Wondering what there is to do in French Polynesia? This stunning island chain, also known as the Islands of Tahiti, is world-famous for brilliant blue lagoons, 5-star resorts, and overwater bungalows. It’s also home to some of the world’s most fascinating and ancient cultures and plenty of adventures!
Here are 8 of our favorite things to do in French Polynesia:
1. Sink into Island Time
Beautiful beaches in Bora Bora. Image: Paul Gauguin Cruises
French Polynesia is all about relaxation! Though the resorts here offer world-class service, there is certainly an air of “island time,” where the hustle and bustle of everyday life seems to melt away. After all, it’s hard to be stressed in paradise! Kick back, sip a delicious cocktail, sink your toes into the powdery white sand, and simply soak up the natural beauty surrounding you.
2. Splurge on an Overwater Bungalow
Overwater bungalows in front of Mt. Otemanu. Image: Tahiti Tourism
Bora Bora was the first destination in the world to offer overwater bungalows, and these luxurious accommodations are a major draw for couples seeking a unique and unforgettable experience. Enjoy a picture-perfect view of Mt. Otemanu rising out of the bright blue lagoon, watch tropical fish swimming beneath you from a glass floor, and jump out for a swim right from your private balcony.
3. Snorkel or Scuba Dive in the Vibrant Reefs
Snorkeling with tropical fish. Image: Paul Gauguin Cruises
Thanks to the calm waters and abundant marine life, the shallow lagoons around Moorea are ideal for year-round snorkeling. All ages can enjoy dozens of perfect snorkeling spots close to the resorts and around the island. Local guides will take you to snorkel among schools of gentle rays. More advanced marine explorers can enjoy some of the world’s finest scuba diving. It’s common for divers to be joined by legions of gigantic manta rays gliding gracefully within arm’s reach while schools of reef sharks parade by.
4. Take a Dune Buggy Adventure
Exploring Moorea on a dune buggy. Video courtesy of Laura Tober
In Moorea, rent a Roadster and drive to the top of Magic Mountain. The views are to die for, and the Roadster feels like real life Mario Kart! Along the way, you can stop at secret beaches and local food stalls.
5. Discover Polynesian Culture
Child wearing traditional Tahitian clothing in the Marquesas. Image: Tahiti Tourism
Explore the ancient maraes, or traditional meeting places, that are dotted throughout the Islands of Tahiti. You can also experience the power of traditional Tahitian song and dance during an island night at your resort, take a guided tour to local villages, or observe traditional handicrafts.
6. Enjoy Water Sports Galore
Kayaks, jet skis, and an underwater tricycle at St. Regis Bora Bora resort. Image courtesy of Laura Tober
The stunning lagoons in French Polynesia are perfect for all kinds of water sports! Most resorts offer kayaks and stand up paddle boards free of charge, so you can explore the calm Pacific Ocean at your leisure. Another way to see the vivid coral and schools of tropical fish is a glass bottom boat ride or sailing excursion. For a faster pace, you can try parasailing or explore the lagoons by jet ski, where you and a guide will skim around the islands, hopping off at picturesque beaches or tiny motus along the way for a picnic.
7. Have Breakfast Delivered by Outrigger Canoe
Breakfast delivery at Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa
Start each day with an unforgettable breakfast brought to the private balcony of your overwater bungalow or villa by outrigger canoe. Often bedecked in flowers, the canoe carries Polynesian staff serving fresh fruits, pastries, and juices while the surrounding waters begin to welcome the rising South Pacific sun.
8. Take a Sunset Cruise
Sunset cruise in Bora Bora. Video courtesy of Laura Tober
Enjoy the tranquility of softly lapping waves and a breathtaking island sunset—the perfect setting for a romantic getaway! With a private sunset cruise, your captain will take you out in a traditional Tahitian canoe for uninterrupted views. Relax and enjoy a chilled glass of champagne and gentle ukulele serenade as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon. Many cruises include a romantic dinner on a motu (small sand island), as well.