From its beaches and waterfalls to its markets, gardens and museums – including the Musée Gauguin – Culture Trip guides you around the wonders of Tahiti.
Long before the Maldives became the tropical idyll du jour, the South Pacific islands were offering cinematic scenes of turquoise ocean, rustic-luxe suites on stilts and a unique culture. The most famous name – and largest island – in the archipelago is Tahiti, part of French Polynesia. Shaped like a figure of eight, it comprises Tahiti Nui (the bulging, western section) and Tahiti Iti (the lesser eastern peninsula). We’ve listed the 20 must-visit attractions here – but you’re bound to discover more when you start exploring.
This memorable site is an important part of Tahiti’s history, acknowledging the nuclear tests which were carried out in the Pacific. The park, also known as July 2, 1966, after the islands’ first nuclear test, stands in protest against France’s thirty years of nuclear testing, from 1966 to 1996, and pays tribute to victims of nuclear incidents around the world. Official memorial services are held in the park and local artists have created works to honour those who’ve lost their lives as a result of nuclear explosions.
It’s easy to forget that Tahiti is actually urban and built-up – which makes finding a green oasis quite a relief. Stretching from Boulevard Pomare to Rue du General de Gaulle in Papeete, Parc Bougainville was named after French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) – look for the statue – and lulls visitors with its tranquil stream, koi carp-filled pond, tropical vegetation and enormous shade-giving banyan tree. Since it’s by the waterfront, it’s a dreamy spot that’s just perfect for sitting on a bench, people-watching.