Privacy comes naturally in the islands of French Polynesia but its yacht charter appeal is found in each isle's individual style. Encompassing five main island groups, it is safe to say a French Polynesia yacht rental offers a great opportunity for adventure and exploration. With idyllic coves, historic sites and emerald-green trees visible at every turn, you'll find an abundance of remarkable and unforgettable experiences to embark on during your time here.
From Tahiti and Bora Bora to the mysterious Marquesas islands, guests can come here for lazy beach days, abundant marine life, beautifully wild landscapes and unforgettable sunsets and discover how nowhere else in the world epitomizes paradise quite like French Polynesia.
French Polynesia Booking Guide:
Stretching over more than 2,000km in the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia is about halfway between South America and Australia. Divided into the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu archipelagos, the region is home to several tropical lagoons and some of the best diving sites in the world.
The laid-back ambiance of this beautiful archipelago is tangible, enveloping visitors in the warm geniality of each breathtaking island. Whether you're looking for wild experiences, memorable adventures or a totally relaxed vacation, French Polynesia has a whole host of magical locations for you to explore and experience on your yacht charter. To make it a little bit easier, we have compiled a list of some of the best places to visit across the 5 remarkable archipelagos:
The Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Tetiaroa, Raiatea, Taha'a, Huahine, Maupiti)
Best for: Swimming with whales, incredible experiences, world-class diving, blue lagoons, coral reefs, delectable cuisine, picture-perfect landscapes, kayaking
The Marquesas Islands (Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa)
Best for: History and Culture, local artisan markets, authentic island vibes, black and white sand beaches, dramatic scenery
The Tuamotus Islands (Tikehau, Fakarava, Rangiroa)
Best for: Wonderful marine life, dolphin spotting, scuba diving, tropical fish, shark swimming, beautiful scenery
The Austral Islands (Îles Maria, Rimatara, Rūrutu, Tupua'i Island proper and Ra'ivāvae)
Best for: Adventure and exploration, souvenir shopping, secluded caves, picturesque landscapes and wild waterfalls.
The Gambier Archipelago (Mangareva, Akamaru, Aukena, Taravai)
Best for: Incredible and unique experiences, remarkable history and culture, outstanding monuments, white sand beaches and towering rocky peaks.
A French Polynesia yacht charter vacation offers a mesmerizing selection of things to see and do. Here is our small selection of some of the most outstanding:
Tiki Takaii, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands: the ancient archaeological site of Mea'e Te l'Ipona is situated high above the Puama’u village, in the mountains of Hiva Oa and is home of the largest "tikis" (ancient, human-like religious stone sculptures) in French Polynesia.
Motu Tapu Lagoon, Bora Bora: once the private beach of the Queen of Tahiti in 1827, Motu Tapu lagoon is crystal clear and turns a vivid blue as the water gets deeper. Surrounded by stunning views, this bay creates a vision of an idyllic desert island escape.
Marae Taputapuatea, Raiatea: a newly-listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, this famous temple is one of the most renowned temples in French Polynesia. With hundreds of ancient temples spread across these islands, some of them still buried in the jungle, there are many for you to explore.
Mount Aorai, Tahiti: Aorai is the second highest peak in French Polynesia, after Orohena. Generating phenomenal views throughout the hike, this 9.5-mile walk is one to remember.
Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa: the most famous dive site in French Polynesia. This is a dive you can repeatedly perform, day after day, and still, be astonished by what you may see each time. From great hammerhead sharks to manta rays and turtles, there is a huge variety of wild and wonderful marine life found here.
French Polynesia's vast scattering of islands means there is something to suit everyone; from adventure and wildlife enthusiasts to beachgoers and sun worshippers. The region is also ideal for diving enthusiasts, notably in the Society Islands and the Tuamotus islands, which provide some of the most memorable diving sites across the globe.
Particularly idyllic and charming, it is no surprise French Polynesia is also a top destination when it comes to weddings and honeymoons. The islands are like paradise on earth and provide the perfect backdrop to any romantic event.
French Polynesia has an incredibly rich culture and historic background which can be seen and felt as soon as you visit the region. The first people to observe Tahiti and French Polynesia’s other isolated islands migrated from Southeast Asia roughly 4,000 years ago. Today, many residents are descendants of the brave sailors who navigated their way here on wooden canoes stitched with natural fibers.
