Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Things To Do In French Polynesia


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Gwendolin Hidalgo



Welcome to the stunning paradise of French Polynesia, a collection of beautiful islands nestled in the South Pacific. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and lush tropical landscapes, French Polynesia is a dream destination for beach lovers and adventure seekers alike. Whether you are looking for a romantic honeymoon getaway, a thrilling diving experience, or simply a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, French Polynesia offers something for everyone.


French Polynesia is made up of 118 islands, each with its own unique charm and appeal. The most famous of these islands is undoubtedly Bora Bora, renowned for its iconic overwater bungalows and stunning coral reefs. Another popular destination is Tahiti, the largest and most developed island, which offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and modern amenities. From the stunning turquoise lagoons and pristine beaches to the vibrant local culture, French Polynesia is a destination that will leave you in awe.


Whether you are a beach enthusiast, a nature lover, or a culture enthusiast, French Polynesia has plenty to offer. Dive into the world-renowned underwater world and explore the colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life. Immerse yourself in the rich Polynesian culture and experience traditional customs, dance, and music. Embark on exhilarating water sports adventures like snorkeling, windsurfing, or paddleboarding. Or simply relax on the powdery sand beaches, soaking up the sun and savoring the breathtaking views.


Join us on a journey as we explore the enchanting islands of French Polynesia, discovering the best things to see and do. From the iconic sights to hidden gems, we will take you on an unforgettable virtual adventure that will leave you longing to experience the real thing. So, pack your bags, put on your sun hat, and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of French Polynesia.


Explore the Islands

In French Polynesia, there is no shortage of stunning islands waiting to be explored. Each island has its own unique charm and beauty, offering visitors a chance to indulge in unparalleled natural wonders and unforgettable experiences.


Start your island exploration with a visit to Bora Bora, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Pacific.” Famous for its crystal-clear turquoise lagoon, Bora Bora is home to luxurious overwater bungalows that allow you to wake up to breathtaking views every morning. Take a leisurely stroll along the pristine beaches, swim in the warm waters, or embark on an exciting snorkeling adventure to discover the vibrant marine life below.


Another must-visit island is Tahiti, the largest and most populous island in French Polynesia. Explore the bustling capital city of Papeete, where you can browse local markets for unique handicrafts, indulge in delicious Tahitian cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture. Don’t forget to take a dip in the stunning waterfalls nestled in the lush tropical rainforests that cover parts of the island.


For a more secluded and untouched island experience, head to Moorea. Renowned for its dramatic mountain peaks, lush valleys, and vibrant coral reefs, Moorea is a nature lover’s paradise. Take a hike through the dense forests to reach hidden viewpoints offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape. Snorkel or dive in the clear waters to explore the colorful coral gardens and swim alongside tropical fish.


Many other islands in French Polynesia are worth exploring, such as Huahine, known for its rich archaeological sites and vanilla plantations, and Taha’a, famous for its fragrant and flavorful black pearls. Whether you choose to island-hop or spend your entire vacation on one island, each destination will offer you a unique and unforgettable experience.


From the idyllic beaches and breathtaking landscapes to the warm hospitality of the locals, exploring the islands of French Polynesia will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Relax on Bora Bora

When it comes to a blissful beach escape, Bora Bora is the epitome of paradise. This iconic island in French Polynesia is renowned for its luxurious resorts, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise lagoon.


Imagine waking up in an overwater bungalow, with the gentle sounds of the waves below and the breathtaking view of the lagoon stretching out before you. Bora Bora’s overwater accommodations offer the perfect blend of luxury and natural beauty, allowing you to relax and unwind in a truly idyllic setting.


Spend your days basking in the warm sun on the powdery white sand beaches, taking refreshing dips in the calm, warm waters of the lagoon. With its vibrant coral reef, Bora Bora is a paradise for snorkelers and divers. Explore the underwater world and swim among a kaleidoscope of tropical fish, vibrant corals, and even encounter graceful manta rays and gentle sharks.


Bora Bora is also home to stunning viewpoints, such as Mount Otemanu, a dormant volcano that offers panoramic vistas of the island. Take a hike or a guided tour to the summit and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the turquoise lagoon and surrounding islands.


Indulge your taste buds in the tantalizing flavors of Bora Bora. The island’s cuisine is a delightful blend of French and Polynesian influences. Feast on fresh seafood, succulent tropical fruits, and traditional dishes like poisson cru, a marinated raw fish dish that is a local specialty.


