The mountain side of French Polynesia

©TMCKenna/Tahiti Tourisme
©TMCKenna/Tahiti Tourisme

For a moment, let’s forget about the beach and the ocean and look towards a little known, yet stunning universe : the mountain side of Polynesia. Indeed, the sparkling green inside the islands can compete with the turquoise blue of the lagoons… Just step into a path and you will immediatly feel the serenity and the beauty around you.

The « high islands » (moutainous) with their deep valleys, peaks and ragged bays show the volcanic origins of French Polynesia. They reveal beautiful waterfalls, peaceful rivers, lush forest with a rich fauna and flora.

Nature lovers will be able to discover more than 1000 plant species such as hundred-years old trees like mape (a local chesnut tree), banyan trees with their giant roots, huge ferns, tamanu but also large variety of dazzling tropical flowers. This is a bird watching paradise where you can observe rare endemic species like the « Monarque de Tahiti ». The forests are full of archeological sites, treasures from the past which are always surprising the visitors.

Thanks to the variety of our islands everyone can be pleased, depending on your age, your tastes and your physical fitness you will choose between an easy path through a garden, a long hike or a horse-back ride… Here is a not exhaustive list of some hikes, walks, paths in the main islands:

©P.Bacchet/Tahiti Tourisme
©P.Bacchet/Tahiti Tourisme

Tahiti: Some tracks like the Jardin d’Eau (Garden of water) of Vaipahi or the Botanical garden in Papeari are easily accessible for the whole family . Hikers will prefer the famous Aorai Mount (2066 metres) or the Te Pari on the extreme peninsula of Tahiti.
Moorea: The Belvédère (accessible by a road) offers a spectacular panoramic view on the 2 bays, the Col of the 3 Coconut trees is a well known hike too.
Huahine: You will enjoy a magical view on the lagoon from the Tapu. A lot of other tracks can be taken by walk, bike or horse back.
Raiatea:To name only a few of them, you can try the Faaora valley and its river, archeological site in the Fareatai valley and of course the Temahani Mount, the only place in the world where you can find the endemic and fragile tiare apetahi.
Tahaa: The path crossing the island provides a great walk between green and blue landscapes, with aerial views on the bays.
Bora Bora: Explore a secret side of Bora Bora with the Valley of the Kings, through a lush vegetation you will discover archeological sites (maraea) and learn more about the ancient times culture.

©P.Bacchet/Tahiti Tourisme
©P.Bacchet/Tahiti Tourisme

In the Marquesas Islands see the breathtaking landscapes by walk, horse-back or 4WD: the impressive Hakaui waterfalls in Nuku Hiva, The archeological valler of Taaoa in Hiva Oa, Meiaute in Ua Huka (easy access), and the Valley of the Kings in Ua Pou or the hike between Hakahau and Hakahetau.

Every year, many treks (raid races) attract passionated runners in a wonderful playground surrounded by majestic scenery: Raid Painapo in Moorea, Raid Vanira in Taha’a, Raid of Tahiti, Raid in the Marquesas.

You can freely follow some paths on your own, but it is highly recommended to get the services of a professional guide who will ensure safety and share his precious knowledge, an excellent opportunity to know the islands from the inside