Travellers Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites present in contaminated food or water. In temperate climates the cause is usually viral, but in the tropics bacteria or parasites are more usual. If you develop diarrhoea, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, preferably an oral rehydration solution (eg Diarolyte, Gastrolyte, Replyte). A few loose stools don't require treatment, but if you start having more than four or five stools a day, you should start taking an antibiotic (usually a...

The Motu

Places listed here offer plenty of remote and tropical tranquillity, but you'll need to arrange a trip to the mainland to visit a shop of any kind. Pension PoeIti ( 745876 maupitiexpress mail.pf bungalows 7000 CFP (S)) The swankiest place on the island is also the best value. The brand-new bungalows are very spacious and come with TVs, DVD players and fridges. On a small strip of beach on Motu Tuanai, it offers blue-green lagoon vistas amid rows of swaying palms. Airport transfers, kayaks and...

Akamaru Temoe

Akamaru was the first island to be visited by Laval and his 1841 Eglise Notre-Dame-de- la-Paix (Our Lady of Peace Church) still stands on the utterly deserted island. Occasional groups come over from Mangareva to maintain the church or to pick oranges in season. The remote island of Temoe, 50km southeast of Akamaru, has a marae with some Marquesan features, leading to theories that Marquesans may have paused here en route to Easter Island. Temoe was populated until 1838, when the missionaries...

Dive Sites

Tahiti is often overlooked by the been-there-done-that crowd, but it offers some truly excellent diving, with about 20 lagoon and ocean sites between Arue and Paea, plus the odd wreck. You could easily spend three days of diving here to do them justice. Should you need to brush up your skills, the Aquarium is a good start. Off Faa'a airport's runway, this site is a feast for the eyes, with multihued tropicals flitting among coral boulders scattered on a sandy floor in less than 10m. There are...

Menu Decoder

Casse-cro te chevrettes crevettes chow mein sa-shee-mee stek freet tar-tair doo tonn Je voudrais L'addition, s'il vous plait. Merci, le repas tait excellent. sheesh kebab of beef heart, beef or fish thinly sliced sashimi quality raw tuna with a sprinkling of olive oil, salt and pepper and capers sandwich on a French-style baguette fresh-water shrimp fresh-water prawns Chinese wheat noodles with carrot, cabbage, Chinese greens and chicken macaroni, red beans, rice vermicelli, Chinese greens and...

Availability Cost Of Health Care

French Polynesia has doctors in private practice, and standard hospital and laboratory facilities with consultants in the major specialities - internal medicine, obstetrics gynaecology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, paediatrics, pathology, psychiatry and general surgery. Private dentists, opticians and pharmacies are also available. French Polynesia has good military medical facilities but the private sector is so well developed that civilians will not normally have access to these. The outer...

Dangers Annoyances

French Polynesia is not a particularly dangerous or annoying destination, which is all the more reason to go there. Although it's rarely a problem for travellers, French Polynesian men like their beer, particularly at festivals and feasts. There are two points to remember some French Polynesians are not good drunks and most of them are probably bigger than you. The locally grown marijuana, known as pakalolo, is very prevalent, but while locals will often offer to share a joint with you, they'll...

Maeva

Prior to European influence, Maeva was the seat of royal power on the island and marae can still be found along the shoreline, scattered among the modern buildings of the village and also up the slopes of Matai-rea (Pleasant Wind) Hill. Excavations and restoration of the site commenced in 1923 nearly 30 marae have since been located, more than half of which have been restored. The exceptional density of marae on the hillside has led to a theory that it was entirely inhabited by nobility and the...

Bora Bora

Blue Lagoon 29 D5 Bora Bora Lagoon Resort 30 C5 Bora Bora Lagoonarium 31 E6 Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa 32 C6 Resort 33 B3 Chez Nono 34 A6 Chez Robert & Tina 35 B6 Club Med 37 D6 Eden Beach 38 F5 Hotel Matira 40 A5 Le Paradis 44 C2 Pension Anau 46 E6 Sofitel Marara 48 B5 Sofitel Motu 49 D7 Village Pauline 51 D6 Ben's Place 54 A5 Bloody Mary's 55 D6 Bora Kaina Hut (see 51) Chez Richard 56 A2 Restaurant 57 A5 Le Cocotier 58 A1 Le Panda d'Or 59 A1 Matira Terrace (see 39) Noa Noa (see 41)...

