(KRON) — When we think about a dream vacation to the Islands of Tahiti, spots like Bora Bora and Moorea tend to quickly come to mind. But with more than 100 islands, the best-known spots aren’t the only ones you should consider.
There is not a bad choice when it comes to traveling in French Polynesia. Every island offers a unique experience. But as more folks begin to travel again, many are seeking out destinations where they can separate from the crowds.
Here’s a look at some French Polynesian Islands perfect for a vacationing spot:
Located nearly 400 miles south of Tahiti, French Polynesia’s Austral Islands are relatively unknown, and rarely visited, because getting there takes some extra work. Limited flight schedules can make logistics tricky, but there’s a new option for travelers with a sense adventure..
Cruising aboard a freighter ship that does double duty carrying passengers. The Aranui 5 offers 103 staterooms in addition to being able to transport 2500 tons of freight. This isn’t a luxury experience – there’s no bells and whistles like casinos or Broadway-esque shows. There’s a restaurant, a pool and a friendly Polynesian crew.
Our first stop this morning, the island of Rurutu – with 2,500 residents, it’s one of the five inhabited Austral Islands. Beautiful beaches know how to get your attention, but there’s much more to see here.
The island boasts towering limestone cliffs with caves. Ana”eo is one of the more easily accessible caves. After less than a 10-minute walk, this is what’s waiting. Lush ferns cover the ground and stalactites hang from above.
Rurutu is also home to a coffee cooperative. From drying and roasting, to grinding and hand packaging, you get a good sense of the care that goes into coffee production on the island.
The island of Rimatara is much smaller – you can walk across the entire island in about 30 minutes. Its population is just shy of nine-hundred people, and about 500 endangered Rimatara lorikeets. Even if you don’t consider yourself the bird watching type, their vivid coloring — they’re kind of like flying rainbows — makes them fun to spot in the treetops.
If you’re in the mood to simply relax, Virgin’s Beach is a beautiful spot to enjoy doing nothing. Right off the main road that circles the island, it’s one of those places, if you start your day here, you’ll probably end it here too because you won’t want to leave.
When most folks think about French Polynesia, it’s beaches and beautiful blue water that immediately come to mind. There’s no shortage of that in the Australs.
The last island I want to show you this morning is Raivavae. It’s sometimes referred to as the Bora Bora of the Australs. Think soft, white sand and warm water. Snorkelers will be very happy here and could easily spend all day in the water. Along with vibrant coral, there’s colorful fish.
A visit to the Austral Islands is definitely off the beaten path. It’s not for everyone but along with breathtaking landscapes, travelers that want to, will have opportunities to learn about French Polynesian culture that won’t be as readily available on some of the more highly visited islands.