What’s it Like to Travel in French Polynesia?


Bora Bora

French Polynesia is paradise.

I mean, just look at this:

Bora Bora

That’s Bora Bora and it was even more spectacular than I’d dreamed it would be.

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.

French Polynesia was nothing like I’d expected. In some respects, island-hopping my way around was far easier than I’d thought it would be, but in others, it was frustratingly hard. More on that in the post.

Here’s what it’s like to travel in French Polynesia:

One of my favourite things to do in French Polynesia was cycle alongside the lagoon in Huahine.
Cycling alongside the gorgeous lagoon in Huahine

Arriving is Incredibly Easy if You’re From the EU

French Polynesia is, obviously, a French territory, so arriving was just as simple for me as it is to travel inside the EU. I know this really shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was just so easyAt the airport, I was first off the plane and ambushed by two singing ukulele players along with a girl in a grass skirt. They performed a Polynesian dance for everyone as we trundled past them. I felt as far away from Europe as I could possibly get. 

At immigration, the guy took my passport, glanced at it, then handed it back a second later. No stamp, no questions, nothing!

French Polynesia is Enormous and You’ll Never See it All

Click here to see an Air Tahiti map of French Polynesia overlaid across Europe — they’re essentially the same size. That’s a whole lot of islands, a whole lot of distance, and a whole lot of ocean!

When I first started planning my French Polynesia jaunt, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of islands I could visit. How could I possibly choose just a few?

There’s the Society Islands, just to the west of Tahiti. They attract the most number of tourists, thanks to Bora Bora, and they were ultimately where I decided to spend all of my time. Even when dedicating two weeks to this group of islands, I only managed to get to a third of them. And I was moving fast.

What did I skip over? The Tuamotos, a string of 80 atolls stretching roughly over the size of Western Europe. These are all low islands: sand bars atop coral reefs and look ridiculously beautiful. There’s the Marquesas, one of the most remote island groups in the world, 900 miles and a 3.5 hour flight from Tahiti. Unlike the Tuamotos, these are mostly tall, volcanic islands, and unlike most of French Polynesia, aren’t surrounded by coral reefs. Finally, there’s the lesser-visited Gambier Islands, which consist of 14 volcanic islands inside a large lagoon, and the Austral Islands, quiet islands with a few guesthouses and (supposedly) the most authentic Polynesian culture.

Guys, I want to go to them all. Reading through that list has me feeling as though I could easily spend three months in French Polynesia and still leave having seen so little of it. Which gives me many, many reasons to return!

Red flower in Huahine, French Polynesia.

Try to Travel as Slowly as Possible

I know, right? There I am, talking about how I want to visit as many islands as possible, and the next minute I’m saying to slow down.

Island time is real and in French Polynesia, it’s especially present. This is a place where everything happens slowly. It’s where the locals ride bicycles and sing out bonjour! to everyone who passes, no matter their nationality. It’s a place to unwind and meditate; to smell the flowers and laze in turquoise lagoons.

One of my biggest regrets was moving so fast during my two weeks that I didn’t get to properly embrace that way of life. I’d arrive at one guesthouse and be leaving for a new island three days later.

If I could do it again, I’d have cut out Raiatea (it was too big to explore on foot) and spent my two weeks in Maupiti, Huahine, and Bora Bora. Three islands (plus a night or two in Tahiti) over two weeks sounds perfect.

A view of Bora Bora from my flight over there.
Bora Bora from the air

An Air Tahiti Pass is the Way to Go

Because everything is so spread out, ferries only run between a couple of the islands and they’re usually infrequent and hard to find any information for. To get anywhere in French Polynesia, then, your only real option is to fly.

I picked up an island hopping pass from Air Tahiti, which gave me close to a 50% discount on what I would have paid if I’d booked all of my flights individually. In total, I ended up paying just over $400 for seven flights. There are several options for island hopping passes, ranging from around $280 for three stops in the Society Islands to a whopping $750 to visit several islands in the Marquesas.