Tahitians have a mindset that revolves around a philosophy known as aita pea pea, or ‘not to worry.’ Many Tahitian traditions and oral legends date back to their Maohi ancestors, including the bamboo huts built with pandanus roofs they still live in and the colorful pareus they still wear.
As well as its beautiful islands and swathes of beaches, French Polynesia is also renowned for its artistry which includes weaving, woodcarving and tattooing. Each sacred tradition tells a colorful story about Tahitian life, love, and their enduring relationship with nature.
Music and dance are also a huge part of their culture and each performance displays passion and vitality which was once linked to all aspects of island life.
If you’re unsure about whether you want to book a motor yacht, a sailing yacht or a luxury catamaran for your South Pacific getaway, there are a few things you should consider first.
Motor yacht charters are a fantastic way to explore all that French Polynesia has to offer, and with the extra power that you get from the high-throttled engines, you can cover much greater distances in a shorter amount of time, allowing you to get the maximum out of your private super yacht charter.
From large superyachts to sleek smaller models, and everything in between, there is sure to be something to suit your needs.
If it’s a more tranquil and peaceful experience you’re looking for, then perhaps a sailing yacht might be the best fit; allowing you to relax and rejuvenate whilst soaking in the impeccable views. The dry season between May and October is the optimum time for cruising across this gleaming archipelago. While there is no shortage of clear skies and warm sunshine throughout the year; there are more events and festivals, less humidity, and greater availability of cruise dates during these times.
Catamarans are also a prevalent choice in French Polynesia, offering more excellent stability, ample space and larger cabins, as well as being perfect for navigating the shallow waters and the famous picturesque lagoons that are found here.
There is a limited amount of vessels that are readily available in this region so if you are keen on renting a luxury yacht around these waters, we highly recommend you speak with a yacht charter broker who can advise you on which yachts will be available and when.
For convenience we have listed the average prices for motor yacht and sailing yacht charters in French Polynesia below;
Taxes and service fees are set at 5% of the gross charter rate, to be collected before each charter.
French Polynesia is a year-round cruising destination with temperatures ranging between 28 - 31 degrees. Although the most popular times to embark on a private superyacht vacation are usually during the peak summer months, there are many different elements to take into consideration before you go.
Tahiti and French Polynesia only have two seasons the wet season and the dry season. Between May and September is the most favorable for yacht charters as it is generally drier and the winds tend to be more predictable.
The best conditions for sailing can be found in the Iles sous le Vent (Leeward Islands) region which is home to prevailing winds coming from the east at a speed of between 15-20 knots and up to 25 knots.
Between November and April is the wet season with an average high temperature of 35 degrees and an average low of 29 degrees.
Most yacht charters begin in Tahiti, French Polynesia's largest island. Papeete, a port city on Tahiti, is the capital of French Polynesia and is a great starting point for those wanting to explore the surrounding islands.
Guests can embark on their superyacht at one of Tahiti's main Pacific hubs, Marina Taina or Papeete Port. Papeete is a city bustling with life, you will find that you are within walking distance of excellent dining and shopping facilities.
One of the largest urban centers in the South Pacific, Papatee itself is a gracious and elegant tropical city with tall palm trees and an abundance of flowers hugging the city. From here you can cruise to the nearby Mo'orea, Raiatea and the additional Society Islands.
Others may prefer to start their charter in the region of Raiatea on Thaiti island which is where another popular marina is located. You can fly to the international airport in Papeete and then catch a connecting flight to Raiatea (Uturoa Airport) with Air Tahiti.
Raiatea is the ideal location to begin your yacht charter venture thanks to its close proximity to Tahiti's sister island, Mo'orea. Only 17km away, this island explodes majestically out of the crystal clear ocean into vertical peaks and is surrounded by a wide, shallow lagoon. Home to two beautiful bays, Opunohu and Cook bay, you'll find that you will feel instantly relaxed and rejuvenated within the first 24 hours of your yacht charter experience. From here, head to Huahine, Taha'a and Bora Bora for more idyllic cruising.
