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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Featuring the Manava Moorea Beach Resort and Spa
Discover Tahiti with two nights at the Te Moana Tahiti Resort followed by five nights in an overwater bungalow at the Manava Beach Resort. Includes round-trip international air, inter-island transport by passenger ferry, free daily breakfast for two, couples massage, 4x4 island tour of Tahiti, and an ATV Tour, Jet Ski Tour, Ray Feeding and Snorkeling Tour, Food Tour and more on Moorea.
Featuring the Te Moana Tahiti Resort and Kia Ora Resort and Spa
Escape to the pristine atoll of Rangiroa, the world's second largest atoll. Includes round-trip international air from select California gateways, all transfers and inter-island air, two nights at the Te Moana Tahiti Resort, Tahiti ATV adventure, five nights in a Beach Bungalow with Jacuzzi at the Hotel Kia Ora, daily breakfast and dinner for two, drift snorkeling excursion, Blue Lagoon tour, wine tasting, plus added romantic amenities for our honeymoon clients.
Designed specifically for Polynesia, the Paul Gauguin is a deluxe vessel offering all-inclusive small-ship luxury to just 332 guests. Flawless, friendly service from a European-trained staff emulates the delightfully unhurried and unregimented Polynesian way of life. Spacious ocean-view staterooms, most with balconies or verandas, open to sweet-scented tropical breezes and lush island vistas. Fine international and French cuisine is served on an open-seating basis in three restaurants. Polynesia's translucent, shimmering aqua lagoons are begging to be explored and there is no better place to do so than from the Paul Gauguin's retractable watersports marina.
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 with some of the best views of Moorea on the horizon. Elegantly engulfed by tropical gardens, this is the ideal place to begin your visit to French Polynesia.
The Hilton Tahiti Resort is Papeete`s newest oceanfront resort. After completing a multi-year renovation the resort opened in the Fall of 2021. The Hilton Tahiti Resort boasts an elegant, contemporary design with finishings that celebrate its rich island heritage. Its multiple food and beverage venues, sweeping, panoramic views of Moorea, and central location, just minutes from both the airport and downtown Papeete, make it a popular choice for the international visitor.
The Aranui V is a working cargo freighter that also operates as a cruise ship, taking passengers to the most remote island group in French Polynesia—the Marquesas. The ship departs every three weeks from Papeete and transports everything from food and liquor to medicine and fuel to the small, inhabited islands of Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata and Ua Huka, as well as Fakarava and Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Atolls.
The Te Moana Tahiti Resort 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 and complimentary Wi-Fi, making this a popular choice for families and business travelers. With the largest infinity pool on the island, this is the ultimate place to unwind after your flight.
Vanira Lodge is nestled in the hills above Teahupoo, on the south east coast of Tahiti Iti, with stunning panoramic views of the ocean. The bungalows are constructed with high ceilings, natural wood and coral, outdoor bathrooms and feature verandahs with spectacular views.
Situated along an exotic black sand beach, Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts 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 getaway. The resort's ocean view rooms and suites boast a contemporary design that highlights local artisan handcrafts and colonial photography.
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 middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. This provides convenient access to the shops, restaurants, nightlife and other attractions, but removes you slightly from the shoreline.
The Royal Tahitien is a small, Polynesian hotel with a laid-back island vibe and a tropical garden setting at the edge of a black-sand beach. Within the hotel’s seven acres of delightful tropical gardens and koi ponds you will discover a lovely pool and Jacuzzi framed by rock waterfalls. The simple, clean guest rooms are situated around the gardens and deliver excellent value.
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 Tree Hill, take a short drive along the scenic coast to Papeno`o Valley, and explore lush landscapes and beautiful waterfalls at the island`s interior. Operates: Everyday
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 Tree Hill, take a short drive along the scenic coast to Papeno`o Valley, and explore lush landscapes and beautiful waterfalls at the island`s interior. Includes lunch. Operates: Everyday
Learn to surf some of the best waves in the world with private instruction from Mo'o Surf School. This half-day surf lesson can accommodate anyone over the age of 4 years old. Your experienced instructor will make sure you can master the basic techniques before you venture to multiple surfing spots along the western coast of the island. Price includes transportation and a surfboard. Operates: Everyday
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 mileage, comprehensive insurance with deductible (CDW), third party insurance and VAT. Other vehicle options available upon request.
Enjoy a casual evening with dinner at the waterfront La Plage Sapinus Bay with beautiful views of Moorea. The menu at this al fresco restaurant features fresh ingredients and local specialties as well as a selection of burgers and vegetarian-friendly entrees. Save room for dessert for they are known for having the best. Your meal will include a welcome drink, a three-course meal from a pre-set menu, one glass of wine, coffee (or tea), and water. Operates: TUE WED THU FRI SAT
Enjoy a leisurely 90-minute cruise with a cocktail in hand and a dramatic view of the sun setting behind Moorea in the distance. Return to the marina for dinner and dessert at Casa Bianca, a casual oceanfront restaurant on Tahiti. This activitiy is a great option for travelers with an extended layover between inter-island and international flights out of Papeete. Price is per person, including transfers and luggage storage. Operates: Everyday
Discover Tahiti's untamed interior on an ATV. Traverse on roads, trails and across rivers to reach Tahiti's famed Lake Vaihiria and the Blue Lake. Throughout your journey you will see waterfalls, learn the history and legends of the beautiful valleys and swim in refreshingly cool waters. Guests must be at least 18 years of age in order to drive the ATV. Tour includes a welcome fruit juice, a bottle of water, fruit and coconut water for each person. Price is per person based on two people sharing one ATV.
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 stingrays, followed by a picnic lunch on a secluded motu with plenty of time to snorkel, swim or simply relax. Includes roundtrip boat and vehicle transfers. Operates: Everyday except Thursday
Discover the southern peninsula of Tahiti Iti with a boat ride along the coast. Begin your tour at Teahupoo, the famed wave that the world's best surfers flock to each August for the WSL competition. From there, cruise along the Fenua 'Aihere and marvel at untamed landscapes reminiscent of the Marquesas. Head up the Vaipoiri River for a chance to walk in the mape forest and swim in the tide pools. Continue on to explore more tide pools, waterfalls, caves and spectacular cliffs before stopping at a sandbar for a leisurely swim. Operates: Everyday