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Tahiti

Queen of the Pacific

The heart and soul of the South Pacific, Tahiti is the largest in a chain of islands that make up French Polynesia. The name can either refer to the main island or the entire destination. Commonly referred to as The Islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls scattered across an impressive nautical surface area the size of Western Europe. Still, these tiny islands—many of which remain uninhabited—make up a total landmass of only 1,600 square miles (4,100 sq. km).

The Locale

You may be wondering, where is Tahiti? The islands are situated halfway between Los Angeles, California and Sydney, Australia. They are in the same time zone as Hawaii and located just as far south of the equator as Hawaii is north. Since the word often conjures up visions of a distant, unspoiled paradise, many assume them to be far away; but in all reality, Tahiti is only eight hours from Los Angeles.

The island of Tahiti is divided into two parts: The larger portion to the northwest is known as Tahiti Nui, while the smaller, southeastern peninsula is known as Tahiti Iti. Tahiti Nui is dominated by three extinct volcanic mountains including Mount Orohena, the tallest in French Polynesia; Mount Aorai, known for its incredible views; and Le Diadème, which appears to crown the island as the rightful queen.

Home to the capital city of Papeete, Tahiti is the economic center of French Polynesia. Since all flights arrive through Faa'a International Airport, your tailored Tahiti vacation will begin and end in Papeete. While you may be tempted to jet off immediately to the other islands, we recommend staying at least a day or two. Tahiti strikes an interesting contrast to some of the more quiet, secluded islands in the region; and with a selection of wonderful and convenient Tahiti resorts available, you will never regret staying.

The Allure

Papeete is a vibrant and multicultural city with busy boulevards and a bustling harbor. The downtown municipal market, Le Marché, is an exciting place to purchase all things Tahiti including vanilla beans, monoi oil and colorful pareos. Just down the street at Le Centre Vaima is the Robert Wan Pearl Museum, which is a great place to start if you're hoping to purchase a Tahitian black pearl during your stay. To live like a local, head to Vai'ete Square after sunset. This waterfront promenade comes to life at night when gourmet food trucks, Les Roulottes, open their windows to serve a range of affordable meals including Chinese food, French crépes, steak frites, fresh fish and pizza.

Recreation

Beyond the city atmosphere, Tahiti is also a scenic island with lush landscapes and large abounding waterfalls. Leave the more developed areas behind and you will find shady hiking trails, pleasant beaches and calm waters. This unique juxtaposition makes Tahiti one of the most diverse islands in French Polynesia. We recommend exploring these interior peaks and valleys on a guided hike or Jeep Safari tour.

Other popular activities include snorkeling, Jet Skiing and surfing. Experienced surfers should visit the famed Teahupo'o and bear witness to one of the world's most intense waves. Beginners can surf or take lessons at some of the more mellow beaches around the island. You can also enjoy a day of golfing at the Olivier Bréaud Golf Course, one of only two courses in French Polynesia.  

Celebration

Tahiti really is the hub of all cultural activity. Every July, the annual Heiva I Tahiti transforms the island into a spectacular celebration of Polynesian culture and dance. Year round, you can also catch an authentic Tahitian dance show at the InterContinental Resort every Friday and Saturday night. Permanent historical fixtures include the house of James Norman Hall, Point Venus, the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, the Paul Gauguin Museum, and the Harrison Smith Botanical Gardens. These can all be seen on a guided Circle Island Tour, or you can rent a car and explore the island at your leisure.

Final Impression

Often overlooked by travelers eager to experience the outer islands, Tahiti is more than just a means to an end. How much time you choose to spend here is up to you, but give yourself a chance to see everything the island has to offer—beyond the initial view from the plane.

Hotels

InterContinental Tahiti Resort

The InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa is the largest luxury resort on the island of Tahiti. Located just five minutes from the airport, it is also the most convenient. Despite this proximity to downtown, the hotel provides a nice Polynesian oasis...

Our Rating

Le Meridien Tahiti

Le Méridien Tahiti boasts an idyllic seaside setting along a beautiful white sand beach on the western coast of Tahiti. Located farther south from Papeete than any other hotel on the island, the resort is still only fifteen minutes away from the...

