TahitiTravel Guide

There’s no place in the world like French Polynesia. Amongst her string of 118 islands and atolls, Tahiti stands as the shimmering jewel in her crown. And although most associate it with luxury resorts and high-octane glamour, this dreamy destination has so much more to offer.

Whether you consider yourself a sunworshipper, thrill seeker or culture vulture, you really can have it all in Tahiti. There are mountains to hike, waves to surf and plenty of waterfalls and glassy lagoons to enjoy. Not to mention a colourful culture brimming with music, dance and art. The capital of Pape’ete always promises a good time, but of course, the big draw is the mysterious black sand beaches formed as a result of volcanic rock. Let our travel guide fill you in on all the exciting attractions that await you!

Explore Tahiti

Where to stay in Tahiti?

Unsure about where to stay in Tahiti? From glitzy luxury resorts to gorgeous overwater bungalows, here are a few of our favourites:

Quietly nestled on the western coast of Tahiti, Te Moana Resort enjoys an easy-to-reach location in the Island’s capital of Pape’ete. With two restaurants and bars on-site, endless ocean views and a long list of water sports on the go, this beach resort has everything you could want for your island adventure.

Just five minutes’ drive from Pape’ete Airport, this beach resort ticks the box for accessibility. It’s also well-equipped with all the mod cons to make for a memorable stay. Just picture it: two outdoor pools, swim-up bars, hearty breakfast buffets and exotic overwater bungalows. If there’s anything else you need, you’re guaranteed to find it here. Ah, bliss!

This oceanfront resort boasts an elegant design with finishings mirroring the rich island heritage of French Polynesia. With its central location in downtown Pape’ete, it’s a popular choice for travellers wanting to stay close to Tahiti’s top attractions. However, with a bounty of on-site facilities (multiple restaurants, and the largest pool on the island!), it might be a little hard to leave.

Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Mt Rotui and Opunohu bay at sunset, Moorea, French Polynesia
    • Pineapples in a market with people walking in background blurred
    • healthy woman snorkeling swimming underwater with tropical fish in tahiti during summer vacation
  • Mt Rotui and Opunohu bay at sunset, Moorea, French Polynesia
    Mt Rotui and Opunohu bay at sunset, Moorea, French Polynesia
    Mt Rotui and Opunohu bay at sunset, Moorea, French Polynesia
  • Pineapples in a market with people walking in background blurred
    Pineapples in a market with people walking in background blurred
    Pineapples in a market with people walking in background blurred
  • healthy woman snorkeling swimming underwater with tropical fish in tahiti during summer vacation
    healthy woman snorkeling swimming underwater with tropical fish in tahiti during summer vacation
    healthy woman snorkeling swimming underwater with tropical fish in tahiti during summer vacation

Things to do in Tahiti

With so many wonderful things to do in Tahiti, you’ll never get bored. As expected from an island, most of it has to do with sun, sand, surf and the gorgeous outdoors.

Aside from wiggling your toes in those classic white sand beaches, Tahiti boasts the most beautiful black sand beaches. Yes, you read right! The most famous is Lafayette Beach, located near Pape’ete (the capital of Tahiti). However, Point Venus is also an option. Known for its iconic lighthouse, this shoreline just so happens to be the historic landing site of Captain Cook and Captain William Bligh.

Up for a good dose of Tahitian culture? Time your visit during the month of July for Heiva, French Polynesia’s most anticipated festival showcasing the beauty of Polynesian history, dance and music. Combining the Tahitian words ‘hei’ and ‘va’, which translates as ‘to assemble’ and ‘community places’, this historical event has been running since 1881, making it one of the oldest in the world.

Aside from those black sand beaches, Tahiti also boasts its fair share of lagoons brimming with tropical fish, baby lemon sharks, and colourful coral. Most day excursions will include a visit to The Blue Lagoon of Rangiroa – an experience you simply cannot miss! Most lagoon tours around the island will include a visit to Moorea and Bora Bora, where you’ll have the opportunity to swim with stingrays.

Along with beaches and lagoons, the island of Tahiti has its fair share of the most awe-inspiring waterfalls. Embark on a full-day excursion through Papenoo Valley, which will bring you closer to the tumbling waters of Topatari, Vaiharuru, and Puraha. But that’s not all. Oh no, there are also the wonders of Fautaua and Faarumai worth adding to the list.

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Tahiti

Tahiti food and drink

Lining the stomach after all those cocktails with little umbrellas is not a difficult mission, with your resort restaurants being the obvious go-tos. But let us guide you where to eat in Tahiti that’s a little further afield and popular with locals and tourists alike.

Located near Marina Taina, the Blue Banana hits the sweet spot for those seeking cold beer on tap and hearty meals to fill their belly. They serve everything from wood-fired pizza (highly recommended!) to seafood curries and sizzling burgers. Don’t forget to save some room for those delectable desserts on offer – their lava cake is pure perfection.

Looking for restaurants in Tahiti with a gourmet twist? Snap up your table at Le Lotus Restaurant. Floating above the lagoon at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa, the setting is tough to beat, with creative cuisine on offer and an impressive selection of fine French wines. If you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, there’s no doubt about it − this is the place to go.

Fabulous happy hours and mountain and marina views aside, this buzzing bistro in Pape’ete (Meherio means Mermaid) offers breakfasts, buffets, tapas and live music. The menu combines Polynesian and European influences, features seafood and carnivorous dishes like pork fillet and lamb shank, and for lovers of bubbles, there’s an extensive champagne menu.

