Œuvre d'art

Hinatea Colombani – cultural trainer

Hinatea Colombani

Hinatea Colombani lives the islands to the fullest. This Tahitian dance teacher has quickly developed a passion for Polynesian history, customs, and traditions. Art and culture are an essential part of her daily life. Today, she is a Polynesian culture trainer and she shares her passion with enthusiasm with tourists and Polynesians.

Her inspiring personality and her contagious joie de vivre accompany her everywhere: no doubt, Hinatea is a truly passionate person! So, to allow all those who wish to discover Polynesian culture or to learn its arts (music, dance, crafts...), the talented dancer created the 'Arioi Cultural Center with her partner, Moe. The association organizes workshops to allow everyone to learn about different aspects of the culture (tapa, vegetable dyes, etc.).

At the same time, Hinatea Colombani has created 'Arioi Access, an online platform that offers remote cultural training. Thus, enthusiasts from all over the world can learn about the culture, history, and traditions of the Polynesian people.

« For me, it is a passion and a real mission: when someone is interested in our culture, I try to accompany them as well as I can to allow them to experience French Polynesia in the most authentic way ».

Hinatea shares her tips for enjoying this authenticity throughout your trip to the Islands of Tahiti.

Hinatea Colombani donnant un cours à des touristes

Enjoy all the different parts of the trip

For Hinatea Colombani, each trip to French Polynesia is an experience, which begins even before arriving in Tahiti: "You can meet the Polynesian culture as soon as you get on the plane, as soon as you meet the Polynesians. Then comes the welcome at the Papeete Tahiti airport, which also moves us Polynesians: to hear this orchestra singing, with the caress of the warm weather, the smell of flowers, and everything that greets the visitors... It's a real pleasure! This atmosphere is already the first opportunity to immerse yourself in the Polynesian culture."

Arriving in French Polynesia is like offering a symphony to your senses!  The sense of smell is driven by the sweet scent of tropical flowers. Hinatea sees a strong symbolism in this: "All these sensations are really part of our culture because the flower and the monoï accompany the Polynesian every day of his life, and even beyond, since monoï was used in funeral rituals in the ancient times."

Vue sur la vallée de la Maroto

Start exploring the islands from the mountains

Your journey continues on the island of Tahiti, and for a truly unique Polynesian adventure, Hinatea recommends an unusual route: "I know everyone wants to start their journey by the sea, but I would advise you to start with the mountains and valleys! The valleys are quite mystical places knowing that in ancient times, this is where the people lived. It is possible to discover the valleys through trails and with guides: Tahiri Valley, Papeno'o, Teahupo'o, Tautira...

Start in the mountains and go down the rivers and streams to reach the plains. There, you can visit some marae (historical sacred places) and be truly immersed in the culture. Then, you will arrive at the seaside, on the beach, then in the lagoon. If you have the opportunity, you can also visit the channels that link the lagoon and the ocean, and sail on the open sea. In fact, I think there is a whole experience to live in French Polynesia, and it is outstanding.”

Groupe de personnes se baignant dans une rivière

Swimming in the rivers

Although the crystal-clear lagoons steal the show, the rivers of the islands are equally pleasant places to swim. The locals like to refresh themselves at the Vaima spring: "Its water is rejuvenating and healing." Hinatea enjoys a swim in the middle of nature whenever she can: "For me, living in French Polynesia is really a lifestyle. I wear a pareo 24 hours a day, and I live with the elements that surround me: the sea and the river are part of my daily life and are essential to recharge my batteries."

During your hikes in valleys like Papeno'o, you will come across rivers in which it is possible to swim when the weather conditions are good. An opportunity to enjoy a refreshing break in an exceptional setting.

Catamaran aux alentours de l'île de Tetiaroa

Discover Tetiaroa by catamaran

Tetiaroa is an atoll near Tahiti, in the heart of the Society Archipelago. It is accessible by catamaran from the Papeete Harbor in about three hours. The atoll is famous for its pristine beauty, for its bird island, which is home to many species of sea birds, for its beach where sea turtles lay their eggs, and for its well-preserved ecosystem. This island, which belonged to the actor Marlon Brando, has no residential areas. Quiet and wonderful, the atoll is a daydream. "Tetiaroa is one of my favorite islands. I love to go there for two days and spend a night there on a catamaran. I really enjoy sailing excursions. Living on a boat for a few days is very pleasant."

Table dressée dans un restaurant pour le déjeuner

Eating out in Tahiti and Moorea

During your stay in French Polynesia, try its unique gastronomy. Of course, raw fish in coconut milk is the must-try dish of the islands. To taste it in the best conditions, Hinatea has some very good addresses: "My favorite restaurant is the Lézard Jaune in Moorea.  The chef's raw fish is absolutely excellent. For me, it's impossible to go to Moorea without eating at the Lézard Jaune!"

In Tahiti too, there are many good restaurants: "I really like the Sunset in Punaauia. It is a friendly place, with a local clientele. The employees are very nice, and you can enjoy a pleasant atmosphere with a beautiful view. And there is also the snack Tavania next to the town hall of Vairao. You have to get there early to be sure to find a table, but the food is always very fresh! It's great."