Tahiti is the perfect tropical vacation destination, full of culture, lush tropical maintain peaks, pristine parks and beaches, as well as plenty of activities to enjoy. Tahiti is blessed with warm turquoise waters, crystal clear streams, beautiful waterfalls, lush valleys and colorful tropical flowers. Tahiti is the largest of 118 islands that make up French Polynesia, which includes the islands of Bora Bora and Moorea. Moorea is clearly visible from the west shore of Tahiti and is just a short 30-minute boat ride away. Many visitors stay on Moorea which has some fabulous 5-Star resorts. The climate in Tahiti is usually sunny and pleasant with average yearly temperatures of around 80°F (27°C). Being in the Southern hemisphere, Tahiti’s summer month’s runs from November through April, producing slightly warmer and more humid days. May through October is slightly cooler and dryer. Either way, Tahiti is enjoyable all months of the year and is a top honeymoon destination.
Located just south of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, you can find daily flights direct to the Tahitian city of Papeete from major USA airports, like Los Angeles. The flight from Los Angeles takes around 7.5 hours, and Tahiti shares the same time-zone with Hawaii (it’s around 2,700 miles south of Hawaii). Although French and Tahitian are the official languages, English is widely spoken in the tourist areas. Also, US dollars are accepted in the tourist areas, as well as most major credit cards.
The capital city of Papeete is vibrant with markets, world-class fine dining, nightclubs, shows, and high-end beach resorts & spas. Along the waterfront you’ll discover unique shops and markets offering Tahitian art works, pearls & jewelry, restaurants and lively bars with live music. A variety of popular shops are located in and around the Vaima Center, a four-level shopping center that includes restaurants, book stores and banks. Two blocks from the waterfront you’ll find the 155 year old public market, called Le Marché. Here you can shop with the locals from hundreds of stands selling fruit, flowers, spices and Tahitian crafts. After shopping you can enjoy a bite to eat at Vai’ete Square from the numerous food wagons (called roulettes) featuring authentic island cuisine in a lively outdoor setting. From there, take a stroll through Bougainville Park, a peaceful oasis with running streams, a massive banyan tree and lush vegetation.
Tahiti features white sandy beaches and clear lagoon waters that are perfect for diving, snorkeling, and plenty of water sports. The water temperature averages 79°F (26°C) in the winter and 84°F (29°C) in the summer (North America’s winter months). Visitors to Tahiti can enjoy surfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, outrigger canoes and powerboat rentals. Tahiti is one of the best destinations for beginning as well as advanced Scuba divers. The clear shallow waters offer perfect visibility and more advanced divers can explore colorful coral ocean walls, sunken ships and planes, and abundant schools of tropical fish and sea life. By boat it’s easy to find a secluded islet for a private day trip. For simply spending a memorable day on the beach, Tahiti’s popular Point Venus peninsula is lined with beautiful black-sand beaches and a romantic lighthouse at the point.
The lush jungle-like interior of Tahiti features deep flower-filled valleys and green mountain peaks rising high above the valley floor. The island’s interior offers spectacular towering waterfalls, natural pools, grottos, lakes and lava tubes. Visitors can hike the interior, or take a guided 4×4 vehicle or horseback ride tour. For the horse enthusiast Tahiti has a number of first-class riding stables. Rides in the mountains are often accompanied by picnic lunches and riding lessons are available for the beginner. On the south side of the island you’ll find Tahiti’s only golf course, the Oliver Breaud International Golf Course. This 6944-yard, par 72 course features sprawling fairways, two man-made lakes, clubhouse, driving range, pool, restaurant, pro shop, and tennis courts. On the nearby island of Moorea, the Jack Nicklaus designed Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course in Temae is situated between beautiful lagoons and mountains and features numerous bunkers, stretches of water and a driving range over a lake.
Tahiti has its share of museums, cultural and historic sites to visit. The Gauguin Museum is dedicated to artist Paul Gauguin who lived on Tahiti. The museum is located in the lush Harrison Smith Botanical Gardens and features exhibits from the late painter. The beautiful Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands features exhibits of Polynesian history, historic artifacts and rare collections of art carvings. Tahiti’s Pearl Museum is devoted entirely to the history and practice of cultivating pearls as well as their place in history, religion and mythology. Another popular visitor spot is the James Norman Hall Home. Mr. Hall, a resident of Tahiti in the early 1900’s, co-authored Mutiny on the Bounty and wrote numerous other stories about the South Seas. Hall’s home is preserved so visitors can see Hall’s original writing desk, art collection, and an over 3000 book library. Other sites in Papeete and around the island include the Notre Dame Cathedral of Papeete, the Papeete Town Hall, and the Tomb of Queen Pomare V and the royal family.
If your hotel preference is to stay at very special 5-Sar resorts, VoyageMonkey.com recommends the following: Le Meridien Tahiti, which sits on a lush tropical beach front property and includes over water bungalows, state-of-the-art amenities, fine dining, a large pool and a spectacular private lagoon. The InterContinental Resort Tahiti is located on a pristine property with a private lagoon, large infinity pool, fine dining, spacious luxury guest rooms and over the water bungalows. Just across the water on the nearby island of Moorea, we recommend the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort which is settled on the edge of a beautiful lagoon with the island of Tahiti in the background, and features fine dining, world-class amenities and 114 luxurious bungalows built over the water. Also on Moorea, the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa is a true tropical paradise nestled between mountains and a lagoon, and features lush gardens, over the water bungalows, pools, fine dining restaurants, and a luxury spa.