A jungly road in Bora Bora.
A jungly road in Bora Bora

And the Best Way to Get Around is by Bicycle

I haven’t had the best of luck with bicycles when I travel, so it was a surprise that I grew to embrace them in French Polynesia. Like the island time I mentioned above, cycling slows you down, chills you out and ensures you don’t miss anything. I was always moving slow enough that the locals could call out to me as I passed, I was able to stop every few metres to snap a photo of a colourful flower or deserted beach, and the roads were well-paved, so it wasn’t painful to ride.

If you travel around in a car or on a scooter, you miss a lot of that. You don’t see as much, smell as much, experience as much.

There are, of course, exceptions, like Raiatea. The main road on the island runs for 92 miles around the coastline and the attractions are spread out, so exploring on foot or by bike was difficult.

Views of Maupiti from my hike up the volcano
Views of Maupiti’s town from my hike up the island’s volcano

It’s Cheaper Than People Think

When I announced that I was going to be visiting Bora Bora on a budget, people seemed skeptical. Big travel bloggers told me it wouldn’t be possible, because it was the most expensive place on the planet. After having been there, that statement simply isn’t true. Sure, it’s not Southeast Asia cheap, but I found prices to be in line with those in the Maldives or the Cook Islands, and less on some of the lesser-visited islands.

Bora Bora is home to a dozen decent guesthouses with nightly rates that start from $50 (I’ll post my budget guide with all of the details within the next couple of weeks!) so if you’re travelling as part of a couple, that’s pretty cheap for somewhere that’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been.

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.

Having said that, some things were cheaper than I expected: Air Tahiti offers a free ferry shuttle from the airport to the mainland for anyone who isn’t staying at a fancy resort. Most guesthouses offer free transfers from where the shuttle drops you off. Food wasn’t crazy-expensive and I usually ate for $10-15 a day. You can rent a bicycle for $10 a day to explore the island.

When it came to the other islands, things got even more affordable. My guesthouse in Maupiti was $70 a night, but that included all of my meals, an airport transfer, and a free snorkelling trip to swim with manta rays, so I didn’t have to pay for anything else while I was there. In Huahine and Raiatea, I averaged $50 a day in total, and that’s as a solo traveller.

French Polynesia is stunning, but you don’t have to pay a fortune to see it.

A beautiful beach on Huahine, French Polynesia
A beautiful beach on Huahine, with Bora Bora in the distance

The Best Parts of French Polynesia are Outside of Tahiti

I was so freaking excited to get to Tahiti, because even just the name made it sound like this mystical, magical, tropical island paradise.

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.

Tahiti felt a bit like being in the U.S. but with everyone speaking French.

One of the best beaches on Bora Bora's mainland
One of the best beaches on Bora Bora’s mainland

The Language Barrier was One of the Highest I’ve Ever Come Across

Speaking of French, if you can’t speak more than a few words of it (like me), you’re going to struggle here. I’ve rarely come up against such a high language barrier in a place so set up for tourism, so this was a real surprise.

I can count the number of locals I had a conversation with on two hands. Most of the guesthouses owners only spoke French, airport officials couldn’t understand my questions, and the cabin crew on Air Tahiti rarely used English. Even on Bora Bora, it was rare to find a local who spoke more than a few words of English. On Maupiti, my guesthouse owner spoke so little English that whenever she wanted to ask me a question or talk to me, she’d have to drag an English-speaking guest to my door to translate for her!

I don’t really mind language barriers, and I definitely can’t complain about them, but it was isolating as a solo-traveller-who-couldn’t-find-any-other-solo-travellers and I did feel lonely at times. It also made it harder to get things done. When a guesthouse owner forgot to pick me up from a ferry terminal, for example, on an island with no taxis and where nobody seemed to speak English, I struggled to get out of the situation.

