Chronicle of a voyage around the world

Maupiti, a Polynesian jewel…

Published on 01 february 2015 at 0h00

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Maupiti is the last of French Polynesia’s Leeward Islands to be served by sea and air transport links from its neighbors to the east, Bora Bora and Raiatea. Oh, there isn’t a flight every day, only 2 or 3 a week. And the Maupiti Express, the little passenger ferry which runs to Bora Bora and Raiatea, only makes the trip every 2 or 3 days. When the pass can be entered, of course! If not, she remains tied to the dock. Further west, you find the final reaches of French Polynesia, with Mopelia, and then the tiny little lost atolls of Bellinghausen and Scilly, which are uninhabited. Maupiti really is a jewel - a high island (380 meters) dropped in the middle of a lagoon of enchanting colors. A lagoon of sparkling beauty. Maupiti, a miniature jewel, lives to the rhythm of pushbikes and scooters which ride peacefully round the one road which circles the island, in the middle of the lagoon. On the surrounding motus, the Polynesians grow watermelons, and have recently started a few family-run guesthouses for the savvy tourists (I would recommend, once in your life, to spend a week at the Rose des Iles guesthouse, or at the Maupiti Village guesthouse on the Tiapaa motu, close to the pass…).

There are no hotels here, the locals don’t want them. In spite of having a little airport, one of the most picturesque in the world. The little village, with its beautiful flowers, is spread out along the foot of an imposing cliff of volcanic rock some 230 meters high, a ...

This article appeared in issue 140. To read the article in full, buy this issue individually

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