Get off the beaten path in Tahiti

06 Jun 2014

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Tahiti is one of the world's most paradisiacal destinations, with 118 islands encompassing all the scenery of your dreams, from long sandy beaches to thick, lush forest.

Tahitian islands that are commonly visited include the stunning Bora Bora and Moorea - but what to you know about Tahiti's other sumptuous islands?

Here's some information about the lesser-known sights and attractions you can visit on a trip to Tahiti and just why they're so special.

Fakarava, the Island of Dreams

Visit Fakarava, known as the Island of dreams for its almost unbelievable scenery, for a glimpse of untouched Pacific culture. Here, nature thrives, with forests teeming with rare birds and plants, while the ocean plays host to a stunning array or marine creatures, from hammerhead sharks to manta rays and more.

You can also discover life on the island for its local people, who are friendly and welcoming. Explore the villages of Rotoava and the Tetamanu, which are home to around 400 permanent residents. This small, tight-knit community has its own old churches, meeting areas and facilities for you to experience.

It's highly recommended to head out on a guided snorkelling or diving expedition to explore the reef here, which is Tahiti's second-largest. It's also a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means it's protected to preserve its rare species. Therefore you know you're going to come across some spectacular creatures and sites when exploring the undersea realm.

The Mysterious Islands

Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa are known respectively as Mystic Island and Paul Gauguin's island, and are referred to collectively as the Mysterious Islands. They're also part of the overarching group of Marquesas Islands.

The two islands are far from other civilisation and are incredibly special. It's thought that the spirits of the ancient Pacific Maohi people still reside amongst these islands, full of untouched wonders and unique aspects of culture.

On Nuku Hiva, natural spectacles abound, with towering mountain peaks, emerald forests and valleys, thundering waterfalls, ancient religious relics and absolutely untouched scenery.

Hiva Oa offers further amazing sights, with a wild and rugged landscape, giant stone tiki and the resting places of poet Jacques Brel and artist Paul Gauguin, who called the island home. It's the perfect mix of scenic sights and history.

Mangareva

Mangareva is one island that makes up part of the Gambier Islands, also known as The Islands at the End of the World.

The biggest in the region is Mangareva, which is home to a pearl industry. Most of the island's population lives around the village of Rikitea, but don't expect huge crowds here!

Must-visit features of the island include its remnants from the time of colonisation and Catholicism, including stone buildings, churches, schools and towers. Rikitea is home to St Michael's Cathedral, which dates back to 1848 and, fitting the island's most profitable industry, is decorated with pearls.

Mangareva's lagoons are also home to a rich variety of marine life, and are well-known for their stunning colours of turquoise, deep blue and green.

For a fantastic view of the island and its surrounds, head up to the peaks of Mt Duff and Mokoto, which offer inspiring panoramic views. Soak in the sights and watch fishing boats peppered throughout the ocean, and see pearl farms in operation along the lagoon.

Contact a travel agent who can help put you put together an incredible Tahitian itinerary, paying special attention to the hidden gems and lesser-known wonders of the region. Don't miss out on your chance to experience a genuine and authentic trip to Tahiti, and see a whole new side to the nation you thought you already knew.