West Coast

There are a few fine places to stay dotted along the west coast. Topdive Bora Bora ( 60 50 50 www.topdive.com garden over-water bungalows 41,000 50,000 CFP (El 6)) Travellers rave about the friendly, personalised service at this small resort catering especially to divers. Amid lush communal areas, the standout bungalows feature cathedral ceilings, palm-thatched roofs and marble floors. There's no beach, but the lagoon-facing swimming pool is fabulous enough to compensate for any lack of sand....

THE H El VA

The Heiva is the high point in the celebration of Maohi culture. Each year for a month, late June to late July, islanders from all the archipelagos join together for a full programme of festivities in Pape'ete and on some of the other islands. The emphasis is on traditional dance contests and singing competitions, but there are numerous other activities on offer. Other features of the Heiva include demonstrations of niait-making (woven coconut-palm leaves), tifaifai-making (appliqu ) and...

Huahine

The (marginally) smaller island has several ideally situated places as well as the most beautiful beaches and widest lagoon. If you're fixing your own food, however, shops are limited and there's no public transport to speak of. Ariiura Camping Ecologie (s 52 26 32 camp sites 1500 CFP, bungalows 4500 CFP) Backpackers give this place great reviews for its location, price and tranquillity. In a jungle-like setting right on the beach, and near prime surfing spots, you can either pitch a tent or...

Glossary

Ahu - altar in a marae in themorae of French Polynesia the ahu was generally a pyramid shape aito - ironwood tree anuhe - fern ari'i - high chief of the ancient Polynesian aristocracy ario'i - priest caste or religious society of the pre-European Society Islands Assembl e de Polyn sie Fran aise - Assembly of French Polynesia atoll - type of low island created by coral rising above sea level as an island gradually sinks postcard atolls consist of a chain of small islands and reef enclosing a...

Orientation

Ra'iatea is vaguely triangular in shape. A sealed road hugs the coast all the way around the island. Pointe kilom trique (PK) distances start in LTturoa near the gendarmerie (police station) and then run south to Faatemu Bay. The mountainous interior of the island includes the 800m-high Teme-hani Plateau and Mt Tefatua (1017m). The main range runs north to south for most of the length of the island, and the smaller ranges in the south are separated by a valley through which a road runs from...

Tahiti

Tahiti's name is so synonymous with paradise that many visitors feel duped upon stepping off the plane and not finding themselves immediately immersed in that postcard-perfect vision of blue lagoons and palm-fringed beaches. But even though the disparity between the alluring hype and dusty reality of Tahiti can feel disappointing, don't dismiss this place upon first glance. The largest and most industrialised of the French Polynesian islands is more than just an international arrival point it's...

Restaurants Cafs

MAHAREPA & COOK'S BAY Restaurant TeHonu Iti (Map pi l 561984 mains 1600-3500 CFP) The terrace of this place sits over the water, and at night the water is lit up so you can watch rays and fish pottering about below you - so much entertainment you could almost neglect the stylish food. It's in a lovely building that at night glows like a Christmas tree. Le P cheur (Map pi 16 56 36 12 mains 2000-4000 CFP) A seafood and steak house on the mountain side of the road. Splurge on the giant...

Water Activities

Fare has a pretty, sandy beach just north of the town. The wide, super-clear lagoon here drops off quickly, providing some truly great snorkelling amid stunning coral, and dense fish populations. On the east coast, near the visitor car park at the now defunct Sofitel, you'll find La Cit de Corail, which offers more superb snorkelling among coral pinnacles and rich marine life only a few metres offshore. Motu Topati, at the en- Fare Reef break (Year-round) The left here attracts the big names of...

Jellyfish

The notorious box jellyfish (seawasp) has not been recorded in these waters, but the blue-coloured Indo-Pacific 'Man o' War' is found in all waters. If you see these floating in the water or stranded on the beach it is wiser not to go in. The sting is very painful. Treatment involves ice packs and vinegar do not use alcohol. Smaller cubo-medusae are abundant and are found particularly on still, overcast days. They usually produce only uncomfortably irritating stings but rarely can cause...

