There are places in The Islands of Tahiti where you can indulge in five-star, brand name resorts, and there are places where you can immerse yourself into the ebb and flow of daily life, experiencing this island nation like a local. If you’re looking for a place where the brand names are sand, sea, sun, time and tide, the Maupiti will wrap you in her arms and gently indulge you like a member of the family.
Located 195 miles (315 km) northwest of the island of Tahiti and 25 miles (40 km) West of Bora Bora, Maupiti is a tiny island (7 miles / 11 square kilometers), secluded and authentic. Maupiti will immediately seduce you with its splendor and quiet pace of life. Magnificent sceneries, endless white sandy beaches both on the island and the motu, legendary rocky peaks and ancient marae all blend nicely with the friendly and smiling style of the islanders.
The unmatched charm of Maupiti is reflected in every inhabitant and Tahitian Guesthouses where you will be introduced to the Polynesian lifestyle. Here, people mostly travel riding a bicycle or a canoe, which are marvelous ways to take your time and explore the beauties of the island. Stroll along the little road circling Maupiti or in the heart of the lagoon and enjoy every single moment of your time in The Islands of Tahiti.
The combination of nature and mythical stories is extremely powerful on Maupiti just as it is throughout The Islands of Tahiti. Petroglyphs were carved on huge rocks in Haranae Valley while the legendary outrigger canoe of the demigod and hero, Hiro, lies in Vaitia Valley.
Motu Paeao, at the north end of the lagoon, is one of the oldest archeological sites in the Society Islands. In ancient Polynesian culture, Maupiti played a culturally prominent role, with leaders from other islands coming here for ritual purposes. Archeologists have discovered fishhooks and other artifacts dating back to about AD 850. Discoveries from this archaeological site have been an important factor in theories about the great Polynesian migration.
Climbing up Mount Teurafaatiu (elevation 1,250 ft. / 381 m.) offers an amazing panoramic view. The 3-hour self-guided challenging hike to the top of the volcano peak offers trekkers an unforgettable 360-degree view of the island, lagoon and motu. If you keep your eyes sharp, you’ll catch a view of Bora Bora and Raiatea in the distance and shadows of manta rays swimming in the lagoon.
Visitors to Maupiti often make it a day trip from Bora Bora. If you’re on a short schedule and looking for things to do in Maupiti, a visit to the superb and picturesque Terei’a beach should be on your list. The white sand beach with crystal clear water no more than a meter deep is as good as they get on the island. At low tide, the shallow water makes it easy to walk to Motu Auria just across the turquoise lagoon. Cliffs, caves and other local discoveries await visitors on the motu.
Snorkelers in the Maupiti lagoon can spot large numbers of manta rays that gather near a “cleaning station.” Cleaning stations are where mantas come to have their skin, gills and teeth cleaned by wrasses, a much smaller fish that live throughout the lagoon in tiny scattered patches of coral. Mantas visit these cleaning stations regularly and can be seen there for hours, often standing in line for their turn. Snorkeling trips to visit the manta ray cleaning station can be arranged on the island through pensions and guesthouses.
Maupiti Island is a part of the Leeward Islands, the western portion of the Society Islands, in French Polynesia. Transportation to Maupiti is available by plane or boat. Air Tahiti has regular service to Maupiti from Papeete, Bora Bora and Raiatea. Travel from cities in the United States like Los Angeles can require multiple legs and may take 24 or more hours of travel.
The Bora Bora to Maupiti ferry is also a great way to experience the open waters of French Polynesia. Whether you fly or take the boat from Bora Bora, Maupiti offers travelers lifelong memories of coral gardens, a wealth of culture and delicious dining options on Maupiti.
Accommodations on Maupiti reflect the island’s quiet pace of life and small-town feel. The island is home to welcoming pensions and guest houses and not five-star, big brand resorts. The modest accommodations are located throughout the island, typically housing four or five rooms and letting visitors feel more like they’re part of the family. The pensions also give an opportunity for travelers to interact with each other too.