Huahine casts a spell over you from the moment you arrive. Only a 40-minute flight from the island of Tahiti, the enchanted Huahine, with its lush forests, untamed landscape and quaint villages can feel like the Garden of Eden. Huahine is one of The Islands of Tahiti’s best-kept secrets, a place where you can live like a local. A deep, crystal-clear lagoon surrounds the two islands that comprise Huahine, while magnificent bays and white sand beaches add drama to the experience.
Relatively unchanged by the modern world, Huahine Island offers the slower, more tranquil pace of old French Polynesia. With only eight small villages scattered across the island, the few residents welcome visitors with great kindness. Not surprisingly, this fertile world offers a rich soil providing the local farmers a bountiful harvest of vanilla, melons and bananas.
Also commonly referred to as the “secret island,” the “authentic island” and the “secluded island,” many charming adjectives come to mind when mentioning Huahine, and for obvious reasons. The island is a delicious cocktail of Polynesian sceneries and ambiance. Find natural beauty, experience intense encounters with the population, explore the infinite possibilities for adventure and relaxation, alike. Huahine is an island “to live,” an island “to feel.” The famous local singer and painter Bobby Holcomb has chosen this small piece of land where joy and smiles are always around.
Huahine is made up of two main islands that are surrounded by several motu. Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) lies to the north, Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south and Mārō’ē Bay resting between the two islands. A bridge between the islands connects the islands’ eight villages.
The village of Maeva, northeast of Fare, is located close to the largest of the two lagoons, called Fa’una Nui. The village is famous for its fish farming techniques that use V-shaped stone fish traps, an ancestral legacy that is still used today.
Maeva is also home to another French Polynesian cultural site: Marae of Maeva and The Fare Pōte’e Maeva Huahine. Spaces dedicated to social and religious ancient Polynesian ceremonial activities are known as Marae. The site protects the rich history of a marae with an adjacent educational museum set up under a fare pōte’e next door. A fare pōte’e is a house where local knowledge, sacred traditions and rituals were taught and used to exhibit objects and other remnants found during the various archeological digs, including paddles and axe blades, fish teeth, pendants, pestles and tattoo combs.
After learning about the history of the South Pacific, Society Islands and Polynesians, take advantage of the many things to do on Huahine. It’s easy to fill up your trip itinerary with adventure and sightseeing on Huahine. A hike to the summit of Mount Pohue Rahi leads you through a wilderness abundant with wildflowers and pine trees and, of course, stunning views from the summit. (Look closely to see Bora Bora off in the distance.) Take an unforgettable sunset beach horseback ride with your traveling companions. Savor the aromas of a Tahitian vanilla plantation tour. Ride through the lush vegetation on a 4×4 off-road tour.
One of Huahine’s most famous attractions can be seen from a bridge that crosses a stream in the village of Faie. From the bridge, you’ll be able to see the Sacred Blue Eyed Eels, deemed sacred by local mythology. The Polynesian long-finned freshwater eels have incredibly blue eyes that almost glow in the water and range in size from four to six feet in length. The eels are quite accustomed to being hand-fed mackerel from guides and tourists on a daily basis.
Water activities abound around Huahine island. The simplest thing is to savor the beautiful white sand Huahine beaches. The beach along Avea Bay near Hotel Le Mahana is a gorgeous stretch of white sand, lined with coconut palms on the southern tip of Huahine Iti. For surfers, the Fitii break on the western shores of Huahine Nui has consistent waves. Jet skis are a great way to explore the lagoon’s vast stretches. Snorkeling is ideal for exploring the underwater world of reef walls, fish caves and coral gardens. Stay above the water and enjoy an outrigger canoe adventure.
You don’t have to get wet to enjoy the marine life of Huahine. Go deep-sea fishing, take a lagoon boat tour, visit a pearl farm or experience a French Polynesian sunset aboard a sailboat.
Most Huahine travel begins with a flight to the Huahine airport. The island’s airport is located on the north shore of Huahine Nui. Air Tahiti services the island with regular flights from nearby islands Bora Bora, Moorea and Raiatea plus Papeete. There’s no shortage of ways to travel around Huahine. Choices include taxis, public transit, rental car, bicycle, motorboats and sailboats.