French Polynesia sprawls over an area, the size of about 2/3's of the Continental United States. The 130 main islands occupy only 1,500 square miles, smaller than the state of Rhode Island. Within this huge area lie five major archipelagos that differ in all ways from each other.
The most strikingly beautiful and most visited are the SOCIETY ISLANDS, named by Captain James Cook, with their characteristic jagged peaks, remainders of volcanoes, sinking in the ocean. All have barrier coral reefs and lagoons worthy of postcards. Separated by the Sea of the moon, lie the sister islands of TAHITI and MOOREA, also known as the Windward islands. To the northwest lie the Leeward Islands: BORA BORA, HUAHINE, RAIATEA, TAHAA, MAUPITI and several smaller islands.
To the East, you'll find one of the world's largest atolls; the 60 low lying TUAMOTU ISLANDS, lined up over 720 miles NW to SE. Most frequently visited and major supplier of black pearls is RANGIROA, also an outstanding scuba destination.
North-East of the Tuamotus, the MARQUESAS rise out of the Ocean, younger than the Society Islands, they don't have a protective coral reef and surf pounds their shores.
The AUSTRAL ISLANDS south of Tahiti and the GAMBIER Islands on the southern end of the Tuamotus are as remarkable, however not marketed for tourism yet.
|The Society Islands|
|The Tuamotu Archipelago|
|EASTER ISLAND ESCAPE|
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