Huahine Highlights

Huahine views

We are being spoilt by French Polynesian paradise. Case in point is the island of Huahine, one of the Society islands. Located less than a day’s sail from Tahiti, Huahine offers fun on land and water. We spent a week exploring and discovering the Huahine highlights.

About Huahine

Huahine, pronounced “Hoo-a-he-nay” by locals, is part of French Polynesia’s Society islands, with Moorea, Tahiti, Raiatea, and Bora Bora, most notably. The island’s population is around 6,000, bigger than any of the Tuamotus. Since it is close to Tahiti, only 100 miles, the island is easy to visit, accessible by regular flights and ferries from Tahiti.

Sailboat moored in turquoise water, Huahine highlights, French Polynesia
Sava moored in Avea Bay, Huahine

Huahine consists of two islands, Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine), surrounded by fringing coral reefs and little motus. We spent a little over a week exploring this lovely island, visiting three different bays by boat, and cycling around the big island.

Touring the Island by Bike

Huahine views
View of southern bays Huahine

The road around beautiful Huahine Nui is about 36km, which we took as an opportunity to rent a bike and ride around the island. It was mostly lovely and we stopped at a few Huahine highlights on our self-guided tour. However, there is a giant hill near the last third of the trip and an e-bike would have been perfect for this part of the trip. Or a motorbike. So I advise that you learn from our mistake and rent a motorized bike.

Best Bar

Huahine has some of the best bars and restaurants in French Polynesia. The outdoor beachfront bar at Hotel la Mahana is a great spot. Many sailors moor in this area, and the hotel kindly provides a very nice dock for us to leave our dinghy to explore Huahine-Iti and the surrounding area. We had to stop on the way to our from a couple of these walks for a cocktail at their bar.

Oceanfront bar views, Huahine
Oceanfront bar at Hotel La Mahana in Huahine

Shell Museum Motu Tresor

We stopped off at this museum on our bike tour of Huahine, and we were astounded at how great it was. We had never heard of it, just saw the sign and decided to stop. Frank, the proprietor, shell collector, and self-taught expert, showed us around and really impressed us.

shell displays at the Motu Tresor shell museum
Inside Huahine’s shell museum, Motu Tresor

His collection is immaculately organized and his brain full of interesting information about shells, marine life, and French Polynesia. Definitely visit Motu Tresor if you’re on the island.

Distillery Tasting

Located just outside of the main town of Fare, the Distillery Huahine Passion is an interesting stop in Huahine. They make liquor incorporating local fruits, nuts, and other ingredients. It’s the only place in the island where you can do a liquor tasting, so if that interests you, go for it. We went for a tasting before happy hour.

Huahine distillery bottled spirits
Spirits for sale at the Huahine Distillery

Best Happy Hour

The best happy hour in French Polynesia was at Huahine Yacht Club. Every night from 5-6pm locals and cruisers pack the tables at this seaside spot, appreciating the half off pricing on pitchers of Hinano and many other drinks.

Huahine Yacht club sign. Happy hour 5-7pm
Huahine Yacht club has a great happy hour

Huahine Highlights: Beaches

As you would expect in French Polynesia, Huahine also has beautiful beaches and swimming spots. The beach in Avea Bay at Hotel la Mahana is nice and protected, with calm, clear water. Another recommended beach on Huahine is on the east coast. The former site of a Sofitel Hotel, long abandoned, it is known as one of the island’s best snorkeling spots. We biked to that beach without our snorkeling gear, and still enjoyed cooling off in the water. If you go, bring your mask and snorkel.

Huahine beach and bay
Old Sofitel Hotel beach

Izzys Burgers

Close your eyes at Izzys Burgers and you could be in South Beach or any U.S. beach town. Casual, cozy, with attentive service and great burgers, Izzys is a great restaurant in Huahine. The burger menu is extensive, and the ones we sampled were delicious.

