The Insider's Guide To French Polynesia
Maxim|September - October 2019

Mareva Marciano, winner of Miss Tahiti (and Miss France), was born and raised on Tahiti, and continues to serve as an unofficial ambassador for the islands that she loves. Here’s a comprehensive guide to visiting French Polynesia from the ultimate insider:

Mareva Marciano

What makes French Polynesia special?

With 118 islands boasting high, rugged mountain peaks, coral reefs, turquoise-blue lagoons, white sand, palm-fringed beaches, and luxuriously intimate resorts, each island paradise has something for everyone. But visitors to our islands create memories through authentic experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. For centuries, the Tahitian people have referred to this as “Mana”. Mana is a life force and spirit that surrounds and connects all living things…. And from the moment you arrive, you will understand why we say our islands are “embraced by Mana.” [French Polynesia is] the center of the romantic universe. A place where every person that has ever experienced the Mana [of] the islands will tell you is where you find [the] happy life. And you will feel it ripple up your spine the moment you step off the plane, and it will fill your soul.

How do you choose between the countless beaches and atolls?

Beyond a simple beach experience, take a tour on the water. The ocean represents the complete lifecycle to the [French Polynesians], and they have a masterful, reverential and respectful relationship with it. Traditional outrigger canoes, surfing and sailing are part of everyday life. Of course, travelers can also experience sunset cruising, kayaking, jetskiing, and more. The sea, the rainforest and heaven are the realms of the gods in the Tahitian’s spiritual worlds. French Polynesia is a world of water, with dozens of unique dive sites around each island and atoll, such as the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on Fakarava island. But for me, the Tuamotus Archipelago beside Bora Bora have the best beaches and the most amazing water.

What about land based activities?

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