This is a great way to discover the beauty of the French Polynesian Islands.
Today I will reminisce about a trip to French Polynesia. It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, I have not seen so much here yet, so I will definitely go back.
I thought for a long time how to describe French Polynesia, chronologically or by more favorite places, and I chose the second option.
I’ll start with the last place. And that is the island of Bora Bora. That’s right, perhaps the most famous island in French Polynesia did not leave me with high feelings, expensive and dirty. But! Excursions and vacations are top-notch. Here you will be licked, kissed and you will be satisfied with the lack of money in your wallet.
I would prefer the island of Bora Bora to another island, 40 kilometers away from it – the island of Rajatea! A beautiful, quiet, not expensive island, with the same exact sea, with clean streets, beautiful forests with many fruit trees.
We vacationed in Raiatea for more than a week, we were very satisfied.
And the third place of honor is the island of Tahiti. Tahiti is ahead of Rayatea only because of my adequacy. Tahiti is really good. Here you can find a less expensive holiday, as well as super expensive. Tahiti is the main airport in the country and you can only get to the other islands through Tahiti. The prices on the island are adequate. Offered, of course, a huge amount of entertainment for all tastes. This island was created for tourists.
In second place is the island of Moorea. From the island of Tahiti every evening you can enjoy how the sun disappears behind Moorea, or you can meet the sun on Moorea, because of the island of Tahiti. Moorea is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It is. It is beautiful. Clean, green, with high mountains, streams, incredible sea, whales and manta rays. It is an island worth visiting.
And in the first place, the island I would like to write and write, tell and tell. An island that is breathtakingly beautiful and welcoming. The island where I spent the best month and a half of this trip. Nuku Hiva is one of the Marquesas Islands. I have written a few texts about this island but I haven’t posted them anywhere, because I consider my writing garbage not worthy of such an island, so I am writing more and more texts about it, I will put them out some day.
I dream to live on this island, to sit on cool mountain slopes surrounded by pines and waterfalls, to wander on black sand at low tide, to bask in the sun among the tall palm trees, I want to drink coconut water when I want to, just plucking coconuts from the tree, I want to bake breadfruit right on the beach, and then wrap it in large leaves, I want to eat lobsters for $ 10. I want to feel that sense of abundance again, the abundance of fruit, the abundance of fish, the abundance of kindness and big hearts. People with big hearts live on Nuku Hiva, and they are happy, people you want to be around.
And the Audience Award goes to the island of Mopilia – one of the remote islands, where 55 people live, and the big ships to them are welcome once every 6-8 months. To get to this island is not easy, there is only one entrance and it is like a narrow neck of a bottle, with a head current sometimes reaching ten knots, for example the average speed of a cruise yacht is 5-6 knots. But the island is amazingly beautiful – white sand, palm trees – everything like in the pictures, good-natured residents and a beautiful underwater world, I first saw here clams, in which the pearls live, what a beautiful clam that it is a pity to kill them for some pebbles. We rested on this island for two weeks, and did not want to leave this lost paradise. Every day the locals brought us fruit, fish, clams, crabs. We really didn’t share anything, just embraced this blessed land. And how many interesting things here, we visited the island where the birds nest, visited the beach, where they lay eggs turtles, looking for coconut crabs in the night (you know that they are the size of two large coconuts, not peeled of course? ) and then the locals treated us to those same crabs, we swam in the coral thickets with sharks, about 15 sharks up to two meters long were constantly on duty near our boat and we watched them gobble up lumps of fish daily, locals gave us an underwater gun and we shot fish for dinner, and in the evening we sat around a fire with some of the locals, eating local delicacies and listening to stories.
I only visited a small fraction of the islands of French Polynesia, there is still more to come.
Now for some useful information on French Polynesia. You can read about each of the islands in my reviews, here I will provide a summary of the region.
