Huahine Highlights, French Polynesia

Huahine French Polynesia: Our TOP 3 Highlights & Attractions

Less than one hour flight from Tahiti is Huahine, a wild paradise with watermelon and coconut plantations rise from the jungle. Huahine bears the name “the untouched” or “the authentic.” Although Huahine is the third largest of the Society Islands, it is one of the least populated and most pristine islands in the archipelago. This is also reflected in the number of tourists you will meet here only sporadically. With only eight small villages spread over the two islands Huahine Nui in the north and Huahine Iti in the south, which are connected by a hundred meter long bridge, Huahine seems manageable. Far away from the hustle and bustle of Tahiti, the small island center of Fare gives the impression that time has stood still.

Fakarava Highlights, French Polynesia
Huahine has the most beautiful circular road of all islands

In this article I take you to the unspoiled island of Huahine, which belongs to French Polynesia. Besides my TOP 3 highlights that you can experience on Huahine, I tell you where you can best stay and how to get to Huahine. A lot more sights, accommodation tips and info about Huahine but also the French Polynesia archipelago can be found in our 599-page French Polynesia travel guide.

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Stay overnight on Huahine

The supply of accommodation on the island of Huahine has been severely limited since the financial crisis of 2008. On most other islands of French Polynesia, the effects are hardly noticeable anymore, but on Huahine they are still present. Before the financial crisis, there were a few luxury hotels on Huahine, including the five-star luxury resort Sofitel Heiva, which exuded pure South Seas feeling with beautiful overwater bungalows on the most beautiful spot on the island. When during the financial crisis in 2008 hardly more tourists traveled to French Polynesia, the hotel in American hands was simply abandoned from one day to the next. Also like the island of Maupiti, the inhabitants of Huahine Island do not want any new luxury accommodations on the island since then, so the property has not been resold until today.

Huahine therefore has next to Maupiti the fewest luxury accommodations of the inhabited Society Islands, which gives Huahine Island its special flair. Except for the Maitai Lapita Village Huahine* and the Hotel Le Mahana*, you will only find authentic private accommodations of locals on the island. On Huahine you can really immerse yourself in Polynesian life.

More fabulous accommodations on Huahine:

Huhaine: places of interest and our tips

The island of Huahine is the right place to not only check off the famous sights and beaches – of which there are only a handful anyway, but to simply switch off and let yourself drift. Huahine is that too! In the following I will tell you my personal highlights and therefore the most beautiful sights on Huahine for me. On the map you will find my TOP 3 highlights on Huahine and the locations of the accommodations.

1. Huahine things to do: Lost Place Sofitel Heiva

One of the most beautiful beaches of the island and the ideal postcard motif you will find at the abandoned Sofitel Heiva Hotel, in the northeast of the island just a few meters next to the Jardin de Corail, the most beautiful snorkeling spot of Huahine.

The abandoned Sotifel Heiva Hotel is one of the most beautiful Lost Places (that means abandoned places) in French Polynesia, if not in the whole South Seas! The former four-star hotel was built at the most beautiful place on the island for us with beautiful overwater bungalows and exudes the pure South Seas feeling, coupled with a touch of goosebumps.

Huahine Highlights, French Polynesia
Lost Place Sofitel Heiva

You wonder why such an enchanting place is just left overnight? When during the financial crisis in 2008 hardly any tourists traveled to French Polynesia, the hotel in American hands was simply abandoned from one day to the next. Also like the island of Maupiti, the inhabitants of the island of Huahine do not want any new luxury accommodations on the island since then, so that the property has not been sold again until today and the hotel has not been rebuilt either. There are all sorts of rumors circulating online about what is planned for the property, but so far none of this has materialized.

Over time, the overwater bungalows have been completely demolished down to the supporting posts, and most of the rooms have been cleared out by locals. If you want to know what the hotel once looked like, all you have to do is search for it on Google. In fact, even today there are numerous websites that still have the hotel in their portfolio.

To get to the hotel, turn left at the end of Maeva after the bridge and drive to the end of the road. You can park your car a few meters in front of the barrier.

On the beach itself you can have a picnic, fly your drone or simply enjoy the mystical paradisiacal atmosphere. The best place for snorkeling is the adjacent coral garden.

