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Fine white sand... crystal clear water... coconut trees... strong sun... and the temperature of the lagoon is simply divine ! This is what you came to the South Seas for. Huahine is blessed with several beautiful beaches to choose from: this one is easily accessible by car. No crowds guaranteed. Hardly resistible!
To really appreciate the unbelievable palette of blues & turquoises, and the expanse of the mighty Pacific beyond, you have to gain a little altitude! It makes all the difference. Both islands offer spectacular views over the lagoon, some have easy car access. This one is definitely off the beaten path... (it's an exclusive!)
Raiatea may have the largest (Taputapuatea), but Huahine is proud to hold the record for quantity: this little island has more 'marae' (archeological remains) than any other!! Maeva, at the foot of Moua Tapu, the sacred mountain, has a peculiar history - best served with some story telling! There's also a small museum that's interesting to visit: the "Fare Potee" (entrance fee is on me) Some marae, in the most beautiful settings, are not on the roadside... well worth the detour.
These ancient stone fish traps are one of Huahine's special features. When were they built? why these intriguing geometric shapes? how do they work ?... "they've always been here". These are not ruins, they are still used today by the inhabitants of the village of Maeva. All take part in maintenance, "harvest" the fish, and share it – a nice demonstration of community life !
Another Huahine special… Everybody wants to see the blue-eyed eels! They live in a river in the village of Faie. These eels are not captive, they just seem to enjoy being fed and played with, so they're always there. It's easily accessible and you're sure to see them!
This exceptional vanilla is ranked among the best in the world! Visit a family owned plantation, understand the work and patience involved, and in season see how the flowers are "married" (pollinated:). Everything here is done manually. Your (light weight) gifts or souvenirs directly from the producers.
Your reward is worth the effort, and every drop of sweat... it'll take your breath away! I offer 3 options from 2x20min to 2x1h easy uphill walk. Choose what's best for you. Ideally followed by a well-deserved dip in the lagoon > select beaches!
Visit in the morning! Life here starts early, by 5am the harvest of the day (fruit and veggies) and catch of the night (super fresh fish) are sold on the little roadside market. People from all over Huahine gather here to sell, buy, deal with official paperwork, meet and exchange island gossip. This is a perfect opportunity to meet the population in a slice of typical local life. Banks with tellers, supermarket, a few boutiques, and 'live music' on Friday mornings.
Huahine has the greatest concentration of archeological remains in Polynesia... and that's only one of its best kept secrets! These intriguing structures made of volcanic or coral rocks are found all around the island... Many haven't been restored, hidden in dense vegetation, and these can sometimes be the most interesting to see. Of course they're best served with some story telling... Some have car access, others require a bit of walking - you choose!
A treasure of nature: this amazing gem is made by an oyster! If you haven't already seen a pearl farm on another island, this is your chance: visit the only pearl farm on Huahine and find out how the famous black pearl is born, and raised. Jewelry workshop & original pottery boutique. The short canoe ride to and from is free of charge.
2x30min pleasant shaded walk will get you to this secluded beach in a fabulous bay... no road access here. You'll feel adventurous walking through a safe jungle of huge trees, vines, flowers, bamboo and giant ferns... there are no dangerous animals on land here. This awesome beach is a great place to have lunch (picnic). Walk, swim, snorkel?, explore: plan 2 hours for this off the beaten path experience - you won't regret it !
Learn how to prepare this delicious dish with super fresh fish... we'll make it together and you can participate as much, or little, as you want. While the "uru" (breadfruit) is on the fire, we'll extract the milk from the coconut, 'cook' without heat, see which are the best veggies to add. Plus of course, enjoy the tasting! You'll be leaving with a recipe note I prepared, including a few personal tips from 10 years of preparing the "poisson cru" in my Polynesian restaurant in Switzerland!
The whole island of Huahine IS a tropical garden! Nature provides for everything: food, drink, medicine, shelter, clothes, decoration, perfume, massage oil… Flowers are always part of the picture, they grow everywhere, among edibles. You'll see the 'nahe toe toe' (giant fern), Huahine's green emblem: it played its part in the history of the "rebel island". I'll tell you a little more along the road... You can also take a private visit of a garden, meet its caretaker, and taste seasonal goodies.
Here's another Huahine specialty: the fringing reef, accessible by car. A little detour taking you right on it, to understand island formation and enjoy big waves. A whole different ecosystem and atmosphere await here. And if you do want to give those legs a little exercise, after the long hours sitting on the plane, the ship, the car... this is a wonderful place to do so. You may meet the occasional fisherman, otherwise this wild beach is all yours!
Most of us don't know much about seashells… Meet Franck, passionate collector, in his quaint museum – one of a kind in Polynesia! He is an inexhaustible source of information and his display is impressive. Also black pearl jewelry workshop. Free entrance. Specially recommended on a rainy day!
With the help of a local friend and expert, learn how to make your own "niau" hat (cocopalm). It'll keep you protected from the strong sun and less sweaty than the baseball cap thanks to natural ventilation. This hat will dry and last forever: a great (light weight) souvenir to take back home. You may even enjoy wearing it while working in your garden... sure to impress your neighbors :-)
Created by an alchemist with endless imagination… Christian, his Rosie and his beloved still have found an excellent way to value the harvests of our small producers of Huahine. Local artisanal production in good-looking bottles make for a great souvenir or gift, to take home some island goodness. Free tasting included – enjoy without moderation - you're not driving!!
Meet Melanie, and visit her charming local style studio. People, landscapes and typical island life scenes… with talent and poetry Melanie lays the beauties of Huahine and her vision of the South Seas on canvas. Her work tends to travel far, you'll find her paintings on cruise ships and on the other side of the planet. A recommended visit.
The underwater world is amazing... the colors and shapes of fish and coral are simply magic ! If you're not a diver, but can swim and would like to see what's under the surface in the lagoon - easy, safe, no challenge - BRING YOUR GEAR and I'll take you to the best spots ! (I don't have all sizes, and you won't find any on the island)
Huahine is proud to perpetuate this delicious Polynesian tradition! "Chez Tara" is the place to be for lunch: arrive by 11am to see the opening, and come with an empty stomach!! Preparing the oven is a family affair, many hands are needed and it all starts on Saturday: wood & leaves are gathered, palm baskets are woven, doughs are raised, … The all-you-can-eat buffet is a festival of island flavors & the small band playing offers a perfect immersion into typical life. > not for vegetarians.
I'll take you for a walk through this beautiful tropical forest (15min or 1h, your choice) for an out of the ordinary experience. This is one of my favorites on the island! I call it "the enchanted forest"… It's on the base of Moua Tapu, the sacred mountain, and hides countless 'marae': in fact this whole forest is considered sacred. The walk is easy, shaded, and safe: we have no dangerous animals on land here – unique on the green planet. A spectacular view awaits from one of the top marae!
Let me know! If it's doable, we'll make it happen. With my local friends. And I'd be happy to recommend someone else if it's out of my range (like diving or serious hiking).