Society Islands, Polynesia: where they are, when to go and what to see

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

Author and references

How many have thought at least once of escaping to Polynesia? To do like Gauguin and drop everything to change your life? To give up money, stress and work to embrace a simpler life, made only of sky, sea and palm trees? Not everyone, however, has the courage to make such an extreme choice, and so we are content to choose these paradisiacal atolls for honeymoons or "purifying" holidays. In Polynesia the main activity is "doing nothing", however, it is impossible not to dedicate part of the day to explore the hinterland full of forests and spectacular waterfalls, with the tales of Robinson Crusoe in mind. The myth of the southern seas, a paradise on earth made of a thousand shades of blue that blend between sky and sea, the white of the finest sand ever treaded on, coral reefs and lush vegetation: this is what the islands of Society and this is what we all deserve at least once in a lifetime. Find out where they are, when to go and what to see in the Society Islands


  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where are
  3. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  4. Which island to go to?
  5. 8 things to see: beaches and places of interest
  6. What to do in the Society Islands: excursions and tours
  7. How much does a holiday on the Society Islands cost? Prices, offers and advice
  8. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 227.807
  • Capital: Papeete
  • Languages: French
  • Local currency: Pacific Franc (€ 1,00 = XPF119,33)
  • Weather: tropical and influenced by trade winds, with a hot and muggy season from November to April, and a cooler season from May to October. The hot season is also the rainiest and from December to April Polynesia is exposed to the risk of cyclones. Temperatures are practically constant throughout the year and are quite high.
  • vaccinations: yellow fever vaccination mandatory for travelers over 1 year of age, if you come (or stop over) from a country where yellow fever is at risk of transmission (equatorial Africa and South America)
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least 6 months. Please note that most of the flights to this destination stop over in the United States with consequent control by the American customs authorities and the obligation to present the ESTA.
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where are

    The Society Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean spread over a total area of ​​1.467 sq km and located at a latitude between 15 ° and 18 ° south of the equator and a longitude between 155 ° and 147 ° west ed is divided geographically and politically into two other smaller archipelagos: that of the Wind Islands, and that of the Leeward Islands. They are part of the microregion of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity dependent on the Republic of France and established in 1842, but still largely autonomous from the government of Paris. Almost all of the islands are of volcanic origin and in some, such as Tahiti, there are mountains that reach 2.000 m. The coral reefs surrounding the atolls are virtually intact and the lagoons are home to endless species of fish.

    How to reach us

    • From the main European capitals: Paris, Frankfurt, London and other European cities offer direct flights to Los Angeles or San Francisco, so if you are in one of these cities you can reach Tahiti much faster.

    When to go? Info on climate and best time

    • Weather: tropical oceanic of these archipelagos makes them the ideal destination in every season. The trade winds temper the humid heat present all year round, the water temperature is always constant and pleasant and the storms, which often and suddenly appear, never last a long time and are not very annoying. Unfortunately, however, the Society Islands are in the middle of the hurricane route and it is not difficult to be hit hard by these terrifying natural phenomena.
    • Best time: from June to September, when the heat is not too sultry and the sea water temperature is very pleasant.
    • Period to avoid: the position and the winds that beat it place it at risk of cyclones from November to April and from December to March. If you decide to travel during this time, it is best to monitor the hurricane forecasting sites well.
    • Advice: on the main islands, such as Tahiti and Moorea, there is a fair amount of access to basic necessities and medicines; There are good but private health facilities, so it is advisable to take out health insurance before leaving. Pack a good book to relax in the shade of palm trees, light cotton clothes but also a sweatshirt for the evening. Protective cream must never be missing, as well as snorkeling equipment. The internet connection works poorly only in Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea.

    Which island to go to?

    The islands of the archipelago can all be visited and have excellent facilities. Choosing one is particularly complicated and you should eventually do it based on the type of holiday you want to do, because every type of traveler, in the Society Islands, will surely find what they are looking for. Always keep in mind that the main airport is Papeete and that from here you can reach all the islands by sea or by plane. Being able to visit two or three during the holiday would certainly be a wonderful experience, but the best way to visit them all is to rent a sailboat, with or without a skipper, so you can be free to choose based on different priorities or needs. The beaches are almost all for the use of resort customers and with all services, but each island also has public beaches, frequented by locals or by those who do not stay in the all-inclusive resorts.


    The largest island in French Polynesia, it towers over the ocean with mountain peaks that exceed 2.000 m. and an internal territory crossed by valleys, streams and waterfalls. The few beaches present are of dark sand and the seabed partially protected by the coral reef. Tahiti is also famous for its relaxed atmosphere and the sincere hospitality of the Tahitians, but also for being a cultural center appreciated all over the world, a hotbed of styles and ideas ranging from painting to dance to music. The hub of all these activities is Papeete, a reference point for the whole of French Polynesia, which boasts luxury resorts, spas, restaurants, nightclubs, markets, museums, shops of all kinds. Papeete also has a beautiful market where you can buy local products of all kinds. The island is the ideal destination for those looking for a door to paradise without detaching too much from the real world. Faa'a Airport is only 10 km from the center of Papeete and is connected by taxi, private car with driver and public transport.


    An island of volcanic origin with beautiful, high and green peaks surrounded by forests. Its position in favor of the wind makes it an ideal destination for those looking for water sports such as kite, canoeing, surfing, windsurfing but also for those who love diving and snorkeling thanks to the beauty of the coral reef and the relatively shallow water. The beaches are of fine white sand, Temae the most beautiful, and the setting of flora and fauna makes this island truly magical. You can get there by small planes from Tahiti in a 7-minute flight to Moorea airport or by ferries that connect the piers of the two islands about eight times a day.

