French Polynesia Favorites

  • Sunrise
    Sunrise
    by jmpncsu
  • Sunrise
    Sunrise
    by jmpncsu
  • Sunrise
    Sunrise
    by jmpncsu

French Polynesia Favorites

  • Underwater Life

    Bora-Bora Favorites

    So just about everyone goes snorkeling in Bora Bora and enjoys seeing the amazing underwater life. But here's a tip to enhance the experience. While snorkeling near overwater bungalows, have your spouse or significant other go up on the boardwalks and drop bread crumbs in the water. Chumming the water causes a colorful of explosion of fish to come...

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  • Flora

    Bora-Bora Favorites

    The main citrus tree in the French Polynesian islands is “pamplemousse” – and you see it on this photo in the container in the foreground. Although closely related, grapefruit and pamplemousse – in English: pomelo, shaddock and pummelo – are not the same. In fact, a grapefruit is a cross of pamplemousse and orange. The cross of pamplemousse with a...

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  • Beach

    Bora-Bora Favorites

    PEOPLE ARE VERY NICE BUT THE ISLAND ITSELF IS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED. IF YOU GO I WOULD SUGGEST NOT LEAVING YOUR RESORT. IT WAS SOMEWHAT DISSAPOINTING. I'VE BEEN TO 5 OTHER SURROUNDING ISLANDS AND THIS IS BY FAR MY LEAST FAVORITE BESIDES TAHITII WHICH WE HAD GO TO TO GET THERE! SHOPPING FOR BLACK PEARLS, BUT YOU CAN FIND THEM ON ANY OF THE ISLANDS.

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  • Tiare and Monoi

    /I could also list this as a Local Customs tip - but by placing it here I save you an additional click... ;-)Tiare is the national flower of French Polynesia. It is a white flower with a strong scent, like Jasmine. Its scientific name is Gardenia tahitensis. This gardenia is endemic to French Polynesia and grows on shrubs.Monoi is the product...

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  • Noni - a Fruit to Argue about

    /You might have read about or heard of the miraculous qualities of the Noni fruit. In Germany there are people who claim it might heal cancer. This is just over the top for me, and I also doubt other claims. It might have some health benefits, for example it helps to boost your immune system, better digest food. Perhaps you even get better skin and...

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  • Vanilla and the Story about the Bees

    /Tahaa is the vanilla island. And you can buy vanilla products everywhere in French Polynesia – and also visit vanilla plantations in Tahaa and see how labour-intensive it is to produce this wonderful spice harvested from the pods of a climbing orchid.Originally from Mexico, today there are three major cultivars of vanilla grown globally, all...

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  • Black Pearls - Quality and Beauty

    -They are the most advertised, and probably also most loved souvenirs you can buy on the islands, and also an important factor of French Polynesia’s economy.Some black pearls are even black. Let’s say, more anthracite than black. The better term for the pearls you get in (French) Polynesia would be Tahitian Pearl (Perle de Tahiti) or South Sea...

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  • Be Prepared for Mosquito Attacks

    -After having read about fierce mosquito attacks on all islands you can be sure that we had insect repellent in our luggage and took it on all our trips on land, as have those annoying sandflies in New Zealand. But believe it or not, we did not need the repellent a single time, be it in French Polynesia or any other island during our South Pacific...

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  • The Language: French and Tahitian

    -The official language in the islands is French but most people speak Tahitian, also called Reo Ma’ohi (similar to Te Reo Maori in New Zealand).Although English is widely spoken in the tourism industry, so in resorts and on organised tours/activities, it helps a lot to speak French if you want to get a bit into local culture and get in touch with...

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  • Climate: It is always hot

    -The islands enjoy a tropical climate. This means, it is hot year-round. The main difference is between the dry season (with still quite humid air…) and rain season.The rain season is from December to April, with an average annual rainfall of 2268 millimetres. This is also the hottest season, so rather gluey ;-)The dry season is from July to...

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  • Currency: Carry Thousands of CPF or XPF

    /Currency in French Polynesia is the CPF, also XPF = Cour de Franc Pacifique.The exchange rate with the Euro is fixed.1000 CFP = 8.38 EuroThe exchange rate with foreign currencies is flexible and can vary.With the US$ in June 2009 was:90 CFP = 1 US$But as said, this can vary, so sometimes you might get 100 CFP for 1 US$, sometimes less.

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  • Remoteness means: Distances

    -As you have to travel via Tahiti if you arrive on an international flight, let me give you some distances in French Polynesia from Tahiti:Moorea 15 kmHuahine 175 kmRaiatea/Tahaa 195/200 kmBora Bora 268 kmRangiroa 300 kmNuku Hiva (Marquesas) 1500 km

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  • PK and milestones

    Distances in French Polynesia are calculated with PK (Point Kilométrique). Milestones are placed all along the coastal road as a reference, usually starting with "0" in the main town of the island.Mile posts in Moorea are quite particular…they are heart-shaped like the island :-)

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  • Outrigger canoes

    Outrigger canoes are part of the Polynesian heritage, they are very common in French Polynesia. This kind of boat is in fact a canoe featuring at least one lateral support floats, fastened to the side of the hull. They are known to be much more stable on the sea than normal canoes.Outrigger canoe races is a popular activity in the south seas...