Izzy's Burgers in Huahine sign
Inside Izzy’s Burgers in Huahine

Marquesan Oven

We loved the authentic Marquesan oven experience in Tahuata, but if you can’t get to the Marquesas, you can enjoy it in Huahine! Conveniently located alongside Hotel Mahana in Avea Bay, Chez Tara serves a traditional Marquesan buffet for Sunday lunch. With ukelele music to entertain you while you feast on the Polynesian favorites with all the trimmings, it’s no wonder reservations are recommended. It was packed with tourists and is one of our Huahine highlights for good reason.

A full plate of Polynesian food from a Marquesan oven
A full plate for the Marquesan oven


When visiting French Polynesia, from Marquesas to the Societies, visit the archaeological sites. French Polynesians cherish their long cultural heritage, so the maraes are worth visiting. We saw two on Huahine, one in the south near Avea Bay, and another, larger one on our bike tour near a beach in Huahine Nui. Both were very close to the ocean, which was different from the many inland maraes we visited in the Marquesas.

Marae in Huahine
Marae, Polynesian sacred place, in Huahine.

Conclusion: Huahine Highlights

Now you have an idea of what to do and where to go if you’re ever in Huahine. Hope you enjoyed! Here’s a map to make it easier for you to visit my Huahine highlights.

Google Map of Huahine Highlights
Map of Huahine Highlights

Don’t you want to jump in that water?

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

15 thoughts on “Huahine Highlights”

  1. Great information, which receives us just on time. We arrived the 2 days ago in Huahine and can use your tips. Thanks. One additional information: the place for the great local food is “Chez Tara” in the Baie d’ Avea, just next to the hotel LA Mahana.

  2. You really are being spoilt! What lovely looking islands! Plus, this time you have hills and possible cycle/hiking routes!! 😀 It all looks so lush and beautiful, with tasty liquors, food, and the shell museum looks incredible!

    I am really interested in the Marquesan food! Was it like a buffet with lots of Polynesian delights? I have to admit, I don’t recognize most of the items in your photo, so now I’d like to try them all! What kind of food is it?

    1. Ooh good question, Josy. We had poisson cru, goat curry, grilled seafood, breadfruit a few different ways, and banana cake for dessert. I actually didn’t have this poisson cru because I’ve had it a lot and this one was covered in cabbage which is one of the few foods I can’t eat (heartburn). There was so much else to choose from, I didn’t miss it. French Polynesia is truly paradise, we will be sad to leave, but a year is a long time!

      1. Ooooh that all sounds amazing! (I just googled poisson cru, and that sounds sooooo tasty!)

        I have so many new things to try! 😀

  3. I’m so interested in archaeology and I had to look up “marae” – thanks for teaching me about that!

    I think a friend of mine is currently in Tahiti after volunteering as crew on a boat, so I’ve been trying to picture what the islands might be like. Your photos have proven that he must be having a really good time lol, the water looks so pristine and the food is colorful too! Do people speak French there? I literally know nothing

  4. I’m envious of you being able to explore the islands. Which one has been your favorite so far. I’ve only been to bora aora and Moores. They are so different it’s tough for me to pick a favorite

  5. Huahine really looks like paradise! I love shelling so I would definitely check out the shell museum and spend a lot of time combing those beautiful beaches. The distillery tasting sounds fun too!

  6. I’d love to be sailing in French Polynesia. My visit was by a much larger ship but getting to the smaller islands is one of the big advantages of sailing your own yacht.

  7. We definitely have the French Polynesian islands on our plans for future travel. We had the big spots on our radar but had not looked at Huahine. Good to know it is easy to visit from Tahiti. A week here would be paradise for us. And I will take you tip and rent a motorized bike! And we would probably come with scuba diving gear for those great waters.

  8. This looks like an absolute paradise. Lush green forest, biking paths and the water looks amazing. Would love to visit sometime. Great guide with a lot of information.

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