Huahine … even the way the name rolls off your tongue conjures up images of a serene, romantic Tahitian island where the gentle blip of warm waves caressing your skin is the only sound on a stretch of impossibly white, icing-sugar-soft sand beach. If you’ve never been to Huahine – or indeed never heard of it – I’m sorry to say you are truly missing out.
It’s not one of the more visited islands in Tahiti – possibly because you won’t find the large resorts here. That means you also will often only have to share the beach with one or two other people. The roads are quiet and you may encounter another person on a hike … or you may not. Life here moves at a slower pace. Nobody is in a hurry – maybe because everyone takes the time to enjoy the sheer beauty of this island.
Actually the word “beauty” seems rather inadequate. It’s as if Huahine was created after trial runs with all the other islands. The shades of blue in the lagoon and the lush greens of the palm trees and foliage lining the roads run the scale of the most extensive artist’s palette. The sweet scent of frangipanis, vanilla or coconut will tickle your senses and you’ll find yourself slowing your pace and soaking up the serenity that surrounds you in this idyllic paradise.
Aside from lazing on the beaches, you can explore the historic archeological ruins where ceremonies were conducted and sacrifices were made. You can get a hands-on appreciation for these sites as they blend seamlessly with the Huahine scenery - they’re not behind ropes or cordoned off for people to see from a distance. Instead you can touch them, stand upon the ancient platforms and really get a sense of the history at play here.
Snorkelling and diving are popular here as are visits to purchase the beautiful pearls from the local farms. There’s a small archeological museum and a brewery making liquors and l’eau de vie (fruit spirit) from tropical fruit grown on Huahine.
Several cruise lines call into Huahine as part of their itinerary including Paul Gauguin and Wind Spirit. It’s usually either the first or last stop as it’s located midway between Papeete and Bora Bora. Either way, it’s a beautiful spot to unwind as you start your cruise and it’s perfect for a last day soaking up Tahiti’s beauty if it’s your final stop.
Image credit Philippe Bacchet