The Secret Islands of Tahiti You Need to Visit
By Madelin Tomelty - Credits: Luxury Travel Magazine
We know you love Bora Bora, and so do we. But next time you visit The Islands of Tahiti why not venture further afield? After all, there are 117 other islands just waiting to be explored! Here’s four of our favourites to get you started.
Admit it – Someone says “Tahiti” and you find yourself lost in images of overwater bungalows and turquoise water – images of Bora Bora that have probably been popping up on your social feeds for years. We don’t blame you – Bora Bora teeter-totters on the precipice of paradise, and it’s an island that is known around the world as a place everyone should get to see at least once in their life. But consider this: The Islands of Tahiti are made up of no less than 118 islands, and Bora Bora is just one of them. Mind sufficiently blown? The Islands of Tahiti are incredibly diverse, and because we know you love exploring new places – especially those that have yet to be infiltrated by the masses – let us introduce you to the lesser-travelled Tahiti and those islands that fly under the radar, year in, year out. Just your cup of tea, we reckon.
A hop, skip and jump from the island of Tahiti (or a 40-minute flight), you’ll arrive at the magical island of Huahine, known for its lush forests, charming villages and untouched terrain. This island is considered one of Tahiti’s best-kept secrets, thanks not only to its obvious beauty, but also the authentic island experience you’re guaranteed to get there. Rather than the curated, cookie-cutter perfection of Bora Bora and Moorea’s luxury resort landscape, Huahine is a place where visitors can shed their tourist skin and try on for size an authentic, local island experience. It’s called “Secret Island” for a reason – and now that we’ve published this we suggest you get there quick-smart, before the word gets out.
- The deep, coloured lagoon surrounding the two islands that comprise Huahine, which is perfect for swimming and snorkelling as well as jet-skiing
- Secluded bays
- The white sand beaches of Fare and Parea
- The slow, tranquil pace of the island
- The local villages
- The archaeological site of Maeva
If you’re after true peace and quiet, Taha’a is the place for you, because where Huahine gives you a taste of local life, Taha’a serves up a full degustation. Here you’ll find the authentic Tahitian island experience set to the backdrop of undulating mountains and bright, white-sand beaches. Not to mention, the whole island has the faint aroma of a gourmet bakery or an expensive day spa thanks to the unique vanilla farms found across the island, adding to an ambience that feels closer to a dream than reality. Also, the island is shaped like a flower, so if you have a drone or are one for aerial photography, Taha’a will guarantee a visual feast.
- A slow-paced, authentic island life experience
- Sampling vanilla tahitensis, a unique and precious vanilla that tastes like how paradise feels
- White sand beaches
- The private motus (tiny islands), that are close by and waiting to be explored
- Coral reefs
- The views of Raiatea, Bora-Bora and Huahine
- Swimming with graceful rays and sharks
- The open-air resort spas
Divers, you’re welcome. Rangiroa is one of the world’s greatest destinations for scuba diving, with the 240 islets stringing together in the ocean for more than 177 km, completely encircling a deep lagoon. Rangiroa is the world’s second largest atoll – the inside of the lagoon is so large it could hold the entire island of Tahiti – and is nothing short of magical. The lagoon is the turquoise, peaceful water The Islands of Tahiti are known for, while the Moana-uri or ‘Wild Ocean’ is where water-babies can venture to swim alongside whales, manta rays, dolphins and sharks. On shore, discover the main villages of Avatoru and Tiputa and encounter the places the locals frequent like churches and local restaurants as well as authentic boulangeries. Oh, you can also do some utterly unique wine tasting at a winery nestled within a coconut grove – bet you didn’t see that one coming!
- Wine tasting at the Dominique Auroy Estate
- Scuba diving and snorkelling
- Swimming with rays, sharks and dolphins
- The black pearl farms in the lagoon
- The Blue Lagoon, which is a small lagoon within the main island lagoon
- The Pink Sand Beach, where sand dunes dyed by naturally crushed seashells emerge from the reef, giving it a pink hue
Remember a few minutes ago when we said that Taha’a was the island to go to for utter peace and quiet? Well that was before we discovered Tikehau – a desert atoll home to only 500 Tahitians, mostly generations of fishermen. Made up of pure white and pink-sand beaches and a lagoon so perfect-looking it looks like it must have been made with a 3D printer, Tikehau has more amazing diving and snorkeling to offer, while its untouched sandy beaches are hard to beat for those looking to embrace island life.
- Tuherahera village
- Superb white and pink beaches
- An abundant underwater world of millions of fish – Jacques Cousteau called “the the island the “most fish abundant Tuamotu atoll”
- Seclusion, and peace and quiet