Widely considered one of the (if not THE) most beautiful places in the world, French Polynesia is most commonly associated with stunning views, spectacular beaches, luxury accommodations and limitless self-indulgence. However, the pearl of the South Pacific offers plenty of diverse options for a traveler looking to do something other than enjoy himself in the laziest of fashions. Here are a few suggestions on how to occupy yourself while in Polynesia.
Visit Marche de Pape’ete
Visiting the municipal market of Pape’ete is a full blown sensory overload! Immerse yourself in the mouthwatering smells of the local street food, get lost in the hustle and bustle of market vendors and let your eyes absorb all the colors at display. The main market of Tahiti’s leisurely capital is a gathering place of vendors selling everything from baskets to multi-colored sarongs and all other forms of French Polynesian traditional handicraft. The market is the perfect place for obligatory souvenir shopping, with plenty of opportunities to find nice things without going deep into your pocket. Make sure you get there as early as your holiday lifestyle allows you to get the freshest groceries and best deals and selection of handiwork.
Swim with the stingrays
One of the more popular activities in French Polynesia – and for a good reason – is going on one of numerous shark and stingray tours. The offers from different agencies vary in details (in means of transport, mainly), but in general you will get to see bloodthirsty sharks from up-close as your trained guide feeds them. Once you’ve gotten over the unavoidable adrenalin rush, you will go on a relaxing swim with the stingrays. These graceful sea creatures are very curious and don’t mind human contact, allowing you to get really close to them for an experience you will never forget. Depending on the tour, you might also have a chance to swim with sea turtles and even whales, and along the path you will see an abundance of tropical fish that will fill your eyes with more colorful goodness than you can handle.
Get closer to the nature
Even though French Polynesia is mostly famous as a romantic getaway, it also offers plenty of options for those who prefer a more active holiday. Explore this idyllic region in a different way by sailing an outrigger canoe, the traditional sailing vessel of the region. You can choose between short tours lasting a few hours, all the way to week long sailing trips, complete with camping on those pristine sandy beaches and daily hiking trips. Those with adventure in their hearts will cherish a chance to get more intimate with this amazing corner of the globe.
Get romantic in Bora Bora
Enjoy a day (or your entire holiday!) of absolute self-indulgence with your special someone. You know best what it is that you like, and the options before you are numerous. You might want to start with spending the night in one of those charming thatch-roofed overwater bungalows in Bora Bora, and start the following day by having your breakfast delivered to your private hut by local women in a canoe. You can follow it up by walking the dream-like beaches and finding a perfect place to picnic, and then wipe out the rigors of the walk by enjoying a traditional Tahitian massage. Whatever you choose, you’ll always carry those memories.
Explore Moorea with a 4×4
Moorea is known as the “green garden of Polynesia”, so you can rest assured that an abundance of natural wonders abounds on this island. Choosing to explore it on a guided tour in a 4×4 jeep will take you off the beaten path and towards the imposing Magic Mountain. Stunning views await you at every stop, as you will see enough beauty to inspire your delicate soul for days to come. And just in case you like something more than natural eye candy for your buck, the tour will also take you to a traditional Polynesian temple and a pineapple plantation where you will be able to feast on succulent fresh cut fruit.
Writer, traveler, coffee addict, cookie monster, endorser of all things good and admonisher of all things bad (good kind of bad excluded)