Maupiti Travel Guide

May 27, 2016

Maupiti French Polynesia panoramic view from the air

Picture a dream island perfectly rising out of the blue ocean, protected by a bright blue lagoon and palm fringed beaches with blindingly white sand. Pretty little Maupiti is just so impossibly beautiful. If Google were to return a single result for the search of “classic tropical island”, Maupiti would be it. A heavenly scented flower necklace tossed around your neck is the first sign of the warm hospitality that awaits you in Maupiti. There are no resorts around here and not even an ATM! So prepare yourself for a visit you’ll never forget in one of the most magical islands in the vast South Pacific. This Maupiti Travel Guide will help you plan the trip of a lifetime, to an island that has truly succeeded in slowing down time.

About This Guide

I spent three months in French Polynesia, as part of a six-month backpacking trip across the South Pacific Islands – with a full week in Maupiti. I have since returned to Maupiti on two additional occasions. That’s how special this place is. This Maupiti travel guide was written based on my experiences and is meant to help you make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime destination. The Maupiti Travel Guide is geared towards independent travelers, but any visitor will find it useful.

Heading off to French Polynesia? In-depth island guides to all 5 archipelagos await you, including sample itineraries and essential travel tips & tricks.

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Why Should You Visit Maupiti?

Maupiti is the kind of island where everyone looks familiar after just a couple of days. That won’t prevent locals from greeting you with a friendly ia orana and a big smile right from the time you arrive. The sheer beauty and laid-back way of life, will make you wonder why on earth all the tourists get off at neighboring Bora Bora? Locals have fought long and hard to prevent Maupiti from following the footsteps of its big sister down the road. In fact, the island is said to resemble the way Bora Bora used to be before it was discovered by the package holidaymakers.

Maupiti aerial view French Polynesia

Maupiti is small enough to be explored on foot. You’ll have a huge smile on your face as you’re walking along its only main road, picking fruit and tropical flowers along the way, climbing its highest peak, and crossing the azure lagoon to your very own Robinson Crusoe beach. Let’s not forget the magic that lies beneath the calm waves, with giant manta rays and pristine coral just waiting to be discovered.

When ranking the islands I enjoyed exploring the most in the South Pacific, Maupiti ranks very high. Do not miss the opportunity to see it for yourself!

Aerial view of Maupiti French Polynesia motu and reef

What’s Included In This Maupiti Travel Guide?

Maupiti Travel Guide Video

Watch this video to see what’s expecting you in Maupiti (you might need to disable your ad blocker).

Maupiti Travel Guide Map

Click on the image to open in Google Maps. This map features all the highlights mentioned in this guide. 

Maupiti Island Travel Guide - French Polynesia

Facts & Brief History

Maupiti is the most western of the high volcanic islands that make up the Society Islands in French Polynesia. The island measures only 11 square kilometers and has a population of about 1,200 residents living on the main island and the outer motus (small islets) surrounding the lagoon.

Islanders riding bike in Maupiti French Polynesia

It is believed that ancient Polynesians settled Maupiti sometime in the 9th century AD, establishing a traditional way of life with very close ties to neighboring Bora Bora. ‘Discovered’ in 1722 by a Dutchman, European explorers started to frequently arrive a few decades later, followed by the missionaries. France eventually took over Maupiti, but life here has continued to retain a traditional feel.

Locals in boat Maupiti French Polynesia

These days islanders primarily live off farming, growing grapefruit, and noni on the main island and on the surrounding motus. Small-scale tourism is picking up, but islanders are adamant about preserving their laid-back way of life and will not allow the construction of any resorts.

Yachts in Maupiti Lagoon - Mount Teurafaatiu hike - French Polynesia

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5 comments

  1. Hi, thank you for all of the information it is great. Me & my husband are looking to go end of August & travel around a few of the islands, we have already visited Tikehau & fell in love.
    Maupiti sounds amazing, I read that there are no resorts there, do you have any information please about accommodation there?
    Thank you Charley

    1. Hi Charley

      Thanks for the feedback. Maupiti is very light on accommodations but I have listed a few good options in the guide itself (both on the main island and on the surrounding motu). You’ll need to personally reach out to the pensions via email/phone to check availability. I have been advised that the island is quite fully booked during the high season.

  2. Hello,

    after long time I ve visited again your travel blog and we wanted to thank you a lot for your Polynesia posts. Its amazing source of information and we hope this year we could maybe do some bigger adventure in Polynesia again. Lets see if its going to be possible.

    Concerning Maupiti, I think it is the most beautiful Island we ve seen there (Society Islands) and we have one funny story related to your blog.

    I remembered your story about beautiful natural pools on the other side of the motu right across that incredible lagoon. So we crossed (thanks god we took enough water and sandwiches from Mimi) and turned left. After maybe 30 minutes we arrived, but I still wasnt sure if that was really it. I was still looking for something even better looking. And so we continued and continued and suddenly we were walking for 2 hours on the “ocean” side of the motu. No cover from sun, no sand, only broken pieces of coral that tide brought to the beach. We were getting a bit tired but turning back wasnt an option anymore and so we decided to finish something we now call “tour de motu”. My hope was that the moment we get back to the lagoon side, things were going to dramatically improve. Unfortunately that wasnt the case and we found very “junglish” environment, spent walking most of the time in knee deep water and were constantly hunted by semi-wild dogs. (At one moment I really believed we were going to get bitten, as they pushed us back in water and stopped pursuing only in deep).

    Nevertheless it is now one of our most favorite stories. Just an additional info for your blog: the whole tour took 17km and was quite exhausting and at times a bit scary, mainly because of those dogs.

    Anyway… thanks a lot again and if I may… could you please let me know where to write you one message? I am struggling to find one piece of info about flights and who knows, maybe you d know the answer…

    Best regards

    M.

    1. Hi Michal
      Thanks so much for the comment and happy to have helped. Sounds like a great adventure. I must be honest that I always say when I go to Maupiti “this time I’ll circle Motu Auira” and I never do it. Now you made me curious… The natural pool is still there. I visited it in September 2021. It’s waiting for your next visit 🙂

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