The generally accepted theory states that Polynesians first settled in the Pacific around 4,000 years ago. Using wooden double-hulled sailing canoes lashed together with natural fibers and applying their knowledge of the wind, currents and stars, the first intrepid navigators sailed eastward, settling the central island groups of the Cook Islands and French Polynesia between 500 BC and 500 AD.
French Polynesia (/ˈfrɛntʃ pɒlɪˈniːʒə/ (listen); French: Polynésie française [pɔlinezi fʁɑ̃sɛːz]; Tahitian: Pōrīnetia Farāni) is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic and the only overseas country of France. It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. Its total land area is 4,167 square kilometres (1,609 sq mi).
Bora Bora (French: Bora-Bora, Tahitian: Pora Pora) is a 30.55 km2 (12 sq mi) island group in the Leeward group in the western part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The main island, located about 230 kilometres (143 miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 727 metres (2,385 feet).
Compared to the other islands I visited, it wasn’t. It’s built up, it’s developed, there’s traffic and trucks and it’s busy and there are enormous shopping malls and supermarkets. And a Mcdonald’s. When you compare that to a place like Maupiti, which has no ATMs, where everyone rides bicycles, where there’s a population of 1000, and where there’s not a single resort, there’s no competition. I much preferred the laid-back, go-slow, way of life outside of Tahiti.

Bora Bora (French: Bora-Bora, Tahitian: Pora Pora) is a 30.55 km2 (12 sq mi) island group in the Leeward group in the western part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The main island, located about 230 kilometres (143 miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the highest point at 727 metres (2,385 feet).
In 1836, the Queen's advisor Pritchard had two French Catholic priests expelled, François Caret and Honoré Laval. As a result, in 1838 France sent Admiral Abel Aubert Dupetit-Thouars to get reparation. Once his mission had been completed, Admiral Du Petit-Thouars sailed towards the Marquesas Islands, which he annexed in 1842. Also in 1842, a European crisis involving Morocco escalated between France and Great Britain, souring their relations. In August 1842, Admiral Du Petit-Thouars returned and landed in Tahiti. He then made friends with Tahitian chiefs who were hostile to the Pōmare family and favourable to a French protectorate. He had them sign a request for protection in the absence of their Queen, before then approaching her and obliging her to ratify the terms of the treaty of protectorate. The treaty had not even been ratified by France itself when Jacques-Antoine Moerenhout was named royal commissaire alongside Queen Pōmare. 

In between the visits of Bougainville and Cook, in December 1768, a war of succession amongst the Tahiti's clans took place for who would assume the role of paramount chief. Tutaha's Pare-'Arue army allied with Vehiatua's Tai'arapu army, Pohuetea's Puna'auia army, To'ofa's Paea army, and Tepau-i-ahura'i (Tepau) of Fa'a'a, to defeat Amo and Purea in Papara. The warriors, women and children of Papara were massacred, while their houses, gardens, crops and livestock destroyed. Even the Mahaiatea marae was ransacked, while Amo, Purea, Tupaia and Teri'irere fled into the mountains. Vehiatua built a wall of skulls (Te-ahu-upo'o) at his Tai'arapu marae from his war trophies.[11]:134–140,144–145,196


