Likes & Dislikes


I’ve seen a lot of beautiful examples of the seascape genre over the course of my many travels. There are Caribbean beaches and Maldive atolls where the sea is as beautiful as in French Polynesia. Still, in the seascape category, the winner for me is still – and in all likelihood forever will be – Bora Bora, Huahine and Moorea. The mountains which rise in the background no doubt play a part, adding dignity to the scene, and I’m sure the distance you have to travel to get here, and the relatively few people who make it this far, also add to the appeal. It gives to the whole experience a feeling of special privilege (I say that without snobbery.)” (K.J., 2014)

Welcome to paradise! The turquoise waters captivate all visitors, especially if you throw in a few beautiful locations as well. I was lucky enough to travel by boat to the most famous island in French Polynesia (more than once) and spend a few days there, discovering the most beautiful hotels, and bungalows overlooking that famous water. Moorea, Bora Bora and Tahiti might ring a bell.

On the islands, the best activity is diving. The underwater world is spectacular. On Moorea I twice swam with sharks and rays in the open ocean. We were also able to take a tour of the islands, and get to know the local culture. For those who prefer to just relax and enjoy the view, it’s possible to spend a day in one of the resorts. They usually charge an entry fee from anyone who isn’t a hotel guest, but the price does include a meal. The amount varies from place to place. It can also happen that the crowds get too big, and the doorkeepers don’t let anyone else in.

French Polynesia is absolutely captivating. It’s the trip of a lifetime for everyone who comes here. (2018)


Our tour guide anchors the boat in shallow water, then instructs us to get into the water one by one. He sprinkles scraps of rotten meat and little fish onto the surface, then gets in himself. After a few minutes, huge, dark grey rays start swimming towards us. It occurs to me that just such a ray did for the famous crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, and I begin flailing towards the ladder. It soon turns out, though, that stingrays are actually very placid creatures, and only use the venomous barbs in their tails when they’re being attacked. Gradually we become braver, and start interacting with our new friends. Rays’ mouths are actually on their bellies, but they can also eat through little holes next to their eyes, so we aim our delicious treats in that direction.

To see sharks we sail to another location, where the water is much deeper. Equipped with mask and snorkel, we clamber out of the boat and float on the surface of the water. Beneath us swim shoals of fish, and blacktip reef sharks are soon drawn to the rotting meat. This species of shark eats tiny fish, and has absolutely no interest in human flesh. Still, our hearts always beat faster when they come up towards the surface and circulate among us with bared teeth.”

French Polynesia - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Moorea - Elter photo

French Polynesia - underwater - p.b. photo




French Polynesia - boat - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Bora Bora - biking - Jetta photo

French Ploynesia - mini ferry boat - f.h. photo

French Polynesia - For your security get off on foot - h.t. photo



French Polynesia - local fruit juice drink with rum (9% alcohol) - Elter photo



French Polynesia - Tahiti - Papeete - 155-year-old market called Le Marché - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Tahiti - Papeete - principal market - Elter photo

French Polynesia - souvenir shop - m.l. photo

French Polynesia - Huahine - Vegetable vendor - c.t. photo



French Polynesia - Tahiti - otea, a traditional dance with rapid hip-shakings - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Bora Bora - music - Jetta photo



French Polynesia - Elter photo



Oceania - French Polynesia - Tahiti - Papeete - lighthouse - Elter photo


Destination in brief

French Polynesia in brief 

French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France, with substantial internal autonomy. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean. Closest to it are the Cook Islands, at a distance of 1,158 kilometers (720 miles). New Zealand is 4,271 kilometers (2654 miles) away. 

French Polynesia is a collection of over 118 widely dispersed islands and atolls. The total size of its land area is 4,167 km² (1,609 mi²), but the islands stretch over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) in the ocean. Only 60 of its 118 islands are inhabited.

Population: 280,000 (2020) – The people of French Polynesia are spread out over an area as large as Europe – 65% of the population are Polynesian natives, 16% mixed European-Polynesian, 12% French, 5% Chinese

Capital city: Papeete (on Tahiti island)

Official currency: Euro, of course 

French Polynesia is not a colony, but an overseas territory of France! The French government and the European Union provide French Polynesia with significant financial aid. As a result, the people of French Polynesia have the highest standard of living in the South Pacific area. Some visitors remark that the locals are somewhat stuck-up, especially in the service sector. 

French Polynesia is one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world. Period.

Optimal timing for holiday: April, May and October (June to September being the tourist high season, and December to February being too hot and cyclone-prone)

A piece of advice: Do not restrict your visit to Tahiti only - Bora Bora, Moorea, and possibly Huahine should be included.

Motu Tapu, located close to Bora Bora, is said to be the most photographed islands in the South Pacific. With its pristine white sand beaches and turquoise lagoon, it really offers a once in a lifetime experience. In fact, visiting French Polynesia is in itself an incredible and unforgettable travel experience. 

Haere maru is a popular expression in French Polynesia. It means: take it easy. And the locals really do live by it.


French-Polynesia - Tahiti - Papeete - City Hall (Hotel de Ville or Mairie) - replica of the mansion of an aboriginal Queen who ruled in 1845 - Elter photo

French Polynesia map - Jetta photo



French Polynesia - nature - Elter photo

French Polynesia - distances



French Polynesia - tattooed hindside - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Elter photo

French Polynesia - girl with her horse - s.b. photo



French Polynesia - Moorea island - Cook's Bay (or Pao Pao Bay) - one of my favorite spots in French Polynesia - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Moorea - activity -Elter photo

French Polynesia - Elter photo

French Polynesia - Moorea - s.b. photo

Bora Bora

French Polynesia - Bora Bora - view from Mount Otemanu (727 m/2,385 f) - s.b. photo

French Polynesia - Bora Bora - a beach - s.v. photo



French Polynesia - Huahine - c.t. photo

Marquesas Islands

French Polynesia - Marquesas Islands - Nuku Hiva - Hatiheu - s.b. photo

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