5 Days In Maupiti Itinerary

Day 2: Maupiti Lagoon Tour

Our Maupiti itinerary continues with an unforgettable day. Because the weather in the South Pacific is unstable, it’s best to use the first full day in Maupiti for the lagoon tour. Pensions usually offer guests lagoon tour excursions, but if things don’t work out, book a spot with Sammy Maupiti Tour.

Snorkeling With Manta Rays

The fun begins back at the manta ray cleaning station. This is a lagoon section where manta rays tend to pass through in the morning hours to get cleaned by small fish. Your guide will point you in the right direction for an hour of snorkeling with these magnificent creatures.


Snorkeling in the Coral Garden

The boat will then stop in shallow waters, where you’ll follow your guide into the coral garden. If you thought the snorkeling was good the other day in the motu, wait until you see this!


Picnic Lunch

All this snorkeling will make you mighty hungry. Lucky for you, this tour includes a picnic lunch on one of the lagoon motus. You’ll learn how to make the famous poisson cru, and enjoy a delicious lunch on your very own private beach. So what do you do with the leftovers? Not to worry, there are plenty of customers for that!

boat in Motu Auira overlooking maupiti
Maupiti lagoon tour - motu picnic - stingray approaching boat
Maupiti lagoon tour - motu picnic - tuna steaks

Day 3: Hiking & Circling Maupiti on Foot

The third day in this Maupiti itinerary is an active one. You’ll circle the island on foot (you can also use a bicycle) but spend the morning hiking to the island’s highest point. 

Passing Through the Main Village

After breakfast, head to the calm Vaiea Village. On your way, you’ll no doubt say hello to a few friendly locals beginning their day – whether dropping the kids off at school or selling some freshly caught fish on the side of the road. On the outskirts of the main village, the signposted marae Vaiahu is the best relic on the main island for an ancient Polynesian ceremonial site.

locals making copra in Maupiti French Polynesia
mahi mahi fish in Maupiti French Polynesia
aerial view of Vaiea Village Maupiti French Polynesia

Don’t forget to notice all that grows in abundance – tropical flowers in all colors and enough fruit for everyone. Also, local residents are more traditional than on other islands, burying loved ones in the front yard – a common Polynesian custom in other Pacific Island nations like Samoa and the Cook Islands.

grave on property in Maupiti French Polynesia
Flowers and fruits in Maupiti French Polynesia
House in Maupiti French Polynesia

Before we start the hike, see if there’s anyone around the tiny local market just by the municipal buildings. Grab a baked snack, fruit, and an ice-cold coconut for the road. You’ll need them!

local market in Maupiti

Hike Mount Teurafaatiu

Just on the outskirts of the village, a track leads you steeply up the mountain to the summit of Mount Teurafaatiu. After 60-90 minutes of continuous sweaty climbing on a well-marked track, but the views are so out of this world that you’ll frequently be stopping. Before reaching the summit, enjoy breathtaking views down to the village where you started, across the azure lagoon, and the engineering marvel that is the airport.  

Vaiea Village from Mount Teurafaatiu hike - French Polynesia - Maupiti
Airport runway from Mount Teurafaatiu Hike Maupiti French Polynesia.
rope assistance on Mount Teurafaatiu Hike Maupiti French Polynesia

One final push, or rather a pull using ropes – and you’re at the summit. You’ll probably be here all by yourself and wonder, “How is Maupiti still a secret?” Look around you and spot the beach you visited yesterday. On a clear day, you can even see Bora Bora in the far distance. It’s a good spot to spend a few hours, watching the clouds go by and the boat journey to and from the village to the outer motus.

View from summit of Mount Teurafaatiu hike - French Polynesia - Maupiti
Tereia Beach - Maupiti from Mount Teurafaatiu hike - French Polynesia
Closeup view of Maupiti lagoon pass from Mount Teurafaatiu hike - French Polynesia
fishermen in lagoon from Mount Teurafaatiu Hike Maupiti French Polynesia.
Natural pools in Maupiti lagoon from Mount Teurafaatiu hike - French Polynesia

Lunch in Snack Tarona

Back on flat land, stop at Snack Tarona for a well-deserved ice-cold Hinano Beer. If you fancy eating out, this is the best option in the village. Enjoy huge portions of traditional dishes and western delights with a refreshing breeze from the lagoon just meters away. If Snack Tarona is closed, a few small grocery shops might be nearby, but it’s best to pack lunch for the day just in case (and plenty of drinks).

Circle the Island on Foot

It should be mid-afternoon by now, so the weather will get more pleasant as you continue the quest to circle Maupiti. Just follow the ring road and pause for a break in one of the lagoon-side benches whenever you want to chill. Look for signs pointing inland to the Haranae Petroglyphs for a bit of sightseeing. They’re a little tricky to find, but once you do – look for the ancient turtle carving. I’m not exactly sure how old these are, but they are impressive.

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Haranae Petroglyphs - Maupiti

Further along, peek inside the Palais de la Mer. This peculiar private ‘museum’ is made entirely from local coral and shells. Strange, creative, and impressive all at the same time!

