Apart from the best honeymoon destinations the Islands of Tahiti have something for every traveler – sugary white – sand beaches, vibrant marine life, rugged mountains, and colorful history.
Whether you want a private island picnic near Bora Bora or a canoe delivered breakfast in your overwater bungalow, Tahiti is the ultimate South Pacific island paradise. Let Tahitians be your portal into the magic of the Tahitian islands – I promise you’ll want to come back.
Such a nice weather
The weather is ideal! The climate is tropical. The average ambient temperature is 80°F (27°C) and the waters of the lagoons average 79°F (26°C) in the winter and 84°F (29°C) in the summer. But do not worry, most resorts and hotel rooms are air conditioned or cooled by ceiling fans.
Summer is from November through April, with a warmer and more humid climate and winter is from May to October, when the climate is slightly cooler and drier. When you step out of the airplane, you’ll immediately notice that the air is warm and humid. Consequently, besides your camera and your extra memory cards, do not forget to pack lightweight cotton clothes, sunscreen lotion and a baseball cap or a wide brimmed hat. Synthetic fabrics can get hot and sticky in the tropics.
How to reach Tahiti Islands
The most common form of transportation around Tahiti is “le Truck”. It is a rickety public open-air bus with wooden passenger cabins that will stop on the side of the street and serve different cities. Prices are very inexpensive, normally set around 100 to 200 CFP (about US$2) per person and most will end up in the centre of downtown close to the market. Other means of transportation include scooters or private cars. Most rental cars will be stickshift and end up being around 9,000 CFP per day (about US$90). There is a multitude of bikes to rent cheaply. This is especially a good idea on Sundays as everything is closed and you can end up discovering the islands.
The ferry or catamaran will take you to Moorea and other adjacent islands. It now takes about half an hour by catamaran to go from Tahiti to Moorea.
Ferries (sometimes combined cargo and pax boats like the Aranui) travel between most islands. Catamarans and ferry boats cross between Tahiti and Moorea several times a day. Schooners and cargo boats serve all the inhabited islands from Papeete. Rotations vary according to the destinations: from three times a week to the Society Islands to once monthly to the Island of Mangareva.
Two cruise ships/luxury liners currently ply the islands: the Paul Gauguin, which does a regular 7-day trip around the Societies, with occasional trips out to the Tuamotus, Marquesas and Cook Islands; and the Tahitian Princess which does similar itineraries. A great way to see the islands, unless you’re on a tight budget. The Bora Bora Cruises is a more intimate vessel based in the Leeward Islands. Or for more adventure, embark on the Aranui III. Coming up December 2007: the Star Clippers will have the capacity of 170 passengers.
Air Tahiti operates regular flights between 46 islands out of Tahiti. It will take you about 10 minutes to go to the sister island of Tahiti, Moorea.
Air Moorea makes the short hop to Moorea several times daily. Charters flights such as Air Archipel are available on request. Helicopters are one other option.
Air New Zealand operates two services a week between Auckland and Papeete.
Things to do and what to see in Tahiti Islands
There are many things to do in Tahitiand a lot to see and take pictures of.
All nautical activities: surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling (most resorts will provide you with the equipment for free), canyoning, stingray and shark feedings, water sports, deep sea fishing, kitesurfing…you name it.
You also have the possibility of hiking, 4WD safari, golf in tahiti…
Deep sea fishing has been curtailed on Tahiti and is difficult to find.
Diving and snorkeling in Tahiti: get a reputable dive company, our experience was that those with the far out websites were a bit low on ethics and safety, not well prepared, and did not go far past the marina.
Should you embark on a circle island trip (of around 70 miles), some of the must see things would include:
This is the large two-story Papeete’s market place where many things can be bought. Buy your lunch here and some “Monoi”. “Monoi” is the local tahitian oil, strongly scented and worth a good price. It is used to get tanned and moisturize your skin. Also buy a “pareu”. This is typical tahitian clothing that can be tied into many different ways (a cover-up, a dress, shorts, a shawl). It can also be spread out as a picnic cloth or a beach towel. Created with traditional designs and bright tropical colors, they are inexpensive and make the perfect souvenir. This is especially good for getting to know Tahitians as every Tahitian knows how to tie one. Le Marche is also the place where you’ll find jewellery as well as many calendars, postcards, cups… Ripe fruits, scented soaps, vanilla beans, dance costumes, wooven hats and bags and shell necklaces up to your ears are what you’ll find in the market. It is centrally located and you can’t miss it.
The Arahoho blowhole
on the North side of Tahiti Nui. An area where a blowhole in the shore has formed on the road and whose waves crash inside the rock cliff.
Les Trois Cascades
Three beautiful waterfalls inside the island of Tahiti Nui.
Tomb of King Pomare the Fifth
The tomb of the only king of Tahiti, when France was a monarchy.
Pointe Venus Lighthouse
Black sand beach and clear blue water by a fishing reef.
Botanical Garden/Gauguin Museum
At Papeari, on the west coast, the botanical garden made by Harrison Smith lies alongside the Gauguin Museum in the magical setting of the Motu Ovini.
The Olivier-Breaud Golf Course
You can admire the wonderful layout of this golf course in tahiti set in the magnificent Atimoana complex which was a sugar cane farmland rum in the 19th century.
A restored religious site containing various stone block structures dedicated to the old gods and where important ceremonies used to take place.
It is interesting to visit the Museum of Tahiti and the Islands which has a rich collection of very old pieces and reconstructed historical scenes. The Black pearl museum as well as the Gauguin museum are fun to see if you want to get out of the heat.
A square with small restaurants (see “Eat”) but also the place to be for the July celebrations with dance and traditional music, the Heiva I Tahiti.
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