Lagoon views in Raiatea, French Polynesia
Raiatea’s lagoon from my rented apartment

But the Locals are Lovely

I’ve never been to a place where literally every single local you pass calls out hello to you. That was French Polynesia for me. Everywhere I went, I was greeted with, “bonjour!” “bonjour!” “bonjour!” I felt so welcomed and safe, even with the big language barrier that meant we couldn’t exchange much else.

On Maupiti, one of the guesthouse owners motioned for me to follow him after breakfast and proceeded to teach me how to crack open a coconut to wash down my meal with. He didn’t speak a word of English, but still took half an hour out of his day to teach me a new skill.

On Raiatea, my apartment owner offered to take me dancing in the main town with her friends one night.

On Huahine, a local I cycled past told me about a hike that isn’t well publicised, and insisted that he show me where the island’s sacred eels were, so that he could help me feed them.

On Bora Bora, a group of local paddle boarders took me under their wings, plied me with a lime-coconut liquor, and told me everything I could possibly want to know about what it’s like to grow up in somewhere so isolated from the rest of the world.

Flying in French Polynesia is always spectacular!
Flying in French Polynesia is always spectacular!

Hostels are Rare

I stayed in a dorm room in Tahiti, but didn’t find any hostels on any of the other islands I visited. And to be honest, at $25 a night for a crappy dorm that was full of mosquitoes, it offered far worse value than the $40-70 a night guesthouses I stayed in elsewhere.

Outside of Tahiti, if you’re visiting on a budget, you’ll be staying in fares, small guesthouses with a single-digit number of rooms. They’re actually really lovely places and I felt like they offered great value for money. They’re also kind of like resorts for budget travellers: you’ll often eat your meals there, take a tour with the owners, and borrow their bicycles or car. It made everything really easy.

Palm trees, flowers, jungle, and a volcano: Maupiti had it all!
Palm trees, flowers, jungle, and a volcano: Maupiti had it all!

Solo Travelers Are Also Rare

I met a handful of solo travelers in my hostel in Tahiti — staying in a dorm room no doubt helped — but as soon as I left, I didn’t meet any others. Just like I experienced in the Cook Islands, this felt very much like a destination for couples (especially honeymooners!) and families.

Unlike in the Cook Islands, this wasn’t as much of an issue in French Polynesia. Because the fares are set up to be far more communal, I wasn’t eating alone every night and having nobody to chat to. Dinners were often included in the price of the guesthouse and were at a set time, so I got to hang out with other travellers and chat, which I loved.

Views of Bora Bora as we came in to land
Views of Bora Bora as we came in to land

Bora Bora Was Just as Spectacular as I’d Hoped

It’s funny: I was so unenthusiastic about going to Bora Bora. It was my final stop on my trip and I’d already fallen in love with so many wonderful islands. I fully expected Bora Bora to look exactly the same as them, but to be full of fanny pack-brandishing tourists and overpriced everything.

But Bora Bora is special and you should totally go there.

Was it my favourite island? No. It was a little too hard to travel on a budget, had me feeling a little too much like I was being ripped off, the food wasn’t as good, and the beaches actually weren’t as nice as the ones I’d spent time on on other islands. But it was 100% the prettiest island overall. Being in Bora Bora is like being in a dream. 

A small beach that was popular with locals on Bora Bora
A small beach that was popular with locals on Bora Bora

So, Which Island Was My Favourite?

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.

Mountains and jungle on Huahine
Mountains and jungle on Huahine

Back when I was planning out my South Pacific jaunt, I believed that spending two weeks in French Polynesia would be enough for me. I thought that all of the islands would be similar, so if I could see a few, I’d be set for life.

Every other year, I spend Christmases down in Oceania, which gives me the perfect opportunity to add on some South Pacific exploration either on the way there or afterwards. I thought that my next trip would be all about visiting Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, but now I’m not so sure.

Now, I’m fairly certain I’m going to return to French Polynesia for at least a month. I miss it already.

