French PolynesiaThe idyllic islands of Tahiti - a South Pacific paradise
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, the islands of French Polynesia are the epitome of remote island paradise. This incredible island archipelago, consists of some 118 islands and atolls and is made up of the Society, Tuamotu, Gambier, Austral and Marquesas island groups and covers an area the size of Europe!
The scenery here is spectacular with forested volcanic peaks rising from the crystal clear waters, long stretches of white sandy beaches, vast swathes of palm trees, protected marine parks and ancient pacific island culture at the heart of it all.
Bora Bora and Tahiti are the most well known of the islands and are home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, but with so many islands to witness and many adventures to be had, why not go and explore the land of legacy and legend!
How to get there
Getting to Tahiti is easier than you may think considering it is in the middle of the ocean. There are direct flights into Papeete from LA (8 hours), Auckland (5 hours 30 mins) and Tokyo (11 hours) with the most direct routing through LA.
There are numerous domestic flight options throughout French Polynesia meaning you can easily combine two or more islands in a stay to create a complete French Polynesian experience. We have the rates and the knowledge to put a tailor-made package together for you. We have an extensive choice of hotels and guest houses to offer throughout the islands of French Polynesia to suit all budgets, so please contact us and let us know what you are looking for and we will be happy to advise. There is excellent diving to be experienced from resort stays will Top Dive diving centres, which are located in Tahiti, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Moorea, Tetiaroa and Fakarava.
Stay a bit longer
As well as the islands there are numerous options in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and North America to consider. Whatever you may fancy adding on to your French Polynesia trip we will be happy to guide you and assist with your travel needs.
Top Dive diving centres are based on 6 islands; Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Tetiaroa, Rangiroa and Fakarava. In addition to these centres, Top Dive also partner with dive centres on Tikehau, Raiatea and Huahine.
All Top Dive centres are 5 Star centres with Nitrox available in all but Moorea and Tikehau. With a fleet of dive boats and experienced dive guides leading the way, some of the very best diving in French Polynesia can be enjoyed from a land based stay. Top Dive offer courtesy pick ups and drops offs from hotels and guest houses to make life easy for guests and pre-booked dive packages can be spread out and used throughout any of their centres.
The image gallery to the left has some fantastic underwater images, all courtesy of Top Dive, to give you an idea of what you can see when diving with them.
Located by the water’s edge at Marina Taina, in Pennaauia City on the island of Tahiti, Fluid Tahiti is a fully equipped dive centre that offers diving all year round. The dive centre is run by a team of multi-lingual professionals and has a classroom for training courses and a shop selling equipment.
The dives are conducted from one of their three boats; Ze Bullions and Ze Bubbles, that can each two take up to 20 people, and Ze Boat, which takes just 7. The fast rigid inflatables can easily reach more than 15 dive sites nearby, where you can dive on healthy reefs and see a rich marine life. As well as regular diving, Fluid Tahiti are also run specialists trips throughout the year.
Having monitored and studied humpback whales in Polynesian waters for the past 25 years, Fluid Tahiti run dedicated trips to observe and swim with humpbacks during the months of August to October, when they seasonally arrive into Tahitian waters.
Whale trips are usually in the mornings, but full day charter trips can be arranged. Once out on the water, the experienced whale expert will determine whether it is possible to get into the water to snorkel with the humpbacks. Each trip out can be different and is subject to the temperament of the whale’s behaviour on each given day. The trips may also include dolphin swims.
Fluid Tahiti also has a resident tiger shark expert who runs dedicated full day trips to dive with these impressive sharks. Tiger sharks can reach 4m in length and are present in Tahitian waters all year round.
The full day trip will give you the opportunity to make two dives and also includes lunch and informal educational talks on tiger shark’s biology and behaviour.
The country’s largest island is the heartbeat of French Polynesia. Surrounded by a circle of majestic peaks, the Island of Tahiti, towers over the ocean and is adorned with mystical valleys, clear streams, lava tubes, sacred sites and high waterfalls. With the majority of the island’s population residing near the shore, the interior of the island feeling almost untouched and ripe for exploring.
The island’s capital Papeete is the entry point to French Polynesia and boasts world-class resorts, spas, fine dining, vibrant markets, museums, pearl shops, and boutiques.
Tahiti is famous for it’s hospitality and relaxed atmosphere. Where ever you go people are friendly, welcoming and smiling.
Just a 50 minute flight from Papeete, Bora Bora is considered by many to be the one of the most picturesque places on the planet. Long associated with exclusivity and luxury you will find an amazing tropical paradise here that is hard to beat.
An incredible lagoon surrounds the ancient Mt Otemanu (a dormant volcano) and resembles an artist’s palette of bright blues and greens and fringed by perfect white sandy beaches. Tropical fish animate the coral gardens and giant manta rays and sharks glide leisurely past, offering excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.
Bora Bora is home of the over water bungalow and you will find that most resorts have these lining the lagoon with the spectacular Mt Otemanu being the focal point. There are many activities to consider while staying here, although just taking in the scenery from the lagoon is a firm favourite!
Just a 30 minute ferry ride from Papeete, Moorea feels like it is a world away and is one of the most beautiful islands in French Polynesia. Marvel at Moorea’s bright blue lagoon, peaceful meadows, pineapple plantations, myriad of flowers and waterfalls tumbling down fern covered cliffs as well as majestic bays and white sandy beaches.
Moorea is not just a peaceful haven for artists and poets drawing inspiration from the beautiful surroundings. Adventure abounds here. Divers and snorkellers love the varied coral reef eco system and the colourful mix of sharks, rays, turtles and tropical fish found in the lagoon.
As well as the water sports available here there are incredible hiking trails, horse riding and 4WD exploring around the ancient volcanic crater.
Accommodations come in all shapes and sizes here with some of the most luxurious resorts to beach houses, lodges and lodging with locals for that truly authentic experience.
Just a 1 hour flight from Papeete there are several daily flights in and out of Rangiroa. Known as the endless lagoon or lagoon ocean, Rangiroa is a diver’s paradise. You are presented with a very different landscape to most of the Tahitian islands here. There are no soaring mountain peaks or vast swathes of tropical forests, instead there are hundreds of flat islets (motu) and sandbars surrounding the mighty blue lagoon. There is strangely also a small lagoon within the lagoon as well as pink sandy beaches that have to be seen to be believed.
Being the second largest Atoll in the world there are numerous options of excursions and world class dive sites here. Hiria pass, close to Tiputa village, shelters hammerheads and a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins.This natural aquarium also has some amazing passes where sharks and turtles can be found as well as pristine coral reefs filled with tropical fish. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the uninhabited islets where birds nest and unspoilt beaches lie.
With far fewer resorts and hotels here it is a truly remote location away from crowds.
There are daily flights from Papeete to Fakarava that take just over an hour each way. Similar in appearance to Rangiroa, Fakarava is another incredible lagoon surrounded by miles of motu with untouched beaches and a sense of history and culture. The atolls here host some incredible architectural and archaeological heritage with the ancient village of Tetamanu and remains dotted around the islands.
The huge lagoon is an untouched wildlife sanctuary protected by UNESCO offering the chance to see rare and endemic creatures as well as fluorescent corals, thousands of schooling fish and ‘walls’ of lemon and hammerhead sharks near the nutrient rich passes.
There are also few resorts here, so you can enjoy amazing diving experiences without the crowds and soak up the island culture and heritage. Our preferred accommodation on Fakarava is the Havaiki Lodge (image left).
Ready for your next adventure?
Great Escapes Diving Holidays Ltd
Office hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10.00am - 12.00pm
Tel: 01473 921888