French Polynesia

French-polynesiafrench-polynesia-map1 French Polynesia größer

French Polynesia
French Polynesia can be separated into 5 different archipelagos: The Society Island, The Australs, The Tuamotus, The Gambiers Archipelago and The Marquesas. Every Archipelago is known for different highlights. We choose the Society Islands and Tuamotus. This way we got a feeling for the various islands of the Society Islands and spend some time on the atolls of the Tuamotus for diving and great snorkeling.

Society Islands
The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean and the most developed ones in French Polynesia. Tahiti is the biggest island of the group with around 120.000 inhabitants (total population fo French Polynesia is about 227.000). The islands are well known for fabulous resorts, sandy white beaches and turquoise lagoons. But most of the islands also have highlands, therefore you can go for a hike if you are bored of water activities and want to see something different.

For anyone who wants to leave the crowds behind, loves turquoise water and small lagoons this archipelago is the place to be. The islands are very remote with a lot of coconut palms and few trees other trees. Modern convenience, fruits and vegetables are rare. Instead you will find a lot of fish, smiling people, silent early nights and gorgeous lagoons. The Tuamotus are a chain of islands and atolls (the largest chain of atolls in the world). They have around the size of Western Europe but with only a population of about 16.000.


French Polynesia - Fakarava

Last but not least Fakarava was scheduled. When we arrived our welcome committee - Charlot and Florian - were already awaiting us. We met them a few days ago we on Tikehau. Going for a 9km bike ride to see the lagoons in the north without seeing anyone is normal on Fakarava. The way was gesäumt by palm trees. Unfortunately the snorkeling at the northern tip of the Motu wasn’t as nice as expected (bad visibility) but the beach totally made up for it.

Last day we got entertained by huge nurse sharks, black tips and sting rays eating fish directly on the shore next to Relais Marama (our lodge). While snorkeling Niels (my beloved boyfriend) wanted to kill me. Standing in the water with a perfect sight of what was going on he directed me straight to one of the huge nurse sharks. Thus the shark and I met eye in eye only 30 centimeters apart in the shallow water (I could see all of his teeth). Luckily the shark seem to be even more scared of me than I was of him: he immediately turned and swam of to the open water.

Lagoon at the northern tip of the Motu (next 6)01

02 03 04 05 06

No one here?07

Eva is there! Picking coconuts (just next to the only street)08 09

Our bungalow at Relaise Marama10 11 12

Enjoying our last day with nurse sharks and sting rays 13 14-01 14-02 15 16

French Polynesia - Rangiroa

It is the biggest atoll in the Tuamotus and the second biggest in the world. The atoll’s coral belt consists of hundreds of small island no more than 300m wide but they stretch along a circuit for more than 200km. In total the atoll measures 75 km from east to west and 25 km from north to south.

Rangiroa is famous for its great diving especially sharks and dolphins are a big attraction. Eva dived one morning in the Tiputa pass where it is almost certain to see sharks and dolphins who frequently come to the divers and play around them. But she wasn´t lucky. She had a nice dive with sharks and many other fish but the dolphins kept distance and she could barely see them.

A typical scene in French Polynesia: A fishermen chopped freshly caught Mahi-Mahi. Even for us (newbie fish eaters) it looked fantastic. We couldn’t resist and bought 1 kg without an idea how to cook it. The wife of the fishermen gave us her favorite recipe. The outcome were 3 great meals of Mahi Mahi marinated in lemon and cooked with self made coconut milk.

One afternoon we took the bikes and went from one side of the Motu to the other side which takes about 45 mins (8km) to see the dolphins jumping in the waves. The rest of the time we relaxed a lot, improved our skills in open coconuts and learned how to make coconut milk.

Perfectly opened coconut01

Niels is improving his coconut opening skills02

The fishermen chopped his freshly caught Mahi-Mahi next to our lodge04

Before … (1 kg = ~8,50 €!!!)05

… and after 06

Lesson how to make coconut milk.07

Small black tip sharks directly infront of our lodge08

Niels is enjoying his time in our “garden” while Eva is diving10

Views of our lodge and garden11 12 13-01IMG_5726 13-02

Goodbye Rangiroa14

French Polynesia - Tikehau

Most probably Tikehau is the most remote island we stayed on. There are only 600 people living on the atoll and shops are only filled up once a week when the cargo ship arrives. A discovery trip around the main Motu took us only 1 ½ hrs by bike (12 km). Besides the bikes we took one of the kayaks for a 3 hrs excursion. Once more the surrounding beaches and motus seemed to be drawn.

