The island of Tetiaroa is one of the quieter and more discreet of the Society Islands. And yet it is also one of the most beautiful. The best way to visit this haven of peace for birds and sea turtles is to take a catamaran excursion from Papeete.

Tetiaroa is a small atoll and it’s easy to tour round on foot. The beaches are absolutely superb and the waters of the small lagoon are crystal clear and warm. The environment is protected and the atoll is a nature reserve for birds and sea turtles. White sterns, frigates and crested grebes are among fifteen species of birds that nest on the island. A day trip by catamaran from Papeete will take you to this very special atoll to admire the birdlife. However, it is such a beautiful paradise that it’s well worth visiting on a two or three day excursion. The catamaran drops its anchor just next to the atoll and you have to cross the reef in the boat’s dinghy, which adds a touch of adventure to the experience! Once you’re inside the lagoon, you’ll immediately understand why Marlon Brando fell so much in love with Tetiaroa that he bought it!

Catamaran cruise to Tetiaroa

Just over 30 miles from Tahiti, Tetiaroa is an unbelievably beautiful island paradise. There are a dozen or so motu (tiny islets) making up the atoll and each one has a pristine beach of soft white sand. The warm water of the lagoon is of a startling turquoise blue and is crystal clear. You can see why the atoll used to be reserved for the royal families of Tahiti, who used it as a kind of holiday home. A catamaran excursion will take you to the atoll for a day trip, or you can charter a catamaran for two or three nights. Tetiaroa rivals even Bora Bora or the most idyllic atolls in the Tuamotu Islands, so don’t forget to take your camera with you!

Chartering a catamaran is an ideal way to visit The Islands of Tahiti. Sail between the idyllic lagoons and stay in each one as long as you like to explore the islands. If you’re an accomplished skipper, you can rent a catamaran and sail it yourself. But most visitors opt for a charter with skipper and a crewmember to do the cooking on board. That way, all you have to do is to lie back on the bow netting and admire the magnificent views!

Sailing between the islands, you’ll probably be accompanied by dolphins for some of the way. Always a magical encounter that makes an awesome photo, if you’re quick on the shutter! You’ll also be able to do some bird spotting, especially as you approach the islands. At every port of call you can go snorkeling or diving to explore the wonderful undersea life in the lagoons. You’ll also have free use of the catamaran’s paddleboards or kayaks to roam around at will. On most islands there are excursions to see the archeological sites, or to visit a deserted motu for a picnic lunch.

Other places to cruise

French Polynesia is an ideal destination for a catamaran cruise. Whether it’s a day trip to Tetiaroa, or a fortnight island hopping in the outer islands, the water is calm, the trade wind blows and the scenery is magnificent. The most popular choice for cruise vacations is the Society Islands, with visits to Bora Bora, Taha’a, Huahine, Moorea and Raiatea. There are many charter companies to choose from in Tahiti and in Raiatea.

Another way to visit The Islands of Tahiti sea is on a cruise ship. Cruises of one or several weeks sail from Papeete and offer a range of itineraries, to the Society, Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands. Strict controls ensure that the ships are all of a very high standard and the service is always first class.

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