Best French Polynesian islands every traveler must visit at least once

French Polynesia is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. It is a group of 118 islands located in the South Pacific Ocean, all spreading across over 2,000 kilometers. Belonging to France, the overseas territory is known for its turquoise waters and sandy beaches that attract millions of travelers every year. 67 islands in the region are inhabited, each offering a unique cultural heritage with breathtaking landscapes and shimmering blue waters.

Whether you are looking to explore tattoo lore of the region, hit the world-famous surf turfs, go scuba diving with sharks, or simply lay on the beach working on your tan, there are plenty of locations in the overseas territory to scratch your travel itch. If you love to travel, read on to know which French Polynesian islands you must visit at least once in your lifetime.


Rangiroa is one of the largest atolls in the world. The island is known for its breathtaking dive and snorkeling spots that attract thousands of visitors annually. Its lagoons are brimming with passes and reefs, where you can easily spot big fish such as dolphins, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and so on. It is about 355 km northeast of Tahiti, so you can take a detour as well. Most of the hotels and lodging here are near the tiny airport. You can also stay in the oceanfront villas and overwater bungalows as well.


Mo’orea is part of French Polynesia’s Society Islands archipelago and is known for its jagged, towering volcanic mountains and sandy beaches. To the north, Mount Rotui overlooks picturesque Ōpūnohu Bay and cute hamlets around Cook’s Bay; and inland, the hiking trails winding through rainforest on the slopes of Mount Tohivea offer breathtaking views. There are plenty of amazing snorkeling and adventurous water activities for you to enjoy.


Tahiti is the largest of the French Polynesia islands and is one of the most popular of the lot. Shaped like a figure-8, the island is divided into two parts: Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti. The island is famous for its black sand beaches, lagoons, waterfalls, lush jungles, 2 extinct volcanoes, and gourmet French Polynesian cuisine. It is a beautiful vacation destination that was explored by Captain James Cook in the 18th century. With overwater bungalows and pleasant weather, Tahiti is also one of the most romantic honeymoon spots in the world.

Bora Bora

The small island of Bora Bora is located northwest of Tahiti. It is surrounded by sand-fringed islets and a turquoise lagoon sheltered by a coral reef. A perfect spot for romantic, secluded holiday, Bora Bora is famous for its scuba diving. It is also a well-liked luxury resort destination with bungalows perched over the water on poles. It is a bucket-list destination for many travelers who wish to enjoy its iconic volcanic views, beautiful blue waters, luxurious white sand beaches and so on.

Nuku Hiva

The largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, Nuku Hiva is considered one of the remotest locations on the planet. Featuring a rugged wooded terrain with Mount Tekao towering over it, the island has no coastal plain or fringing coral reef, and yet is a popular travel destination in the region. You can observe the rich Polynesian culture here and foray into lush forests to hike to thundering inland waterfalls. The island is home to some of the most talented artists known for their traditional wares including jewelry and tattoo carvings.