For the ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation, treat yourself to a spa experience that is second to none. Bora Bora is home to world-class spa resorts that offer a wide range of treatments, including traditional Polynesian massages, facials using natural ingredients, and wellness therapies that will leave you feeling pampered and rejuvenated.


Whether you spend your time lying on the beach, exploring the vibrant underwater world, hiking to scenic viewpoints, or simply indulging in the luxury and tranquility of your resort, Bora Bora is a true paradise that will captivate your senses and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.


Visit Tahiti

Tahiti, the largest and most developed island in French Polynesia, is a fascinating blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and modern amenities. This vibrant destination offers visitors a chance to explore the bustling capital city of Papeete, relax on stunning beaches, and immerse themselves in the unique Tahitian culture.


Start your exploration of Tahiti by diving into the vibrant local culture. Visit the vibrant Papeete Market, where you can browse a colorful array of fresh produce, handicrafts, and Tahitian pearls. Sample exotic fruits, traditional Tahitian dishes, or enjoy a refreshing drink made from coconuts straight from the palm trees.


Discover the fascinating history of Tahiti by visiting the Maison de la Culture, which showcases traditional arts, crafts, and artifacts. Learn about the ancient Polynesian legends and customs that still influence the daily lives of the Tahitian people.


Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the mesmerizing Tahitian dance, known as ‘ori Tahiti.’ Attend a cultural performance where skilled dancers adorned in traditional costumes will captivate you with their rhythmic movements and beautiful songs.


For a relaxing beach retreat, head to the stunning black sand beaches of Tahiti. Take a stroll along the shoreline, soak up the sun, or cool off in the crystal-clear waters. Some of the popular beaches include La Plage de Maui, Punaauia Beach, and Point Venus Beach.


Tahiti is not just about the beaches; it also boasts breathtaking natural wonders. Explore the lush Fautaua Valley and hike to the Fautaua Waterfall, where you can cool off in the refreshing pool beneath the cascading waters. For a more challenging hike, trek through the Papenoo Valley, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and lush flora.


Indulge your taste buds in the flavors of Tahiti. Sample the mouthwatering Tahitian cuisine which consists of fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and unique dishes like ‘poisson cru’ (marinated raw fish) and ‘ma’a Tahiti’ (Tahitian feast). Treat yourself to a memorable dining experience at one of the island’s renowned restaurants or enjoy a picnic on the beach, surrounded by the beauty of Tahiti.


Whether you are exploring the bustling capital city, relaxing on the stunning beaches, or immersing yourself in the vibrant Tahitian culture, a visit to Tahiti is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.


Discover the Underwater World

French Polynesia is renowned for its breathtaking underwater world, making it a paradise for snorkelers and divers. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, exploring the underwater world of French Polynesia is an experience like no other.


One of the best places to discover the underwater beauty is Bora Bora. Dive into the pristine lagoon and be greeted by an abundance of colorful coral formations, home to a wide variety of tropical fish. Swim alongside graceful manta rays, encounter gentle sharks, and marvel at the vibrant coral gardens that attract divers from around the world.


Tahiti also offers incredible diving and snorkeling opportunities. Explore the underwater wonders of the Rangiroa Atoll, known for its large population of sharks, including gray reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, and even the occasional tiger shark. Additionally, the Tuamotu Islands boast vibrant and pristine coral reefs with an abundance of marine life.


Moorea is another fantastic destination for underwater enthusiasts. Dive or snorkel in the stunning Opunohu Bay, where you can explore vibrant coral gardens, encounter tropical fish, and even spot sea turtles. The waters surrounding Moorea are also home to dolphins, humpback whales (during the migration season), and various species of sharks.


French Polynesia’s underwater world is not limited to its coral reefs. The region is also known for its captivating underwater caves and canyons. Explore the underwater caves of Fakarava and witness the mesmerizing play of light and shadow as you swim through these natural wonders.


For those who prefer a more relaxed approach to exploring the underwater world, French Polynesia offers glass-bottom boat tours and lagoon excursions. Sit back and enjoy the stunning views from the comfort of a boat, as skilled guides point out the diverse marine life and share intriguing facts about the coral reefs and ecosystems.


Whether you are an experienced diver or a beginner snorkeler, French Polynesia’s underwater world will captivate you with its beauty and diversity. Immerse yourself in this magical realm and witness the vibrant colors, fascinating creatures, and unparalleled serenity that can only be found beneath the waves.


