The Indian Ocean, the Pacific or the Caribbean: choosing the destination for your next big trip away is no mean feat. Before setting sail for paradise, you’ll need to decide what heaven means to you. We’ve compared the joys of all three, so you don’t have to!
How far away are we talking?
7,000 kilometres and a nine-hour flight get you to the Caribbean. This archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean is the only one directly accessible from France, with direct flights running between Paris and Fort-de-France. The trip to the Seychelles, meanwhile, takes nearly 14 hours from Paris, with a stopover in Doha. Polynesia is the furthest away of the three, with flights via Los Angeles taking 20 hours before you finally touch down on French soil in the Pacific.
When’s the best time to go?
The Caribbean’s dry season spans December to April, with visitor numbers dropping during November: perfect for getting away from the northern hemisphere’s grey, gloomy skies! The Seychelles are best visited in their transitional periods, between their austral summer (October to April) and cool season (April to October), roughly equivalent to our autumns and springs. Polynesia, meanwhile, enjoys pleasant temperatures throughout the year, but is particularly delightful from July to September.
What are the city vibes like?
In the Caribbean, Martinique’s iconic Fort-de-France is a heady concoction of markets, beaches and the Balata garden, almost a perfect mirror image of Victoria, the Seychelles’ capital on the island of Mahé: a patchwork of botanical gardens, markets, and picture postcard-perfect views. Papeete on the island of Tahiti in Polynesia is a must for its mouth-watering street food stalls serving up mind-blowing raw fish.
What is there to do?
The Caribbean is a festive region that sways to the sounds of its own beats. Recover from the balmy nights here with a sailing trip around the Antilles’ coral reef and its lambi conch. Far away on the other side of the world in the Seychelles, the island of Praslin and its May Valley await, offering up a spectacular nature reserve to rival the garden of Eden. Heaven on Earth, mirrored by the ethereal depths of the region’s seas, renowned as the most incredible the world has to offer. Polynesia is home to the Belvedere Lookout in Moorea: climb up to the top for breath-taking views, before heading back down to the Fakarava atoll for an unforgettable snorkelling excursion.
Any special must-sees?
In the heart of the Caribbean, get lost in the hellish area that awaits near West Bay on Grand Cayman island! Hell is the name of a region where the devilish landscape is shaped by jet-black limestone formations. Stop by at Hell’s post office, and send a postcard straight from the Underworld! In the Seychelles, no visit would be complete without a walk along Sans Soucis Road, taking in the ancient tamanu trees and historic monuments. A paradise steeped in history and nature. Avea Bay in Polynesia and Huahine island are home to luscious greenery, white sand beaches and clusters of coral islets bathed in turquoise waters, forming the most beautiful backdrop our planet has to offer.
Where are the best swimming spots?
Shoal Bay, on the northern coast of the island of Anguilla, Lighthouse Beach in the archipelago of the Bahamas and Martinique’s Anse Diamant beach (where stunning views of the Rocher du Diamant rock unfurl). When it comes to swimming, nowhere beats the Caribbean. The Digue des Seychelles seawall is a car-free stretch well worth a visit, and home to the Anse Source d’Argent, which regularly tops the charts of the world’s most gorgeous beaches. And Polynesia is just as heavenly. In Tahiti, the PK18 beaches and the island’s stunning seabed are a snorkeller’s paradise. Perfect for a dip!
What’s on the menu?
Chicken or fish? In the Caribbean, Chicken Colombo is where it’s at, while in the Seychelles, the local speciality is cari coco, fish simmered in spices and coconut milk. Fresh fruit and spices are the name of the game here, an integral part of island cuisine to be savoured in harmonious blends of flavours, such as in Polynesia, where coconut-infused Fafa Chicken is served, and the raw fish rivals Japan’
All aboard for paradise!
PONANT whisks you away on a trip to explore the Caribbean, the Seychelles and French Polynesia aboard a luxury cruise liner.