10 days in French Polynesia Itinerary

Visiting French Polynesia is a dream destination for many. Bora Bora is the highlight for many, with the dreamy overwater bungalows. But French Polynesia has 118 islands to choose from, do it can be challenging to narrow down the options and pick the best islands to visit. If you’ve never visited before, we recommend choosing a few and spending a few days on each. You could easily spend 2 weeks traveling around all the beautiful islands, but here is a sample 10 days in French Polynesia itinerary, which is the exact itinerary we used when we visited French Polynesia.

It can be easy to want to jam a lot into your visit, and see a lot of islands, but with the travel between the islands, travel time does take time out of the day. So we recommend that you have a couple days at each island. Besides Moorea, which has a ferry from Tahiti, all other islands will need a flight to visit.

How to Get to French Polynesia

Unless you’re taking a cruise, all international passengers will arrive at Papeete International Airport, on the island of Tahiti. Several different airlines fly to French Polynesia from major interational cities: Paris, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Honolulu, Tokyo, Auckland, Rarotonga.

Which French Polynesian islands to visit?

With 118 islands in the French Polynesia, this can be a tricky question. If you’re only visiting for 10 days, 3 or 4 islands is probably the max. If you have longer to explore, you can add more islands. The French Polynesian islands fall into 5 different groups of islands, the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Islands, the Marquesas Islands, the Austral Islands, and the Gambier Islands. Tahiti is a part of the Society Islands, the most-common visited islands, along with Moorea, Bora Bora, and Huahine.

French Polynesia itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tahiti

Tahiti is where the international airport is, so no matter where you’re traveling from, you’ll have to make a stop in Tahiti. Depending on what time you’re arriving, you’ll want to spend the night in Tahiti. You’ll have to come back to Tahiti at the end of your trip for your flight back home, so you can decide if you want to spend more time exploring Tahiti when you first arrive or on the back end,

Our flight arrived in the evening, so we went straight to our accommodation and then the next day to start exploring the island. We recommend spending at least a full day In Tahiti. We spent the morning going to the local cafe, where you can find delicious croissants and pastries, then we headed out to the Papeete market, where you can find a variety of goodies, including fruit, vegetables, fish, pareos, jewelry, handicraft and art. Give yourself plenty of time, as it’s a big market. While Tahiti isn’t known for their gorgeous beaches, like the rest of the French Polynesian islands, there is still plenty to see and do in Tahiti.

Things to do in Tahiti:

  • Visit the Papeete market
  • See the Fa’aurami waterfalls
  • visiti the black sand beach
  • catch a wave at Teahupo’o, the infamous surf break

Where to stay in Tahiti:

There are plenty of accommodations available for all budgets. There are a lot of “fare”, which means typical Tahitian house, which are like guesthouses.

We stayed in 2 different accommodations in Tahiti. When we arrived, we stayed at a great little homestay nearby the airport, which had wifi, parking, and a cute little garden. And the owner even picked us up at the airport and dropped us at the ferry terminal. We choose to stay at the Hilton Hotel Tahiti on our way back. The Hilton is a newer hotel and is right on the water, has a great pool, restaurant, and bar. It’s also across the street from a giant shopping center.

Some other great options that we almost booked for ourselves:

La Tahiti by Pearl Resorts: located right near the black sand beach. The resort has an infinity pool, a spa and a health club

Tamanu Lodge: A budget-friendly guesthouse in a good location, the rooms have air-conditioning and wifi.

Days 2-5: Moorea

Moorea is only a 30 minute ferry ride from Tahiti, so it’s easy to get to. As you arrive on the ferry, you are welcomed with lush mountains right on the water. Moorea is a beautiful island! It has a good balance between luxury and overwater bungalows, mixed with adventure. We recommend renting a car to travel around Moorea, so you can explore the island on your own. We rented our car through Albert Transport and it worked out great! If you’re feeling adventurous, Moorea is the island for you! There is plenty of adventuring to be done on this island.

Things to do in Moorea

  • Scuba dive or snorkel
  • drive up to Belvedere lookout
  • ride an ATV
  • Snorkel with the stingrays and the sharks
  • hike Mount Tohivea

If you’re visiting Moorea from July to November, we highly recommend booking the swim with humpback whales tour. It is truly an unforgettable experience! Watch our video to check our more about swimming with the whales

Where to stay in Moorea:

Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort: located on a white sandy beach, Sofitel has a great view of Tahiti. Sofitel has luxury overwater bungalows, or garden-view bungalows. The resort also has a swimming pool and 2 restaurants.