 

Have you ever visited French Polynesia? Would you like to?

French Polynesia is an amazing place to travel through! It's easy to visit on a budget (yes, even Bora Bora!), the locals are friendly, and the colour of the water is spectacular!

Share this post:

Previous Hooked on the Cook Islands: My Giant Wedgie
Next Flying in French Polynesia is Spectacular

84 Comments

  1. Andrea Anastasiou
    May 19, 2016
    Reply

    I absolutely love the fact that you go to these places that most bloggers never touch upon! The photos are so beautiful. To be honest, at this stage in my life I don’t think I’d like to be somewhere where I’d only be surrounded by couples, but I’ll definitely bear French Polynesia in mind for the future. Just breathtaking.

    • Lauren
      May 20, 2016
      Reply

      Oh, thank you! I definitely don’t go super off the beaten path, but if I can easily get to a place that’s safe for solo travellers and that not many people visit or write about, I try to get there! I should hopefully have a lot of West African destinations to write about soon, now that I’m based in Portugal :-)

  2. Michelle
    May 19, 2016
    Reply

    BEAUTIFUL photos! I would love to go one day :)

    • Lauren
      May 20, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks, Michelle! :-)

  3. Natalie
    May 19, 2016
    Reply

    Wow! I have always wanted to see these sights. I will have to figure out a way to get my family there. It’ll be a great excuse to work on my French!

    Your pictures are gorgeous. The shade of that water is perfection!

    • Lauren
      May 20, 2016
      Reply

      So many of the other tourists I was hanging out with were excited to practice their French because complete immersion is the best way to do it! It made me wish I knew more french words than bonjour and poulet, ha.

  4. Brie
    May 20, 2016
    Reply

    enjoy reading about your travels and hope to visit some of the places you’ve highlighted someday.
    just out of curiosity, what happened about the story of the creepy guy that had been following you? seems like everything is OK now, but hope he got taken care of!

    • Lauren
      May 20, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Brie! I’ll be writing about the creepy guy soon, but yep, everything worked out fine in the end and nothing bad happened.

  5. Jim
    May 20, 2016
    Reply

    Man that looks incredible! FP has been on our radar for a while now, we’ve got some other trips lined up for the near future but this will definitely get in the queue! Cool photos too!

    • Lauren
      June 16, 2016
      Reply

      So glad to hear that, Jim! You’ll love it there :-)

  6. Brianna
    May 20, 2016
    Reply

    I love reading about your French Polynesia trip, Lauren! I always saw it as a destination only for an elite population of wealthy people. Reading about your experience shows that it can still be just as affordable as visiting other parts of the world!

    • Lauren
      May 27, 2016
      Reply

      Absolutely! Lots of really affordable options on all of the islands I visited! :-)

  7. Dominique
    May 20, 2016
    Reply

    The amount of gorgeous blue photos on your homepage is unreal. Reading this post makes me excited to visit French Polynesia as well. It’s a place I never considered, but how could I miss out on places that sound so friendly and look so beautiful!

    • Lauren
      May 27, 2016
      Reply

      I know! My homepage looks ridiculous right now. So many photos of paradise! :-)

  8. Shirley Hollick
    May 20, 2016
    Reply

    Fabulous article Lauren. We have French Polynesia on our list and it look wonderful. We’ve been to the Cook Islands and to Tonga. Tonga is one of our favourite places in the world. Looks and sounds much like French Polynesia. There are several articles on our website at http://www.travellittleknownplaces.com if you’re interested, but I can’t wait to hear about costs and prices for French Polynesia. And your photos are simply fantastic!

    • Lauren
      June 15, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Shirley! I was gutted I didn’t manage to get to Tonga on this trip — it sounds amazing!

  9. Irma
    May 20, 2016
    Reply

    Loved the wonderful write up and so happy to hear that I can do this on a budget. On another note, now that you are in Portugal, what is the chance that you will have a post on that soon? Totally self serving, but will be there over the next 2 weeks and would love to here your thoughts!

