Four Reasons Why You Should Definitely Visit French Polynesia
June 9, 2019
by Aleksandra Haliciu
If someone would ask me how would paradise look like for me I would definitely think of a picture perfect postcard with luxuriant green landscapes and turquoise crystalline water. I would think of that and eventually, leave it there as – come on – who could imagine these places to be even real? And, as not for nothing they say that you have to see it with your own eyes in order to believe it – I eventually did see it with my own eyes. I have to confess – it was such a treat! I couldn’t stop being thankful and thinking to myself that I have to feed my eyes with the spectacle as much as I could – because this is an opportunity that you don’t encounter every day. French Polynesia is surely the most surreal and untouched landscapes that really deserves to be among your top future destinations.
Not many know but French Polynesia encompasses 118 islands – spread across six archipelagos in the South Pacific Ocean – out of which Tahiti is the biggest – and has its capital at Papeete. The official languages are Tahitian and French ( as it is an oversee country attached to France), but English is also spoken, mainly in the touristic areas. Visitors will discover black and white beaches, mostly covered with coconut palms and surrounded by wonderful coral gardens. I must say that my favourite islands – among the big ones are Bora Bora, Moorea (for the pearls!) and definitely Raiatea (historically speaking). Still, the seclusion and tranquillity of some of the small islands called ‘motu’ will attract you in discovering more about the serenity and beauty of this part of paradise.
Picture Perfect Landscapes
So where to go first once you get to such a tropical setting, surrounded by all these crystalline waters?(I really did not know that so many shades of blue can be grouped together). Do not worry – as you can get a bit of everything. In between all these idyllic beaches, lagoons, waterfalls, mountains and coral gardens, prepare to be wondered because you won’t leave this place the same as you came. So yes – you can start planning – on land tours, the best way to actually interact and learn more about the people and culture, shark and rays tours, diving, snorkelling, jet-skiing, kitesurfing – you name a water activity and you will find it here! All available either with tour operators or directly at the hotels. I have to confess that one of my best moments was an all-inclusive tour on a deserted motu – with lunch in the water ( the tables are set in the water with all those colourful fish swimming around), drinks and traditional music. Definitely, Mother Nature surpassed herself in creating these lands and I promise that you won’t regret spending each and every penny on coming. So enjoy each and every moment the best you can.
Warm and Genuine People
Now when you say French Polynesia – not even – when you say Bora Bora, people will only envision the overwater bungalows and the postcard settings of the turquoise waters. Thing is – and it applies everywhere, not only here, but the resort experience clearly contrasts the life that the locals have and just opting for the first might mislead you. Polynesian people are such joyful, full of energy and passion for life people! You would miss a lot if you don’t indulge yourself into knowing them better! I have to say that given the fact that they are island people, that they lead a peaceful and simplistic life and wake up every day to these beautiful surroundings, they do not hide their contentment. Their big smiles, joyful ways and passion for life are contagious, and one finds himself singing in a curious language and laughing at how easy this all is. To be thankful, to sing and dance as everything else will come along. This is the Tahitian way.
Polynesian Culture – Symbols and Tattoos
Coconuts, breadfruit, sugarcane, Tahitian vanilla ( mostly coming from the island of Taha’a), coffee beans and of course let us not forget about the precious pearls – these are some of the riches you can find in Polynesia. Not many know that the word ‘tattoo’ originates in Tahiti, that here tattoos are a tradition, part of the culture and ceremoniously tell a story – of becoming, of respect for the ancestors. They, of course, are conveyed differently according to rank – priests, chiefs, warriors and such – genealogy, sexual maturity. Mostly, the symbols relate to the elements, to nature and animals, to the Maori culture. The island of Raiatea, also known as Havai’i, is considered the homeland of the Maori people and it is said that from here they started their migration towards Hawaii, New Zealand and other parts of East Polynesia. A definite must is the Taputaputea historical site, established around 1000AC, to learn more about these people’s rich history and culture. Their simplicity yet profundity of vision are deeply rooted in a strong connection with the land, the ocean and the sky. One thing I will never forget is when I asked my guide, a tattoo artist, of what is the symbol for love (I eventually got a tattoo) – and he answered simply – that there is none – that love is the connection we have with everything that surrounds us. Now, if that was not enough, I promise I will be back with more 🙂