Experience Traditional Polynesian Culture

French Polynesia is not just a destination for beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes; it is also a place where you can immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant Polynesian culture. Experience the warmth of Polynesian hospitality, explore ancient traditions, and discover the captivating customs that have been passed down through generations.


One of the best ways to delve into the local culture is by attending a traditional Polynesian dance performance. Watch as skilled dancers adorned in intricate costumes sway their hips, move their hands with grace, and tell stories through their expressive movements. The dances are accompanied by the rhythmic beat of drums and the enchanting melodies of traditional instruments, creating a captivating experience that showcases the soul and spirit of Polynesian culture.


Traditional arts and crafts are an integral part of Polynesian culture, and French Polynesia is a treasure trove of unique handicrafts. Visit local markets and artisan workshops to witness the creation of intricate wood carvings, woven baskets, tapa cloth, and beautiful pearl jewelry. These crafts are not only aesthetically pleasing but also hold cultural significance, as they often depict ancient stories and symbols.


Another way to experience traditional Polynesian culture is by participating in a ‘marae’ ceremony. Maraes are sacred ceremonial sites that hold cultural and historical significance. These sacred spaces were once used for religious rituals, gatherings, and important community events. Visit a marae and learn about its historical significance, customs, and the role it plays in preserving Polynesian culture today.


Food plays a significant role in any culture, and the Polynesian cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors. Treat your taste buds to traditional Tahitian dishes such as ‘ma’a Tahiti’ (Tahitian feast), which often includes dishes like roast pork, poisson cru (marinated raw fish), taro, and tropical fruits. Join a traditional Polynesian feast and indulge in a buffet of local delicacies while enjoying live music and dance performances.


Music is a cornerstone of Polynesian culture, with its catchy melodies and harmonies that transport you to the islands. The ukulele, guitar, and drums are common instruments used in traditional Polynesian music. Attend a live music performance or even try your hand at playing the ukulele – a cultural treasure of the Polynesian islands.


Immerse yourself in the traditional Polynesian way of life by staying at a locally-owned guesthouse, where you can learn about the customs and daily rituals from the friendly hosts. Join cooking classes to learn how to prepare traditional dishes, or participate in craft workshops where you can learn the art of weaving or wood carving from skilled artisans.


By experiencing traditional Polynesian culture firsthand, you will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the history, customs, and way of life in French Polynesia. This cultural immersion will enrich your journey and leave you with lifelong memories.


Try Water Sports

French Polynesia offers a playground for water sports enthusiasts, with its crystal-clear waters and stunning marine life. Whether you are a thrill-seeker looking for an adrenaline rush or simply want to enjoy a leisurely activity, there are plenty of water sports options to choose from in this tropical paradise.


Snorkeling is a popular activity in French Polynesia, allowing you to explore the vibrant underwater world without the need for extensive equipment or training. Grab your snorkel mask, fins, and a snorkel, and dive into the warm waters to swim amongst colorful coral reefs and tropical fish. You’ll be amazed at the myriad of marine life that call these waters home, from playful dolphins and graceful sea turtles to an array of reef fish.


If you’re feeling more adventurous, try your hand at scuba diving. With numerous dive sites scattered throughout the islands, French Polynesia offers incredible diving opportunities for all levels of experience. Dive alongside gentle sharks, explore underwater caves, and discover mysterious shipwrecks that have become home to an array of marine creatures. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, the underwater world of French Polynesia will leave you in awe.


For those seeking a unique and thrilling experience, consider trying your hand at kiteboarding or windsurfing. The strong trade winds and pristine lagoons make French Polynesia an ideal destination for these exhilarating water sports. Feel the rush as you harness the power of the wind to glide across the water’s surface, with the stunning island landscapes as your backdrop.


If you prefer a more leisurely activity, paddleboarding is a fantastic option. Rent a paddleboard and explore the calm lagoons, venturing into hidden coves and discovering secluded beaches. Paddleboarding also offers a great opportunity to enjoy the scenic views and snap some envy-worthy photos along the way.


Thrill-seekers should not miss the opportunity to experience jet skiing in French Polynesia. Feel the wind in your hair as you speed across the crystal-clear waters, exploring the coastline and discovering remote beaches that are inaccessible by other means. Jet skiing offers an adrenaline-pumping adventure and the chance to discover hidden gems along the way.