    • Lauren
      May 21, 2016
      Reply

      I won’t have anything up for another few months about Lisbon as I’ve still got quite a bit to catch up on. Feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions, though! :-)

  10. Atanas
    May 20, 2016
    Reply

    Hi, Lauren.
    Would you share the the accommodations you stayed at?

    • Lauren
      May 21, 2016
      Reply

      Yep, I will do when I write about the islands individually next week.

  11. Van
    May 21, 2016
    Reply

    Wow! Amazing photos! I really want to take on your footsteps, but I’m seriously too scared to take the leap! I just graduated and I’ve never had a job! I mean where do I get money to travel? Tips please? Your blog is so awesome!

    • Lauren
      May 21, 2016
      Reply

      By getting a job? :-) I mean, that’s really your only option for making money. I worked three jobs for five years in order to fund my first two years of travel and yep, that required an awful lot of patience!

  12. Brooklyn Murtaugh
    May 21, 2016
    Reply

    I have been dreaming of travelling around the French Polynesia for years. I love the colors in your photos! So stunning :)

    • Lauren
      June 22, 2016
      Reply

      You need to go! I think you’d love it :-)

  13. Katie
    May 22, 2016
    Reply

    I had already wanted to go there as one of my old bosses spent a month backpacking there in the nineties and raved about it and now I want to even more! Great to know it’s reasonably affordable, you even convinced my boyfriend who generally would choose cheaper countries

    • Lauren
      June 22, 2016
      Reply

      Oh, nice! I’m so happy to hear that! :-D

  14. Maggie
    May 24, 2016
    Reply

    Beautiful Pictures!! Loved all your tips about a trip to Polynesia.. I’d like to bookmark this article for my next trip…

    • Lauren
      May 27, 2016
      Reply

      You definitely should! :-)

  15. Britt
    May 24, 2016
    Reply

    Oh wow! I get what you are saying about needing more than three months to see everything. Island time is one of my favourite things about visiting places like this; they automatically make you feel relaxed!

    All of the islands look incredible, I’m not sure how you managed to pick between them all!

    • Lauren
      May 27, 2016
      Reply

      It was tough, but I decided to go with the more touristy ones first, because that’s where my readers would be most likely to visit :-)

  16. Xplorato
    May 25, 2016
    Reply

    J’taime :) I have never been to the French Polynesia but after reading this i think i found a romantic getaway for me and my boyfriend :) Lovely read and pictures

    • Lauren
      May 27, 2016
      Reply

      Yes! It’s the perfect spot for a romantic getaway! :-D

  17. Yok
    May 26, 2016
    Reply

    I’ll echo what many others have said: it’s super cool you are connecting with some destinations less traveled to, or at least less written about, by and for budget travelers.

    Given how big and exotic the world is, would you go back as you have to Thailand or was it slightly to pricey and/or out of the way to call for further trips?

    • Lauren
      May 27, 2016
      Reply

      I definitely hope to return! It won’t be as often as I do Thailand, but I do want to hit up some more French Polynesian islands next time I’m spending Christmas in Oceania :-)

  18. Jason
    June 2, 2016
    Reply

    I always wanted to travel but have been able to do so. Looking at those places that can be visited on a small budget has really given me home. I am waiting about your next post about the accommodation.
    Keep posting and nice pictures

    • Lauren
      June 14, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks, Jason! Glad I could inspire you to visit :-)

  19. Jason
    June 2, 2016
    Reply

    I have always wanted to travel but haven’t been able to do so because of my job. I am pretty amazed that such places can be visited at small budget. I am waiting about your post on accommodation. So keep posting.
    Your pictures are good!!

