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With vast marine life all gliding majestically through the shimmering waters, sandy beaches and vibrant culture, Tahiti and the Society Islands are an ideal destination for a bareboat yacht charter.
With so many islands to explore you might be a bit spoiled for choice, so we’ve pulled together a list of the top five you should sail to when you hire a yacht in the French Polynesia.
Start your adventure as soon as you land, spending a night on the mainland island of Tahiti, the largest of the French Polynesian islands. Visit Mont Orohena, an inactive volcano, situated around ten minutes from Papette International Airport (PPT). The 2,241ft mountain is home to lush flora and fauna and beautiful cascading waterfalls.
The English word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word “tatau”
The nautical centre of Polynesia, Raiatea is the perfect place to set sail. Believed to be the first island to appear in the archipelago, Raiatea is referred to as the Sacred Island and is full of hidden temples and history. Visit Marae Taputapuatea the largest outdoor temple in French Polynesia for a real spiritual experience. With a number of excellent anchorages and excellent sailing conditions, Raiatea is a sailor’s dream.
Raiatea means “faraway heaven”
3. Bora Bora
Famously known for its beautiful blue lagoon, no visit to Bora Bora would be complete without a snorkelling and diving expedition. There are an abundance of mooring opportunities dotted around the island making it super easy to snorkel from your yacht or take part in an organised dive from the island itself. If heading ashore, there are a number of water activities available to participate in, including tube towing, helmet diving and whale watching.
The Tahitian alphabet doesn’t actually include the letter ‘B’. Instead, it has letter ‘P’, so actually, the island is called Pora Pora!
Another snorkelling paradise, head to Taha’a and dive the magnificent Coral Garden where the clear blue water allows divers to see exceptional marine life in all its glory. Head to the Champon Pearl Farm to find out how the islands pearls are harvested or visit Vallée de la Vanille to see the island vanilla plantation.
Taha’a is also known as the ‘Vanilla Island’ due to its high production of the orchid that it’s derived from.
5. Motu Ceran
Offering one of the safest anchorages in the French Polynesia, moor off the coastline of Motu Ceran and relax under the palm trees on the pristine white sand or witness turtles, rays and the colourful schools of fish with a touch of snorkelling or diving – the definitive desert island!
Motu Ceran is a tiny islet that has popped up in the centre of an atoll near to Taha’a!
Top five places to eat and drink in Tahiti and the Society Islands
The Golden Sail Restaurant and Bar (Raiatea) – a great little restaurant on the edge of the lagoon, the Golden Sails’ menu to varied and flavoursome, including homemade Foie Gras, Mahi Mahi and Beef Tartare.
La Villa Mahana (Bora Bora) – renowned for being the most romantic restaurant on the island, La
Villa Mahana, meaning ‘Villa of the sun’ serves a range of seafood, from fresh
local shrimps to Mahi Mahi.
Ma’a Vita Pizza (Taha’a) – Step ashore for a casual spot of lunch at the laid back Ma’a Vita Pizza restaurant, where you can enjoy a anything from traditional pepperoni or a carbonara pizza!
La Plage de Maui (Tahiti) – Enjoy lunch on the lagoon on the mainland of Tahiti, serving excellent locally caught fish in a relaxed atmosphere.
White Restaurant (Tahiti) – A beautiful restaurant, ideal for dinner, serving local delicacies including french inspired Caen-style tripe and fire pot fish stew.
One week Tahiti sailing itinerary
- Day 1 – Sail from a base in Raiatea to Tahaa (10nm) and explore the Hibiscus Sea Turtle Protection sanctuary and Black Pearl Farm
- Day 2 – Sail from Tahaa to Bora Bora (22 nm) and explore it’s magnificent barrier reef
- Day 3 – Discover Bora Bora Lagoon with The Coral Garden
- Day 4 – Bora Bora Lagoon
- Day 5 – Sail from Bora Bora to Tahaa (22 nm) and visit the Vanilla plantation
- Day 6 – Sail from Tahaa to Motu Ceran and experience what it’s like to sunbathe on a real desert island
- Day 7 – sail from Motu Ceran back to base