Tahiti offers; exciting scuba diving and surfing, beautiful smiling people and amazing flora and fauna in a riot of colours. The fascinating history, culture and tradition, exotic tastes of french cuisine with a tropical twist and of course the famous black pearls combine to create an ideal yacht charter destination with something for everyone.
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia is a tropical paradise of numerous island groups best explored by private yacht. With 118 islands in total, there is a lot to explore and great variance in cruising types. From mountainous, jungle clad volcanic landforms and azure blue lagoons to low lying sandy atolls rimmed with golden beaches hiding thriving reefs beneath, the Islands of French Polynesia have it all. Below is a quick summary of each island group.
The islands of French Polynesia are a semi-autonomous French overseas territory. People speak French, Tahitian and other Polynesian languages. The majority of the population are Polynesian or a mix of Polynesian and European with the main religion being christianity. The traditions, cuisine, merchandise and other aspects of culture have a fascinating fusion of European and Pacific influences.
The Society Islands: Consisting of the Windward and Leeward Islands, the Society Islands are high tropical islands which offer fantastic cruising, diving, shoreside activities and nightlife. They are the most visited of all the islands with Tahiti being the largest. This group also includes the famous islands of Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora and Maupiti. Each island is remarkable in its own way with spectacular scenery from every vantage point. A 7 to 10 day cruise from Tahiti allows a leisurely paced itinerary throughout this beautiful group of islands. We recommend travelling in the direction from Tahiti to Bora Bora as this goes with the trade winds and offers very comfortable cruising.
The Tuamotu Group: Approximately 200 nautical miles from Tahiti, the Tuamotus are a collection of low islands or atolls famous for their world class diving and many pearl farms. Each island's beautiful lagoon is encircled by a ring of coral. There are 76 atolls in total, extending over an area of 20,000 square kilometres located less than 200 miles from Tahiti. The most frequently visited atolls are Rangiroa, Tikehau, Manihi and Fakarava, these areas offer very exciting diving opportunities in the lagoon passes. Click here for further information on the Tuamotus. "There is more underwater life in the south pass of Fakarava than in the entire Caribbean Sea" - Superyacht Captain.
The Marquesas: Around ten islands form the Marquesas group, located approx 700 miles NE of Tahiti. These islands of jagged mountain peaks feature stunning natural scenery and offer arguable the best game fishing in French Polynesia. Very remote and untouched, you won't find many who have ventured into the area. Unlike the other areas of French Polynesia, the Marquesas are steep islands without a barrier reef. The most well known are Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Pou and Ua Huka.
The Austral Archipelago: Situated far to the south, the Austral Archipelago includes high islands with plenty of wildlife. A special attraction on the Australs occurs every year from June to October when whales meet in the warm shallow waters.
The Gambier Archipelago: Remote and very beautiful, the Gambiers consisting of the high island of Mangareva and its fringe of islands which are the eroded remains of its former gigantic crater. The Gambiers have many large pearl farms and are another great destination for game fishing.
Activities and events include an array of sporting events, such as running, surfing, canoe races and many more, various traditional dance and music festivals and shows (including the famous ‘Heiva' festival in July), wildlife watching (turtles or rays, for instance) and numerous art and cultural exhibitions covering all sorts of topics from the painting of Gauguin to traditional tattoo designs.
International flights arrive at Fa'aa Airport, near Papeete, on Tahiti. Air France, Air Tahiti Nui and Air New Zealand are the main airlines that fly to French Polynesia. There are numerous weekly flights from L.A. and several from main centres in Europe. Flights also depart from Australia, NZ and elsewhere in the Pacific.
French Polynesia enjoys tropical, warm and humid weather all year round. There are often pleasant breezes to balance the heat and humidity. May through October is a popular time to visit: there is little rain during this time of year and less humidity.
Average temperatures in the Society Islands range between 16-35°C /60.8-95°F. The water temperature ranges from 26-29°C /79-84°F making for lovely swimming all year round.
The Marquesas Islands in the north are warmer than the main islands of French Polynesia and the Austral and Gambier Islands in the south are cooler (take a jumper for night/early morning).
For additional information on Tahiti, visit the official Tahiti Tourism website