In the heart of the South Pacific, cradled in an endless expanse of turquoise waters, are the enchanting islands of French Polynesia. Made up of 118 islands and atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs), this area of the world is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, unparalleled marine life, welcoming residents, and rich Polynesian culture. 

french polynesia

The Society Islands are perhaps the most famous, with iconic destinations including Tahiti and Bora Bora. Tahiti, the largest island and capital of French Polynesia, is known for its lush landscapes, black sand beaches, and vibrant markets. Bora Bora, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” is famous for its overwater bungalows, delightful food scene, and stunning coral reefs.


Getting There

Air Tahiti Nui offers several non-stop flight options from major US cities like Los Angeles and Seattle (through a partnership with Alaska Airlines). The warmth and authenticity of a Polynesian welcome are immediately felt through the crew and comfort of the cabins, echoing the turquoise hues of the lagoon, and transporting passengers to Tahiti from the moment they step onboard. Moving through customs upon arrival is quick compared to most international destinations, and visitors are greeted with fresh flowers and live music. (Insider secret: For those looking for a remote yet luxurious escape, it is said that Hawaii gets the same number of visitors throughout a single weekend as French Polynesia sees over an entire year.)

Where to Stay

Te Moana Tahiti

Located waterfront on the West side of the island and just 10 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from notable landmarks, biking, and hiking trails, Te Moana Resort is an ideal location for exploring Tahiti. Relax by the infinity pool with a swim-up bar, enjoy a meal in one of their two restaurants, and take in spectacular sunsets over the island of Moorea from their Taapuna Beach Bar located on the resort`s motu. Accommodations range from standard rooms to three-bedroom options with full kitchens and dining space and include breakfast daily.

What to Do

Visit Papeete Market (Marché de Papeete). Papeete Market is a bustling marketplace offering many goods for locals and visitors alike. Here you will find freshly caught fish, grab-and-go local cuisine, tropical fruits, vegetables, and exotic flowers. You’ll also discover local goods including handmade body oils, black Tahitian pearl jewelry, traditional art, and clothing. It’s an excellent place to immerse oneself in Tahitian daily life and collect souvenirs to take home. 


For those wanting to jump headfirst into local French Polynesian fare, look no further than Vai’ete Square Night Market. Centrally located in Papeete along the waterfront, the Roulottes on Vai’ete Square are known for offering a wide variety of local and international cuisines. The market is packed full of energy and diners and often features more than a dozen food trucks along with live music and entertainment.  

Bora Bora

Getting There

Air Moana is a local inter-island airline launched in February 2023. It provides French Polynesia flights from Tahiti to Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Rangiroa, Nuku Hiva, and Hiva Oa. The carrier offers competitive fares, terrific service, and delightful snacks and drinks. An added bonus is the jaw-dropping view over the 45-minute flight from Papeete to Bora Bora. Once in Bora Bora you are greeted with flower leis by hosts from their respective resorts and guided to open-air boats for the 15-minute ride to their destination. 

Where to Stay

As recently showcased on Luxe Getaways, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is the ultimate bucket list destination, providing the utmost French Polynesian oceanfront luxury accommodations. Bursting with beauty and made in perfect harmony with its surroundings, it is a luxurious paradise, offering impeccable service, unforgettable experiences, and stunning grounds showcasing unobstructed sunrise views over the Pacific and sunsets over the towering Mount Otemanu. 

four-seasons-resort-bora-bora French Polynesia

Set upon Bora Bora’s surrounding coral atoll, the property offers a vast tropical grove, replete with coconut palms, pandanus trees, and adorable Bora Bora gray crabs. Meandering channels of warm turquoise waters lead from the property’s main beach to smaller lagoons, creating secluded private beaches and snorkeling alcoves waiting to be discovered. 

This French Polynesian resort consists of 108 overwater bungalow suites and seven spectacular beachfront villa estates. The one and two-bedroom overwater bungalows are perched above Bora Bora’s inner lagoon at one of its most serene points, allowing guests to swim directly off their decks with schools of fish, sting rays, eagle rays, and blacktip reef sharks. The beachfront villas offer private infinity pools, white sand beaches, and expansive indoor and outdoor living spaces perfect for multiple couples, small groups, or families.

Things to Do

Lagoon Service Bora Bora 2A French Polynesia

Beyond snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking in the lagoon’s crystal clear waters, an absolute bucket list item in French Polynesia is the ray and shark snorkeling safari by Lagoon Service Bora Bora. Guests are greeted at the resort dock and taken on an adventure you won’t soon forget. Choose from a private trip or a shared experience for up to 10. Guides share cultural stories and history as they circle the island stopping in shallow waters to pet stingrays and in Bora Bora’s famous reef to swim with thousands of colorful tropical fish. Finally, they’ll cross the reef into open water for swimming with blacktip and nurse sharks, and serenade guests home with ukuleles and island covers. There is an option to elevate the experience by adding a traditional Polynesian lunch on a private motu, complete with icy cold beverages and a gentle island breeze. 


Faré Hoa Beach Bar & Grill bora bora four seasons French Polynesia

There are several fine dining options to choose from across Bora Bora resorts, as well as more casual options in Vaitape, Bora Bora’s main town accessible by boat and ferry. A perfect combination of the two is the Four Seasons’ Faré Hoa Beach Bar & Grill. Set on the sandy shore of the lagoon, it’s an open-air restaurant with a toes-in-the-sand charm. The lunch and dinner menus are friendly and inviting, offering some of the best food around made with fresh, local ingredients and cooked to perfection. Don’t miss the Tahitian Fish, Tuna Poke Bowl, bone-in ribeye, and Tahitian lobster. For dessert (or any time of day) their indulgent sundae includes Tahitian vanilla ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauce, caramelized pecans, freshly made caramel popcorn, cookies, and whipped cream – the perfect French Polynesian meal.