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Tahiti through your eyes

Where to shop in Tahiti?

Wondering about shopping in Tahiti? You’ll find no shortage of boutiques and stores dotted across the island. Then of course there are open-air markets with delightful local creations for sale. Here’s what we recommend:

If you’re looking to pick up a few trinkets and treasures during your stay in Tahiti, grab your shopping bag and head over to Marché Pape’ete (Pape’ete Market). Located at the heart of the capital, its bustling rows of local stalls sell everything from fresh fish to handmade soaps, woven bags and monoi (scented oil).

If you’ve always dreamed of adding a few pearls to your jewellery collection, don’t skip a visit to the Tahiti Pearl Market (if your budget allows!). At this reputable boutique, you’ll also have the chance to learn about the harvesting methods and intriguing history behind these natural beauties.

Located on Avenue du Maréchal Foch in the capital of Pape’ete, this local Tahitian shopping centre offers a range of shops and boutiques where you can get just about anything. If crowds are the last thing you want to encounter, be warned, Veima can get quite busy. But if you want to find a new pair of sandals or sunnies, it’s worth a visit.

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Tahiti?

Deciding on the best time to travel in Tahiti mostly depends on the crowds and the weather. This general guideline should give you a better idea of what to expect year-round:

Arguably, the best time to travel in Tahiti is during the dry season between May and October. Due to less rain, this is considered peak season, so brace yourself to rub shoulders with other travellers. Rates across the island increase and those luxury resorts and overwater bungalows get snapped up fast, so if you want to travel during this time, book in advance. Expect temperatures of between 71°F /21°C and 80°F /27°C.

In French Polynesia, the wet season runs from November to April and temperatures are between 77°F /25°C and 95°F /35°C. Due to the heat and humidity, this is considered the low season. However, the benefit of travelling during this time is fewer crowds to compete with and lower accommodation prices. As an insider’s secret, those summer downpours are generally short-lived, and the island is beautifully nourished and leafy. Photographers, assemble!

Don't miss out. Book your flight today!

How to get around Tahiti

While most visitors hide out in the overwater bungalows and luxury resorts on Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea (the Society Islands), it’s entirely possible (and worthwhile!) to explore the region and discover its many other treasures.

When it comes to getting around in Tahiti by road, we highly recommend using hotel shuttles or metered taxis to get you from A to B. However, if you're wanting to do a lot of travelling throughout the island, a rental car is a better option. For shorter distances, bicycle hire tops the list. Just keep in mind that traffic picks up on the roads around the capital of Pape’ete.

Faa’a International Airport, also known as Tahiti International Airport, is serviced by various airlines, while Air Tahiti operates regular flights from Tahiti to multiple islands in the region. Should you want something more exclusive, a private charter flight is for you.

Currently, there are two shuttle boat companies transporting passengers between Pape’ete and her nearby islands of Bora Bora and Moorea – Aremeti and Terevau. Fares and schedules depend on the route.

Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Tahiti?

Looking for that perfect spot to settle yourself in the sun and wiggle your toes in the sand? Here are a few of the best beaches in Tahiti:

If surfing is your holiday activity of choice, grab your board and make a beeline for Plage de Taharuu. This beach is also covered with mineral-rich black sand but takes first place for families since it features one of the safest surf breaks in Tahiti. If that’s not enough to ignite your wanderlust, that lush shoreline fringed with leafy palms certainly will.

If Tahiti’s black sand beaches pique your interest, pack the camera and head to the mythical Matavai’s Bay. This is where you’ll find Point Venus — the historic place where Captain James Cook conducted crucial astronomical research in 1769, studying the transit of Venus across the sun (hence the name). Who doesn’t love a beach with a backstory?

If you’re a first-timer to Tahiti add on a stay on Bora Bora, then head over to Matira Beach. It’s the largest public-access beach on the island, so there is plenty of space to sprawl out on the silky sand. It frequently gets the nod as one of the best beaches in Tahiti, and the most beautiful in the world.

If white sand beaches are all you’ve been dreaming of, venture across to the Bay of Tapueraha, then leap out onto La Plage de Maui. The lagoon here is perfect for swimming with the fishes or simply kicking back for some much-needed R&R.


Tahiti Frequently asked questions

Tahiti is full to the brim with some amazing islands. One of our favourites is Bora Bora.

No, you can easily get around by taxi.

Tahiti is a year round destination, although some months are less humid than others. A popular time to visit is between May and October.

Our latest info can be found in our Help Centre here  

A short break between 3-5 days may leave you relaxed, but with so many beaches, water activities and cultural activities - we recommend between 7 and 10 days.

When you're packing for your dream trip to Tahiti, don't forget the essentials like your passport, phone, chargers, camera, sunblock, some CFP and the correct power adaptor. From there, we recommend packing a towel, your swimwear of choice, a hat, jandals, some walking shoes and a strong appetite for midday naps and sunset swims.  

Activities in Tahiti are generally centred around pristine views and stunning natural landscapes. Spend your days exploring the deep blue, swimming, snorkelling, fishing, diving, surfing and kayaking through the cerulean waters. Those looking to stay on land can enjoy nature walks, vibrant cultural experiences and day expeditions. Alternatively, pack a book or two and give yourself permission to completely bliss out on the beach or with a view of the ocean.  

With years of experience under our belts, and a decent tan to show from our time spent relaxing on tropical beaches, our Flight Centre Travel Experts are the perfect people to ask about your holiday package to Tahiti. 

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