Activities & Excursions:
As elsewhere in the South Pacific, scuba diving is the most popular sport among visitors. The best coral and marine life viewing by far is available in the Tuamotus and serious divers won’t go wrong by choosing Rangiroa, the shark- viewing capital of Polynesia. In the warm waters of Polynesia wetsuits are not required.
There’s good surfing around Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, and Raiatea. The summer swells are the same ones that hit Hawaii three or four days earlier and the reef breaks off the north shore of Moorea work better than Tahiti’s beach breaks. The most powerful, hollow waves are in winter.
Excellent, easily accessible hiking areas exist on Tahiti, Moorea, and Nuku Hiva. Horseback riding is readily available on Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, and in the Marquesas with the Huahine and Raiatea operations especially recommended. The Society Islands are a sailor’s paradise with numerous protected anchorage and excellent sailing weather.
Activities for children:
Dolphins encounter in Moorea @ the Intercontinental Moorea Resort
Turtles sanctuary in Bora Bora @ the Meridien Bora Bora Hotel
The big event of the year is the two-week-long Heiva i Tahiti, which runs from the end of June to Bastille Day (14 July). Formerly known as La Fête du Juillet or the Tiurai Festival, the Heiva originated in 1882. Today contestants and participants from all over the territory travel to Tahiti to take part in elaborate processions, competitive dancing and singing, feasting, and partying. There are bicycle, car, horse, and outrigger canoe races, petanque, archery, and javelin throwing contests, fire walking, sidewalk bazaars, arts and crafts exhibitions, tattooing, games, and joyous carnivals.
Bastille Day itself, which marks the fall of the Bastille in Paris on 14 July 1789 at the height of the French Revolution, features a military parade in the capital. You’ll see historical reenactments at Marae Arahurahu, a canoe race along the Papeete waterfront, horse racing at the Pirae track, and traditional dance competitions.