Huahine's Dreamy Beaches

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Huahine's Dreamy Beaches
There are plenty of of white-sand stretches on Huahine, and the island's laid-back ambiance makes them all the more relaxing. Most beaches lead to dreamy blue water for swimming or snorkeling.
Photo by age fotostock
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    The Ultimate Seclusion of Hana Iti Beach
    There's no road to Hana Iti, so you'll have to rent an outboard or be relatively fit to get there by kayak. Is it worth it? Yes. This isolated, spacious beach was once the playground of the beautiful but long- defunct Hana Iti Hotel, whose remains are on the hill above. Nowadays, it's a locals' secret and is difficult enough to get to that chances are, apart from weekends, you'll have it to yourself. The sand is perfectly white, coastal trees offer just enough shade, and the pale blue water extends out in sandy-bottomed perfection. Bring a picnic and bliss out on your own private beach.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Soak Up the Special Energy of Anini Beach
    This small strip of pebble-strewn white sand sits in front of Anini Marae, the elongated remains of an ancient temple constructed with massive slabs of coral. Bask in the sun and in the temple's mana (spiritual force). This is a special place. The water here is shallow and protected by an outer reef so it's also a fantastic spot for a quick dip. Bring a picnic and ruminate on the island's history, the presence of Polynesian ancestors, and the power of the great blue Pacific Ocean in front of you. If a few locals come by, make sure to say hello and you'll probably end up sharing the afternoon with them.
    Photo by Pierre Lesage
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    Avae Bay Beach and Around
    Most visitors to Huahine would probably say that Avae Bay—the half-moon of white sand in front of Relais Mahana Resort—is their favorite beach on the island. The beach here is wide compared to others and leads out to easy swimming in the turquoise bay. If this beach is too busy for you, stroll or grab a bike to explore the area's other beaches. They may not be as scenic, but chances are you'll have them to yourself. You'll also be treated with smiles from residents of the quiet palm-shaded villages scattered along this southern coast. Great snorkeling is found over the reef.
    Photo courtesy of Relais Mahana
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    Beach-Side Seafood
    Despite Huahine's small size, it has some surprisingly wonderful seaside restaurants. The Huahine Yacht Club in Fare is the locals' favorite for a Hinano (the local beer) and heaped portions of poisson cruChez Tara is the place to go for a Sunday Tahitian feast—you can even keep your toes in the sand while doing so. Mauarii serves a mix of Tahitian and Western favorites in a more upscale setting right on the water. Alternatively, hit up the roulottes (mobile food vans) which open nightly along the port in Fare. Get steak and fries or fresh grilled fish on a plastic plate to eat with local Polynesian families.
    Photo by Charles Peebles/age fotostock
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    Sunset from Golden Fare Beach
    The village of Fare is about as mellow and perfectly Polynesian as main towns get in this country, but if you continue along the coast where the main road leads inland, the place gets even better. Right here, in the middle of the non-action, is another of Huahine's best beaches. This one's fairly long, with houses backed behind it amongst foliage. The sand is golden, a few outboard fishing boats putter in and out, and there are few better places to plop down with a cold beer and watch the sunset. The swimming and snorkeling are pretty good, too. Staying in town never felt better.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Sun and Snorkel at Le Jardin de Corail
    One of the island's most secluded beaches is also fronted by some of the most thriving and accessible coral gardens. Locals call it by a few names, including Le Jardin de Corail and Sofitel—since this beach used to belong to the now-closed and almost entirely flattened Sofitel Resort. The beach is long, wide, white, and you may have it all to yourself. There is plenty of shade, and the blue water is calm and perfect for swimming. Dip into the blue, then swim a minute or two out to the bright corals, which are flourishing with butterflyfish, parrotfish, trumpetfish, and much, much more. Chances are you'll also see a turtle or a small reef shark. Bring your gear, reef shoes, and a picnic.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Relax Like the Locals on a Lagoon Tour
    Like most other islands in this sea-dominated nation, the best way to see Huahine is by boat. Locals know this too, so their weekends are often spent hopping in an outboard with a picnic, heading to a fringing islet, and then eating, relaxing, playing ukulele, and singing till the sun goes down. And that's exactly what a number of tours offer visitors, too. As well as zipping around the lagoon (and abundant chances to chill), a few more tourist-oriented activities are usually included, like a visit to the pearl farm or a shark feeding. No matter the exact nature of what is on offer, you can't go wrong when the beaches and water are this sublime and the atmosphere so welcoming and mellow.
    Photo by Melanie Dupré/PolynesiaPaintings
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    Shelter in the Maeva Fare Pōte'e
    After walking around the Maeva archaeological area and being out and about in the sun, it's incredibly pleasant to tuck into a dark wooden building cooled by sea breezes. Maeva's fare pōte'e is a replica of a traditional Polynesian meeting house, and it's easy to understand why people would want to meet in such a place. Set on the water's edge, you'll hear and feel the ocean but your eyes will enjoy a brief respite from the island's bright sunlight and you will be comfortably protected from the elements. This is where villagers would have met to make community decisions, tell stories, and enjoy spending time together.
    Photo by Wojtek Buss/age fotostock