    • Lauren
      June 8, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you! Yep, most of the places that have a reputation for being expensive can actually be done quite cheaply. You just need to look around rather than assuming they’ll be outside of your budget :-)

  20. Rohini
    June 3, 2016
    Reply

    Never knew it was an easy trip . I should plan some time soon . Thanks for the info .

    • Lauren
      June 8, 2016
      Reply

      Yep, it’s super-easy to get around and explore! :-)

  21. Backpacking Thailand
    June 10, 2016
    Reply

    Wow Lauren, these pictures are stunning! This trip doable on the cheap?

    • Lauren
      June 11, 2016
      Reply

      That’s what I said in the post! ;-)

  22. Heather
    June 10, 2016
    Reply

    Fabulous photos. I loved them all. My favorite part was where you talked about the locals and helpful they were despite the language barrier.

    • Lauren
      June 14, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Heather!

  23. Graham
    June 11, 2016
    Reply

    Wow, incredible pictures! As broke-ass backpackers sadly we’d find those guesthouses a bit steep for us right now (I know, cheap by European standards, but pricier than the countries we normally travel in), but this article has got us so stoked to come here. Hopefully in a couple of years…

    • Lauren
      June 14, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you! Yeah, it’s definitely not Southeast Asia prices. Hopefully you can get there soon, though! :-)

  24. Megan
    June 14, 2016
    Reply

    I went to the French Polynesia over Christmas of 2014, and it was absolutely spectacular. My favorite island was Bora Bora, which is now one of my favorite places I have ever visited. Everything there from the food to the people was amazing.

    • Lauren
      June 14, 2016
      Reply

      Bora Bora is a pretty special place, hey? :-)

  25. Sita
    July 25, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren, great post about French Polynesia. I was wondering if you could please advise as I’m heading there in December for 16 days. So, as you mentioned in the blog, you suggested to go to 3 islands of Maupiti, Huahine and Bora bora. When you were booking flight, did you choose Bora bora Pass from Air Tahiti – Euro 414? As I’m going to 16 days, I was wondering it’s worth to add a Moorea? Btw, do you know if they have camping facilities in all the islands that you went? I am planning to take my tent to cut down the cost in accommodation, as I did this when I was traveling in New Caledonia back in 2014. Thanks and look forward for your response.

    • Lauren
      July 29, 2016
      Reply

      Yep, I went with the Bora Bora pass.

      With Moorea, you could probably add it in without adding too much stress to your trip. Your visit will feel slightly rushed though, so you won’t be able to make as much of the chilled out way of living. It might be worth it to you if this is likely to be your only visit in your lifetime! :-)

      With camping, a quick google seemed to suggest there were facilities everywhere but Maupiti, so you should be able to do so on the other islands.

  26. Sanjeet Veen
    August 23, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for nice and wonderful post! I love pics, Those has been shared in post. These images looks really nice & beautiful

  27. Angie (FeetDoTravel)
    November 26, 2016
    Reply

    Fab post with great advice! Thank you for taking the time to weigh up the good and bad, that is most helpful, especially about hostels, language barrier and to slow things down – just what we need to know :-) I have pinned this for future reference when we visit this stunning idyllic area :-)

    • Lauren
      January 9, 2017
      Reply

      So glad you found it helpful, Angie! :-)

  28. David Pogatchnik
    December 12, 2016
    Reply

    when traveling to the different islands the baggage limit is like 5 kilo’s or about 11 pounds,. If coming there from New Zealand and traveling for several weeks before this where can you store your main piece of larger luggage or can you have a regular carry one piece of luggage using the inter island ticket? Plan to be there in March 2017. Thanks

    • Lauren
      December 12, 2016
      Reply

      I think that limit is for hand luggage. For checked bags, Air Tahiti has an allowance of 23 kg per person. My backpack weighed around 15 kgs at that point and I took it on all of my flights without a problem.