From the Palais de la Mer, the road takes you through a few residential plots and along impressive cliffs. If you’re in luck, mango will fall to the ground just in time for a fresh snack. Locals grow vanilla in this part of the island, and there’s also an artist somewhere here who carves beautiful penu, the symbol of Maupiti. You’ll then reach Tereia Beach. If there’s time or if you’re staying here, it’s a perfect way to end the long day. Otherwise, continue to the scenic lookout and descend toward the main village. 

Mango tree in Maupiti French Polynesia
Penu Polynesian herb crushing tool in Maupiti French Polynesia
View of motu auira from scenic lookout Maupiti French Polynesia

Day 4: Walking Across The Lagoon To Motu Auira

This is another day in Maupiti that you’ll never forget. Well… most of your days here will be like that. So take it easy in the morning and head back up the hill and toward Tereia Point when ready. Don’t forget your snorkeling & beach gear, and wear some sandals for the day (you’ll soon see why). Stop at Snack Chez Mimi and chat with the friendly mammas while preparing your takeaway lunch

Cross the Lagoon on Foot

Ask the locals at Snack Cheze Mimi to point you in the right direction, and just like Moses, walk across the lagoon to Motu Auira. It’ll take you about 20 minutes to cross the shallow lagoon on foot. Instead of Pharaoh’s army chasing you – look for the stingrays and reef sharks that patrol the waters. It’s perfectly safe and, above all, so beautiful!

Motu Auira Maupiti French Polynesia - crossing lagoon on foot
Maupiti French Polynesia

As you make landfall on the small motu, head to your right and walk along one of the most beautiful beaches nature could throw at you. With white sand that tests the limits of your sunglasses and bright shades of impossible blue – this is as good as it gets. There are just a few families living out here, mainly growing grapefruit but also allegedly some cannabis – so just stick to the beach and do not venture inland. It’s perfectly safe, so really have no fear.

I recommend spending more time exploring the “reef side” so don’t spend too much time on the lagoon side, as pretty as it may be (you can also return here tomorrow if you have another day to spend in Maupiti).

houses in motu auira - Maupiti - French Polynesia
lagoon side - motu auira - Maupiti - French Polynesia

Explore the Lagoon Side

Find a spot along the beach, have that sandwich, and head for some snorkeling. The best strategy is to swim along the whitish patches in the deep lagoon. That’s where you’ll see the unique coral shaped like bonsai trees. Unfortunately, the visibility isn’t always good on the lagoon side – so let’s take care of that!

Motu Auira Maupiti French Polynesia - lagoon side beach
Motu Auira Maupiti French Polynesia - coconuts on beach
Motu Auira Maupiti French Polynesia - pontoon
Motu Auira Maupiti French Polynesia - main island
Motu Auira Maupiti French Polynesia - snorkling lagoon side

Explore the Reef Side

Pack everything up and walk to the other side of the motu – the reef side. This is the wilder and more impressive part of the motu. On the way, spot the silhouette of Bora Bora in the far distance – you can’t miss it. The reef side of the motu is wild, and there’s nobody out here. If you thought the color of the water was impressive on the lagoon side, wait until you get here. I’ve never seen such crystal clear waters.

White sand beach at Motu Auira - Maupiti
Crabs on beach at Motu Auira - Maupiti
beach and lagoon - motu auira - Maupiti - French Polynesia

When you’re done exploring your very own beach, put that snorkeling gear back on and explore the reef. Schools of tropical fish await you, and shells in ultra-bright colors. Locals love coming here on the weekend to collect these shells and open them up on the beach in preparation for lunch. If you’re lucky, you might spot a blacktip reef shark or perhaps a turtle. I love this place so much that I always try to squeeze a return visit before leaving Maupiti.

snorkeling - motu auira - Maupiti - French Polynesia
coral reef - motu auira - Maupiti - French Polynesia

Day 5: Diving With Manta Rays & Relaxing

We’ll wrap up the Maupiti itinerary with a relaxing day. On your last day in Maupiti, head underwater to spend more time with the manta rays that you’ve hopefully seen while snorkeling in the lagoon. Since the dive is very shallow, you may not have to wait the customary 24 hours before flying. Alternatively, use this last day to relax or revisit some of your favorite spots in Maupiti, such as Tereia Beach or Motu Auira.

Diving With Manta Rays

Diving with manta rays in Maupiti takes place in the same spot where you snorkeled in the lagoon tour, the “cleaning station.” Every day, giant manta rays arrive at the ‘cleaning station’ for a quick ride through nature’s car wash. Contact Maupiti Diving, who’ll take you to about 10 meters and witness this spectacle. As you park it on the sandy lagoon floor, manta rays swing around coral boulders as small fish free them from parasites that latch onto their ‘wings’. It’s a win-win situation: the manta rays get cleaned, the fish have their meal, and you get to see it all from up close!


Visibility wasn’t that good on the day I went diving in Maupiti, but I still enjoyed a 75-minute dive. How can you not?


What’s Next?

It’ll be mighty hard to leave Maupiti, but hey, at least you were smart enough to come to this magical island. Use this Maupiti itinerary to plan your own visit to paradise, and remember to save some time for relaxing! Check out these recommended guides for more information about Maupiti and French Polynesia.

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