The jaw-dropping beauty of the South Pacific has long held a siren’s call for travelers. Clear, turquoise waters set against brilliant white sands and lush green jungles.
Beautiful weather, and friendly locals.
It’s not surprising that this drop-dead gorgeous region is also a favorite with honeymooners.
And while many people spend their entire vacations lounging on a beach chair, the ports of the South Pacific have so much more to offer, including the following great excursions:
Anyone could explore Papeete, the capital of the French Polynesian on foot. But you’re not like everyone else. So instead of hoofing it, tour Papeete aboard a Segway. You’ll be able to cover much more ground than you would on foot, and you’re also likely to have more fun.
You can choose a shorter tour of the waterfront or a longer ride that will take you to some of Papeete’s most popular attractions, including the bustling Papeete Market, the Presidential palace, and the lovely Notre Dame Cathedral. Some tours will also take you past the impressive Banyan tree in which the painter Gauguin used to sit, while sipping on absinthe. Compared to touring on a bus, a Segway ride is a much more intimate way to view the city.
Do you have an adventurous soul? Then this jeep ride through the interior of the island may be perfect for you. While the roads are typically heavily rutted, the views you’ll get to enjoy of soaring mountains, lush jungles and waterfalls are worth the bumpy ride.
Plus your guide will share with you the interesting history and the myths of Tahiti as you explore this stunning backcountry. Remember to bring a bathing suit so that you can enjoy a swim in a natural pool.
Papeete Tour by Little Train.
Traveling with little ones? Then touring Papeete aboard this whimsical little train may be your best option. And if your children see it, it will probably be your only option.
Besides, the one-hour length of this tour is just about the right amount of time to keep your little one’s interest. Points of interest that you and your family members will see while on this train ride include such sites as the Chinese temple of Kanti and the Tahua Autonomy Gardens.
Shark and Stingray Snorkel Adventure.
Vacations are for setting aside your fears and taking advantage of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that you may never get to experience again — like swimming with sharks and stingrays.
On this little adventure, you’ll get a chance to swim alongside lemon and black-tip reef sharks as well as colorful tropical fish. Your guide will even feed the sharks while you’re in the water — or if you’d prefer, you can view the action from the safety of the boat. This safari also includes a stop at a shallow bay where hungry stingrays are waiting patiently for you to feed them.
Cultural 4WD Tour and Feast.
There are many tourists out there. Tourists are the ones who breeze quickly through attractions, checking them off a mental bucket list. Travelers, on the other hand, love learning about the destinations they are visiting. If you happen to fall into the latter category, you’ll want to soak in the history of Bora Bora and also learn about its culture.
This 4WD excursion will take you around this small — 11-square-mile — island so that you can get an appreciation of its beauty and also learn about its history. This little jaunt also includes a Polynesian feast where you can taste dishes that have been cooked in a traditional underground oven.
Glass Bottom Boat.
Perhaps, you don’t know how to swim, or maybe you’re just not a fan of getting wet. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy watching the gorgeous and colorful tropical fish that live in the crystal clear waters around Bora Bora. Glass bottom boats give non-snorkelers a chance to see a wide variety of sea life, including stingrays and sharks. These boats are also an excellent option for individuals with limited mobility.
Neiafu, Vava’u Group
Anyone who loves driving go-karts or exploring off-road will enjoy this tour where you can drive your own vehicle on a guided tour of Vava’u. It’s a fun way to check out this beautiful island and to explore areas that you may not otherwise get to see.
Swim with the Whales.
Yes, you read that right. In Vava’u, you can actually swim up close and personal to huge humpback whales and — if you’re lucky — you might even get to hear them sing. From July to October, a large number of whales can be found in the waters around Vava’u, as it is the main breeding grounds for humpbacks in Tonga.
With the help of a licensed operator, you’ll be taken to an area where you can enter the water and snorkel close to these creatures — many of them mothers with young calves. Because there aren’t many places left on this planet where you can legally swim with whales, this is a truly unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
See our featured South Pacific sailings >>