When you are looking for that “Somewhere Warm” destination, perhaps your thoughts are of diving and snorkeling in the turquoise, clear waters of the Caribbean, or exploring the jungles and culture of Mexico, or relaxing on the beautiful sand beaches under swaying palms in Hawaii, but what if you could visit one destination that envelops you with all of this and so much more. Welcome to French Polynesia!
Situated halfway between California and Australia, the 118 islands of French Polynesia are clustered in five archipelagos: the Austral Islands, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands, the Tuamotu Islands, and the most populous and popular, Society Islands. My visit included five of the nine islands that make up the Society Islands and each island offered its own share of lush beauty and tropical adventure, mingled with Polynesian and French culture.
With late night departures from Los Angeles, the eight-hour nonstop flight gives you an early morning arrival at the Faa’a International Airport in Papeete, Tahiti, where you can immediately start exploring. The city of Papeete is bustling with shops, restaurants, and a large market place. Outside the city, the island offers hiking trails to waterfalls and hidden pools. Whether a novice hiker or an expert, local hiking guides are highly recommended as the terrain can be tricky even on well-marked paths. And what better way to have a true “off-the-beaten-track” experience than with someone who knows the best trails and best view points? There are also lava tube trails, the Arahoho blow hole and lighthouse, museums, and even a golf course.