Marae Vaiahu

Northwest of the main quay you'll find an area known as Tefarerii (House of the Kings), once home to the island's nobility. Marae Vaiahu, Maupiti's most important marae, is a large coastal site covered with flagstones, featuring a fish box. Made of four coral blocks set edgewise in the form of a rectangle, with a fifth serving as a lid, the box was used for ceremonial purposes to ensure successful fishing. Four fish kings were represented on the sides of the box. Traditionally the marae guards...

The Culture

If French Polynesia had a national slogan it might be haere mant (take it slow), words that often fall from the lips of Tahitians to their busy French and Chinese cohabitants. It's hard not to take it slow in the islands. With one road encircling the main island of Tahiti, it's easy to get caught driving behind an old pickup truck at 40km h with no chance of passing national holidays seem to close up the shops and banks once every week or so and getting served in a restaurant can take an...

Faatemu Bay to Marae Taputapuatea

The road splits at the coast near Faatemu Bay. Turn left and follow the bottom half of the figure-eight circuit around the coast in an anticlockwise direction. Near the village of Puohine the road runs on the embankments, which cut off shallow ponds used for farming oysters and mussels. If the lighting's right, it can make for an interesting picture. There's a long stretch of tar past the village where the steep green mountain sides are streaked with waterfalls during the wetter months of the...

Haapiti to Afareaitu

Tarariki Village (Map p114 55 21 05 fax 55 21 06 pensiontarariki mail.pf dm d per person 2000 2500 CFP, bungalow 5500-7500 CFP) The friendly, family atmosphere in a quiet, green location and the nautical Polynesian architecture make this the kind of place where you quickly lose track of the days. There are miniature cabins with two beds and a bathroom (cold water only), spartan dorms and a Robinson Crusoe-style thatched bungalow perched in a tree. In the middle of the property is a superb fare...

Types Of Dance

They are seldom performed on their own but instead are integrated into a programme where each is performed in turn. It's important to note that the tamure, a term of recent origin, refers to the popularised, hip-jiggling form of Tahitian dance that has absolutely no traditional cultural basis. Impressive and highly physical, the otea is what comes to mind for most people when they think of Tahitian dance the accompanying music is provided entirely by percussion...

Hauru Point

Unlike Cook's Bay, Hauru Point has a beach it's pleasant, although rather narrow and can sometimes feel crowded. FareVaiMoana (Mapp117 j fax561714 garden beach bungalows 14,000 18,000 CFP) This decent option, on the same beach as Camping Chez Nelson, has 13 very comfortable bungalows with refrigerator, mezzanine and bathroom with hot water each accommodates up to four people. The restaurant overlooks the water and has a good reputation. Credit cards are accepted. Moorea Village Hotel (Map pi 17...

Main Dishes

Open-sea fish (tuna, bonito, wahoo, swordfish and mahi mahi) and lagoon fish (parrotfish, jack and squirrrelfish) feature prominently in traditional cuisine. Poisson cru, raw fish in coconut milk, is the most popular local dish, though fish is also served grilled, fried or poached. Lobster and chevrette (freshwater shrimp), often served in curry, are highly prized but limited in supply. Salmon and trout generally come from Australia or New Zealand, and prawns may be imported or farmed locally....

Cooks Bay to Hauru Point

Pension Motu Iti (Map p114 55 05 20 fax 55 05 21 www.pensionmotuiti.com dm 1700 CFP, garden beach bungalows 11,000 12,000 CFP (S) ) The dorms here are the airiest and most pleasant on all of Mo'orea. Rooms are great value, especially the waterfront ones with views of sunrise and sunset. Fare Oa Oa (Map p114 56 25 17 www.fareoaoa .com in French dm s d 2500 3500 4500 CFP) A charming, eccentric place on the mountain side of the road. There's not much privacy, but there are as much character and...

Dive Centres

Dive centres are open year-round, most of them every day. All are land-based and many of them are attached to a hotel. They typically offer two to four dives a day. It's a good idea to book at least a day in advance. They offer a whole range of services and products, such as introductory dives (for children aged eight years and over, and adults), night dives, exploratory dives and certification programmes. Major international certifying agencies are represented, including CMAS, PADI and SSI....