    Bora Bora

    This is the island of love, romance and honeymoons. Here, bungalows on stilts are reserved on a sea of ​​infinite shades of blue, dinners are made by candlelight on white private beaches and every activity is aimed at making the moment you are living unforgettable. You can also practice many activities such as fishing, diving, sailing and all water sports. Air Tahiti flights connect it to Papeete in 50 minutes


    National reserve and paradise for birds, sea turtles and all marine life. Tetiaroa is considered sacred by the inhabitants and was the exclusive destination of the Tahitian royal family. Marlon Bando after shooting the movie Mutiny on the Bounty here in 1960, fell in love with it and became its owner. This too turns out to be a very romantic destination, but perhaps a little cheaper than Bora Bora. You can arrive by plane in 15 minutes from Tahiti or Moorea.

    Huahine Fare and Parea

    They are two islands joined together by a lagoon with shallow waters and protected by a coral reef of rare beauty, with caves and aquatic plants. Beautiful white sand beaches, lush forests, unspoiled landscapes and picturesque villages are the characteristics of the two islands that have remained untouched by the modern world. Huahine offers calm and tranquility and the inhabitants of the few villages that animate it, exploit a rich and fertile soil to grow vanilla, melons and bananas. There are many activities to do, such as sunset cruises, open sea fishing, horseback riding, trekking and all kinds of water sports and activities.


    Almost completely devoid of beaches, which makes it little frequented by tourists, but offers the opportunity to deepen the Polynesian culture, through the historical artifacts present. Mount Temehani is home to the apetahi, a unique flower in the world, symbol of Raiatea, which blooms only at dawn and is also the home of many species of protected animals and the famous Bird of Paradise. The stay here is recommended for those who love and seek nature in all its expressions. You arrive with a 45 minute flight from Papeete.


    Hilly landscape and lush and dense vegetation, offers the opportunity to touch the true life of the island people and share their experiences. The best quality vanilla in the world is produced here and it is possible to witness the production chain together with the farmers. The beaches are of white sand and full of coconut palms, the beautiful backdrops and the calm sea. This island can also be reached from Tahiti with a 45-minute flight.

    Tupai and Maupiti

    They are the two smallest islands and the most distant from Tahiti. Both offer the quite which, perhaps, is less found on other islands. Few hotels, poor services but relaxation and that feeling of being out of this world, which sometimes turns out to be priceless. Both can be reached with a 50-minute flight from Tahiti.

    8 things to see: beaches and places of interest

    1. Gauguin Museum: in Tahiti one cannot but dedicate a couple of hours to visit this museum. Here there are no original works, only reproductions, but the interest lies in the explanation of the great painter's daily life since he decided to move here.
    2. Lafayette: Tahiti is not famous for its beaches but La Fayette is certainly the most beautiful. Black and with important waves, it is suitable for surfers and those looking for the convenience of the services that are present here.
    3. Temae Beach: perhaps the most beautiful beach in Moorea, wild, uncrowded, but frequented by the locals. It has convenient parking but no type of service
    4. Ta'ahiamanu: famous for its shells, in Moorea it is one of the most popular free beaches for the beauty of its colors. There are no toilets, just public showers.
    5. Mount Otemanu: it is the symbol of Bora Bora, which dominates it imposingly and protects it from the winds. Many are the excursions proposed by the various local resorts or agencies, to accompany the tourist through the forests until reaching the top to enjoy a breathtaking view.
    6. Matira Beach: on this wonderful beach of Bora Bora, you can choose to relax in the shade of coconut palms or decide for an underwater experience even if you are a beginner. In fact, there are very well-rated diving centers, with excellent equipment and trained staff who will accompany you for an unforgettable experience. The beach is partially private with a bar, restaurant and services, but there is also a part with public access.
    7. The Brando: in Tetiaroa you can not miss, at least for a peek, in this which is probably the most exclusive and luxurious resort in the Pacific Ocean. Once the home of the famous Hollywood actor, it is now a place to spend unforgettable days at stratospheric prices.
    8. Marae Taputapuatea: it is the most important temple in French Polynesia and bears witness to interesting remains of this ancient civilization. The archaeological site is a large religious complex divided into three distinct and still well preserved areas.

    What to do in the Society Islands: excursions and tours

    How much does a holiday on the Society Islands cost? Prices, offers and advice

    If you choose these islands, you have to keep in mind that to arrive you need at least 27 hours including stops, this means that, to amortize time and expense,the holiday must be organized on a 15 day basis and that the total expenditure will certainly not be low. If you book independently, a flight with a stopover can cost no less than € 1.800,00 per person in return. A night in a double room in a hotel not on the beach starts from € 100,00 while if you want a hotel with access to the sea you can also spend € 300,00 per night. Renting a car is not necessary, however, scuter can be rented at prices around € 20,00 per day. A stay on a sailing boat to visit more islands, with skipper and galley can cost around € 2.000,00. Eating is also not cheap, especially in Tahiti: € 40,00 is the average cost per person for a full meal. Many tour operators offer valid all-inclusive stays that manage to save something. Veratour offers 13 days 10 nights in all inclusive, flights from Italy, insurance and transfers from € 5.872,00

    • Hotel and b & b starting from € 100,00 per room -
    • starting from € 1.882,00 -
    • 15 days / 14 nights from € 5.264,00 per person -

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