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Manava Suite Resort Tahiti

The Manava Suite Resort Tahiti is a modern hotel that rests alongside the water and provides scenic views of Moorea across the lagoon. Located on the western coast, this hotel is only ten minutes from the airport. The rooms feature their own kitchenette...

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Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort

Situated along an exotic black sand beach, the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort features lush surroundings and beautiful waterfront views. Conveniently located just ten minutes from Papeete, it's the ideal place for any honeymoon, vacation or business...

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Hotel Tahiti Nui

The Hotel Tahiti Nui is the newest hotel on the island. It features a clean, modern design with a young and trendy ambiance. Unlike the other beachside resorts in Tahiti, this hotel is located at the heart of downtown Papeete, putting you right in the...

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Packages

Huahine Family Escape

Featuring the Maitai Lapita Village Huahine

from $3,395 pp

Vahine Private Island

Featuring the Vahine Island Private Resort

from $3,550 pp

Marquesan Adventure

Featuring the Nuku Hiva Keikahanui and Hiva Oa Hanakee Lodges

from $3,950 pp

Land and Lagoon Honeymoon

Featuring Tahiti Yacht Charter and the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso

from $5,650 pp

Idyllic Indulgence Honeymoon

Featuring Le Taha'a Island Resort and the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso

from $6,150 pp

Marquesas Cultural Discovery Cruise

Featuring the Aranui V Freighter

from $6,875 pp

Activities

Surfing Group Lesson - Tura'i Mataare Surf School

Make it a group effort and learn to surf some of the best waves in the world with instruction from Tura`i Mataare Surf School. You will develop the skills under the proper supervision in order to "ride the waves!" This half-day group lesson...

from $49 pp

Circle Island Tour

Make your way around the island of Tahiti on this informative excursion with Marama Tours. Your friendly, English-speaking guide will take you to the most popular sites around the island and provide interesting narrative along the way. Stops include landmarks...

from $67 pp

4x4 Jeep Safari Tour

Journey through Tahiti`s deep valleys and thick rainforests on this guided 4x4 Jeep Safari with Marama Tours. Your English-speaking driver will take you to the volcanic crater that originally formed Tahiti over a million years ago. You will stop at One...

from $85 pp

Hiking Tour

Hike to Mount Aorai, the second highest peak in Tahiti, on this guided adventure with Marama Tours. You will discover lush valleys, cascading waterfalls and other natural wonders along the way. This excursion can accommodate any range of skill and requires...

from $85 pp

Hiking Tour

Climb to the top of Mount Aorai, the second highest peak in Tahiti, on a guided hiking excursion with Marama Tours. You will discover lush valleys, cascading waterfalls and other natural wonders along the way. This excursion can accommodate any range...

from $109 pp

Surfing Group Lesson - Tura'i Mataare Surf School

Learn to surf some of the best waves in the world with private instruction from Tura`i Mataare Surf School. This half-day surf lesson can accommodate anyone over the age of 5 years old. Your experienced instructor will make sure you can master the basic...

from $119 pp

Tahiti Car Rental - 1 Day

Tour the island of Tahiti in your own rental car from Avis Pacificar and have the freedom to go wherever your curiosity takes you and the roads permit. You can enjoy spectacular views and visit numerous historical sites around the island. Includes unlimited...

from $136 pp

4x4 Jeep Safari Tour

Journey through Tahiti`s deep valleys and thick rainforests on this guided 4x4 Jeep Safari with Marama Tours. Your English-speaking driver will take you to the volcanic crater that originally formed Tahiti over a million years ago. You will stop at One...

from $144 pp

Dinner at Le Coco's Restaurant

Enjoy an epicurean evening with dinner at the waterfront Le Coco`s in Tahiti. Choose from three original menus, each with a different theme and unique combination of international flavors. The Roots & Signature Menu highlights authentic French cuisine;...

from $162 pp

Moorea Day Tour

Enjoy an afternoon on the island of Moorea with Marama Tours. Cruise the colorful lagoon aboard a comfortable, motorized boat while your guide shares the history of the island and shows you around. You will also have the unique opportunity to swim with...

from $196 pp

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