An Introduction to French Polynesia

 

Around 4000 BC, a great migration began from south-east Asia across open- ocean to settle the Pacific Islands. Many researchers conclude that Tonga and Samoa were settled around 1300 BC and from here colonization voyages were launched to the Marquesas Islands in about 200 BC. Over the next several centuries, great migrations to colonize all the Tahitian islands and virtually the entire South Pacific took place.

 

This area of the Pacific Ocean is now called the “Polynesian Triangle” and includes Hawaii to the north, Easter Island to the south-east and New Zealand to the south-west. As a result of these migrations, the native Hawaiians and the Maoris of New Zealand all originate from common ancestors and speak a similar language collectively known as Maohi.

 

Tahiti covers over two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean and is comprised of 118 islands spread over five great archipelagos.

 

Many islands are crowned with jagged peaks while others appear to barely float above the breaking waves. Spread over an area as large as Western Europe, the total land mass of all the islands adds up to an area only slightly larger than the tiny state of Rhode Island.

 

The three archipelagos most sought by visitors are the Society Islands, comprised of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha'a; The Tuamotu Atolls or "Tahiti's Strand of Pearls", include the atolls of Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau, and Fakarava; and the Marquesas, or "The Mysterious Islands."

 

The two other archipelagos, the Austral Islands and the Gambier Islands, lie to the south and the southeast, respectively, of the Society Islands. While very few travelers venture to these remote islands, those that do are not disappointed by the pristine environment.

 

Around all the islands of Tahiti, dramatic views continue below the water. Divers and snorkelers are amazed by the density of large marine life. Regular encounters include manta rays whose gigantic wingspan eclipses the passing diver; schools of dolphin dancing along the surf; sharks seemingly at every turn; and, in the Austral Islands, humpback whales thrill the lucky spectators in their annual parade.

 

These stunning islands offer a fantastic array of delights that visitors will always remember – be one those fortunate people and book today.

 


 

 

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