2. Huahine ightseeing: Huahine Pearl Farm & Pottery

The Huahine Pearl Farm & Pottery is the only pearl farm on Huahine. The starting point to the pearl farm is a jetty on the east of the main island, Faie Marina. The pearl farm is located in the bay just before Faie village, between Huahine Island, Motu Mahare and Motu Vavaratea. A small boat takes you free of charge to the pearl farm built on stilts in the lagoon. Already the boat ride is an experience, as this corner of Huahine is simply indescribably beautiful.

Once you arrive at the pearl farm, you will be greeted in a friendly manner. Afterwards, if you are interested, you will be told about the cultivation of the black South Sea pearls. You will learn how the nucleus is planted in the pearl oyster and how the pearl is formed later. In addition, you can buy pearls here, either individually or already as a finished piece of jewelry.

Huahine Highlights, French Polynesia
The pearl farm on Huahine is the main attraction for tourists on Huahine.

It is one of the most famous pearl farms in French Polynesia. On site you will notice very quickly that the pearl farm is strongly focused on the sale of pearls and jewelry to tourists, the actual pearl production and the explanation of this quickly moves into the background. Even though I think that the pearl farm of Huahine is worth a visit despite being a tourist attraction, just because of the breathtaking scenery, you will find more authentic pearl farms for example on Raiatea or Fakarava.

3. Huahine sightseeing: Visit a vanilla plantation

The vanilla plantation of Huahine is one of the most authentic vanilla plantations you will find on the islands of Tahiti. At the vanilla plantation of Huahine you have the unique opportunity to learn everything about the special Tahitian vanilla, which is the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron.

By the way, vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world not only because of its uniqueness, but mainly because of its complex production. Unlike “normal” vanilla, the pods of Tahitian vanilla ripen completely on the vine for 9 months and are then dried in the sun for at least 4 hours a day for 4 months. In the last month, the pods are additionally massaged daily. The high price results from this higher production effort and a low total production quantity. At the same time, however, Tahitian vanilla requires only half the quantities found in common recipes.

If you would like to learn more about Tahitian vanilla, please refer to my own chapter on Tahitian vanilla in our French Polynesia travel guide. There I explain everything I know about the cultivation and harvesting of the famous vanilla.

Huahine Highlights, French Polynesia
A vanilla plantation is the perfect place to get to know how vanilla grows

In addition to a free guided tour of the vanilla plantation, if you are interested, you will also be told some exciting things about the coconuts in French Polynesia.

The vanilla plantation is located near the shell museum. You can easily reach it by rental car.

How to get to Huahine?

Huahine can be easily reached by plane with the airline Air Tahiti. Air Tahiti flies to Huahine several times a week from Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea and Bora Bora. The flight time from Papeete is about 40 minutes and from Bora Bora about 25 minutes.

Arrival to Huahine is via the small airport Aéroport de Huahine (IATA HUH), which is located just a few meters north of the center. In addition, like all the islands of French Polynesia, Huahine can also be reached during a sailing trip of several days and now also by ferry Vaeara’i.

You’ve been to Tikehau before, how did you like it?

Which places have enchanted you here? Do you have any insider tips or maybe a question about the journey or our accommodations? Write it in the comments! We are curious!

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Tahiti travel guide for your dream vacation in French Polynesia

Are you still looking for a great travel guide? Then we have great news for you! More than two years and countless hours have passed since we started what is probably the biggest project of our lives: Our own travel guide to the island paradise of French Polynesia.

And now the time has come and it is official: Our French Polynesia travel guide with more than 500 pages, 599 pages to be exact, has been published. After more than two years of writing this book more or less every day, it is hard for us to believe that we have actually managed to complete this project and create a travel guide about the island paradise of French Polynesia that not only tells you everything you want to know about the islands of Tahiti on 599 pages, but also gives you the feeling that you are already there. Our French Polynesia travel guide should not only facilitate your planning to the island paradise, but also be a support on the spot.

In addition to numerous informative and exciting chapters, the travel guide contains individual island guides to a total of 9 islands of French Polynesia from two island groups. Lots of heart tips included!

Why we wrote an entire guidebook with an incredible 599 pages?

Because we noticed during our travel preparations that there is simply far too little useful information about this beautiful spot on earth. Most travel guides only scratch the surface, a pure French Polynesia travel guide, which has an answer to all questions, did not exist in our opinion – but the islands have so much to offer! And that’s exactly what we wanted to change!

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