French PolynesiaSouth Pacific
Composed of hundreds of dazzling islands, lush atolls and mysterious coves, French Polynesia is a region of luminous tropical beauty unsurpassed by any other locale. With a breathtaking turquoise sea that is home to rare and beautiful marine life and some of the worlds most stunning and secluded beaches, this is the perfect destination for luxurious repose.
Home to the some of the most remote islands on the planet, French Polynesia is worlds away from an ordinary tropical vacation. Enriched by a vivid Polynesian culture that the friendly inhabitants are eager to explain and help travellers understand, these islands groups are unspoiled bastions of pure natural beauty, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else.
Their extreme location has helped shield them from a vulgar level of tourism and some of the larger islands boast indulgent havens of luxury perfect for those travellers that want to sink into an exquisite tropical idyll but not be left entirely to their own devices.
French Polynesia is a luminous wonderland of intense natural beauty and whether travellers are searching for luxurious indulgence or bucolic repose, any one of the stunning island groups of this breathtaking region are sure to exceed every expectation.
French Polynesia is a sprawling region made up of 5 separate islands groups of pristine perfection. There are the Society Islands, home to chic Tahiti and seductive Bora Bora, the Tuamotu Atolls, boasting the gorgeous Rangiroa and the dazzling Fakarava, The Marquesas, also known as ‘The Mysterious Islands’, and the intensely undeveloped island groups know as the Australs and the Gambiers. Each island group has its own unique identity which extends from the landscape to the culture, climate and ethnicity.
The Society Islands
The Society Islands are aptly named, world-renowned for the glamorous clientele of Tahiti and the romantic tales that linger in the memories of nostalgic honeymooners. This island group offers the most complete experience of sumptuous relaxation, with exquisite boutique hotels and premier spas helping rejuvenate even the most world-weary traveller.
Home to crystalline coral-rich waters, sugary beaches and iconic sunsets that splash the skies with pink, tangerine and brilliant golden hues, the Society Islands are the ultimate in sophisticated island beauty.
The archipelago known as the Tuamotu Atolls are comprised of 78 low islands and coral atolls scattered thinly along the rich azure seas of the South Pacific. Home to some of the world most famous producers of luminous black pearls, the Tuamotu Atolls can also boast of the world’s second largest atoll.
Located on glorious Rangiroa, this 42 mile long by 16 mile wide deep-blue lagoon is a spell-binding site, and perfect for diving enthusiasts to explore. These atolls are the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, though scuba and snorkelling are at their ultimate incarnation in the translucent coastal waters with guaranteed visibility of 150 feet, sometimes more.
The Marquesas are composed of twelve volcanic islands and are the farthest group of islands from a continental landfall on earth. Shrouded in a moody mist of cloud cover, the islands themselves are richly vegetated, filling the air with the heady scent of plumeria, ylang-ylang, jasmine, ginger, spider lilies and more.
Supported by the French government, half of the islands have developed road systems, though they remain rustic, and other modern amenities, but the thriving pulse of the ancient culture still shines here. Thousands of ruins and stone-carved tikis are tucked into the dense jungle, and make these islands perfect for exploring or merely enjoying the thrill of losing yourself so completely within the tropical perfection of a brooding volcanic landmass.
The Austral Islands
The Austral Islands straddle the Tropic of Capricorn and are a grouping of volcanic land-masses sometimes referred to as the Tubuai Islands. Completely removed from the reality of modern-day, these islands are only developed in a traditional sense: rural villages with houses and churches built of coral limestone. These are not islands of verdant landscapes, they are all limestone and volcanic rock, though there are numerous waterfalls that can be hiked to as well as mysterious grottoes full of stalagmites and stalactites.
The Gambier island group is composed of 14 diminutive mountainous landscapes whose native population and culture was harshly affected by the crusades of the Catholic Church. Over a hundred stone buildings built during that time have survived and are interesting places to explore, but the real beauty of Gambier is its complete isolation from reality. Credit cards won’t work here as it is a truly untouched land whose lagoons produce some of the world’s finest pearls.