  29. Vivian
    February 6, 2017
    Reply

    Great posts! Super glad I came along your blog. I was wondering if you had a post of all the costs you paid in French polynesia ? I would love a rough estimate for a two week trip to the three places you mentioned you’d visit above! Any advice is great . Air fare from Canada will hopefully be the biggest expense .

    • Lauren
      March 2, 2017
      Reply

      I haven’t yet, but I will be writing a detailed post about it soon.

  30. Jessica M Hyne
    October 3, 2017
    Reply

    Hi Lauren!

    My fiancé and I will be traveling to French Polynesia in January for our honeymoon and your post was SO helpful. We are based out of the United States so we are very excited to make our way over to the South Pacific. We are both surfers and will be taking our boards. We are purchasing the multi island pass but are confused on which ticket we should purchase. Should we get the 50lb or the 100lb limit since we will have a backpack and a board bag? Hopefully you could help us out!

    Thank you and good luck on your future endeavors.

    -Jess

  31. Ria
    February 12, 2018
    Reply

    thank for useful tips! We are coming in the end of August to French Polynesia :) But our main aim – swimming with whales so we are planning to stay in Moorea island :) Maybe you have any tips for this island?

    • Lauren
      February 20, 2018
      Reply

      Sorry, I don’t have any tips for Moorea, as I have yet to make it there. It looks beautiful, though, and I’m sure you’ll love it!

  32. kokodrift
    March 7, 2018
    Reply

    Fab post with great advice.

    Thank You So Much for all the tips. Your blog is amazing!!! <3

    • Lauren
      March 11, 2018
      Reply

      Thank you!

  33. Ben S.
    March 19, 2018
    Reply

    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.

    • Lauren
      March 21, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing! Enjoy!

  34. Lucy
    March 28, 2018
    Reply

    Dear Lauren, I find your blog so inspirational and informative. Thanks so much! I am off to french polynesia this June for three weeks and am following some of your recommendations. I’d be grateful if you could tell me, how did you get hold of the Air Tahiti pass? Do you have to get it when you arrive?

    Thanks again
    Lucy

  35. Krista
    August 17, 2018
    Reply

    Lauren, your post has been incredibly helpful as my partner and I plan our upcoming trip to French Polynesia. I am intrigued about Huahine, and I am wondering if you have recommendations of that guest house that you really enjoyed.

  36. Amy Dolotallas
    November 5, 2018
    Reply

    Your photos are amazing! I want to jump in that turquoise water right now!!!

    I’ve never been but planning to go in couple of months.
    I haven’t heard Bora bora and Tahiti being much of a family destination, it just sounds so expensive from the get-go, but the over-water bungalows look freaking amazing and I would feel too guilty not bringing my kids along lol

    So I need your input in this since you’ve been there. We love biking but won’t bring our bikes. It seems like biking would be the best way to get around and explore the island. If we decide to rent scooters, how are the rules there? In Asia, you can fit a family of 7 and nobody cares haha you know what I mean, are they super strict with safety regulations? We live in Canada, in Vancouver to be specific and everything is so strict.

  37. Liam
    January 10, 2019
    Reply

    Absolutely love this! I am visiting French Polynesia in June and your blog has got me so excited! it looks as stunning as I dream about. You’ve even convinced me to visit Huahine! Thanks so much! Would love it if you shared the place you stayed at in Bora Bora for my research?

    Thanks again!

    Liam

  38. Leila
    February 11, 2019
    Reply

    Hello. I really liked your review :) I’m planning on traveling from Sweden and I wonder what month did you hear is the best for visiting French Polynesia? I have read so many times and so many websites and I understood that August/September is a good time to go, is that right? I would prefer hot weather and calm sea and sunny days. Best regards, Leila :)

    • Lauren
      February 11, 2019
      Reply

      Yes, that’s the best time. I was there in January, which is known as the worst time, but I actually had perfect weather for my entire trip! Still, to be on the safe side, I’d go with August/September.