Accommodation in Tahiti can run from the most luxurious 5-star hotels like The Brando Resort or Tahiti Intercontinental [10] with overwater bungalows, security, a bar, a pool, to small family pensions. If you're staying in one of the pensions, do try to bring insect repellent. Many of the accommodations in Tahiti are of the older style from the early 70's to today.
The Viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat y Juniet, following the instructions of the Spanish Crown, organised an expedition to settle and colonise the island in 1772, largely to prevent other powers from gaining a base in the Pacific from which to attack the coast of Peru, but also to evangelise. He sent two expeditions under the command of navigator Domingo de Bonechea, the first in 1772, aboard Aguila. Four Tahitians, Pautu, Tipitipia, Heiao and Tetuanui, accompanied Bonechea on his return voyage to Peru in 1773.[11]:236–256,325
"Tahiti" is a common name for French Polynesia, a country consisting of the 118 islands in the South Pacific. It's also a name of the island with this group. Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea are the most popular islands in French Polynesia, yet every island offers a multitude of possibilities: a dive in Rangiroa, a hike in Moorea, an encounter with manta rays in Bora Bora, a swim in Tahiti's waterfalls or a chance to enjoy Polynesian culture in Raiatea ...
Several international groups are established: InterContinental, Sofitel, Novotel, Le Meridien, Starwood-Sheraton, Orient Express, Club Med and Radisson. Two local chains, Maitai and South Pacific Management, complete the hotel scene. Although complying with international standards, the overwater bungalows are decorated in Polynesian-style with the use of pandanus, bamboo and shell light fixtures. Some bungalows are fitted with glass-bottomed tables for watching the fishes without ever getting your feet wet. Be advised that the Radisson is quite a way from the airport and is perfect if you want to relax, but makes getting into town difficult (either a limited hotel shuttle or an expensive taxi ride).
The generally accepted theory states that Polynesians first settled in the Pacific around 4,000 years ago. Using wooden double-hulled sailing canoes lashed together with natural fibers and applying their knowledge of the wind, currents and stars, the first intrepid navigators sailed eastward, settling the central island groups of the Cook Islands and French Polynesia between 500 BC and 500 AD.
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is a floating oasis in the South Pacific. It features all spacious overwater villas. Found on the southeastern side of the coral reef, these luxurious accommodations face the spectacular Mount Otemanu and boast incredible views of Bora Bora. Here, modern architecture flourishes with an authentic Polynesian design, accentuating a color palette that reflects the sapphire blue of the surrounding lagoon.
It’s tough to choose between Maupiti and Huahine, but I think the latter wins it for me. Huahine was gorgeous. It had the best beach I found in French Polynesia, it had tons to do, from exploring old abandoned hotels to feeding blue-eyed eels to hiking up a volcano. The locals were welcoming, the lagoon was beautiful, and the seafood was delicious. My favourite guesthouse was also in Huahine.
In 2017, Alcatel Submarine Networks, a unit of Nokia, launched a massive project to connect many of the islands in French Polynesia with underwater fiber optic cable. The project, called NATITUA will improve French Polynesian broadband connectivity by linking Tahiti to 10 islands in the Tuamotu and Marquesas archipelagos.[43] In August 2018, a celebration was held to commemorate the arrival of a submarine cable from Papeete to the atoll of Hao, extending the network by about 1000 kilometres.[44]
While island hopping in French Polynesia is a must, there can be a lot of logistics to plan, and it can get pricey. The easiest way to make it happen is with an Air Tahiti Nui travel package. They’ve partnered with different travel providers to offer good deals on multi-island vacation packages that include all of your travel, accommodation, and some options are all-inclusive with food and drinks.
French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: the Society Islands archipelago, composed of the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands; the Tuamotu Archipelago; the Gambier Islands; the Marquesas Islands; and the Austral Islands. Among its 118 islands and atolls, 67 are inhabited. Tahiti, which is located within the Society Islands, is the most populous island, having close to 69% of the population of French Polynesia as of 2017. Papeete, located on Tahiti, is the capital. Although not an integral part of its territory, Clipperton Island was administered from French Polynesia until 2007.
In about 1790, the ambitious chief Tū took the title of king and gave himself the name Pōmare. Captain Bligh explains that this name was a homage to his eldest daughter Teriinavahoroa, who had died of tuberculosis, "an illness that made her cough (mare) a lot, especially at night (pō)". Thus he became Pōmare I, founding the Pōmare Dynasty and his lineage would be the first to unify Tahiti from 1788 to 1791. He and his descendants founded and expanded Tahitian influence to all of the lands that now constitute modern French Polynesia.
But you know what? It was actually the islands outside of Bora Bora that captured my heart and that was a big surprise. I visited five of them over my two weeks in French Polynesia and I was thrilled to discover how much each individual island had to offer travellers — and they were all so different! I spent my time hiking volcanoes, spotting manta rays, learning how to crack open coconuts, swimming in lagoons, feeding sacred blue-eyed eels, and sunbathing on some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen.

Two cruise ships/luxury liners currently ply the islands: the Paul Gauguin, which does a regular 7-day trip around the Societies, with occasional trips out to the Tuamotus, Marquesas and Cook Islands; and the Wind Spirit which does similar itineraries. A great way to see the islands, unless you're on a tight budget. The Haumana is a more intimate vessel offering cruises between Taha'a and Bora Bora. Or for more adventure, embark on the Aranui III. Coming up December 2007: the Star Clippers will have the capacity of 170 passengers.
Summer is from November through April, with a warmer and more humid climate and winter is from May to October, when the climate is slightly cooler and drier. When you step out of the airplane, you'll immediately notice that the air is warm and humid. Consequently, besides your camera and your extra memory cards, do not forget to pack lightweight cotton clothes, sunscreen lotion and a baseball cap or a wide brimmed hat. Synthetic fabrics can get hot and sticky in the tropics.
Pautu and Tetuanui returned to Tahiti with Bonechea aboard Aguila on 14 November 1774, Tipitipia and Heiao having passed away in the interim. Bonechea died on 26 January 1775 in Tahiti, and was buried near the Spanish mission at Tautira Bay. Lt. Tomas Gayangos took over command. Gayangos set sail for Peru on 27 Jan, leaving the two friars, Father Geronimo Clota and Father Narciso Gonzalez, and Maximo Rodriguez and Francisco Perez, in charge of the Spanish mission. However, the Spanish mission on Tahiti was abandoned on 12 November 1775, after Aguila's third voyage to Tahiti, when the Fathers begged its commander, Don Cayetano de Langara, to take them back to Lima.[25] Some maps still bear the name Isla de Amat for Tahiti, named after Viceroy Amat who ordered the expedition.[26] A most notable result of these voyages was the journal by a marine in the Spanish Navy named Maximo Rodriguez, which contains valuable information about the Tahitians of the 18th century, augmented with the accounts by the Chilean Don Jose de Andia y Varela.[11]:321,323,340,351–357,361,381–383
Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, serving the Spanish Crown in an expedition to Terra Australis, was perhaps the first European to set eyes on the island of Tahiti. He sighted an inhabited island on 10 February 1606[12] which he called Sagitaria (or Sagittaria). However, whether the island that he saw was actually Tahiti or not has not been fully ascertained. It has been suggested that he actually saw the island of Rekareka to the south-east of Tahiti.[13] According to other authors the first European to arrive in Tahiti was Spanish explorer Juan Fernández in his expedition of 1576–1577.[14]

At the 1988 census, the last census which asked questions regarding ethnicity, 66.5% of people were ethnically unmixed Polynesians, 7.1% were ethnically Polynesians with light European and/or East Asian mixing, 11.9% were Europeans (mostly French), 9.3% were people of mixed European and Polynesian descent, the so-called Demis (literally meaning "Half"), and 4.7% were East Asians (mainly Chinese).[1]

The first Tahitians arrived from Western Polynesia in about 200 AD,[6] after a long migration from South East Asia or Indonesia, via the Fijian, Samoan and Tongan Archipelagos. This hypothesis of an emigration from Southeast Asia is supported by a number of linguistic, biological and archaeological proofs. For example, the languages of Fiji and Polynesia all belong to the same Oceanic sub-group, Fijian-Polynesian, which itself forms part of the great family of the Austronesian Languages.
While island hopping in French Polynesia is a must, there can be a lot of logistics to plan, and it can get pricey. The easiest way to make it happen is with an Air Tahiti Nui travel package. They’ve partnered with different travel providers to offer good deals on multi-island vacation packages that include all of your travel, accommodation, and some options are all-inclusive with food and drinks.

Tucked between the mountains and the lagoon on the northwest side of the island, the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa is bordered by a beautiful white sand beach and blends seamlessly with its natural surroundings. Each cheerful and spacious garden room, beachfront suite and overwater villa creates the ideal peaceful retreat, whether you are traveling as a couple or with a family.
While island hopping in French Polynesia is a must, there can be a lot of logistics to plan, and it can get pricey. The easiest way to make it happen is with an Air Tahiti Nui travel package. They’ve partnered with different travel providers to offer good deals on multi-island vacation packages that include all of your travel, accommodation, and some options are all-inclusive with food and drinks.
Before the arrival of the Europeans the island was divided into different chiefdoms, very precise territories dominated by a single clan. These chiefdoms were linked to each other by allegiances based on the blood ties of their leaders and on their power in war. The most important clan on the island was the Teva,[9] whose territory extended from the peninsula in the south of Tahiti Nui. The Teva Clan was composed of the Teva i Uta (Teva of the Interior) and the Teva i Tai (Teva of the Sea), and was led by Amo and Purea.[10]
And yeah, I’ll be honest, there are some pain-in-the-ass-rip-off expenses that I totally expected for a place that attracts so much luxury tourism (see: the ridiculous costs at the luxury resort I stayed at in the Maldives). My guesthouse in Bora Bora, for example, emailed before I arrived to ask if I wanted to order a daily breakfast for $13 a day, stating that if I didn’t order it in advance, they’d increase the price to $19 a day after I arrived. Assuming they do that because there were no other food options nearby, I agreed. Bleh. There were plenty of places I could have eaten at, which would have been cheaper and tastier.

Christianity is the main religion of the islands. A majority of 54% belongs to various Protestant churches, especially the Maohi Protestant Church, which is the largest and accounts for more than 50% of the population.[33] It traces its origins to Pomare II, the king of Tahiti, who converted from traditional beliefs to the Reformed tradition brought to the islands by the London Missionary Society.


I’m going to Moorea for sure (in fact, we’re ferrying over there the afternoon of the day after we get there for the first five days of our trip) BUT, I want to see Papeete, and I have discovered some interesting things about the main island of Tahiti though. It’s big, and it’s divided into two areas really, Tahiti Nui (the Western side), where Papeete is, but also there are also pretty areas (like Puna’aiua where we’re staying for three days), and you can stay outside of the city, but still be within proximity of all it has to offer, and I want to go up to Mont Orohena, and most of the 4X4 tours to get up there are in the Papeete area. And then most people forget that there is Tahiti Iti (the Eastern and smaller side of the island), which is mostly undeveloped, and has some places to stay (such as the one I found) which is only accessible by boat, and has so much unspoiled nature around it, I decided to devote the final 5 days of the trip to exploring it. Plus, I want to Scuba dive, and Moorea and Tahiti Iti offer more accessible dive sites instead of having to fly around to other islands. What I find most interesting about Tahiti, is that unlike Hawaii, you can self-design whatever kind of experience you want. I don’t really have much of an interest in honeymoon havens like Bora Bora, and since I will be travelling with a friend, we want activity and exploration, not romance. To each their own.
Holders of a passport from the EU, and most countries of North or South America don't need to apply for a visa for a stay of up to one month. EU/EFTA nationals only require a National Identity Card. However, the Delphine passport is necessary in case of transit via the USA. Except for nationals of the European Union and aliens holding a 10 year residence card for metropolitan France, all foreigners entering French Polynesia must have a return ticket.
The wonderful thing about Bora Bora is that you can be as active or inactive as you wish to be. Should you decide to venture away from the resort, you can visit the main village of Vaitape and shop at the local boutiques or dine at one of Bora Bora's restaurants including Mai Kai Bora Bora, or the legendary Bloody Mary's. You can also explore Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu on a guided hike or Jeep Safari tour.
²An immigrant is by French definition a person born in a foreign country and who didn't have French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still listed as an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.
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