Written by Missy Johnston
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
A French Polynesian luxury yacht charter from Tahiti to Bora Bora features some of the most alluring locations one could hope to see on a single vacation. The archipelago known as the Society Islands contains famous French Polynesian gems such as Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea.
There is far more to experience on this island chain than to enjoy the scenery, swim in the sparkling waters, and admire the mountains from a distance. Exploring these stunning islands reveal the area’s unique culture and activities.
The Society Islands are known for “Black Gold,” which refers to the black vanilla beans that give Tahaa the nickname of The Vanilla Island, and black pearls, which are spectacular and beautiful alternatives to traditional cream-colored or pink pearls.
Visiting a vanilla plantation and a black pearl farm reveals how these famous exports are grown and harvested for the rest of the world to enjoy. Black pearl items made locally sell for a fraction of the price they command anywhere else in the world.
Here are the highlights of what there is to see and do when visiting each island on a private crewed yacht charter of the Society Islands of French Polynesia.
Tahiti – French Polynesia
Tahiti is the largest and best-known of the Society Islands.
Its volcanic mountain ranges covered in lush forests, clear blue waters, and sparkling white sand beaches have all graced many postcards, making Tahiti the iconic island paradise most people think of when they dream about visiting French Polynesia.
Coral Reef in Tahiti, French Polynesia
Tahiti has its share of natural beauty, but the island also has interesting destinations, including The Gauguin Museum, the Harrison W. Smith Botanical Garden, and the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands.
Moorea is a volcanic masterpiece of an island with centuries of fascinating history. The best way to explore this history is to visit the many marae, which are what the locals call the archaeological ruins of the island’s ancient temples.
These massive stone temples—some are 4000 square feet or more—were the sites where Moorea’s settlers, the Maohi, worshiped their gods and held tribal meetings to discuss important matters.
The fascinating relics of the marae show a society that valued land ownership by paying homage to ancestors and used natural resources to sustain a lifestyle where the people lived in harmony with the land. The darker side of the Maohi appears in ruins that suggest they also practiced human sacrifice, and that the ruling class relied upon the backbreaking efforts of the working classes.
Today’s Moorea is very different from the Moorea of centuries past, but locals still try to preserve their history through careful retention of the marea that are remaining.
Huahine, French Polynesia
If there were ever a perfect example of a laid-back island paradise, it would be Huahine. With lush mountain forests, clear turquoise waters, a lovely and immersive local culture, and only one island town, Huahine is a gem.
Huahine, French Polynesia
A popular activity on Huahine is feeding the Sacred Blue-Eyed Eels in the river by Faie village. Rumored to host the souls of islanders who have passed on, these blind, blue-eyed creatures can only be found in this one spot in the world. Bring sardines—or other tasty eel snacks—and watch the eerie spectacle as the eels come out to dine.
Tahaa Island, French Polynesia
Tahaa is an island that feels serene and authentic despite its reputation as a beautiful place to see. No throngs of tourists will spoil the view on Tahaa, and local yachties or locals in dug out canoes come and go freely to seek out hidden, romantic spots in the island’s bays. The island has no airport, so all visitors must arrive by boat.
One of Tahaa’s primary industries is vanilla cultivation. Walking along the island’s pathways reveals many greenhouses growing vanilla plants. Vanilla-infused products are plentiful in the area, making Tahaa a great place to shop for authentic vanilla gifts and souvenirs.
Tahaa, French Polynesia- View of Bora Bora
Several sea turtle species make their homes in Tahaa Lagoon, and they surface periodically. Snorkelers and scuba divers can also explore Tahaa’s coral garden, which is a famous spot with a spectacular view of Bora Bora, along with all the wildlife that calls the reef home. Fortunate snorkelers will also see, besides sea turtles, sharks, eels, and an abundance of colorful coral.
To the east of Tahaa lies Raiatea. These two islands are within viewing distance of each other for anyone standing on the shores. That means they are a quick and easy yacht trip apart, for anyone who wants to split time between the two.
Giant Tiki head on Raiatea
As serene and undeveloped as Tahaa is, Raiatea offers more civilization with restaurants and bars. Raiatea also boasts the same French Polynesian beauty and similar activities as some of the other Society Islands. Tour a vanilla processing facility or hike, kayak, and snorkel through the island’s wilder areas. Raiatea is felt to be the first of the Society Islands to have been colonized and inhabited by outsiders, and those same colonizers may have ventured far further to establish a human population on today’s Hawaii.
Colorful Lagoon of Maupiti, French Polynesia
One of the best things about Maupiti is its crystal clear, stunningly beautiful lagoon. The shallow waters have bright white sandbars peeking up above, while colorful coral reefs lie just below the water’s surface.
Maupiti is just as beautiful on shore. Hike to the summit of Maupiti Island for a panoramic view in all directions from the peak.
Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia
The Society Islands are known for their intriguing black pearls, so it’s no wonder Bora Bora is often called the Pearl of the Pacific.
Bora Bora attracts people from all over the world who want to stay in the iconic overwater bungalows made famous from movies. Sailing around the island on a private, luxury yacht is perhaps the only better way to experience the area.
On shore, the best way to explore is by bike since the island is a bit large to explore by foot. However, there are wonderful hiking opportunities on Bora Bora, and several beautiful scenic overlooks.
A one-week charter of the Society Islands starting in Tahiti and ending in Bora Bora could include every one of these enchanting islands, but why spend only one week enjoying this beautiful area, as there is plenty to see and do for a longer charter, and the French Polynesians are very welcoming, always with a flower in their hair.