In the heavenly paradise of the Islands of Tahiti, you can hike rugged mountainsides the same day that you sway yourself to sleep in the hammock outside your over-water bungalow. Visit any of the five Tahitian archipelagos — the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Marquesas, the Austral Islands and the Gambier Islands — to experience the allure that reaches far beyond its landscape. The Tahitian people attribute it to an intangible quality that bubbles just below the surface known as mana, moving the mind, body and spirit into perfect synchronicity. Here, we help you discover the magic of legends that exist beneath the isles’ waters, revealing some of the most unique experiences throughout its 118 islands.
Tahitian kings once sought their summer retreat on the 12 tiny islands collectively referred to as Tetiaroa. Centuries later, Hollywood’s king, Marlon Brando, sought a simpler life on these same shores, which he purchased in 1966 and deemed “the tincture of the South Seas.” Experience the curative properties of the Islands of Tahiti when you check into The Brando, a luxury eco-resort on the cluster’s largest island, called a motu. Take in the briny sea breeze and unobstructed lagoon views while soaking in an outdoor bathtub off the second-story bedroom, or savor creations by Michelin-starred legend, Guy Martin, in your private dining room. You can also fill your agenda with all-inclusive outings: canoeing with a naturalist, standup paddleboarding, snorkeling and more.
Even the iridescence of the famed Tahitian black pearl showcases the isles’ fascinating lore. To unearth the origin of these shell-encased treasures, fly to the northernmost archipelago of Tuamotu, home to islands’ first pearl farms. The atoll evokes a timeless quality with farms based on stilts above the sea to reveal traces of age-old harvesting methods still used by some pearl farmers today. We can arrange for you to learn from fishermen and divers why this island’s eco-system is superb for harboring the types of oysters that yield the best black treasures. You may even opt to plunge into the sea with an expert guide to hunt amid the ocean’s jewel box for your own handpicked oyster!
For more sea-life discoveries, don your scuba gear and follow a dive master into the cornflower-blue natural aquarium lagoon surrounding Tikehau near one of the most popular islands, Rangiroa. Swim in quartz-clear waters teeming with colorful marine life — lionfish, parrotfish, grouper and triggerfish amaze, but it’s the enormous manta ray, spanning as long as 20 feet, that immerses you in underwater folklore.
The vanilla-perfumed island of Taha‘a is a freestanding paradise where the scent of beans curing in the sun greets your arrival by boat. Discover how climbing orchids are pollinated by hand to yield this sweet spice — 80 percent of the world’s Tahitian vanilla is grown on this island alone — during a private plantation tour. You can purchase some to add into at-home recipes, or taste it expertly prepared for you at one of the most decadent private island retreats, Le Taha‘a Island Resort and Spa, the only Relais & Châteaux property in all of French Polynesia. Whether vanilla is sprinkled over your French pain perdu (French toast) at Le Vanille Restaurant or intentionally omitted from poisson cru, a coconut milk-infused sashimi, and French Polynesia’s most famous dish at La Plage Restaurant, you’ll acquire a taste for what’s lovingly called Vanilla Island.
The moment your toes touch Tahitian sands you’ll feel the mana stirring your soul. Simply stare into the bevy of blues from your beach chair or catch the sparkle in the smiling eyes of a local and the islands of Tahiti’s palpable poetry will forever be a part of your personal story. We’re here to help create the vacation of a lifetime, rich with incredible activities to immerse you into the islands’ colorful culture. Contact us today to experience mana for yourself.