PHOTO: Stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking during a Paul Gauguin cruise. (Photo by John Roberts)
Thousands upon thousands of words have been written extolling the charms of sailing in French Polynesia, exploring the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and others.
But words can’t fully explain the beauty and allure of this exotic and romantic part of the world. You have to see it for yourself to believe it.
I’ve been there, on a voyage with Paul Gauguin Cruises, and the friendly people, vibrant colors, warm breezes and lush landscapes made me want to stay forever.
That’s when you know you’ve found a paradise.
A small-ship cruise is the ideal way to explore French Polynesia and relax with your partner. But it’s also a perfect way for more active and adventurous couples to connect with each other and the natural wonders of these islands.
Here are the five best ways to experience the adventurous side of French Polynesia.
Jump in. The water is fabulous. Everywhere. You’re going to love the remote tiny islands that you can reach by a small ferry. On some days, you’ll be dropped off on these motus, which are coral islets, for a day of relaxing, enjoying beers, barbecue lunch and playing in the water. Slap on your fins and snorkel mask and wade out to be immersed in the incredible underwater world filled with coral and colorful fish.
In Bora Bora, we took an excursion on a traditional outrigger boat that brought us to deeper waters to swim amid darting schools of exotic fish.
Scuba divers delight in this region, too, of course. The MS Paul Gauguin cruise ship offers diving excursions in each stop, providing equipment and a master diver who leads the programs for passengers.
When you decide to come out of the water, you can explore the misty green mountains of Moorea or Bora Bora. Our challenging hike at Magic Mountain in Moorea left us sweaty and breathless, not only from our exertion climbing to the heights but also because of the jaw-dropping views with which we were rewarded. Your ship anchors in a beautiful lagoon each day, and you can see the surrounding mountains. Just head ashore, ask a friendly resident for the best hiking nearby. Then, enjoy your day in this playground. (Make sure you have water and sunscreen.)
The sports marina on the MS Paul Gauguin ship is located at the back, and a platform opens level to the water. When the ship is anchored in a lagoon, it’s playtime. You can’t snorkel or swim directly off the back of the vessel, but passengers can use the kayaks to venture out for some leisurely exploration of the destination. You can even make it a great workout by picking up your paddling pace as you tool around the lagoon.
Standup paddleboards also are available to use during open paddle time at the sports marina on MS Paul Gauguin. This is a fun way to work your way toward the shore or around the boat as you take in the incredible surroundings. Never tried SUP? Tahiti and French Polynesia is a super place for your first time. Even if you don’t feel confident standing on the board the whole time, you can sit or kneel down and paddle. Or just lay back, look up at the blue skies and green mountains and think how fortunate you are here in this moment instead of in a cramped cubicle somewhere. http://www.travelpulse.com/