Although it lies between Moorea and Bora Bora, Huahine (pronounced Hu-a-hee-nee or Wha-hee-nee
) isn't on the tourist circuit just yet, but it should be. Its near-deserted roads and villages and wooded hills entwined with jungle vines beckon those looking for a little R&R.
Huahine is two islands (Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti) joined by a bridge. What passes for action takes place
in the main town of Fare (pronounced far-ay
) on Huahine Nui, the northern and bigger island. Away from this little port, life is slow-paced and you'll be lucky to find anyone stirring on a lazy afternoon in any of the villages of Huahine Iti. Most locals ride bicycles and agriculture's still the main industry—plantations grow vanilla and melons.
There are various legends surrounding the island's name. Some say that hua means "sex" and hine means "woman," while others say the name means "pregnant woman" due to a rock outline on Huahine Nui's Fitii Peninsula. Then there's the legend of Hiro, Polynesia's most famous god. It's said that Hiro rammed his canoe into the island, splitting it down the middle. Not far from the town of Maroe is a rock spire called Te Moa o Hiro or "penis of Hiro"—you can't miss it.