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Every camera takes a good photo when you’re in French Polynesia. The eternally beautiful archipelago never fails to pose for a breath-taking picture.
So, if you’re a snap happy kind of Instagram lover, here are 7 of the best places to catch this Polynesian beauty’s very best side.
1. Helicopter over Bora Bora
By far one of the most enchanting spots for a beautiful Bora Bora photo, is in the air. With various helicopter flights available across Tahiti, you won’t be disappointed with the bird’s-eye view from the sky. Skim the cliff top of Bora Bora’s iconic fang shaped Mt Otemanu and glide over the swirls of turquoise ocean. The hues of emerald merging with sapphire are as beguiling as you'd imagine. If you’re feeling romantic, ask your pilot to fly over Tupai Island: it’s the one that’s heart-shaped.
Instagram HOT shot: If you're brave enough, certain helicopter companies will allow you to have the doors completely open during flight. Wearing a safety harness, passengers are permitted to lean out and grab a lens-full of spectacular photographs… with nothing but balmy Tahitian air between you and the ocean.
2. Tāmūrē dancing
So risqué is the rhythm of a traditional tāmūrē dancer, it was outlawed by missionaries right up until 1950. And it wasn’t a series of sensuous moves that went unmissed by western explorer, Captain Cook. Even he acknowledged the dancing as exotic, but rather diplomatically noted that the girls "keep time to a great nicety." These days you can enjoy the grass skirts accompanying hypnotic shakes all over French Polynesia. The men are ripped, the women are hip-swivelling experts, and their every move represents the island’s’ myths, history, ancestors and loved ones. Instruments are limited, essentially a drum and a flute, but couple that with a backdrop of ocean and stars, as well as the soft scent of frangipani, and the spectacle is very much the “nicety” that Cook observed himself.
Instagram HOT shot: Both dancers in action, with a sunset or star-filled backdrop.
3. Fautaua Valley trails
Shake off the sand and shove your naked toes into a pair of walking shoes, the Fautaua Valley trail presents some of the prettiest and verdant land that’s housed inside Tahiti’s sandy exterior. Several hiking operators offer treks into the twisted Tahitian jungle, but you will need a $7 access permit (from the Papeete Town Hall) to enter. Forging a path through the undergrowth you’ll follow a lush path along the river bank, before coming to Fautaua Falls. Pouring 300 metres off the cliff edge, there are swimming opportunities at both the top and the bottom. Trek to the top; the steep climb is well worth the effort and results in a secondary (and just as dazzling) waterfall and a clear green pool - perfect for a cooling dip.
Instagram HOT shot: Slow your shutter speed so the falling water cascades like a dreamy, otherworldly masterpiece.
4. Luxury yachts
Some things just aren’t made for sharing – and Tahiti is one of them. Avoid the risk of having any other holiday makers floating in and out of your selfie snaps, and hire a yacht for the day. In Tahiti, there are hidden pockets of extreme beauty that can only really be discovered by boat, and refreshingly, isolated slivers of sand are still very much available here. Depart early and hop from one secret beach to another. Whether you’re a foodie with a penchant for gourmet dinners complemented by watery backdrops, or an avid snorkeller who’d prefer to jump ship and get acquainted with the underworld, there’s a yacht charter to suit every style of traveller.
Instagram HOT shot: Set your sights on something spectacular and ask your captain to sail you there: bespoke Insta image at your fingertips.
5. Tropical snorkelling
One of the best ways to explore Bora Bora’s underwater odyssey is via a traditional outrigger canoe. These wooden sailing vessels which have been part and part of Tahiti’s heritage for many centuries can easily transport small groups to key snorkelling areas. In shallow water, the sea is crystal clear and the colourful fish are numerous. You may also get chance to scour for blacktip reef sharks, rays and lemon sharks. Days are split between snorkelling, sunbathing and barbecue picnics served on a golden slice of tropical beach.
Instagram HOT shot: Swimmer's nose dives with your flippers sky high.
6. Overwater bungalows
A signature feature in luxurious Tahiti, overwater bungalows litter the shallow island waters; flanked by warm azure water, they are frequented by curious tropical fish. And guests are only a short ladder from joining them. If you thought the external view was a dazzler, you’ll be equally pleased by the interior décor. Overwater bungalows always boats a rustic aesthetic in-keeping with the Polynesian surroundings, but spaces are always superior, with huge beds, wooden flooring and often, with an overwater glass panel in the floor- to observe the sea life whilst staying dry. If you’re worried about being too far from the mainland resort, don’t be, one of the best perks of a bungalow are the delicious breakfasts served by a member of staff via a canoe. And this is French Polynesia, so expect to find piping hot croissants dripping in beurre.
Instagram HOT shot: We mentioned the hand delivered croissants, right?
7. Sunset in Papeete
The sunsets in Papeete are legendary. Believe the hype because in Tahiti, at sunset, the entire world changes colour. Renowned for its vibrant colours and a blanket of red sea, the sky erupts into an explosion of burnt orange, red, yellow and purple. Whether you decide to watch this daily display of X-rated prettiness from your bungalow, beach or an al fresco restaurant, your retinas won’t be left disappointed.
Instagram HOT shot: Literally anywhere will do.
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