7 issues to do in French Polynesia that do not contain romance or over-water bungalows

French Polynesia has been on my bucket checklist for years. I had desires of a romantic journey with my important different in an overwater bungalow, that includes couple’s massages every single day and spectacular sunsets each night. However that is not the way it performed out on my first journey to the South Pacific.

First, though there are methods to guide bungalows affordably utilizing factors, they’re nonetheless wildly costly. Second, I ended up in French Polynesia on a cruise (on Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze), so further lodging was not required. And, third, I discovered myself newly single simply a few weeks earlier than I set sail.

What’s a solo traveler to do in a vacation spot devoted to vow renewals and honeymoons? Listed below are seven actions to strive by yourself in French Polynesia that will not go away you feeling just like the odd one out.

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Take a motorcycle experience

Biking is an effective way to discover the islands of French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Should you’re lively and on the lookout for a approach to clear your head, blow off steam or just soak up beautiful views whereas working off final night time’s dessert, an e-bike experience is a good alternative. I booked a guided tour that took a bunch of eight folks on a 16-mile pedal to the Pineapple Valley and the Belvedere Lookout in Moorea.

Put on sturdy footwear, apply bug spray and sunscreen upfront and produce a bottle of water. Regardless of the help offered by the bike’s motor, components of the experience have been nonetheless strenuous.

Store for pearls

French Polynesia is understood for its black pearls. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

If there’s one must-have memento from a visit to French Polynesia, it is black pearls. Whether or not you purchase only one or an entire string, they’re great mementos of your time in Tahiti.

Even when jewellery is not your factor, it is nonetheless fascinating to study concerning the technique of pearl farming. A “surgeon” takes grafts from the oysters with the nicest pearls and provides them to different oysters, together with implants, to facilitate the pearl-making course of — which occurs when an irritant enters an oyster’s shell and is then coated with a pure, shiny coating as a way of protection.

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To be sure you’re shopping for actual pearls, store at precise pearl farms or jewellery shops, reasonably than market stalls. I had nice experiences with Robert Wan in Papeete (affiliated with the Pearl Museum), Anapaperles in Raiatea (reachable solely by boat) and Love Right here Pearls in Taha’a (which provides grafting and implantation demontrations).

Go to a vanilla plantation

Vanilla from a plantation in French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

If pearls do not do it for you, vanilla is one other French Polynesian specialty. In reality, this space of the world is the second-largest producer after Madagascar.

A go to to a vanilla plantation will mean you can see how vanilla is grown and harvested, how the seeds are eliminated and what they’re used for. You may even have an opportunity to purchase every little thing from vanilla powder, paste and extract to espresso, liquor and tub and physique merchandise.

Strive native meals

Native fruit in French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Guests have loads of native delicacies to strive on this area, from uncooked fish with coconut milk to pineapple and breadfruit. Should you do not guide a tour that features some form of meals cease or tasting, remember to enterprise out by yourself to an area restaurant to strive a little bit of genuine delicacies. My favourite, by far, is firi firi — deep-fried dough infused with coconut milk.

Should you don’t love eating alone or do not need to lay our a fortune to go to a restaurant by yourself, a number of unbiased avenue meals excursions — together with some that characteristic meals vans — are supplied in Papeete and Moorea. (Try tour supplier Viator for extra data.)

Go snorkeling

The water is ideal for snorkeling in Raiatea, French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

With so many beautiful reefs, coral and colourful fish, French Polynesia is replete with alternatives for snorkeling. Whether or not you deliver your personal gear and head to a close-by seashore or guide an organized tour, you will not be disenchanted by what you may see within the area’s teal waters.

If you do not have your personal gear or do not feel like packing it, examine in case your ship or lodge provides leases. (Snorkel gear was out there on my Star Breeze crusing.) Native operators usually provide gear if you guide a snorkel tour.

Chill on a motu

A motu close to Bora Bora in French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Motus are tiny, uninhabited islands, and French Polynesia is rife with them. Should you’re searching for essentially the most stress-free day ever, both head ashore when your ship provides motu visits or guide a personal journey to see one. You are virtually sure to have the ability to discover an uncrowded swath of sand the place you’ll be able to catch some solar or watch because it units.

On my crusing, the ship supplied two complimentary motu experiences — one with a barbecue lunch and one other with a seafood cookout for dinner. As an added bonus, you may normally discover dwell leisure, too.

Watch a hearth dance

A hearth dance on a motu close to Bora Bora in French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The folks of French Polynesia take pleasure in sharing their tradition with guests. Should you arrive on a cruise ship, count on performances by native Polynesians — usually together with drums, dancing and singing or chanting. You too can search them out by reserving a tour (see Viator for extra data) or by inquiring at native customer facilities on Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Moorea.

By far essentially the most spectacular performances are the hearth dances, the place males dance with hearth sticks that swirl by means of the night time air. Throughout a night on a motu close to Bora Bora, a bunch of gifted women and men carried out, and a very noteworthy 8-year-old boy did a hearth dance backed by a number of older dancers.

Backside line

A sundown in French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Sure, French Polynesia is likely one of the most romantic locations on Earth, however that does not imply there is not loads for single of us to do, too.

To my aid, not one of many actions I did on my go to made me really feel like I ought to have been there with a possible love curiosity. Should you’re considering a solo journey, a girlfriends’ getaway or perhaps a household trip to Tahiti, relaxation assured that you’re going to like it simply as a lot as all of these moon-eyed romantic vacationers.

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