Active Huahine

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Active Huahine
Even though Huahine moves slower than most of the rest of the world, there are still plenty of opportunities to get active. You can paddle, sail, swim, dive, snorkel, or surf the clear lagoon, and hike, bike, or stroll the lush land.
Photo by Ian Cumming/age fotostock
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    Horseback Ride along the Beach
    Ride through the dappled sunshine of coconut plantations to the dark green shores of Lake Fauna Nui. Everyone waves hello, local children giggle as you pass, and you get to take in every flowery scent in the air and the light, salty breezes. The only noises you'll hear are the clip-clop of hooves and the swish of the wind through the trees. Longer rides include picnic lunches, visits to vanilla plantations, and stops for swimming or snorkeling. The equestrian center La Petite Ferme has been running these trips for years and has horses available for every level of rider.
    Photo by Ian Cumming/age fotostock
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    Hike Mount Tapu
    At 1,400 feet, Mount Tapu isn't Huahine's highest peak, but it's the ideal one for breaking a bit of a sweat and enjoying a great reward at the top. The trailhead is unmarked, so it's best to hire a guide who will also fill you in on the local flora and legends. Count on a steep climb that is a two-hour round-trip. From the top, you'll be blessed with views over Maeva, Lake Fauna Nui, Motu Overei, and the lagoon that ranges in color from pale turquoise to the deepest of indigos. Once you've descended, cool off with a swim at nearby Le Jardin de Corail, which is located in front of the abandoned Sofitel Resort.
    Photo by Wojtek Buss/age fotostock
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    Explore the Lagoon by Kayak
    Many accommodations on Huahine rent or offer free kayaks to their guests. Kayaking is a great opportunity to just splash around, explore a few nearby coves, or take a serious paddle. Favorite places to go are off Huahine Iti to the south, Hana Iti Beach, or Motu Arara. After the calming swish of perfectly clear waters, where you may see turtles or even dolphins, expect to have white-sand beaches complete with palm trees all to yourself. Take note, though: Many of the offshore islets are private, so ask for directions to places that are public or ask permission to land if you arrive somewhere that is not intended for public access.
    Photo by Stuart Pearce/age fotostock
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    Charter a Sailboat for an Island Day Tour
    Take a trip around Huahine's palm-clad west coast on a sailing tour with Sailing Huahine Voile. Half-day trips include visiting secluded beaches, snorkeling electric blue waters, a picnic, and a guide who will explain all the flora, fauna, and localities. You can opt for longer itineraries or charter the monohull to take you further afield to the archipelago's other islands, atolls, and places you may not be able to reach otherwise. Ancient Polynesians used the wind to explore these isles and that still feels like the best way to do so. Flying fish jump out of the water in front and dolphins may frolic in the wake behind. It's a magical, memorable experience.
    Photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourism
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    Diving the Avapeihi Pass
    Just like the island itself, Huahine diving is mellow yet full of action. There are several good dive sites for all levels, but the most well-known is Avapeihi Pass, located just off the coast of Fare. Dive it on the outgoing current when sharks (expect grey reef, black tips, and white tips) amass here looking for easy-to-nab fish caught up in the fast-moving waters. Also expect schools of barracuda, jack fish, and snappers. Octopus, eels, and rays are often in the mix and some divers report the waters being so thick with fish, they can hardly see what's beyond. The mellow part is that with the current, you hardly even have to kick to move through the dive.
    Photo by Franco Banfi/age fotostock
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    Kitesurf on the Blue Lagoon
    The sheltered lagoon and consistent trade winds make Huahine a great spot to kitesurf. It's not the place for beginners, but you can hire a guide or, if you're already well-seasoned, rent equipment from Guillaume and Titaua Chastagnol in Fare. Choose to kite exhilarating, reef-breaking waves, or do a more mellow but still adrenaline-charged downwind run across the lagoon. Whatever you choose, the blues of the lagoon framed by yellow-green coconut palms, the breezes tinged with the scent of gardenias, and the fun crowd enjoying the sport, all combine to make it unforgettable.
    Photo by Norbert Eisele-Hein/age fotostock
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    Pedal Power
    Relatively flat and with plenty of paved roads, cycling is an excellent way to tour the island; it's also a perfect form of transportation to get to the local shop or the next beach. There's not much vehicular traffic, so you'll often have the roads to yourself. The soundtrack? The squeak of your pedaling and the whoosh of surf and wind blowing through palms. Rental bikes are usually basic and their condition can vary, so if you're a serious cyclist, consider bringing your own. A mountain bike is the best option for tackling the coral and dirt roads that lead to more remote beaches.
    Photo by Melanie Dupré/PolynesiaPaintings