For a more serene and peaceful experience on the water, consider renting a kayak or canoe. Paddle through the tranquil lagoons, taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and enjoying a closer connection with nature. Kayaking and canoeing also allow you to explore smaller, more secluded areas that are often untouched by tourism.


Whether you prefer the thrill of diving with sharks, the tranquility of kayaking, or the adrenaline rush of kiteboarding, French Polynesia offers a range of water sports activities to suit every taste and skill level. So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to make a splash and experience the wonders of the ocean in this tropical paradise.


Hike in Moorea

Moorea, the scenic island paradise in French Polynesia, is not just known for its stunning beaches and turquoise lagoon; it also offers opportunities for hiking and exploring its lush landscapes. With its dramatic mountain peaks, verdant valleys, and breathtaking viewpoints, Moorea is a hiker’s dream destination.


One of the most popular hikes in Moorea is the Belvedere Lookout trail. This moderate hike takes you through scenic mountain trails, offering panoramic views of Cook’s Bay, Opunohu Bay, and the lush valleys below. Reach the Belvedere Lookout and be rewarded with a breathtaking vista of the Opunohu Valley, surrounded by majestic mountain peaks and vibrant greenery.


The Three Coconuts Pass trail is another magnificent hike in Moorea. This challenging trek takes you through dense forests, across streams, and up steep trails to reach the Three Coconuts Pass. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning waterfalls, lush vegetation, and even crossing paths with Moorea’s diverse wildlife.


If you’re seeking a less strenuous hike, the Magic Mountain trail provides a rewarding experience. Trek through picturesque landscapes and meandering paths until you reach the summit, where you’ll be greeted by panoramic views of the island’s turquoise lagoon, verdant valleys, and distant peaks. It’s the perfect opportunity to capture stunning photographs and savor the beauty of Moorea.


For a unique hiking experience, consider exploring the Lycée Agricole Trail. This trail takes you through the scenic grounds of an agricultural school, where you’ll encounter breathtaking views of Opunohu Bay, pineapple and vanilla plantations, and even have the chance to see colorful tropical birds in their natural habitat.


Moorea’s hiking trails offer more than just beautiful vistas; they also provide opportunities to immerse yourself in the island’s rich flora and fauna. As you traverse the trails, you’ll come across a variety of plant species, including fragrant tiare flowers, ancient ferns, and towering banyan trees. Keep an eye out for the island’s diverse birdlife, such as the Tahitian kingfisher, rainbow lorikeet, and white-tailed tropicbird.


Before embarking on any hike, it’s essential to be prepared with proper footwear, sunscreen, plenty of water, and a sense of adventure. Some trails may require a local guide or permit, so it’s advisable to research and plan accordingly.


Exploring the hiking trails of Moorea allows you to connect with the island’s natural beauty, discover hidden gems, and experience the tranquility of its untouched landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a nature enthusiast, the hikes in Moorea will leave you in awe of the island’s breathtaking scenery and provide memories to cherish for a lifetime.


Enjoy a Polynesian Feast

A trip to French Polynesia is not complete without indulging in a traditional Polynesian feast, known as a ‘feast’ or ‘ota ika .’ This vibrant and delicious culinary experience showcases the unique flavors and cultural heritage of the Polynesian islands.


Feasts are typically held in open-air settings, often on the beach or in the lush gardens of resorts. You’ll be treated to a magnificent display of Tahitian cuisine, featuring an array of fresh seafood, succulent meats, tropical fruits, and unique Polynesian delicacies.


One of the highlights of a Polynesian feast is the ‘poisson cru,’ a popular Tahitian dish. It consists of raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, mixed with diced vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. The combination of flavors creates a refreshing and tangy taste that perfectly embodies the tropical essence of French Polynesia.


Another must-try dish is ‘ahima’a,’ a traditional cooking method that involves wrapping food in banana leaves and cooking it in an underground oven. This slow and smoky cooking process imparts a unique flavor to the meats and vegetables, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes. Feast-goers can sample dishes such as roasted pork, chicken, taro, breadfruit, and plantains cooked in the ahima’a style.


Polynesians are known for their love of tropical fruits, and a feast is the perfect opportunity to indulge in an abundance of these delicious treats. Fresh mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and coconuts are often served, adding a burst of tropical sweetness to the feast.


