Your cruise will anchor and shuttle you by tender to the island for your excursions, but what should you choose from the many options? After all, you only have one day on the island of Huahine. The first thing to consider when planning in advance is what do you have planned for the other islands and what do you want to experience on your list during your cruise through the islands. Huahine might be a place you want to focus on culture if it is on your list, however we highly recommend the Motu picnic featured in our travel video.
Island Culture Excursions
Huahine has more excavated temples than any island in French Polynesia and would be an ideal choice for those wishing to see some history and better understand the roots of the French Polynesian culture. A Sacred and Cultural Places excursion is offered by all the referenced cruise lines. This tour will include a visit of the Maeva Village, home to the densest concentration of archaeological sites in Polynesia as well as some additional sites. Those considering this option should take note that your vehicle with be open and the ride will be a bumpy one. If you have a bad back or don't like being jostled around you might want to consider the Motu Picnic discussed below. The tour is 4 hours and while other cultural excursions can be experienced on Moorea this is the best location if it's on your list. Note that the ruins you will visit are not like something you might see in Mexico or Pompeii but you will learn about the history and culture of the island and that this was the island of Royals.
Photo: Paul Wallin
ATV and 4x4 Exploring Tours
Remember this is the Garden Island so nature abounds and some would say this island has some of the best white sand natural beaches in the islands. All the cruise lines provide 4x4 nature excursions that will take you off road for panoramic views of the islands, short visits to white sand beaches and some will include a pearl farm or vanilla plantation visit. This excursion is what we call a pure tropical tour where you get close to nature in its natural habitat from beautiful beaches to jungle forests. Because this is off-road at parts it can be very bumpy and we provide the same word of caution. If you choose the ATV option highlighted in the photos below you will get an up-close look into the central part of the island. At each curve, hues and textures of green cover the floor as your tires grip the mud path to your panoramic ascent. The tranquil aspect of this exploration into the heart of nature on the island is only broken by the sound of the ATVs. The ride will also give you some great views from the coastal road of the island.
Motu Picnic Excursion
Our team that traveled on the 11-day Windstar Cruise chose the Motu Picnic tour as a balanced option for the island and is our featured video. This excursion provided by the cruise line through local provider Poetaina has a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor. So what can you expect from this excursion since it is more than a picnic? Watch the video :-) You and your fellow travelers will embark on an outrigger motorboat to your first destination - snorkeling. Remember to bring your gear that was assigned to your from the cruise ship, or your own personal gear. Get your flippers and mask on and be the first to plunge into the clear aqua water. We can't think of any better way to start off the day than getting an immersive view of nature above and below the water. The snorkeling is in a somewhat protected bay and has a good variety of fish and coral.
Next you will transit between the two islands of Huahine, Huahine Iti and Huahine-Nui, that are connected by a small bridge. Enjoy the amazing landscapes that explode before your eyes with rock outcrops jutting out from a forest of green. Just think how green with envy your friends are at home slogging there way to and from work and you are taking a water taxi in paradise. On board, the tour guide will show how a Pareu is tied. After a leisurely boat ride through the two islands, your captain will steer your boat east towards Motu Murimaora. Here you will have your picnic on tables and chairs set in the water, if you desire, or at picnic tables on the beach. The guide will demonstrate how to make Poisson Cru that you will then have for lunch, among other tasty entrees and side dishes. Tuna is the main ingredient here and one recipe we found included the following ingredients which seems similar to what we observed.
Poisson Cru Ingredients
1 pound fresh, sushi-grade fish; ahi tuna, yellowfin tuna, halibut or snapper
4 cups cold water
2 tbsp salt, plus more for seasoning
3/4 to 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 cup whole fat coconut milk (fresh is best)
Pepper to taste
1 large carrot (3 oz), peeled and grated
6 oz. cucumber, seeded and diced
1/3 cup scallions
Unsweetened fresh coconut shreds
Following a break for lunch with dance and music entertainment, you can take a short walk across the Motu plantation towards the reef side of the island. This is the windward side and the current is stronger from the constant waves breaking at the reef edge. Water shoes are recommended and/or flippers. It is a nice beach where you can also just relax and watch nature work its magic at the reef. If you close your eyes you won't escape paradise but simply enjoy it in a different way. Following some other minor activities, you will be taken back the same way you came to get back to your boat.
Our SomedayTrips team has traveled on Windstar and Paul Gauguin ships visiting the Tahitian islands. If you have any questions regarding either cruise line or excursions please feel free to reach out and contact us. These islands and their people are amazing and great to see your first time on a cruise ship through the islands.