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  • Fleur de tiaré (gardenia)

    THE symbol of Polynesian's legendary hospitality and of the traditional “Maeva” (welcome). Gardenia flowers are mainly grown for the manufacture of local cosmetics and oil. Some also use them in jams or ice creams. But the most famous use is in the flower necklaces offered to every visitor arriving in Tahiti. The locals have always worn flowers in...

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  • Mahi mahi

    This is the most common fish served in French Polynesia. We had it in any possible way, but grilled mahi mahi really was my favourite !"Mahi mahi" means "strong"...well, considering its size, I believe that :-)Ugly fish but so tasty !

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  • Marae

    « Marae » is a word you will regularly come across in French Polynesia. Often translated by « stone temple », it is in fact more complex than that : a vast open air centre of social and political life (weddings, crowning of kings, war councils) as well as a place of worship. Some were private, others were public. In ancient times, it used to be...

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  • Black pearl, keishi and mabe

    Most of the pearls are thus imperfect, having different forms and colours (round, baroque, pears, green, grey, black…) and different prices of course… the rounder the more expensive! The less expensive one is the natural pearl called "Keishi", created without human intervention (i.e. no nucleus is introduced into the oyster). A Keishi is thus the...

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  • Black pearl - organic gem and symbol of...

    The natural pearl is basically the result of a defense mechanism that coats with a substance, called "nacre" (or "mother-of-pearl"), any intruder getting into the shell of the mollusk . This intruder can be a particle of sand or a small animal for example, or any artificially introduced element (we then speak of "cultured pearls"). Pearl farmers...

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  • Asian connections

    Similarities with Japanese, or at least with Asian languages, that's the first thing that struck me when I heard the pilot speaking mao'hi in the plane. And I soon realised that it was not the only similarity : everywhere on the islands we visited, sushi and other row fishes seemed to be a specialty, as well as many Asian dishes. And the local...

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  • Beneath the sea

    There is a lot of wildlife beneath the sea in French Polynesia. This includes Turtles (as in the picture here), sharks, rays (incredibly these fish really do enjoy being stroked) and lots and lots of multi-coloured fish of all sorts of hues and colours.If you don't pull on a mask and a snorkel you will really miss out. The waters are clear and...

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  • The Tiki Village Theatre on Moorea

    The Tiki Village Theatre is around PK31 on Moorea.It puts on a show in the evenings that has Polynesian dancing, fire dancing, a Polynesian feast where you see them cooking the food too. See some of my Must See tips for these.You are led to believe that the Polynesians there all live in the village, and perhaps they do. They certainly practice...

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  • Bright flowers on Moorea

    Moorea (and French Polynesia in general for that matter) is full of bright and colourful flowers and plants. This is just a sample picture of one of them.They seem to grow all the year around, as I guess the seasons are not really so apparent when you have tropical type weather. There is certainly no frost to kill off the flowering buds!Flowers to...

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  • Dove Nesting In Bananas in Tahiti

    Please enlarge the photo for this one!When I was visiting the Tomb of King Pomare V in Tahiti, I was walking past a bunch of bananas (they are all over the place in Tahiti, so you stop paying too much attention to them), when something caught my eye and I took a better look at them. There right by my head was a dove nesting in the actual bunch of...

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  • The Lagoonarium

    The Lagoonarium is one of the real must-see sights on Moorea. It is also very good value, but with one caveat!When we asked at our hotel, we were told it would cost at least 7,500 per person to go. A man on a boat would take us from the hotel and bring us back, and we would be there for about an hour, they also said it wasn't open everyday.HOWEVER,...

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  • Flora: Opuhi (Red Ginger)

    During our visit to the Jam store on our tour in Moorea, we ran across this beautiful plant. It is known there as the Opuhi.Description: Ornamental herb, leaves up to 70 cm long, inflorescence terminal, up to 20 cm long, consisting of bright red-pink bracts mostly concealing white flowers, capsules subglobose.Notes: Grown ornamentally for its...

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  • Flora: Tahitian Vanilla

    One the things we were able to see on our Moorea discovery safari was the Vanilla plant, which was not blooming yet when we saw it. It is from the orchid family, which provides a beautiful white flower, after the green plant has ripened.Description: Climbing vine, leaves alternate, glossy, lanceolate to elliptic, flowers green-yellow, fragrant,...

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  • Flora: Pineapple Plants or "Queen...

    One thing that I learned on this trip to Tahiti was that Pineapples were not grown on trees, but rather were a shrub that grew in the ground. We saw groves of pineapple shrubs throughout Moorea, and enjoyed some of the best pineapple!Description: Food crop, grown ornamentally on the Gump Station property, short-stemmed herb reaching 1 meter in...

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  • Flora: Coconut Trees

    Common to most of us who have travelled to tropical islands, the Coconut tree is an important staple of Island living. Here are the scientific facts:Scientific Name: Cocos NuciferaDescription: Cultivated food crop, tall palm, trunks often curved, leaves 6 m long or longer, pinnae roughly 1 meter long, inflorescence up to 2 meters long, staminate...