Tahaa

Little known by tourist operators and accessible only by boat, Taha'a is quieter than Ra'iatea and even more beautiful. Resembling from afar a lush, impenetrable green jungle surrounded by a sparkling lagoon, a closer inspection reveals verdant velvet hills home to exotic fruit, forests of bamboo and palm, steep hiking paths, and sweetly scented vanilla plantations. The atmosphere is chilled-out to the max, but don't let the island's low-key attitude fool you - Taha'a also boasts one pretty...

History

The idyllic, isolated islands of Polynesia were among the last places on earth to be settled by humans and, a thousand or so years later, were also some of the last places to be colonised by Europeans. No-one really knows why early peoples migrated here or even where they came from. The modern belief is that Polynesian voyages originated from the Philippines or Indonesia, perhaps spurred by territorial disputes or overpopulation. Whatever the reason, ancient Polynesians packed up their...

Alcoholic Drinks

The local brand of pia beer , Hinano, is sold everywhere and is available in glass 500mL bottles, 330mL and 500mL cans, and on tap. It is a fairly light, very drinkable beer. Foreign beers, notably Heineken, are also available. Allow at least 350 CFP for a beer in a bar or restaurant. TAHITI amp FRENCH POLYNESIA'S TOP FIVE Coco's Restaurant p103 Tahiti Nui. The finest French cuisine, with a view of Mo'orea. Snack Tavania pill Tahiti Iti. It's worth the effort to find this local-style place,...

Fare Around

The quayside roulottes are Huahine's best bargain for cheap eats. They operate from early morning until late at night. Fish, chicken, burgers, steaks and chips are the order of the day, and a meal typically costs around 800 to 1500 CFP. If you're preparing your own meals, fruit, vegetables and fish are available from the impromptu quayside marketplace. Fare has several well-stocked food shops, including Super Fare Nui S Mon-Sat, morning Sun , opposite the waterfront, and Taahitini S Mon-Sat,...

Fish Poisoning

Ciguatera is a form of poisoning that affects otherwise safe and edible fish unpredictably. Poisoning is characterised by stomach upsets, itching, faintness, slow pulse and bizarre inverted sensations, eg cold feeling hot and vice versa. Ciguatera has been reported in many carnivorous reef fish, especially barracuda but also red snapper, Spanish mackerel and moray eels in French Polynesia it is quite frequent in the smaller reef fish. There is no safe test to determine whether a fish is...

Index

4WD tours Bora Bora 163 Mo'orea 121 Tahiti Nui 108 accommodation 15, see also individual locations camping 245-6 hostels 245-6 hotels 246 pensions 246 resorts 15,246-7 activities 247-8, see also individual activities Afareaitu 118 Agokono 243 agriculture 134 Ahe196 AIDS 270 airtravel,iff also helicopter services air passes 262-3 airline offices 257 airports 257 domestic air routes 261 to from French Polynesia 257-60 within French Polynesia 260-3 Akamaru 244 alcohol 68-9 Ana Aeo Cave 234 Anaa...

Opunohu Bay PK to PK

Magnificent Opunohu Bay feels wonderfully fresh and isolated. The coastal road rounds Mt Rotui, and at about PK14 turns inland along the eastern side of Opunohu Bay. There is less development along here than around Cook's Bay, and it's one of the more tranquil and eye-catching spots on the island. Most of the Polynesian scenes in the 1984 movie Bounty were shot on Opunohu Bay. Alio Chez I I' gt C 111-III I c Sin Ui-1,1.11 1.1nt I o Non vi mux .Vit gt ride gt .V i ,i',im Hi'-iny Restaurant Te...

Clothing Decoration

Hats, bags and mats of woven pandanus are among the best examples of a true local craft. The best work is said to come from the Australs. Tapa is a traditional nonwoven fabric made from the bark of uru, banyan or paper mulberry trees. Fabric from Europe is gradually superseding tapa, but it is still made on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas and can be bought in Pape'ete. Tifaifai are large, brilliantly coloured patchwork cloths, usually decorated with stylised flower or fruit designs. Produced on a...