It wouldn’t be a trip to Tahiti without at least a glimpse of an overwater bungalow. French Polynesia is famous for these idyllic ocean huts, particularly in Moorea and Bora Bora. Worried about the cost? Try these tips to save money.
Tahiti is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, often requiring a trek through the lush rainforest before a dip into the rockpool at the bottom of the falls to cool off. The Three Waterfalls, known locally as Les Trois Cascades or the Faarumai Waterfalls, are a series of falls on the northeastern part of Tahiti Nui.
La Plage de Maui, or Maui’s Beach, takes its name from Hawaii. It’s one of the only white sand beaches on Tahiti Nui, lying on the island’s southern coast. The nearby lagoon is ideal for snorkelling and swimming and soaking up the French Polynesia atmosphere. Don’t forget to grab a snack at the beach’s snack bar.
The Huahine Natural Aquarium takes you up close and personal with the beautiful marine life of the Pacific Ocean, in the shallow waters of the lagoon. Watch from the platform or dive into the water to get a closer look. Otherwise, head to the Intercontinental’s Lagoonarium in the middle of the resort.
Discover Tahiti’s unique history at the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, especially its Polynesian heritage. The museum is divided into different sections including anthropology, habitations and artefacts, social and religious life as well as general history.
This museum is a tribute to the French artist Paul Gauguin. The building itself is in the style of a traditional Japanese house. Prior to arriving in Tahiti, Gauguin developed an art style called Cloisonnism, which was influenced by Japanese prints.
Tahiti is known for having one of the most dangerous surf breaks in the world, Teahupo’o. Its waves are big and powerful, and it breaks right onto the razor sharp reef. Tahiti’s best waves occur during the winter months of May to October. Of course, there are plenty of slightly more accessible surf areas and waves ideal for those less experienced and a sightseeing boat for those who want to see what Teahupo’o is all about.
The James Norman Hall House is a tribute to one of Tahiti’s most famous authors. The home has been kept in the same condition as when Hall lived there from 1920. You can wander through the house to see the garden tea room and the library where there are over 3000 books.
Local markets in the Pacific are a great way to see examples of Polynesian culture, with local arts and crafts, as well as the chance to try new fruit and vegetables. The Papeete Market is one of the biggest in Tahiti and lies in the heart of the capital city. Stock up on souvenirs and gifts and bring the island vibes home with you.
Discover the oldest Catholic church in Tahiti. The Notre-Dame Cathedral is an example of the old colonial architecture which was once widely seen throughout Tahiti, but with a distinct island touch. A clam shell is used to hold the Holy Water inside the church.
This memorable site is an important one of Tahiti’s history, acknowledging the nuclear tests which were carried out in the Pacific. The park stands in protest of this nuclear activity 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.
The Arohoho Blowhole is a must-visit attraction in Tahiti and shows the power and force of Mother Nature. The blowhole has been created through years of coastal erosion from the big swells slamming across the coastline. Every time there’s a particularly significant swell, it pushes water up through a hole in the rocks, spraying up into the air.
Tahiti’s black pearls are rare and unique and you can see the largest ever collection of them at the Black Pearl Museum. These pearls carry plenty of mythology and the museum offers a unique insight to the cultural significance of these precious gems.
Refresh yourself in the paradise that is Bougainville Park. Surrounded by incredible native flora, you’ll forget for a moment you’re so close to the waterfront. Pack a picnic and eat under the banyan trees and view the different statues in the park, while admiring native plants.
Aorai Mountain is Tahiti’s second tallest peak, and reasonably straight forward to hike – it can even be done without a guide. There are different levels of difficulties. The climb to the very top will take about two days.
Pomare V was Tahiti’s final king and died in 1891 after consuming too much alcohol. The tomb where he is laid was originally designed for his mother in 1879. King Pomare V’s ashes are held in a Grecian urn. There are four other graves nearby belonging to previous Tahitian kings.
Point Venus is where Captain James Cook recorded the planet Venus transiting the face of the sun. He arrived in Tahiti in 1769 on the HMS Endeavour, anchoring at Matavai Bay. The point where he noted the transit of Venus is now known as Venus Point.
These petroglyphs aren’t easy to access – you can only head out on the peninsula on foot, or potentially jump on a boat. Te Pari is a wild, rugged coastline on the southern side of Tahiti Nui, where the pounding waves are spectacular to watch as they shape the coastline. Hire a guide to point out the petroglyphs.
This grotto is a natural wonder surrounded by ferns, with a little lake inside. It’s believed Queen Pomare IV and the artist Paul Gauguin both swam in the lake. There’s little significant history or cultural significance to the site, other than that it is a beautiful spot.
Discover Polynesia’s unique flora at the Botanical Gardens, which are situated next to the Gauguin Museum. They were named after an American physics professor and botanist Harrison Smith. When Smith arrived in Tahiti, he purchased 137 hectares of land and planted it out with exotic flowers and trees which he imported himself.