Chez Justine is a very nice pension. At first its owner Laroche seemed not to be very chatty but after he made Niels eat fish (!), he invited us several times for lunch and dinner (Lobster, our favorite fish Mahi-Mahi and Tuna). He was the one educating us about Adam and Eve – the German TV-show… It was recorded on one of his Motus!

Our home for three days01

Our beach which we only had to share with 4 other people who were hardly around0203

But we had to share the beach with other friendly animals... This is a black-tip shark: don't worry it's not dangerous at all...02_1

During night time you see a lot more sharks at the harbour10

The main village and surrounding04

Barbeque for lunch06

Mahi-Mahi which was given to us by Laroche (thanks again!)07

We discovered this nice hotel (Royal Tikehau) in one of the passes between the Motus while kayaking09

Kayak tour (next five pics)11

Bye bye Tikehau20

French Polynesia - Bora Bora

Bora Bora is one of the worlds most famous destinations. Especially, for honeymooners in luxury resorts and their over-water bungalows. Putting it in other words: its not a typical destination for backpackers. However, if you look around there are smaller family pensions also offering good deals. We got told that the island is overpriced and overdeveloped hence we just booked two nights, which turned out to be a very good decision.

The main activities on Bora Bora are in- and around the lagoon because it’s a huge turquoise swimming pool with a large variety of fish and colorful corals. The best way to experience the lagoon and the idyllic motus is by boat. The tour took us around the whole island and its lagoon including great snorkeling spots, swimming with black-tip sharks, rays (they came close, even touching us - a very slimy feeling) and an awesome Motu barbeque.

View on Bora Bora from one of its MotusPanorama06

Getting started for the lagoon excursionIMG_5522

One of the numberless luxury over-water bungalow resorts. Unless you spend more than 5.000 US$ (!!!) a night, your neighbour will be able to see and hear you on your balcony. I'd expect more for at least 1.200 US$ a night 😉IMG_5526 IMG_5552 IMG_5573

Beach shack on one of the MotusIMG_5579

Awsome Motu barbequeIMG_5581

Sharks around our boatIMG_5533

Rays around our boatIMG_5609 IMG_5615Panorama01 Panorama03

Bye bye endless bungalow villagesIMG_5630

French Polynesia - Huahine

We found paradise - Mo’orea already seemed like it but Motu Mahare is just over the top.

For the first two nights on Huahine we stayed at Tifaifai et Café. Flora (the manager) offered us to stay the next two nights on a small private Motu (island). To be honest we were curious because Tifaifai et Cafe was an amazing place, thus it was hard to believe that it could get any better. But Flora convinced us. As soon as we went on the boat to our new home we knew it was the right decision. What awaited us is hard to put into words. A tranquil place with only two lovely wooden bungalows. They’re surrounded by huge coconut trees and many colorful flowers. Only the manager (Tamatoa), his wife and their son live on the Motu. It is surrounded by a gorgeous lagoon with crystal-clear turquoise water and white-sandy beaches. We felt like Robinson Cruseo on our beautiful lonely island. Tamatoa picked fresh coconuts everyday, his wife made delicious cakes, we went for some great snorkeling, kayaking and spend quite a bit of time in one of the hammocks. Life can be good 😉

View from our room at Tifaifai et Café01

Beautiful garden of Tifaifai et Café - hard to believe it only has two guest-rooms...02

One of Flora’s lovely dogs. Brock is a Pitbull but Flora made him the loveliest dog in the world. Every morning he was waiting in front of our room.03

First sight of Tifaifai Motu Mahare04

Our Polynesian style bungalow, bathroom and the dining area09 05 06 07

A rare specialty: Coconut palm heart lovely served with flowers. Its a vegetable harvested from the inner core of the coconut palm0809_1

Our new pets:lots of lizards (finding easy food in the shining lamp)09_3

Sacred blue eyed eels at Faie village (dark with blue eyes and a size of 1-2 meters). Super creeeeepy!!!09_4

Coconut crab walking around everywhere day and night (they are huge)09_31

Eva´s favorite place for writing the blog10

Our private beach 13

Stranded Surfers on OUR private beach...12

Kayaking around the Motu15 16

Visiting the pearl farm including a quick swim 😉17 20

A traditional farewell gift: beautiful flower´s and necklaces made by Tamatoas wife. Eva grinned like a Cheshire cat23

Eva with Tamatoa and his lovely family24

French Polynesia - Mo'orea

The prototype of a friendly rocker (full body tattoo and long hair) picked us up at the airport – Raphael. Finally, we arrived in the French Polynesia we had in mind: Palm trees loaded with coconuts, crystal clear turquoise water, small houses and a relaxed atmosphere. The big waterfront bungalow welcomed us with a fully equipped open kitchen, living room and a huge terrace. In the morning Raphael’s made croissants accompanied with his home made guava - star fruit marmalade. With Raphael’s scooter we explored the island and discovered a supermarket with typical French baguette. Besides the beautiful beaches with its crystal-clear water the island offers beautiful hikes and viewpoints.