For more advice please speak to your yacht charter broker who can help you create your perfect French Polynesia itinerary.
French Polynesia has some of the most scenic marinas in the South Pacific, boasting many fantastic amenities and facilities.
Tahiti, French Polynesia's main yachting hub, offers 3 marinas:
Marinas outside of Tahiti include:
Serene anchorages trickle all around the tropical islands of French Polynesia, giving way to labyrinthine coves and perfectly scalloped bays that provide a thrilling experience for yacht charter guests. With dozens of delightful anchorages to choose from, you'll have no problems finding the perfect place to settle whether you're wanting to soak up the warm sunshine or make the most of your yacht rental's water toy box.
Here is a collection of our recommended anchorages across this region:
ATMs are easy to find on Tahiti and near airports but more challenging on other islands so it is advised to plan your cash well.
Tipping is not expected or standard practice in the country. That said, you can certainly tip for good service and in those situations, 10% is the unspoken benchmark.
French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France, and French is the official language. However, Tahitian is widely spoken, particularly in the outer islands, as well as in other dialects. Not many people speak English outside of tourist establishments.
Avoid daytrippers around popular hotspots by arriving either first thing in the morning or late afternoon when they all head back to their resorts.
One of the best places to visit if you're looking for a luxury escape, Bora Bora is globally renowned to be one of the most romantic destinations on the planet. Scattered with opulent resorts and beautiful vistas, there is definitely something for the entire charter party to enjoy here. Check out the incredible Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora for some inspiration, they also have overwater bungalows with pools as well as decks, allowing you to both swim on your balcony and jump off of it.
If it's island life you're after Bora Bora has plenty of unique anchorages and bays that you can venture to during your time here.
Romantic, charming and elegant, Tahiti is a popular and idyllic charter location thanks to its naturally made lagoons and passes which teem with abundant marine life and coral-fringed reef. Not only this but the island is steeped in beauty, indulgence and adventure, the atolls of Tahiti are primed for those wanting to explore in perfect privacy and it is here that one can completely relax, kick back and enjoy deserted sandy beaches.
You can't deny the natural beauty of Mo'orea island. One of the best places for snorkeling and diving, the island is home to some of the most incredible marine life. Those on a yacht charter vacation will get to embark on the most incredible experiences here from deep sea diving to swimming with humpback whales. From the months of July to November, humpback whales visit the waters around this island and can be seen on a regular basis, sometimes even inside the lagoon.
Thanks to the island's crystal clear waters, the ocean around this region is home to some of the best snorkeling spots in the entire French Polynesia.
North of Tahiti, the mystical islands of Marquesas are some of the most remote, yet accessible, islands in the world. If you're looking for a truly authentic island experience, you'll be able to find it here. The islands are known locally as ‘The Land of Men’ and are famous for their traditional Polynesia tattoos and artistry. There are many local artisan markets in the main villages where you can find any unique and original gifts, from seed necklaces to carved bone earrings to giant wooden manta rays carved with traditional Polynesia designs.
The Marquesas is made up of two main islands: Nuku Hiva and Hiva Ova, both of which offer dramatic scenery and perfectly unique landscapes. Rich in history and culture, these islands are definitely worth visiting as they are simply unlike any other destination in the world.
With an abundance of opportunities for adventure and exploration, Huahine is one of the larger society islands. From archaeological sites, picture-perfect beaches and superb snorkel spots, this island is the perfect place to go for a unique charter vacation. Be sure to visit Aveva Bay for a refreshing swim and soak in the impeccable views from Panorama de Tefareii.
For yacht charters in French Polynesia, we strongly advise booking well in advance of your trip to ensure you get the perfect vessel for your chosen dates. We recommend booking at least 3 months ahead to give your broker the time to organize the ultimate charter experience.
If left too late, the selection of yachts at your disposal will be reduced. It is also useful to book early in order to secure a date when everyone in your charter party is available as the longer you leave it, the more challenging this will be.
Your yacht charter broker will also need plenty of time to craft a personalized itinerary and enough time to book ahead for the nights you wish to spend in the marinas. Advance booking will allow your broker the optimum time to organize everything down to the last detail to ensure your yacht charter runs seamlessly.
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