French Polynesia Back to South Pacific


Courtesy The Brando, Tim McKenna

Some destinations still epitomize the expression “far-flung” and French Polynesia—an 8-hour flight from Los Angeles, followed by a puddle jumper and/or a boat—certainly qualifies. Much like the Seychelles or the Maldives, if you’re going to go all this way, it’s crucial to choose the resort that’s right for you.

Cheat Sheet

  • Sleep…in an over-the-water bungalow at the Four Seasons Bora Bora or at an eco-friendly luxury villa at The Brando
  • Experience…gourmet food, courtesy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, at the St. Regis
  • Splurge…on an all-inclusive stay at The Brando, a private island resort
  • Eat…the tasting menu at acclaimed La Villa Mahana
  • Drink…with your feet in the sand and watch the sunset
  • Savor…the destination as a family thanks to the kids’ program at the Four Seasons
  • Visit…the Lagoonarium in Bora Bora, where you can swim with black-tip sharks and sting rays
  • See…why Matisse dubbed Bora Bora’s lagoons the seventh wonder of the world
  • Shop…for black pearls, French Polynesia’s most famous local product, which comes in a variety of lustrous shades.
  • Know…that getting to Tahiti is an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles or five-hour flight from Oahu. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to discuss the best bets.

Lay of the Land

“The Pacific is inconstant and uncertain like the soul of a man.”
~Somerset Maugham

Nearly every visitor will land in Tahiti’s capital, Papeete, an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles. There is also a flight once a week to Oahu, for visitors wanting to combine both tropical island destinations.

Bora Bora is located 160 miles northeast of Tahiti and is a 50-minute flight from Papeete. The popular concept that Tahiti is at the ends of the Earth is a source of frustration to Tahitians. In fact, the island isn’t much farther from the continental United States than Hawaii.

The atolls in French Polynesia were formed from sunken volcanoes and the coral rings that formed around them, creating shallow lagoons. In Bora Bora, most hotels are set on the mini islands called motus along the large barrier reef. Mount Otemanu creates an incredible backdrop for the many resorts that ring the atoll.

The Brando is located on Tetiaroa, an atoll only 25 miles northeast of Tahiti, and a 20-minute flight on a scheduled charter.

Good to Know: November through March is the rainy season in French Polynesia, which means that there may be a chance of light rain on most days, and there is a stretch of heavy rain for two- to three weeks that falls sometime during the season. Like any tropical island, the weather can be quite unpredictable and it is often hot and humid.

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Beyond… French Polynesia

Consider combining your trip with one of these destinations.

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