The last day we booked a great kayaking trip with Patrice and Isabelle. Tours through Madagascar, the Philippines, Alaska and many other countries make them the exceptional kayak guides. Somehow they managed to navigate us next to groups of dolphins while Eva and I were fighting against strong winds and rain – yes it was raining! After we left the lagoon to the open sea, the rain stopped. Lunch was prepared at a friends place with a beautiful view over the lagoon. It included a delicious dessert and an aperitif made out of rum, brown sugar, lime and a lot of original Huahine vanilla. As most things end too fast the day ended quick and Patrice had to drop us off at the airport in the late afternoon.

View from our terrace0102

Best breakfast with Raphael's home made croissants03

Fully loaded trunk after a great shopping experience including French baguette04

A typical street scene: local people sell freshly caught fish (here Mahi-Mahi around 10 kg; 120 CFP= 1 Euro!)05

Impressions of our great kayaking trip with Patrice and Isabelle05_3

Dolphins! Nothing else to say 🙂05_4 06 07

Our lunch with freshly baked bread! Best we had since we left Germany.08

Patrice and Isabelle (click here: Kayak Nomad Polynesia)0908_1 10

Exploring the island with our scooter11 12

One of the famous over-water bungalow resorts - Sofitel Moorea - I'd rather sleep in a tent than having my neighbour sitting on his balcony directly next to me with no privacy shield what so ever!IMG_2859

Trekking the Three Coconuts Pass through the jungle without meeting anybodyIMG_5192 IMG_5226

Getting rewarded with this view after hiking for 2 hours - first picture Opunohu bay (left) and Cook bay (right), second southern coastPanorama01_2 Panorama02

Way back via Route de AnanasPanorama09

Busy workers on the airport – playing boules on the airfield #goodlifez

French Polynesia - Tahiti

Arriving in paradise was different than expected. Eline and Julian (our AirBnb hosts) welcomed us with a flower necklace late in the night. But while driving to their place (about 20 minutes) we constantly passed by big houses and shops instead of a few small bamboo-huts. They live in a nice apartment with a waterfront terrace including a beautiful view of the neighboring island Mo’orea. Unfortunately there was a lot of planning to do, so we spent the first day organizing the next 3 weeks in French Polynesia on their terrace. Eline supported us with an unbelievable energy all the time.Only stopping for a longer time to go to the country´s famous roulottes in the city of Pape’ete. Literally, it’s an area with mobile caravan-stalls, where you can eat everything from Polynesian to Chinese and French cuisine. When we came home the planning kept us awake until we gave up 2 am in the night. Trying all the unlimited possible combinations of flights to the different islands made it an impossible task to finish.

The next morning the solution to our problem was the Air Tahiti travel agency. The lady did the fight planning in less than 15 minutes and managed to squeeze all wanted Islands in the schedule ( Tahiti - More’ea – Huahine - Bora Bora – Tikehau – Rangiroa - Fakarava). After this success a great shopping experience awaited us in the huge supermarket (Carrefour) where we found everything we dreamed off for the last 4 month e.g. different types of salami, cheese, vegetables etc.. The same day Eline supported us finding the accommodations on the islands also and by the end of the day everything was arranged for the next three weeks (thank you again:).

View from the terrace in the morningIMG_2759

Best office in the world - working on our planes for the next three weeksIMG_2764

Sunset from the terrace (Mo'orea in the back)IMG_2765

Even late at night Eline and Julian helped us planning our trip (thank you guys!)IMG_2774

Famous RouletteIMG_2777

Multi-trillion possibilities of flightsIMG_2779

Problem solved - seven more flights booked in 15 mins, thanks to the Air Tahiti Pass they are not expensive at all!IMG_2780

First and last time starfruit 😉IMG_2783

Huge avocados - maybe the Mururoa atoll is not far away?!IMG_2786

One thought on “French Polynesia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *