Samsette discovers the island of Huahine
Take a short flight from Tahiti to what locals will tell you is their choice of destination. Huahine (pronounced hoo-a-heeny) will give you a real taste of island life and energise you with ‘Mana’ from the welcoming locals and natural landscape. Huahine may be small in size but it has plenty to do—you will wish you could stay longer, and I recommend that you do! It holds an authentic island life that makes living at a slower pace so darn appealing; you will feel uplifted with ‘Mana’ at every turn.
LAPITA VILLAGE, HUAHINE 98731, FRENCH POLYNESIA
When choosing where you might stay during your time on Huahine, the Maitai Lapita Village Resort should be top of your list. A beautiful sanctuary built around a man-made lake, this site revealed an amazing archaeological discovery during the building phase—establishing important links between other islands and their natives ravelling to Tahiti, through canoes, weapons, pottery, and clothing from New Zealand and Samoa for example. The architecture and design of the Village emulates this discovery perfectly and has allocated a section of the foyer to an exhibition showing some of the artefacts. The property is also home to an amazing array of botanical species native to the island, so if the pool and water activities don’t keep you busy enough there is plenty to take in here.
MOTU DE MAEVA, BP 615 FARE, HUAHINE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Take a morning or afternoon to seek out the studio and gallery of artist Melanie Shook Dupree whilst on Huahine. Melanie moved to the Islands of Tahiti some 20 years ago from her homeland of America—inspired by the locals and painting at every opportunity, her work is now extremely popular for its interpretation and documentation of island life. If you have the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Melanie you will leave feeling inspired to the brim and in awe of her lifestyle and what she is able to create. Make sure you try some ice-cream too!
MOTU DE MAEVA, HUAHINE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Not far down the road from Galerie ‘Umatatea you can walk to this B&B owned and managed by two energetic and friendly fellows. Even if you are not staying at Nature Song, it is worth stopping in for lunch, refreshments, and a tour of their beautiful garden. Gwenn will tell you everything about what he has planted, what is edible, medicinal or just beautiful to smell. We enjoyed the best meal of our trip at Nature Song, tasting freshly caught fish from the beach across the street and fruit picked right from the property. The ‘Mana’ is extremely strong at this magical place—a spiritual energy gained from nature and what is as close to good vibes as you can get!
4) MOTU TRÉSOR
667 FARE ROUTE DE L’AÉROPORT, HUAHINE 98731, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Displaying the most impressive shell collection I have ever seen, Motu Tresor is a must-see. With over 500 French Polynesian shells, take a tour in English or French to learn about the difference species, how they grow and transform, and where the owner has dived to find them. Open Monday-Friday, allow a good hour for your visit here, as there is so much to take in! The attached jewellery store is also one of the best places to buy pearls on the Islands.
FARE, HUAHINE, LEEWARD ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA
If, like me, you enjoy taking in the comings and goings of a place, the main village street of Fare is your spot (pronounced Far-ee). With locals hanging out here for the most part of the day, it is great for people watching and sparking up conversations. There are some shops to peruse and a supermarket if you are in need of any supplies. Near the end of the day fishermen will have their catch of the day on display too—it’s quite impressive!
FARE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
For a spot to settle after a day of exploring, the Huahine Yacht Club is the pick for happy hour. The interior here is incredible, full of island history and taxidermies, but I’d recommend nabbing a table outside to watch the sunset and the cats chase the crabs. It can feel a bit touristy in the early afternoon, but it is far from a trap—the staff are incredibly friendly and you’ll notice some locals trickle in later too.
LAPITA VILLAGE, HUAHINE 98731, FARE, LEEWARD ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA
If you’re looking for a way to explore the entirety of Huahine in a day, this tour is for you. We were picked up directly from our hotel and accompanied by 4 other passengers visiting the islands from France—so it’s a lovely way to meet other guests too! Henry was our charming guide for the day (the uncle of owner Poe), who’s talented wife made all the females beautiful flower crowns to wear and enjoy. We stopped off at a number of locations dotted around the two islands, learning a lot about the land, the locals and their history. It was extra special hearing about the islands from a true local who has lived in Huahine his whole life, who really embodies the ‘Mana’ of the land, and who happily obliged when we wanted to stop and hop out for photos—thank you Henry!
LEEWARD ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA
The Huahine Pearl Farm was a real highlight for me and something I would put at the top of your list when visiting Huahine. A short boat ride from the shore, which leaves every 15-30 minutes, the pearl farm shop is situated right in the middle of the lagoon. We were taken through the entire process of how black pearls are farmed in the surrounding lagoon, some taking up to 5 years to mature! This is the only store in all of the Islands of Tahiti to buy these particular pearls, and there’s nothing like purchasing direct from the source.
The owner, Peter, is also an avid potter, displaying a lot of his work alongside the pearls for sale. The base of his pottery is constructed from imported clay from his USA homeland, but he discovered a clay body on the floor of the lagoon which he now uses as his slip glaze—making each finished piece completely unique and like no other in the world.
If you’re lucky you can feed some of the beautiful tropical fish right off the jetty. It really blew my mind that this is home for the locals here—the water is so blue and the calm of the lagoon will have you sitting on their swing chair to really take in the ‘Mana’ of the place for longer.
TEFARERI’I, HUAHINE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
For the most spectacular view of the bluest waters off the island of Huahine, this lookout spot is the ticket. The beautiful mountainous landscape of Huahine comes in handy to gain some height!
Credits: Samsette. Full story here