French Polynesia consists of 125 islands, divided into five archipelagoes in the South Pacific Ocean. The mystique of its best-known island, Tahiti, has drawn travelers for over 200 years. These days, Tahiti is no remote tropical outpost, but an extremely developed island of luxury resorts and housing developments.
Papeete, the capital city, is a maze of traffic choked streets, but its market, Le Marche, is a lively source of fresh produce and other commodities. The island of Moorea remains more representative of the standard idyllic image of French Polynesia, with a wealth of white sandy beaches where the clear waters entice visitors to swim and scuba dive. Bora Bora is another popular island retreat, and its lagoon is the site of a myriad of activities. Hiva Oa is the burial site of Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel, and has areas where one can explore ancient ruins and petroglyphs as well. On Rurutu, one can experience whale watching from July to October. The charming village of Fare, on Huahine, is worth a visit. Rangiroa is a huge atoll, and divers make the watery pilgrimage to its lagoon where a diverse abundance of marine life thrives, and local pearl farmers harvest their crop from the depths of the deep blue sea.