The untainted paradise of French Polynesia, constituting an overseas collectivity and an overseas country of the French Republic is primarily known for its exotic islands, turquoise lagoons, moss-green peaks, and laid-back culture. While most people flock to Tahiti or Bora Bora, the prominent islands of French Polynesia although the most authentic experiences can be encountered on the lesser-known islands of French Polynesia


Known as the “Sacred Island” of French Polynesia, this island has been historically a center for religion, royalty, and culture. A backpackers' paradise, this place is notoriously known for its outdoor adventures like kayaking, snorkeling coral reefs, mountain hiking, diving, canoeing and so much more. It also boasts a landscape reminiscent of Jurassic Park and hosts an array of archeological treasures.


Places To See

Taputapuātea on Ra’iātea Island is a cultural landscape where the place, “Marae Taputapuātea '' can be visited. It is dedicated to the god 'Oro' and is the first royal marae (marae, a sacred place used for religious purposes). Mt. Temehani is a challenging hike in Raiatea, which is the only place to find the rare flower, Tiare Apetahi. Mount Tapioi is another scenic hike laced with lagoons, cliffs, and waterfalls. Also, Faraao Bay and Apu Bays are two scenic bays to be experienced.

Related: Hawaii Vs. Tahiti: Do These Polynesian Islands Compare?


Known as Vanilla Island, it has the sweet scent of “Tahitian Vanilla” enveloped all over. Having white sand beaches, vanilla farms, palm trees, and lagoons, Tahaa has a laidback vibe where one can enjoy coconut shows, pareo demonstrations, beach games, windsurfing, and kayaking.

Places to See

Vallee de la Vanille is a farm that shows the process of vanilla manufacturing and processing. It is also known for its coral gardens such as Jardin de Corail having corals of all shapes, sizes, and colors. The Vahine Private Island Resort is one of the incredible experiences to behold where a beachfront bungalow is surrounded by coconut trees and coral gardens. Or one can also opt for the safari for magnificent views of the turquoise bay of Haamene.


With a volcanic island in its midst, Maupiti is a small coral atoll. Located in the western Leeward islands in French Polynesia, it is also called, “Bora Bora of 50 Years Ago”. Sharing the same cultural background alongside clear lagoons, and beautiful corals, the primary difference is solely the refusal of huge resort chains in Maupiti. It can be accessed by boat runs only between the two southernmost Motus, termed “Onoiau Pass”

Places To See

Maupiti Lagoon is one of the spectacular places to visit owing to the coral reefs, sandbanks, crystal clear water as well as activities such as diving and boating. Only one diving club is present on this island and around 25/30 m deep, sharks can be spotted. Also, the hike to the summit of Mount Teurafaatui is around 2 hours, bestowing with the spectacular view of Maupiti island. The Beach of Tereia is another place to be visited near Maupiti island although it requires crossing over to the motu. Apart from the scenic view beyond articulation, passing by sharks enchants people to this place more.

Related: The Maldives Vs. Bora Bora: Where Should You Honeymoon?


The least visited island of French Polynesia, also known as the “Secret Island”, Huahine breaks the chain of the modern world. Abundant in cultural sites, lush greenery, vanilla and fruit plantations, beaches, ruins, jungles, and lagoons, this village is especially known for its fish farming techniques and V-shaped stone fish traps. It is one of the islands to experience the local nature of French Polynesia.

Places to See

Hike up the Matairea Hill to see the “Buckingham Palace '' of Ancient Huahine or visit the village of Maeva, having the largest concentration of Marae temples. Road Trips around Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti can make one feel like paradise. The stretch of beach along Avea Bay is quite serene as well. Sacred Blue Eyed Eels can be spotted particularly in Huahine. Also, the traditional feast at “Chez Tara '' is quite well known where taro, pork, and Poisson cru are prime delicacies cooked in an earth oven.


A designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for preserving marine life, Fakarava is known for its concentration of atolls throughout French Polynesia. One of the world’s best diving destinations, Fakarava’s coral reefs have the most diverse and species-rich habitats on earth. Also, its lagoons are one of the biggest in the whole of Polynesia. The island’s main resources are pearl farming, fishing, copra farming, and tourism.

Places To See

It borders the ancient village of Tetamanu and also the village of Rotoava. Tetamanu village has resorts where traditional bungalows are surrounded by coconut trees and lagoons. Rotoava has beautiful beaches, lagoons, and leisurely activities like fishing, snorkeling, and lagoon excursions are primarily popular here.


Second-largest atoll in the world, it is prominently known for diving and snorkeling. Also known as the world’s most natural aquarium, it has wild dolphins too. Its main villages of Avatoru and Tiputa offer mesmerizing views of the South Pacific.

Places To See

Rangiroa’s excursions, islands of Le Lagon Bleu and Ile aux Récifs, the dive center, “Six Passengers” for scuba diving and snorkeling, dolphin watching in the tiputa pass, also, Polynesia's only winery, Dominique Auroy's Vin de Tahiti, on the atoll of Rangiroa are few must-visit.