French Polynesia is a French territory, to visit the islands in the Pacific you will need to come to the French Embassy and get a visa for the overseas territories. Ordinary Schengen will not pass here, only the five-year Schengen, and that must be specified. The list of documents and requirements is no different from the usual Schengen, and the visa costs about $ 10 (in Panama it is so much, in Russia, I can not say).
The local currency in the region is the Polynesian franc, but on many islands accept dollars, even in stores (not everywhere, in Raiatea and Bora Bora for sure). But I’m not sure about euros, in Bora Bora euros are used definitely and can be paid for purchases. The exchange rate is one to a hundred. 100 francs equals $1.
Bank cards are accepted everywhere, Sberbank card works. Many restaurants accept a card for an order of 20 dollars. ATMs are not in short supply either, even on remote islands.
French Polynesia consists of four groups of islands:
The Marquesas Islands: The most remote of the islands, volcanic, incredibly beautiful. They are away from the main civilization, so they have preserved their identity as much as possible. The Marquesas are not Tahitians, the culture and even the language are different, they are a different people, even in appearance from the Tahitians.
Tuamotu Archipelago: Unlike other archipelagos, Tuamotu is not of volcanic origin, it is a coral island. Unfortunately I only saw Tuamotu from the side when passing by, but friends told me a lot about what an unimaginable underwater world there.
Societe Islands: The most civilized and open islands for tourists are Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and other equally wonderful islands. Most tourists visit these islands. They have the most developed tourist system.
Archipelago Australes: Little known, modest archipelago aside. I don’t even know what’s there, and whether yachts go there.
Most of the islands can be reached by plane. All planes fly from Tahiti. And how to fly to Tahiti I detailed in my review of the same name. In my profile you can find all the reviews about French Polynesia.
You can also get to all the islands by sea, but it is harder and more expensive, although personally I am for the sea route and preferably from Panama.
Cruises are common in this region, many liners offer their services. The cost is high. You can take a two week cruise around the Marquesas Islands. The Aranui III liner departs from Papeete and spends three days at sea, then a week walking around the Marquesas Islands and again three days to Tahiti.
Or the Paul Gauguin premium cruise liner, or maybe the four-masted Wind Sprint sailing beauties that will sail through the islands of the Societe archipelago, such as Moorea, Rayatea, Bora Bora. Here’s the handsome Wind Sprint (pardon my English)
And here’s Aranui III in the distance, arriving at Nuku Hiva
Yachting is very well developed in the region, you can find a charter company without much difficulty, yachts and catamarans (but mostly catamarans) for every taste, with or without skippers. The choice is yours. On a catamaran you can visit the islands inaccessible to the average tourist, look where there is no one for weeks.
It is also important to know that on Sundays, the country is resting, and even in Tahiti, it is difficult to find a store open on Sunday.
The same with transportation, buses on Sunday, if they go, it is very rare.
The official language is French, it is spoken in schools, so from an early age all residents speak French. But English, though taught in school, but it is not spoken everywhere. In Tahiti, even the supermarket clerks speak English, and in Bora Bora, too. But on Raiatea, even the gendarmerie hardly spoke English.
Fruit in the street and in the gardens is not allowed to rip, but you can be kind and smiling, and, receive these fruits as gifts. Although the locals have a strange look at the tourists, “wild” for fruit, they have chickens pecking coconuts and pigs bursting bananas.
Food in French Polynesia is excellent. Cook delicious, you can eat relatively inexpensive. Be sure to try the “poisson krue,” raw fish in our own way. It’s a fairy tale how they cook it, I first tried it at Nuku Hiva, and now I make it myself all the time. It’s raw tuna, with lemon and coconut milk. But keep in mind that both the tuna here was caught a couple of hours ago, and the lemon was plucked from the tree before you started cooking and the coconut milk is not from a can. I can’t vouch for Tahiti’s restaurants, though.
I have only Nuku Hiva left to tell about it, but it’s so beautiful that there’s no way I can frame a review about it.
If you have any questions – ask, I might have forgotten to write something. From far shores, Yahtledi!