Sandyb: Exploring The Beauty Of The Islands Of Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti is made up of 118 Islands, 67 of them habited and we got to explore just 2! This guide takes you a little deeper into Tahiti and Huahine to give you a few more ideas on what you can see and do and how you can feel and experience the Mana of this amazing place. Each Island provides a different experience and while you might find palm trees and blue blue water everywhere you will find each Island has a unique feel and focus for you to explore.
BP 2851 PUNAVAI, PUNA'AUIA 98703, FRENCH POLYNESIA
The opportunities for diving and snorkeling are endless on the Islands of Tahiti and if you are lucky getting the time to swim with sharks and rays is a real treat. We didn't have the time or opportunity to do that this trip but pack your snorkel, or get one from your hotel, and the underwater world is just a few feet away. These pictures are from stepping of the deck or into the sea outside the Manava resort in Tahiti and Maitai Lapita in Huahine. In both cases you need not move far at all to see a huge variety of fish include the highlight for me a colourful moray eel. While these pictures don't perhaps show it there was a huge variety of quite large very colourful fish.
MĀHINA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Surfing is a way of life in the Islands of Tahiti so on our way exploring the Island we felt compelled to stop and watch the action. Because it was not the season for the big swells, some of which happen outside of the coral reef also, we were mesmerized not only by the surfers but by the tricks and antics of the body borders. This looked like an incredibly fun place to be and watching the chatter and laughter of those watching was almost as entertaining. Time did not quite allow it but you could easily perch yourself here and use up an entire afternoon. The final treat for us was a huge rainbow finishing on the surfers themselves, I hope they got the pot of gold!
VALLEE VAIPUU, FRENCH POLYNESIA
If you don't have the time for a full 4WD trip then head about 40 minutes down the west side of Tahiti from Papeete and you will find des trois cascades or the three water falls. Due to a huge rain the day before the water fall was in full motion but this also meant the two higher waterfalls were cordoned off. The power of the waterfalls is so immense and with the high steep hills of Tahiti the drop of each fall is really impressive. The other very enjoyable part of visiting these waterfalls was driving through some of the less known and very simple villages with friendly waves and animals greeting you everywhere on your path.
LAPITA VILLAGE, HUAHINE 98731, FRENCH POLYNESIA
The hills around Huahine take on an incredibly life like form. You can see it from many places but if you walk along the bay from the main township towards the Maitai resort you will look across and see the pregnant lady. It is not hard to spot her lying on her back her face with hair falling into the sea, breast, pregnant tummy and then knees bent. It really is quite impressive and frames the bay, you can spot it right along the water front as we stopped to see it as we drove in the other direction from the main township as well. In the picture below her legs can be seen behind the trees which have grown to slightly obscure the view. Huahine in the local language means woman. If you want to really understand the Mana of the place - this is where you can do it.
BP 2851 PUNAVAI, PUNA'AUIA 98703, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Staying in this resort for a few nights provided the opportunity to try and catch some sunrises (very early) and sun sets. You could well imagine how every day here the colours would change bringing new and impressive views that you never tire of and certainly a worth getting up for. I think having the beautiful island of Moorea just across the way also makes for an interesting back drop as does the infinity pool. The early morning is such a special time and often when you can see locals up and about at their activities when everyone else is asleep. There is always time to nap later when the sun is hot overhead.
PUNA'AUIA, ÎLES DU VENT, FRENCH POLYNESIA
One of the simple ways to eat in the Islands to Tahiti is to find the local food trucks or Roulottes. We found Little Bangkok on the recommendation of others and ended up dining here twice as we loved it so much. It is simple yet extremely delicious food and while it appears by the style it might come and go but it appeared to us that Little Bangkok was a pretty stable addition to the street and was busy every time we went past it - not surprising as it was delicious. If you are in a hurry you can take away but we chose to dine in both nights.
IMMEUBLE DEXTER PONT DE L'EST, RUE GAUGUIN, PAPEETE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
You need to get around while your on the Island of Tahiti and while many tours will pick you up at your accommodation if you want to be a bit freer then renting a car is a great way to go. We used Avis and ended up with a very spacious vehicle that allowed us to get around very easily. One thing I will say though most directions in Tahiti are fairly vague and require a bit of talking to the locals to find the final spot - that in itself is quite a highlight as everyone is so friendly and happy to oblige. You can't take a vehicle on any gravel roads but you can navigate quite a bit of the Island.
HUAHINE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
One thing you will find all over the Islands is blue blue blue and so many shades of it as it meets the coral that surrounds the Islands enticing you into the depths to explore. Even on the slightly cloudy and windy day that we explore the Island there was jaw dropping beauty that just made you want to see more on a clear calm sunny day and I imagine you would never want to leave. Certainly the people that we spoke with that had made Huahine their home that was definitely the case! Locals who had chosen Huahine as their home had come years ago for a variety of reasons but always staying longer than they intended and now not imagining leaving.