Believe us - there are times in French Polynesia when you could imagine you had strayed on to the set of a James Bond movie. Through the window is not the usual house across the road – but a surreal palm-fringed South Seas panorama of blue lagoon waters nuzzling a dazzling white beach, the blooms of frangipani and gardenia, thatched bungalows built over the sea, jagged mountains shimmering on the distant horizon, an outrigger canoe passing lazily by . . . or was it a dolphin? Difficult to tell when the sound of the sea is lulling you to sleep.
The joy of being in French Polynesia, of course, is that when you wake up all this is still there! Few corners of the world have a more romantic escapist setting and mood. Can anywhere else on earth rejuvenate body and mind so effortlessly – and so unforgettably?
There could hardly be a corner of the world further removed from the everyday than the South Pacific islands of French Polynesia. Over 25,000 of them lie scattered here across the ocean in a vivid green-and-gold jigsaw – the magic of their extravagant beauty and beguiling mood inspiration for Gauguin, Stevenson and countless many more. A helicopter tours over French Polynesia’s stunning scenery offer a pulse-quickening experience. You can hike on a number of the islands, or explore by mountain-bike or on horseback. Jeep-safaris can take you further inland to discover the exotic Polynesian interiors. The lush motu islets surrounding many islands are perfect settings for unforgettable picnics. Or why not try some close encounters with dolphins and sharks? Watersporters can enjoy just about every activity from canoeing to jet-skiing.
Nightlife & Party with Locals
The scattered nature of the islands and resorts means that, except in Papeete, most entertainment is provided by the hotels – the larger of which provide varied programmes that include traditional – often spectacular - dance shows and feast nights. Many hotels arrange themed buffets with live entertainment and dancing in a romantic setting of almost surreal beauty; combined with the warm breezes of the tropics, these are the perfect ingredients for a romantic evening in paradise!
Gourmet Cuisine & Dining Out
Again, apart from Papeete (where there are several fine restaurants and many good cafés, notably along the waterfront) opportunities for ‘dining around’ are often limited. French Polynesian cuisine is renowned for its fresh fish and exotic fruits and vegetables, prepared with Polynesian influence and a touch of French flair.
World''s Best Scuba Dive Sites
The islands of French Polynesia host hundreds of dive sites, including lagoon dives, amazing drift dives, oceanic drop-offs and wrecks. You’ll find plenty of curiously shaped coral, a rainbow assortment of fish and rich undersea plant life. The waters are normally very clear and close encounters with such marine life as gigantic manta rays are especially thrilling.
Though the journey is long, French Polynesia offers a safe and welcoming environment and mood for children.