If you close your eyes and think of the word “paradise,” chances are that many of you will picture the tropical islands of French Polynesia. The area is most famous for overwater bungalows that many travelers aspire to visit just once in their lifetime.
But once you’ve decided to visit these magical islands of the South Pacific, you still have to choose an island to call home, and then choose the best place to stay on that island. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best islands in French Polynesia to help you decide which beach resort is best for you.
We will cover off all types of French Polynesia accommodation options from Hostels to luxury French Polynesia hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in French Polynesia Islands 2023, the best French Polynesia hotels, best places in French Polynesia to visit, the best places to stay in French Polynesia, hotels near French Polynesia attractions, French Polynesia neighborhood guide and many more.
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One of the most recognizable islands of French Polynesia, Bora Bora is known for its large protected lagoon that harbors clear turquoise water popular with scuba divers. Bora Bora resorts are popular with the rich and famous and the overwater bungalows are a very popular honeymoon destination.
For the ultimate luxury vacation, choose a Bora Bora all-inclusive package and you never have to leave the sanctuary of your bungalow. Bora Bora is the best area for tourists who are seeking a romantic getaway with plenty of luxury accommodation options.
Where to Stay in Bora Bora
Moorea is a smaller island off the coast of Tahiti and is often called the “Magical Island.” Moorea and Tahiti are just ten miles apart, but each offers a very different atmosphere for visitors. After Bora Bora, Moorea is the second most popular honeymoon destination in French Polynesia.
While there are some luxury resorts in Moorea, there is actually a wide range of accommodation choices, meaning it’s quite possible to find budget-friendly options as well. You can expect a more laid-back, friendly atmosphere in Moorea.
Where to Stay in Moorea
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Moorea
The majority of the population of the South Pacific islands live in Tahiti, and it’s where most international passengers will arrive and depart. There are several Tahiti destinations, the island is actually two adjoining islands. Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti meet at the Plateau of Taravao.
The city of Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia and a fun place to experience the Polynesian culture, through markets and festivals. You will have a difficult decision choosing amongst all the best places to stay in Tahiti, as there are luxury resorts and even Airbnb Tahiti rentals. The presence of outdoor adventure and a bit of urban exploration makes this the most family-friendly place in French Polynesia.
Where to Stay in Tahiti
The lesser-known island in the Tuamotu Archipelago is the second-largest coral atoll in the world, making it a premier destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. What Rangiroa lacks in dramatic mountain peaks, it more than makes up for with underwater scenery.
The atoll forms a circle around a lagoon large enough to fit Tahiti inside. While Rangiroa sees far fewer visitors than other nearby islands, you’ll still find accommodation options that include overwater bungalows, and even a private island for rent.
Where to Stay in Rangiroa
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Rangiroa
Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa
Raiatea & Taha’a
These two islands offer the best of both worlds in terms of culture and adventure. The neighboring islands share a large lagoon and coral reef which offer excellent fishing and diving opportunities. The jungles of these islands offer plentiful hiking opportunities as well.
Raiatea is believed to be the birthplace of Polynesia and has a UNESCO World Heritage Site marking an important temple at the south end of the island. Taha’a is known as the Vanilla Island, as the majority of vanilla from French Polynesia comes from this island.
Where to Stay in Raiatea & Taha’a
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Raiatea & Taha’a
Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa
Huahine can be considered a hidden gem of French Polynesia. With lush jungles and fertile valleys, it’s often referred to as the Garden Island. If you are looking to escape any sense of tourism and crowds, this is an excellent choice.
You won’t find mega-resorts or all-inclusive resorts here, rather you’ll have a handful of high-quality resorts that cater to travelers who like to go off the beaten path. The island is full of sacred temples, as many royals lived here throughout generations of Polynesia.
Where to Stay in Huahine
Mid range Hotels in Huahine
Pension Fare Maeva
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Huahine
Maitai Lapita Village Huahine
This island in the Tuamotu Archipelago is the best destination for nature lovers and bird-watchers. This long atoll has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, as it is home to rare birds and plants, both on land and underwater. Thanks to a plethora of wildlife, this is also a great destination for divers, especially those who want to share a swim with sharks.
You won’t find any major resorts on Fakarava yet, but a handful of guesthouses and small hotels are perfectly positioned for anyone seeking a quiet getaway.
Where to Stay in Fakarava
Budget Hotels in Fakarava
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Fakarava
Havaiki Pearl Lodge
If you want to know what Bora Bora was like before tourism opened up, then you should visit Maupiti Island. If you want the best chance to interact with locals, relax and enjoy the scenery, without all the frills of luxury resorts, Maupiti is the best choice.
You may find a beach to have all to yourself, or stumble across ancient petroglyphs while exploring inland. Whatever you do, your time on Maupiti Island is sure to be unforgettable.
Where to Stay in Maupiti Island
Budget Hotels in Maupiti Island
Sometimes called the “Forgotten Islands” this archipelago is pretty far off the beaten path. Located at the far eastern edge of French Polynesia, the Gambier Islands are actually closer to Pitcairn Island than they are to Tahiti. It is not easy to reach these islands, making it all the more special for those willing to take on the journey.
While the scenery is as stunning as any other destination in French Polynesia, this is really a historic destination. It is thought that this is where Catholocism was first introduced to Polynesia, and several churches are still standing today. The lagoon is also home to a huge black pearl population, should you need a souvenir to bring home.
Where to Stay in Gambier Island
Mid range Hotels in Gambier Island
Pension Bianca & Benoit
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