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Backpacking, Adventure and a Bit of Luxury in French Polynesia: Tahiti, Fakarava, Tahaa and Raiatea

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Vallee de Papenoo, Papeno'o, French Polynesia
Also known as the Papenoo Valley, the Maroto Valley is a magical place once inhabited by ancient Polynesians. If you go with a guide -- I recommend Marama Tours -- you'll be able to learn about the history of the area as well as learn to forage...
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Ra'iātea, French Polynesia
I launched my kayak from the edge of Raiatea Lodge Hotel, which rents the boats free to guests. Here you can have the unique experience of kayaking to a motu. Motus are small islands made up of coral and its derivatives. From Raiatea, one such...
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'Uturoa, French Polynesia
Tahaa is where more than 80 percent of French Polynesia's famous vanilla comes from, so visiting a plantation is a worthwhile experience. Vallee de la Vanille is an organic vanilla plantation (one of the few) on Tahaa that offers free tours so...
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BP 680, Uturoa Raiatea 98735, French Polynesia
The Raiatea Lodge Hotel located on the island of Raiatea is one of French Polynesia's only 3-star hotels (most are budget pensions or luxury resorts). Guests can enjoy comfortable and stylish accommodations in an intimate boutique hotel that...
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Patio, 98733, French Polynesia
While pensions in French Polynesia are often touted as overpriced accommodations with no amenities, Fare Pea Iti proves this is not always true. In fact, this family home pension is downright luxurious, with an in-ground pool, well-manicured...
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From Vahine Private Island Resort you have an excellent view of Bora Bora, which is exceptionally beautiful at sunset. Enjoy it with a cocktail from the bar made with local juices and fruits.
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Technically part of Tahaa in French Polynesia, Vahine Private Island Resort is an escape from reality. The hotel features three beach bungalows, three self-contained beach suites and three overwater bungalows, all with beach views and designed...
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Poste restante, Fakarava 98763, French Polynesia
Fakarava's lagoon is majestic, with translucent blue waters filled with vibrant coral and tropical fish. In fact, Fakara is touted as the "mecca of diving" thanks to its waters rich with flora and big fauna. Enjoy a walk along its perimeter...
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Puna'auia, French Polynesia
Le Méridien is one of Tahiti’s most luxurious accommodations. The hotel features 150 units, ranging from suites and overwater bungalows to rooms with views of the lagoon and botanical gardens, as well as a Japanese koi pond and...
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Rotoava, French Polynesia
Fakarava is full of family-run pensions (there's only one hotel on the island), one of which is the Pension Tokerau Village. When you arrive they'll greet you by putting a flower necklace over your head and kissing you once on each cheek. The...
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French Polynesia

My first encounter with a black sand beach was in Tahiti and talk about a gem, having it all to myself. 

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Tahaa Rd, Pātio, French Polynesia
On a recent trip to research resorts, I had the opportunity to visit Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and the island of Taha'a. All were fabulous places to explore, but my favorite stay was at the Five Star Taha'a Island Resort and Spa on the island of...
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BP4588, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia
When travelling I always try to go to the local markets to see what new edible items I can find. After a few magical days in Bora Bora and Moorea my last day in French Polynesia was Tahiti. I had encountered the "Marche Papeete' which is Papeete's...
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Pape'ete, French Polynesia
There are many accessible waterfalls on Tahiti that are perfect for a refreshing shower or swim after a hike or long car ride. If it is good enough for the locals..why not?