For ages, geographers referred to the five island groups in the centre of the Pacific as East-Polynesia. Today, the official term is French Polynesia. However, most people call them Tahiti, after the main island, which presented the tourism industry with a problem. They didn’t want to discard the magical name of Tahiti, but they also didn’t want to sweep the other 117 islands under a mat. Their compromise: ‘Tahiti and her islands’.
But it is Tahiti that all European dreams of the South Seas are tied up with. A multitude of myths surround this paradise from the legendary reports of the first discoverers to the Hollywood movie version of the Mutiny of the Bounty. Deep green islands, blue lagoons, lush plantations, friendly and easy going people and of course the alluring, permissive women.
Even today, Tahiti and her islands offer endless possibilities – once you’ve left the capital of Papeete. There are volcanic islands with steep, green mountain peeks which seem to be straight out of a picture book; flat, coral atolls with turquoise lagoons; superb dive spots and sailing waters, Polynesian songs and dances and French ambiance, especially when it comes to wine and dine. It is this particular mixture that separates French Polynesia from all other island groups in the South Pacific.