Discover the top onshore attractions in French Polynesia and make the most of your sailing adventure with your family.
The Top Onshore Attractions in French Polynesia
French Polynesia, a collection of 118 islands and atolls in the South Pacific, is a dream destination for many sailors. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and lush landscapes, it’s no wonder that this paradise is a popular stop for those embarking on a sailing adventure with their families. While the allure of the open sea and the freedom of the sailing lifestyle are undeniable, the onshore attractions of French Polynesia are equally captivating. In this article, we’ll explore the top onshore attractions in French Polynesia, providing you with a comprehensive guide to make the most of your time on land.
As the largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti is often the first stop for sailors arriving in the region. The island is home to a variety of attractions, from bustling markets to serene waterfalls.
A visit to the Papeete Market, also known as Le Marché, is a must for anyone stopping in Tahiti. This lively market is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture, sample delicious Polynesian cuisine, and pick up souvenirs for friends and family back home. Be sure to try the local specialty, poisson cru, a dish made from raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Papeete, a hike to the Fautaua Waterfall is the perfect way to spend a day. This impressive waterfall, located in the Fautaua Valley, is accessible via a moderately challenging hike through lush rainforest. The reward for your efforts is a stunning view of the 300-meter-high waterfall and a refreshing swim in the natural pool at its base.
Just a short sail from Tahiti, the island of Moorea is known for its dramatic landscapes, including jagged volcanic peaks and verdant valleys.
One of the best ways to take in the breathtaking beauty of Moorea is by visiting the Belvedere Lookout. This viewpoint, located at the top of a steep road, offers panoramic views of the island’s two famous bays, Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, as well as the lush Opunohu Valley. The Belvedere Lookout is also the starting point for several hiking trails, including the popular Three Coconuts Pass hike.
Tiki Village Cultural Center
To learn more about Polynesian culture and history, a visit to the Tiki Village Cultural Center is a must. This traditional village offers a glimpse into the past, with thatched-roof huts, ancient stone temples, and demonstrations of traditional crafts such as weaving and carving. The village also hosts a nightly Polynesian dance show, complete with a traditional feast, making it a memorable experience for the whole family.
Perhaps the most famous of French Polynesia’s islands, Bora Bora is renowned for its stunning turquoise lagoon and luxurious overwater bungalows.
While much of Bora Bora’s shoreline is privately owned by luxury resorts, Matira Beach is a public stretch of sand that is perfect for a relaxing day onshore. With its soft white sand and calm, clear waters, Matira Beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, or simply soaking up the sun.
For those looking for a more active adventure, a hike up Mount Otemanu is a must. This iconic volcanic peak, which towers over Bora Bora’s lagoon, offers a challenging hike with rewarding views. While the summit is inaccessible without proper climbing equipment, there are several viewpoints along the trail that offer stunning vistas of the island and surrounding waters.
As the second-largest island in French Polynesia, Raiatea is steeped in history and cultural significance.
A visit to Raiatea would not be complete without exploring the Taputapuatea Marae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient temple complex, dedicated to the god Oro, was once the spiritual and political center of Polynesia. Today, visitors can wander among the stone platforms and learn about the site’s history and significance through guided tours.
For a unique onshore adventure, consider a guided kayak or paddleboard excursion up the Faaroa River. This serene river, surrounded by lush vegetation, offers a peaceful and picturesque journey through Raiatea’s interior. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to spot local wildlife, such as herons and kingfishers, and learn about the island’s flora and fauna from your knowledgeable guide.
While the sailing lifestyle offers unparalleled freedom and adventure, the onshore attractions of French Polynesia are not to be missed. From the bustling markets of Tahiti to the serene beauty of Bora Bora’s Matira Beach, there is something for everyone in this South Pacific paradise. By exploring the top onshore attractions in French Polynesia, you’ll create lasting memories and enrich your sailing journey with a deeper understanding of the region’s culture, history, and natural beauty.