Bora Bora is one of many beautiful islands that attract tourists to French Polynesia. (Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images )
French Polynesia is a term that applies to a collection of approximately 118 islands spread out over 965,255 square miles in the southeast Pacific Ocean. The French Polynesian islands are divided into five groups known as the Marquesas, Tuamotu, Gambier, Austral and Society islands. Boasting the islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, the Society Islands are the most populated and visited islands in French Polynesia. With the exception of Tahiti, public transportation options throughout French Polynesia are pretty dismal. However, travelers can successfully get around the French Polynesian islands with a little planning.
Fly between islands to get around French Polynesia quickly and efficiently. Air Tahiti flies to 38 French Polynesian islands from their hub in Pape'ete, Tahiti. Private charter flights are also available to select destinations, though they are much more expensive than flying with a commercial airline like Air Tahiti.
Travel to various French Polynesian islands by boat or ferry. Several companies offer daily water shuttles between Tahiti and Mo'orea.
Shuttles to other islands are available, though they operate less frequently. Mo'orea Ferry provides regular ferry service between Tahiti, Mo'orea and the surrounding islands. The Maupiti Express operates a high-speed ferry service between Bora Bora, Taha'a, Ra'iatea and Maupiti.
Rent a car to get around individual islands in French Polynesia. International car rental agencies such as Hertz, Budget and Avis are available on larger islands such as Tahiti and Bora Bora. Independent car rental agencies operate on some of the smaller islands. Cars may be rented for days at a time or in four to eight hour periods. Present an International Drivers Permit and valid credit card to rent a car on any of the islands.
Taxis are available on many of the islands, though high fares limit their usefulness to short or emergency trips, according to Lonely Planet. Locate taxis outside of hotels and other tourist attractions.
Rent a scooter or bicycle to tour the islands at your own pace. Avis, Europcar and other car rental agencies on the islands often rent scooters in addition to automobiles. Bicycles may be rented from select hotels, guesthouses and resorts.