The Vanilla Island

Taha'a is a true botanical beauty. Her fertile valleys and sloping hillsides are covered with banana, watermelon and coconut groves. Suitably shaped like a flower, the island is also an immense natural greenhouse for the highly prized Tahitian vanilla orchid. Thanks to this abundance, the intoxicating scent of vanilla pervades the air in Taha'a, meaning this island is just as sweet as it sounds.

The Allure

Taha'a grows nearly 80% of all vanilla produced in French Polynesia. This sumptuous spice is therefore used in everything from the local cuisine to relaxing aromatherapy. We recommend visiting one of the many plantations and purchasing vanilla beans or extract to take a taste of Taha'a home with you.

The Locale

Beyond the fragrant fruits, Taha'a will draw you in with her ivory beaches, intricate coral gardens and secluded tranquility. Adding to this appeal is the fact that Taha'a is only accessible by boat from sister island Raiatea. These two islands are surrounded by a single continuous coral reef and share the same translucent lagoon. Once you arrive at the small airport on the coast of Raiatea, a 45-minute flight from Tahiti, Taha'a is just a few short minutes away by boat.


Since the scenery here is especially remarkable, Taha'a is ideal for hiking. You can explore these ascending slopes and deep valleys while discovering the diverse flora and fauna along the way. We also recommend a Jeep Safari tour of the island. Most guided excursions include a visit to the vanilla plantation and a local pearl farm, which really encompasses the primary attractions on the mainland.

Snorkeling is also a popular pastime in Taha'a. There is a shallow coral garden between Motu Maharare and Motu Tautau where you can drift snorkel amidst scores of intensely hued tropical fish. The current carries you effortlessly through the reef, allowing you to simply float across the surface and gaze at this underwater maze. You can also enjoy Jet Skiing, fishing, sailing and diving. Across the lagoon, the island of Raiatea is the nautical center of Tahiti, meaning you can easily reserve a catamaran for the day. The waters between these two islands are home to a number of caverns and shipwrecks, creating a nirvana for avid scuba divers.


The mainland of Taha'a is surrounded by tiny islets, or motu, which lay scattered across the lagoon. Each is an idyllic locale with flawless beaches covered in white sand and swaying palms. Many are isolated and provide the ultimate setting for a picnic lunch during your stay. The others feature some of Tahiti's most secluded hotels. Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa is an elegant resort that is part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux Group. Another option is the charming Vahine Private Island Resort, which features a limited selection of intimate overwater bungalows and beachfront suites.

Final Impression

Sweet and seductive, the island of Taha'a will engage and heighten each of your senses. One of our favorite picks for a romantic honeymoon escape, this is a wonderful island to pair with Bora Bora—or even visit instead of Bora Bora. Stay on the northwest coast and you can admire Bora Bora from afar, watching the sun set behind her iconic silhouette on the nearby horizon as you breathe in the irresistible scent of vanilla.

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