Linareva Moorea Beach Resort: great little studio, nestled between the mountains and the ocean. Rooms include a kitchen, air-conditioning, and private terrace. Can swim with the fish and black-tip sharks right from the beach. We loved the location of Linareva, as it was quiet and serene, but right on the water.

Tema’e Beach House: if you’re looking for a great homestay with views of the mountain for a great price, Team’s Beach House is perfect! The rooms have a kitchen and free wifi. In a great spot to get to the beach.

Read this for a more detailed accommodations in Mo’orea

Days 5-7 Bora Bora

We took the ferry back from Moorea to Tahiti, and then caught a flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora. We couldn’t not go all the way to French Polynesia and not experience Bora Bora. And while we thought it was going to be too overpriced and too touristy, we loved it! We stayed in an overwater bungalow, because why not?

There’s more to do in Bora Bora than you think. And the food was actually delicious, and the food in Bora Bora was not as expensive as we thought!

Things to do in Bora Bora

  • Diving or snorkeling
  • Climb Mount Pahia
  • Explore Matira beach
  • Lagoon tour

Where to stay in Bora Bora

Bora Bora is known for their overwater bungalows and there are a bunch to choose from! But there are also some budget-friendly accommodations on the island if you’re wanting to visit Bora Bora without breaking the bank. Bora Bora is unique in that, there is the main island and then there is a motu around it. Most of the overwater bungalows are on the motu, meaning if you want to explore the main island, you have to take a boat in.

Luxury Resorts in Bora Bora

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora: located on the motu, these luxurious overwater bungalows have views of Mount Otemanu. This resort features infinity pool, a tennis court and free guided snorkeling tours of the lagoon sanctuary.

Intercontinental Le Moana: one of the only overwater bungalows in Bora Bora to be located on the main island. This overwater bungalow is a great option if you’re trying to save some money but still want the luxury views. They have a sister hotel, Intercontinental Thalasso, that guests can take the shuttle boat (for a fee) to visit, and use the facilities.

If you want to see what it’s like in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora, check out our full video here

Budget Accommodations in Bora Bora

Matira House: An affordable homestay located 2 minutes from the best beach on Bora Bora, Matira Beach. Basic rooms, but great for an alternative to the high-priced

Days 7-10 Huahine

From Bora Bora we flew to Huahine. This is the island we knew the least amount before visiting, and the one we loved the most! Huahine is such a relaxed vibe and less busy than the other main islands. We spent 3 days, but wished we had more! Huahine means “pregnant lady” in Tahitian, and the name comes from the silhouette of the mountains. Huahine is made up of 2 islands- Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti, with a bridge to connect the two. Huahine is easy to get around the island. You can rent a car to explore more or you can use a bike to get around.

Things to do in Huahine

  • Take a lagoon tour with Huahine Nautique
  • Visit the sacred blue-eyed eels
  • Watch sunset from Huahine Yacht Club
  • Eat at the best burger place ever (and yes, the burgers are amazing!) – Izzy’s

Where to stay in Huahine

Maitai Lapita Village Huahine: Located in the heart of the town, Fare, with a beautiful white sandy beach nearby.

Hotel La Mahana: beachfront, 3-star accommodation, that has a restaurant, bar, private beach area, and free wifi.

Days 10-11 Back to Tahiti

And to wrap it all up, we flew back to Tahiti to prepare for our flight home. We only stayed 2 nights in Tahiti, one on each side, so didn’t explore as much as Tahiti as we probably should have. Next time we’ll plan to explore more, but if you’re visiting French Polynesia for the beaches and the underwater life, than the other islands deserve more time.

For our first time to French Polynesia, we felt like 10 days in French Polynesia was enough time to get a feel for a few different islands. There are so many French Polynesian islands to explore, we could really spend a lot more time! The next we go back, well probably do 2 weeks in French Polynesia, as it gives us a little more time to explore. The islands are all beautiful, we can’t get enough of them!

We hope you found this French Polynesia itinerary helpful! If you’re planning a trip to French Polynesia, check out these articles:

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