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  • Flora: Miconia

    This is a terrible weed in the minds of Tahitians. This plant was brought in from Central America and is threatening to kill off most of the vegetation in all areas in which it is located. It was spread primarilly after a major hurricane that blew seeds throughout the Society Islands. The main reason that this plant is considered a weed is that its...

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  • Flora - Hibiscus Tiliaceus

    During our 4x4 safari of Tahiti, our guide stopped on the side of the road and was able to pick this beautiful flower for each of the women in our tour. It is the hibiscus.Description: Abundant tree, found from the ocean up to the highest points on Moorea, trunks of soft white wood, leaves up to 30 cm long, cordate with acuminate apices, sepals 5,...

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  • Flora: Petit flamboyant

    During a walk from our hotel in Moorea to the market for some supplies, we were able to see this beautiful view of this flower overlooking the bay.Description: Shrub to small tree, leaves twice-pinnate, leaflets 1-3 cm long, inflorescence borne on a long peduncle, flowers pink to red variously suffused with yellow or orange marginally.Notes: Common...

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  • Flora - African Tulip or "Flame Tree"

    We were fairly impressed with how pretty this tree was, but the disappointment set in when we found out that it was not native! This is actually from Africa, and was moved here for the arboretum of flowers from the world. During one of the islands bad storms caused by El Nino, the seeds of this tree were spread throughout Tahiti and wild children...

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  • Flora - Annona muricata

    We viewed this fruit on our trip through Moorea by 4 wheel drive.Description: Small tree, shiny petiolate leaves, closely spaced, with an acuminate tip. Fruits large and conspicuous, covered with soft spines that hook away from the base of the fruit.Notes: Fruit flesh eaten when soft, often made into juices and used in traditional medicine although...

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  • Combing the beach at the Beach Comber

    That morning, Mama, Daddy, and Grandma took an optional tour of a neighbouring island called Moorea. So, it was up to Mrs. Graves and me to lead the group from Mechanicsville. We went down the hill and across the road to the beaches of a more opulent hotel (The Beach Comber). I got tan and bathed in the Pacific Ocean. The water was as warm as it...

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  • Architecture

    There isn't much architecture on the islands. Most buildings and houses are simple and built in local style (thatched roofs and woven pandanus walls). The buildings that give the extra touch to the islands are the many churches. They are found all over the islands, sometimes on idyllic places and are perfect for that special photo shoot.

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  • Beaches

    Beaches .... white sand beaches bordered by palm trees and turquoise lagoons and most beaches are so deserted that you'll have them all for yourself. You will find most of those beaches on the motus.Note that there are also islands without beaches or with black lava sand beaches.

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  • Roads around the islands

    In the Society Islands most of the roads that circle the islands are paved. Going around the island by car, scooter or bike is a pleasant way of exploring every aspect of it: people, landscape, fauna and flora.

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  • Island versus Atoll

    In French Polynesia there are volcanic islands (Tahiti, Marquesas), barrier reef islands (Moorea, Maupiti, Tahaa & Raiatea, Bora Bora) and atolls (Tuamotus).Evolution:First there is a volcanic island. Coral begins to grow around this island. The formation of a coral reef is very slow, it rises from 0,5 to 2 meters in a hundred year. It is made of...

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  • Motu

    A motu is a coral islet inside the lagoon, between the outer reef and a high island. The motus are always bordered by beautiful white sand beaches.

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  • The Society Islands

    The Society Islands are some of the most beautiful islands in the world, offering countless photogenic scenes of saw-tooth mountain ranges, deep blue bays, green valleys and turquoise lagoons. These are the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora and Maupiti. On most of these islands you can explore the valleys, waterfalls...

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  • Hanging and venturing out the balance of...

    On returning, my brother, Kim, and I found 1000 Tahitian francs, dividing it equally amongst ourselves. I don't know how Kim spent her lot, but my brother took a liquid lunch (a local beer called HINANO) in spite of being only 16 years old. As for me, I flagged down a truck and headed for Papeete. The restaurant at our hotel had already closed...

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  • Special island sendoff

    We might not have been staying at the Beach Comber down the hill, but they did sure enough give us a 5-star (or shall I say 5-lei) sendoff. Before supper, my parents and the majority of the ladies in our group wore Tahitian skirts called "pareau". At 19.30, the threw us a going-away feast which consisted of the following- French bread, all manner...

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  • The morning beauty just from our hotel

    That morning, I discovered the true beauty of Tahiti after being awakened by a stray rooster. From the porch of the hotel on top of the hill, you could see the tropical plants and the Pacific Ocean which was as blue as the sky. My brother woke up right early by his standards and found a coconut as big as his head, and both have roughly the same...

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  • Pool at the country club

    The last afternoon in Tahiti, I also take care to enjoy the pool at the hotel at which we stayed. The water was so warm and it was hard to believe that the following day, we would be off to the colder temperatures of July in the southern hemisphere.

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French Polynesia Hotels

Top French Polynesia Hotels

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French Polynesia Favorites

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French Polynesia Members Meetings

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