Bora-Bora (let's repeat: you don't have to go to Bora to make a successful trip to Polynesia, far from it) and will go to Huahine, for example. Please note: you can only get to the Tuamotus from Tahiti or Bora-Bora.
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Details of the stay: Islands and lagoons of French Polynesia in 3 weeks - 20 days
Day 1 : Tahiti
This first day is dedicated to the discovery of the west coast. First stop, the white sandy beaches of Punaauia, then the marae of Paea. One of them, nicknamed Arahurahu, is the best preserved in Tahiti, decorated with recent tikis and bamboo huts. At KP 28.5 are the Maraa Caves, a destination that precedes the crossing of the Taravao Plateau by car, leading to a car park with a magnificent view of the isthmus of the same name. Night in the vicinity of Taravao.
Day 2 : Teahupoo, cult village
Accompanied by a guide, you are ready to attack the peninsula. When you park in Teahupoo village, all you have to do is walk for three hours to discover the Vaipoiri cave and its underground lake. One-day expeditions allow access further afield, at the beginning of the Pari cliffs, but two days are necessary to cross these dangerous places for those who do not know them.
Day 3 : Vaimahutu Waterfall
If you have not opted for the two days devoted to the peninsula, it is still possible to visit in half a day the washtubs (tunnels dug by the lava) of Hitiaa, then to engage, not far from kilometre point 22, east coast, in a path of about 1 km to observe the Vaimahutu waterfall which starts from 100 m high: 20 min walk allows access to two other waterfalls, Haamarere Iti and Haamarere Rahi. Night in Papeete.
Day 4 : Moorea
By plane or ferry, you will arrive very quickly in Moorea. This one has a lagoon that looks more like Polynesian postcards, a good reason to stay there for two days. One of Moorea's tourist monuments remains the Tiki Village Theatre, a reconstruction of a Polynesian village that welcomes its visitors in a dozen traditional farés (houses), each evoking an activity representative of Maohi culture. Two evenings a week (Tuesday and Friday), we offer an amazing dance show, including the famous fire dance!
Day 5 : Swimming with dolphins
After making an appointment and, especially if you are travelling with children, take this magical opportunity to swim with dolphins. A last tasty image of Moorea will surely remain that of the Belvedere. To access it, you will cross pineapple fields once you leave the ring road. If you have enough time left on the way back, some marae are located below. Those who do not wish to enjoy the dolphin show can choose the lagoon tour to observe rays and sharks (in season, it is absolutely necessary to dive with whales), or enjoy the many water sports offered by the various service providers, or hike in the mountains on foot, quad or 4x4.
Day 6 : The lagoon of Bora-Bora
The beginning of the stay was mainly dedicated to the discovery of the interior of Tahiti and Moorea. No more time to waste savouring the turquoise waters of the Bora-Bora lagoon. A minimum of 50 minutes is required to reach your destination. In the afternoon, a scuba diving session is still recommended to discover the seabed of this superb translucent body of water.
Day 7 : Relaxation in Bora-Bora
Several service providers offer jet-ski tours, some of which include swimming and stopping on a motorcycle. There is no more pleasant place to indulge in this sport than Bora-Bora, thanks in particular to the colour of the surfaces crossed. Or take a quiet catamaran ride on the lagoon, a hike in the mountains... or enjoy the beautiful white sandy beach of Matira. After a few hours of great sensations, get ready to leave for the Tuamotus. It is also possible to walk or cycle the 13 km of paved road of the main motu.
Day 8 : Rangiroa
Welcome to the diving kingdom! This first full day therefore devotes itself to this activity, to the encounter of a very dense fauna. The main spots are the Passe pass, the Passe pass, or the level of faults that have colorful coral formations.
Day 9 : Diving
Three excursions are regularly offered to travellers arriving in Rangiroa. The best known and most visited site is undoubtedly the blue lagoon. To the west of the atoll, it is a small "lagoon in the lagoon", formed by a few motus encircling a natural swimming pool of a supernatural blue. A real feast for the eyes, which can be explored by following the motu crown. The shallow depth also allows any novice to discover hundreds of surprising fish and sharks without masks, and without risk.
Day 10 : To Tikehau
Take-off for a small atoll where a real warmth of life reigns: Tikehau. Very fishy, with a magnificent lagoon, it is ideal for diving. The tour of the island by bike is also worth its weight in gold. You will probably meet some of the people working with copra at this occasion. Don't hesitate to stop and observe the magnificent nuances of the surrounding waters on a sandy beach.
Day 11 : Fauna and Flora
In Tikehau, excursions are regularly organized to Bird Island, fish parks, or to have a picnic on a motu. More atypical, some will take you to the long motu located opposite the main motu, where a strange atmosphere reigns. The houses of former "coprahculators" are indeed deserted, at the end of a road where nature has regained its rights.
Day 12 : Flight to Fakarava
Fly to Fakarava atoll. Many pearl farms allow visitors to discover the efforts and secrets behind the design of a quality pearl. Hopefully, the pension in which you will stay will also have a farm and will offer you prices that are unbeatable on its products. A dive into this little paradise is essential!
Day 13 : Tahiti
The stay in Fakarava will have been short, since you already have to go back to Tahiti. The afternoon will be an opportunity to visit the covered municipal market of Papeete, as well as the tomb of King Pomaré V and the very popular beach at the tip of Venus.
Day 14 : The centre of the island
A whole day devoted to the interior of Tahiti. As you enter the Papenoo Valley, the island's ferry route takes you past some beautiful waterfalls, as well as the Anapua and Farehape marae, not far from the Maroto waterfall. Then a stop at the Pautona site, followed by a swim in Lake Vaihiria. Return to Papeete or its surroundings.
Day 15 : Marquesas Islands
Expect a striking contrast when you arrive at the Marquesas Islands in Nuku Hiva. Instead of taking a helicopter, make a 4x4 transfer to better discover the landscapes of this sumptuous island. The roads are narrow and winding, on a mountainside. A well-deserved rest is then required in the village of Taiohae.
Day 16 : Paradise hiking
One of the most frequent hikes is the one to Vaipo Waterfall and Hakaui Valley. This site is one of the most magnificent in Nuku Hiva. A former stronghold of King Te Moana, the valley has a paved royal road, with many tikis and paepae.
Day 17 : Cascades waterfalls
By renting a 4 x 4 or a service provider, it is possible to reach the Taipivai Valley, renowned for its many waterfalls, as well as one of the most beautiful archaeological sites on the island, flanked by numerous stone tikis. But before, please do not hesitate to visit some sculptors who will be happy to welcome you, mostly located near Taiohae. Near Hatiheu, in the northern part of the island, a vast breath pae reveals all its grandeur. Plan to leave early, because the journey and return road is long enough.
Day 18 : In the footsteps of Brel and Gauguin
We win Hiva Oa. Receptacle of the last moments of Jacques Brel and Paul Gauguin, this island is the second largest in the Marquesas archipelago. After less than a quarter of an hour on a paved road, you will arrive at the village of Atuona. You will then head towards the Calvaire cemetery, a quarter of an hour from the centre, where the two artists mentioned above are buried.
Day 19 : Marquesan culture
This day begins with a visit to the Gauguin Cultural Centre, followed by a visit to two archaeological sites, Taaoa, south of Atuona, which contains more than a thousand pae pae, a large tohua and several meae, with a tiki over a metre to the right of the site, and Iipona, one of the main heritages of Marquesan culture.
Day 20 : Back to Tahiti
Last day in Tahiti, take the time to swim.
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