Taha'a ~ The Vanilla Island
(Society Islands)

Located between Huahine and Bora Bora, the twin islands of Raiatea and Tahaa share a common lagoon. A narrow 1.8 mile channel separates the two islands however the airport (40-minutes from Tahiti) is on Raiatea so even if Tahaa is your ultimate destination, you will likely stop first on Raiatea. Though their names are often invoked in the same breath, Raiatea and Tahaa are two distinctly different islands. Tahaa is known as the "vanilla island." Nearly three-quarters of French Polynesia's vanilla production comes from here. If you are able to visit when the vanilla is being harvested, you will find the air to be scented with the rich heady fragrance of these wonderful beans...

TahaaThough Tahaa is bereft of beaches on the main island, there are simply superb beaches on the motus surrounding the outlying reef. If you are lucky enough to stay at one of the hotels on the motus, you will find the lagoon to be one of the most beautiful around. Home to a wide variety of reef fish and plant life, Tahaa provides excellent scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities, attracting schools of eel, perch, triggerfish, red snapper, silver jacks, tuna, red runners as well as an assortment of sharks (all very friendly of course)! Thanks to the area's relatively low population (4,470), the waters abound with fish allowing fishing enthusiasts to take advantage of these conditions by chartering a fishing boat for a half or full day. Cast your line and catch jackfish, mahi mahi, marlin, sailfish and tuna. Many locals swear that the best way to see Tahaa is by sailboat. Cruise around Tahaa and her sister island Raiatea or set an open course for neighboring isles such as Bora Bora or Huahine. Rent a boat and sail to white-sand paradises like Motu Nao Nao, Opeha Point and Motu Tehutu. Explore the Haamene and Hurepiti Bays -- these two narrow and fjord like passages cut deep into the Tahaa landscape are easily accessible by foot. Both bays offer stunning panoramic vistas. Cyclists will find the almost non-existant island traffic of Tahaa to be the perfect environment for cycling around the island.

Sightseeing in this part of French Polynesia is almost like visiting two separate worlds. Soak up the small town ambiance and rugged terrain of Tahaa, and then take in the sites around relatively cosmopolitan Raiatea. It is this curious contrast that makes sightseeing in Raiatea and Tahaa so memorable.

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