Polynesia is a group of islands in the Asia Pacific region that are often volcanic and always breathtakingly beautiful. The indigenous people of the Polynesian islands often share similar beliefs, culture and language across the region. Much of Polynesia was formerly owned by France and some islands are still French collectivities. These five groups of islands are known as French Polynesia and comprise 118 islands and atolls, 67 of which are inhabited. This region still retains some elements of French culture and administration.
The islands of Polynesia are warm all year round, with the temperature slightly cooler between April and September. Tropical rainfall occurs between December and February and the islands can be at risk of typhoons in the first 3 months of the year, though the worst storms are often further south. If you are thinking of moving to Polynesia and aren’t used to high temperatures, which can go up to about 35°C, make sure to always wear sunscreen, even if breezes off the Pacific may make it feel cooler than it actually is.
Tahiti’s Fa'a'ā airport is the main international airport in Polynesia, so most people visiting Polynesia choose to fly to Tahiti and travel by boat to smaller islands. This is a fantastic way to ease into the Asia Pacific lifestyle by cruising through the ocean, passing by the islands and being drawn into the endless beauty. Most of the islands across Polynesia have coastal roads, so driving offers an opportunity to experience the spectacular scenery unique to this group of islands.
Tahiti is the only island in the group where public transportation is even an option, and air-conditioned buses do run, but not very regularly. Fortunately, witnessing the islands by foot or on a bike is an experience in itself, but the lack of transportation can be difficult for more practical tasks such as shopping. Provided you have a valid driving license, you will be able to legally drive a rental car around islands where cars are available for rent.