Taha’a is a small island enclosed within the same barrier reef as Raiatea, The 4,470 inhabitants live tranquil lives, fishing and raising livestock. Taha’a has a wonderful string of beautiful motus along the northern reef edge.
In the morning we headed west for some coral garden drift snorkelling. We disembarked our boat and walked through the coconut groves to the ocean side of the motu. We then began our first drift snorkelling run letting the current carry us through the shallow lagoon towards the boat. Effortless snorkelling! The seabed abounds with amazing coral and a spectacular variety of tropical fish – the best that we saw during our trip. It was fantastic and definitely recommended, although we would have preferred another drift down the channel.

Then on to Motu Mahara, a private paradise motu, where white sand, a sumptuous grill buffet & floating bar greeted us. The staff from our ship has excelled beyond any expectation. We drank cocktails from a whole coconut, lunched well, snorkelled, kayaked and walked around the island before looking at the trinkets & souvenirs on sale from the local Mamas. What a most enjoyable and memorable place!

Taha'a is often called the Vanilla lsland for its numerous plantations of ‘blackgold’ – it produces 70-80% of all French Polynesia’s vanilla. Raiatea may be quiet, but Taha'a is quieter.


Taha'a was once known as Kuporu (or Uporu), a name which in other Polynesian centres indicates some great migratory connection. Taha'a lived in the shadow of Raiatea, its larger, stronger and more important neighbour. At times, Taha'a was a pawn in struggles between Raiatea and the fierce rulers of Bora Bora. Taha'a was the centre for fire walking ceremonies, but today, they are a rare occurrence. ln 1822, the first missionaries arrived in Taha'a, at which time the island came under French control.

South Pacific