French Polynesia is a country of a thousand natural beauties. The lagoons with their changing colors are impressive and the sunsets set the horizon on the ocean. Some beaches in French Polynesia are among the most beautiful in the world. It is true that the water activities attract attention. French Polynesia is also very famous for its scuba diving. However, Tahiti and her islands can also be discovered from the inside, when the topography becomes deeper and more vertical. A real playground for adventure is offered to you. Hiking in French Polynesia is a must-do activity during your trip. Let’s discover together the best excursions to do on your own or with a guide.
1. The Faraura Valley in Tahiti: The Kingdom of Waterfalls
Tahiti is a huge mountainous island, crossed by numerous wild and luxuriant valleys. Water is an omnipresent natural element on the island, rivers and especially waterfalls. The Queen Island of French Polynesia is indeed covered with them, reinforcing an already impressive visual. When it rains, new waterfalls appear and then fade away. Hiking in French Polynesia has an initiatory character, in any case it breathes adventure and change of scenery.
The most incredible waterfall is at the bottom of the Faraura valley. From the east coast of the main island of Tahiti, a path of several miles takes you back in time to a river. On the way, several waterfalls offer pleasant pools of water to enjoy an impromptu swim. After a first third relatively easy, the progression in the jungle becomes more difficult, more abrupt. The efforts will be amply rewarded: at the end of the hike, a waterfall of 180 m rises in front of you.
Hiking in French Polynesia is an enjoyable and rewarding activity. On Tahiti, it becomes a life experience in its own right and should not be missed during your visit. For your excursions, we highly recommend the certified guides of Aito Rando.
2. The Pineapple Road: The Fantastic Lookout
Located only a few miles away, Moorea is Tahiti’s sister island. Both modern and easily accessible, its northern side offers exceptional panoramas of the intriguing coastline. It is from the immense Opunohu Bay that the beautiful hike to the Belvedere begins.
The excursion offers beautiful moments of discovery. You will cross the fields of exotic fruits, mainly pineapple plantations. This will be an opportunity to stop at the Agricultural High School to discover the best fruit preparations. On your way, you will also see the remains of an ancient Polynesian temple, the Titiroa marae. A beautiful initiation to the cultural places in French Polynesia. The fairly quiet walk continues to the famous Belvedere. You have arrived at your destination.
The Belvedere is an extraordinary viewpoint on the gigantic Mount Rotui and Cook and Opunohu bays. This sensational panorama combines all the possible colors for an unforgettable visual. The Pineapple Road is a must for all hiking lovers.
3. Mount Teurafaatiu in Maupiti: The Panorama of the End of the World
Maupiti, the last Leeward island, is an intimate and privileged destination. There are so few inhabitants and visitors that calm and harmony reign on this small paradise at the end of the world. The small size of the island makes it easy and quick for anyone to walk around. This tranquility is due in part to the absence of traffic. The high island of Maupiti is dominated by Mount Teuraffatiu, which we invite you to climb.
Quite easy at first, the hike then becomes quite physical, especially on the last sections. The topography becomes very vertical very quickly, and it will sometimes be necessary to help yourself with hands and ropes to continue the ascent. It is therefore preferable not to do this hike with young children or if you are prone to vertigo.
Once at the top, the immensity of the Pacific Ocean offers itself to you in a 360° perspective. The moment lends itself to contemplation, in all serenity. In the distance, the neighboring island of Bora Bora appears. Get ready to live a unique moment for an unforgettable memory.
4. The 3 Waterfalls in Raiatea: The Intimacy of the Sacred Island
True cradle of Polynesian civilization and land of legends, Raiatea is the Sacred Island of extended Polynesia. You will encounter many mysteries and surprises. In the presence of a wild and preserved nature, you will discover the soul of Raiatea by going inland. Among the many hiking trails on the island, the one leading to the 3 waterfalls is a must.
The experience is very immersive, as the trail goes through dense and lush vegetation. Even if it is possible to undertake this hike alone, it is nevertheless strongly advised to use the services of a certified guide, at least to have the authorization to cross the private lands on your way. Gradually, you will be won over by an incredible feeling of intimacy, in the middle of the jungle, in the middle of nowhere.
You will discover several waterfalls and beautiful pools of water where you can enjoy a swim. The third waterfall is an apotheosis with a unique place of beauty. The hike of the 3 waterfalls is a must-do activity during your stay in Raiatea.
5. Mount Pohue Rahi in Huahine: A Peaceful and Wild Trail
Huahine is not what you would call a tourist destination, yet its lagoon is as amazing as its wild vegetation. Although the distances are quite long, the topography is less steep and the hiking trails are accessible to anyone in good condition, including children. Go to Huahine Iti, the southern part of the island, to climb Mount Pohue Rahi.
This ancient volcano is over 450 meters high and offers several panoramic views of the lagoon and other surrounding mountains along the way. If it is accessible to most people, the trail narrows on its last segment, and therefore requires some caution. The hesitant ones can always stop at the Belvedere to enjoy the already beautiful landscape. They will also appreciate the preserved nature and the typical flora of the islands.
The ascent of Mount Pohue Rahi is a nice hike to do with the family. On the way back down, you will immediately enjoy a swim at Parea beach. The hike has never seemed so peaceful and perfect.
Some Tips for Hiking in French Polynesia
Hiking in French Polynesia is generally accessible to anyone in good physical condition. However, it is necessary to consider the inherent risks of the activity.
First of all, never go hiking if it rained the day before or if the weather forecast is for showers during the day. The terrain will become muddy and slippery. Secondly, we advise you to stay on the marked trails and, unless you are an expert hiker, do not venture anywhere. Above all, do not continue your walk if you are not sure which way to go. If in doubt, use the services of a certified guide or carry a tracking system.
In terms of preparation, plan for sufficient water reserves. The heat is often stifling and you must be careful not to become dehydrated. To limit the discomfort caused by the high temperatures, it is preferable to start the hike very early in the morning. Bring good walking shoes and a head covering. If you feel a little hungry, take along some snacks: dried fruit, energy bars, sandwiches.
Regarding the local fauna, there are no dangerous animals. However, be careful with stray dogs that you may meet along the way. There are no dangerous animals, but there are pests: mosquitoes. It is essential to carry a powerful mosquito repellent, otherwise your journey will become a real ordeal. Never leave home without it!
Discover Hiking in French Polynesia
French Polynesia still has many hiking trails, and it is up to you to discover them. Some mountain excursions are very demanding; others are more accessible and suitable for all levels. In any case, remember that there are many activities to do in French Polynesia.
The important thing for you is to choose your itinerary carefully so that the experience will be up to your expectations. Start planning your trip to Tahiti and her islands and contact us to find out what your options are.