View Of Mount Tavai'ura From Bali Hai BeachView Of Mount Tavai'ura From Bali Hai Beach
©View Of Mount Tavai'ura From Bali Hai Beach|Teriitua Maoni

Four days in Huahine


You’ve decided on a trip to Huahine? What an excellent idea!

You’re certain to love the island’s authenticity, its history and its beautiful scenery. The island cultivates its own gentle way of life which it combines with a multitude of different activities.

Here are a few suggestions for a four day break in Huahine.

Rahuru in Maeva, HuahineRahuru in Maeva, Huahine
©Rahuru in Maeva, Huahine|Grégoire Le Bacon

Day 1

Any stay on Huahine should involve a trip to Fare, the island’s principal town. Most activity takes place on or around the quayside where colorful market stalls are set up each morning. Most of the island’s produce is sold here in a joyful atmosphere, beneath trees decorated with garlands of freshly-caught fish waiting to be sold. Almost the entire island visits the quay every day. Fare is also the central point for most of the island’s diving centers. And in November, it is the starting point for the world-famous Hawaiki Nui Va’a outrigger canoe race.

To the left of the quay, directly opposite the sea, take a good look at Mount Tavaiura. You can see the outline of a pregnant woman lying down. It is said that the island of the goddess Te Fitiin Disney’s animated film Moana is actually Huahine. And it’s true, they do look exactly the same!

Take advantage of being in Fare to visit the island’s arts and crafts center. Situated opposite the town hall and built in the octagonal form of traditional houses, the center is home to Huahine’s talented craftsmen and women. You can buy pearls, mother-of-pearl jewelry, bead necklaces, tifaifai, as well as vanilla and monoï. Open every day, there is always a local craftsman or woman on hand to give advice and share their passion for traditional arts and crafts.

Another interesting visit, but reserved for adults, is to the Huahine Passion distillery, where you can discover (and taste!) the liqueurs and spirits made from the fruit of the island. To be sampled in moderation!

Day 2

It’s time to spend a day on the lagoon, marveling at the glorious colors and incredible sea life. Take a trip on one of the motorized outrigger canoes proposed by the island’s tourist guides and discover Huahine on and under the water. The day’s menu consists of snorkeling (tuba and mask provided as required), a visit to the island’s only pearl farm and of course, lunch on a motu. Sitting with your feet in the water while savoring a delicious poisson cru au lait de coco (raw tuna in coconut milk) and trying to convince yourself that it isn’t all just a dream!.

During your excursion on the lagoon, you will almost certainly visit the tiny village of Faie, where you’ll meet some very strange creatures – floppy-eared eels… with blue eyes!. Considered sacred because legend has it that they are the source of life, you can easily approach them in the stream. You can also get to the eels of Faie by car. Access is free and the site is open every day.

Day 3

Having gone round the island on the lagoon, take a tour of the island on land! You can rent a car, an e-bike, a scooter or a quad, or go on a guided tour by ATV. The island of Huahine is composed of two separate islands linked by a bridge and there are plenty of places to stop for a while. The Belvédère (careful it’s a bit of a climb!) has a truly impressive view over the bay of Maroe, and don’t miss Fauna Nui, a large salt lake in the north island connected to the sea by a canal. As you pass by, take a look at the fields of melons and watermelons, Huahine’s specialty!

Both adults and youngsters enjoy a visit to the privately-owned musée du coquillage (seashell museum). Franck, the owner, is a jewelry maker and his passion is seashells, which he’s been collecting for over thirty-five years. He only collects shells that are empty, leaving the others to their inhabitants and has more than 500 different varieties on display in his museum. The visit is free, which means that Franck doesn’t ‘sell seashells by the seashore!’

After the museum, head for the vanilla plantation at Maeva, on the road to the airport. Learn how to “marry” the vanilla flower, to create the vanilla bean, a spice that is treasured by pastry chefs the world over. Vanilla beans and other vanilla products are available for purchase after your visit.

Stop at the Maison du Pareo (pareo craft shop) in Parea, to admire the magnificent cotton cloth decorated with hand-painted flowers. Miri, the owner, will show you how to attach your pareo so that you can spend the rest of your holiday dressed in the relaxed Polynesian style.

Day 4

On the last day of your visit, take a trip back in time to the days of the Polynesian ancestors, long before the arrival of the first Europeans. The island of Huahine has managed to hold onto traces of its past 1000 years of history. Begin at fare pote’e Maeva, a cultural site between the marae of Vai-otaha and Haumaru, that is now part of a small museum and houses many findings from archeological digs. Follow this with a visit to the marae Manunu at Maeva to see the traditional fish cages.

At the southern tip of Huahine Iti, in the commune of Parea, stop at the magnificent white sandy beach and admire the marae Anini with its large upright stones facing the motu Araara. Be careful! It is said that human sacrifices were once organized here. Still in the bay of Avea, take time off for a rest and a swim on Avea’s delightful beach. Finally, when you get to the start of the route traversière (the main road) to Fare, look for the imprint of a dog’s foot on the Avae Uri stone. Another of Huahine’s many legends!

If your stay on Huahine includes a Sunday, then you’re in for a treat! Go to Chez Tara in Parea before 11 o’clock to be in time for the opening of the four tahitien (traditional Tahitian earth oven). Chez Tara is the restaurant to go to in Huahine, if you want to eat typical Polynesian foodma’a Tahiti. A self-service buffet in a warm and friendly atmosphere, accompanied by local musicians. As a bonus, you’ll have a view over a sandy beach and the lagoon beyond. A Sunday in paradise!