  39. Joro
    April 9, 2019
    Reply

    Dear Lauren, your blog has been such an enormous inspiration for the past year! (since I started looking into exotic destinations for my honeymoon and now anniversary).

    I know this is a bit out of touch with this great guide but I wasnt able to find any other means of contact except these comments so here goes – how does one work out the Air Tahiti Pass? On their website, they just tell you to start booking a multi-island itinerary but when I do it, following all the requirements of the pass, the price is like 1.5x higher. I’m being very frustrated with their website because I am super running out of time (my trip is in two weeks) and I obviously want to see as many islands as possible :)

    On that note everybody hypes Maupiti so much but it seems we will have to skip it… too difficult to reach to on a tight schedule. Oh well!

    Anyway, I have reached out to Air Tahiti but they only promise 72 hours response time so if you have any advice, that would be just great :)

    Thanks again and kudos for your amazing writing, keep going! (and traveling)

    • Joro
      April 9, 2019
      Reply

      Dear Lauren, disregard my last post, I figured out what’s the deal, turns out one of the flights has a routing via Tahiti, which is not allowed on the pass. Oh well, time to reroute everything again :) Seems like such an ordeal when you want to visit EVERYTHING but everyone tells you at least 3 nights for each island…

  40. Kel
    April 10, 2019
    Reply

    Absolutely love this. French Polynesia is A dream. Please take me back!!! Keep it up!

  41. kokodrift
    April 21, 2019
    Reply

    Fab post with great advice.

    Thank You So Much for all the tips. Your blog is amazing!!! <3

    • Lauren
      May 4, 2019
      Reply

      Ah, thank you so much! That means a lot :-)

  42. Raquel
    June 30, 2019
    Reply

    Hi Lauren
    SUCH a great post, so helpful and inspiring;)
    Im planning my next holidays over French Polynesia and feel like travelling around it the same way u did, id love to ask u if u could share some advice about how to find the guesthouses? Just on bookings or is there any local website to book them?
    Thanks!!!
    R

  43. Lata
    July 18, 2019
    Reply

    I’m SO glad I found your blog and this post. I’m just starting my research for a solo trip to FP, including BB and Maupiti. And now I guess Huahine! Did you end up posting costs or do you ever share links to where you stayed? I would follow up on the guest houses you liked. I do speak French, which will help me, but a tip toward friendly hosts there would be welcomed! Also, I see you’re in the UK July/Aug. I’m in London and happy to share any tips or invite you for a meal if you’re solo and could use some company. Thanks again for the post! So helpful and inspiring! Lara

  44. Che
    July 29, 2019
    Reply

    Currently been planning a trip around the South Pacific and have been using your website as a guide. It has been super helpful as there is not much out there so thank you!
    Do you remember what air pass you bought? :)

  45. Patricia
    August 19, 2019
    Reply

    Lovely article Loren, its nice to see how these dreamful places can be travelled without costing a fortune if you really want to explore the landscape and share time with locals rather than just being on a fancy overwater bungalow without seing anything else.
    Could you please share the link of your acommodation and do you have any list of your travel expenses?
    Thank you!!!

  46. Stuart Holloway
    August 30, 2019
    Reply

    Fantastic article Lauren – thank you. We are travelling out to French Polynesia in March 2020 and plan to visit several of the islands you mention. You say that the B&B you staying in on Huanine was your favourite – can you tell me where you stayed?

  47. Corie
    May 30, 2020
    Reply

    I’m hoping to visit French Polynesia later this year and all of your articles and guides have been so useful! Just wanted to say thank you and ask if you were planning on going back in the future? I’d love to get your take on some of the other island chains in the region.

  48. Joanna
    June 3, 2020
    Reply

    I have enjoyed reading your passage sooooo much! French Polynesia has always been my biggest dream and I’ll do whatever it takes to visit it one day. And perhaps stay forever. Its the ultimate beauty!
    Thank you for this interesting reading and plenty of useful tips.
    I truly envy you:)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.