French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, comprises more than 100 islands in the South Pacific, stretching for more than 2,000km.
Divided into the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society, and Tuamotu archipelagos, they're known for their coral-fringed lagoons and over-the-water bungalow hotels.
Island features include white- and black-sand beaches, mountains, rugged backcountry, and towering waterfalls.
In the early 1970s, around the time I was born, the Marquesas Islands, with Nuku Hiva at its center, were uninhabited.
The population of Tuamotu depended on neighboring islands for food and only went ashore to hunt when there was no wind.
Much of the island was still forested, and there were no motor vehicles or telephones. The aim was to preserve the island's natural habitat, so all fishing and hunting were banned, and children were taught to read, write and play musical instruments.
Revered by the Polynesians as a spiritual center, it took several generations for its population to build strong ties with Westerners, such as an American Baptist missionary.
In 1502, the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman visited the Marquesas Islands. Between 1767 and 1853, Tahitians led the first systematic voyages to Easter Island, Rapa Nui, which stands at over 1,000 meters, and Tonga.
A notable figure in French Polynesia is Napoleon Bonaparte, exiled to the archipelago for four years, from 1808 until 1815, and later awarded the Légion d'honneur.
The country's capital city is the capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, named for the French emperor.
Where to stay The Joubran-designed Huahine Fusion Resort, located on Huahine's picturesque south shore, feels like a character in a Bob Ross painting: wood beams, banana trees, and driftwood furniture.
French Polynesia is a collection of more than 100 islands, coral reefs, and atolls, split into five administrative regions:
Austral Islands, Gambier Islands, Society Islands, Society Marquesas, and the Tuamotu Archipelago.
French Polynesia Covering 2,342,320 square kilometers in the southwest Pacific, French Polynesia is made up of more than 100 islands stretching more than 2,000km in a west-to-east line.
The large islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora are known as the "Land of the Rising Sun," but also have the nickname "The Paradise Island." Most of the French Polynesians are made up of coral reefs.
History of French Polynesia French Polynesia is thought to have been settled by the first Polynesians about 4,000 years ago.
The climate in French Polynesia
Year-round temperatures range from mild to scorching and rarely fall below 20°C. Lifestyle in French Polynesia Adventure travelers looking for an authentic experience can trek through the jungle, visit a historic slave village or take a dip in a blackwater lagoon.
Boaters can meander through turquoise waterways, while surfers can battle the big swells in the open ocean. Stay here Beachfront resorts make up the majority of the lodgings, with a range of villas, apartments, and boutique hotels.
Holiday villages can provide a home-away-from-home for independent travelers, while natural and cultural activities are also on offer, from hiking to blackwater rafting.
Top spots to stay Réunion, a mountainous archipelago northwest of Madagascar, is popular with cruise ships.
Culture and traditions in French Polynesia
1 /6 The image of a Polynesian family having lunch or tea on the beach is still considered sacred.
Image credit: © French Polynesia Tourism Office Indo-Pacific Islands A hot, steamy open-air market with numerous stalls selling produce grown on the islands, it is only there that locals serve up their food – anything from local fruit to fruits picked from trees in their own gardens.
Bordered by pristine reefs, the islands have long been the breeding grounds for shark species like the grey nurse shark. Image credit: © French Polynesia Tourism Office Oceania.
The largest of the Society Islands, it's the closest to the US, but it's also where most of French Polynesia's tourists go.
As you can see, choosing a travel destination for couples can be tough.
Whether you're looking to honeymoon in New Zealand, France, or everywhere in between, these destinations will help you figure out what to do while you're there.
Happy traveling! " In honor of Valentine's Day, we're giving you three reasons to take a travel opportunity that has nothing to do with romantic love and everything to do with creating a memorable moment with your partner.
It doesn't have to be exotic or a world-class destination, though, if that's not your style.
We're not suggesting you ditch tradition altogether, but explore an exotic destination—and plan a romantic getaway—with the entire family.