Welcome to the vagina island, no joke (the rough English translation of the word Huahine is vagina). And although no one knows exactly where the name originated, historians think it has to do with the important role women played in the island's history. Comprised of two islands – the more developed Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) to the north, and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south – there isn't a lot to do here, but the unpretentious and relatively sleepy vibe appeals to budget travelers and surfers, as Huahine has some of the cheapest beds and best breaks in all of French Polynesia. It is also home to untouched beaches, isolated coves, enchanted azure lagoons and the most extensive complex of pre-European marae in French Polynesia. It also has a noticeable lack of luxury resorts, making it still feel like a Robinson Crusoe style getaway.
Some of the most consistent and best surf in French Polynesia is found off Huahine's shores, but local surfers can be very possessive, so make sure you check with them before hitting up their turn. This is also not the place for novices, as the left and right reef breaks can chew you up pretty badly.
Huahine is also home to some great dive spots, including a canyon where you can see barracuda, jackfish, rays and sharks. For snorkeling head to Fare, which has a pretty sand beach just north of town and a wide, translucent lagoon that drops off quickly for excellent snorkeling around coral and through schools of multi-hued fish.
By Becca Blond, AFAR Local Expert