No Polynesian feast is complete without the pulsating beats of traditional music and dance performances. While you savor the delectable dishes, talented Tahitian dancers and musicians will entertain you with their vibrant performances. The energetic drumming, graceful hip movements, and colorful costumes add to the festive atmosphere and transport you into the heart of Polynesian culture.


Feasts are not limited to resorts; you can also experience a traditional Polynesian feast hosted by locals in their homes. This intimate setting provides an authentic glimpse into the everyday life of Polynesian families and allows you to connect on a deeper level with the local culture.


To truly appreciate a Polynesian feast, be sure to bring your appetite and an open mind. Local hosts take great pride in preparing these feasts, and the warm hospitality, genuine smiles, and joyful atmosphere will make the experience even more memorable.


Whether you’re enjoying a beachside feast at a resort or joining a local family for an intimate gathering, a traditional Polynesian feast will tantalize your taste buds and immerse you in the rich cultural heritage of French Polynesia.


Shop for Local Crafts

Exploring the local markets and boutique shops in French Polynesia provides a unique opportunity to discover and purchase authentic handcrafted treasures. From intricate wood carvings to vibrant pareos (sarongs), there is a wide range of local crafts to choose from, each reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Polynesian islands.


One of the most iconic handicrafts in French Polynesia is the pearl. Known for its exceptional luster and quality, Tahitian pearls are highly coveted worldwide. Take a stroll through the pearl markets or visit pearl farms to admire and purchase these stunning gems. Whether in the form of earrings, necklaces, or bracelets, Tahitian pearls make for timeless and elegant souvenirs.


Woodwork is another skill that is deeply ingrained in Polynesian culture, with artisans creating exquisite carvings and sculptures. Look out for traditional tiki statues, representing gods and ancestors, or intricately carved bowls and utensils made from local woods. These unique pieces serve as reminders of Polynesian craftsmanship and make for stunning decorative items in your home.


Pareos, or sarongs, are a staple in Polynesian fashion. These brightly colored fabrics, often adorned with tropical motifs, can be worn as a beach cover-up, a dress, or a headwrap. Delicate flower crowns, made with fresh or silk flowers, are also popular accessories that add a touch of Polynesian elegance to any outfit.


If you want to bring a taste of French Polynesia to your kitchen, consider purchasing handicrafts made from coconut palms. Coconut shell bowls, spoons, and cups are not only functional but also showcase the natural beauty and sustainability of these versatile trees.


For those with a love for natural skincare, look for locally made soaps, oils, and lotions. Made with Polynesian ingredients like monoi oil, derived from soaking tiare flowers in coconut oil, these products are known for their nourishing properties and delightful scents.


When shopping for local crafts, it’s essential to support the artisans and purchase directly from them or from local markets. Not only does this ensure that you are purchasing authentic and high-quality items, but it also contributes to the preservation of traditional craftsmanship and the livelihood of local communities.


Shopping for local crafts in French Polynesia is not just about souvenirs; it’s an opportunity to connect with the culture, support local artisans, and bring a piece of the islands’ beauty and craftsmanship home with you.



French Polynesia is a true tropical paradise that offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers seeking sun, sand, and adventure. From the idyllic beauty of Bora Bora’s overwater bungalows to the vibrant culture and history of Tahiti, each island in French Polynesia beckons to be explored and admired.


Whether you’re lounging on pristine beaches, diving into the mesmerizing underwater world, hiking through lush valleys, or immersing yourself in the rich Polynesian culture, French Polynesia offers something for everyone. The islands are a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with opportunities to snorkel, dive, surf, and kayak in the stunning turquoise waters. You can also savor the flavors of the islands through traditional Polynesian feasts, sampling dishes like poisson cru and ahima’a.


Exploring the local markets and shops allows you to bring home a piece of French Polynesia’s cultural heritage, whether it be Tahitian pearls, intricately carved woodwork, vibrant pareos, or locally made skincare products. Additionally, immersing yourself in traditional Polynesian culture through dance performances, marae ceremonies, and interactions with local artisans offers a deeper appreciation for this enchanting destination.


As you bid farewell to French Polynesia, the memories of its breathtaking landscapes, warm hospitality, and vibrant culture will stay with you forever. French Polynesia invites you to embrace its natural beauty, embrace its cultural heritage, and return home with a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation for the treasures that exist in the world.


So, pack your bags, set off on an unforgettable adventure, and let French Polynesia captivate your senses and soul. The enchanting islands are waiting to welcome you and provide you with memories that will last a lifetime.