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Oceania > Polynesia

Polynesia

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Polynesia is the most far-flung, easterly region of Oceania.

Countries and territories[edit]

Polynesia is comprised of the following island nations:

Polynesia regions - Color-coded map
  Cook Islands
Fifteen islands spread out over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 2,200,000 square kilometres
  Kiribati
The eastern two thirds of this sprawling island nation fall within the scope of Polynesia. Remote and poor, the sun rises first here every day.
  Niue
The largest raised coral atoll in the world, halfway between Tonga and the Cook Islands.
  Samoa
Two main volcanic islands with luxuriant vegetation, traditional culture and wonderful open-sided houses.
  Tonga
The so-called “Friendly islands” and a Kingdom. But traditional and modern cultures are now clashing.
  Tuvalu
One of the smallest countries in the world in terms of population.

Polynesia includes smaller overseas territories of larger nations, including:

  American Samoa (USA)
Much less touristy than neighbouring Samoa, American Samoa is perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of the Pacific
  Baker and Howland Islands (USA)
  Easter Island (Chile)
An isolated island with amazing stone carvings.
  French Polynesia (France)
Includes three islands with a strong claim to being the most beautiful island in the world, Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea, but also Mururoa where the French carried out nuclear tests until 1996.
  Hawaii (USA)
  Jarvis Island (USA)
  Johnston Atoll (USA)
  Midway Islands (USA)
  Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef (USA)
  Pitcairn Islands (UK)
Home to descendants of the Bounty mutineers, only for the most adventurous travellers.
  Tokelau (New Zealand)
This small New Zealand territory sees next to no tourism
  Wallis and Futuna (France)

New Zealand is also often considered part of Polynesia both culturally and historically.

Cities[edit]

Map of Polynesia
Street view in Apia

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Aitutaki — the classic picture postcard of a palm tree fringed tropical island with turquoise waters, in the Cook Islands.
  • 2 Atiu — a small island in the Cooks with caves, birds and bush beer
  • 3 Bora Bora — the most beautiful lagoon of French Polynesia, but incredibly pricey.
  • 4 'Eua — a small island in Tonga, home to some of the best rainforests in Polynesia
  • 5 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — home to 3 active volcanoes
  • 6 Kiritimati — the largest coral atoll in the world and an off the beaten track destination
  • 7 Moorea — budget alternative to Bora Bora with beautiful scenery.
  • 8 Vava'u — group of more than 50 islands in Tonga, a common destination for yachters.
  • 9 Savaii ㅡ the largest island in Polynesia outside of Hawaiʻi and New Zealand. Covered in dense tropical rainforest.

Understand[edit]

Polynesia comes from the Greek words "Poly" and "Nēsos" meaning "many islands".

Historically, Polynesia was famous for its seafaring traditions where people used canoes to navigate the seas by using stars and other signs that came from the ocean and sky.

Talk[edit]

There are many indigenous Polynesian languages spoken, sometime known as the Oceanic languages, a sub-branch of the Austronesian language family. Additionally English is widely spoken in Polynesia, French in much of the rest, and Spanish on Easter Island.

Get in[edit]

Air Tahiti Nui

Compared to the rest of Polynesia, Hawaii has excellent connections from mainland North America plus many flights from East Asia. The southern parts usually have flights from New Zealand, Fiji and/or Australia. Easter Island is connected to mainland Chile and French Polynesia to Paris via Los Angeles.

Get around[edit]

Most travelers get around by plane here. The alternative is cruising on small craft.

See[edit]

The "Ahu Akivi" group of moais at the Easter Island

There are a couple of world heritage sites in Polynesia:

Do[edit]

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Stay healthy[edit]

Take precautions against mosquito bites, as there have been outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus in the 2010s in the tropical countries.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Melanesia ㅡ the island group west of Polynesia
This region travel guide to Polynesia is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!