"Hello!" (And look at me attempting Tahitian!) My travel agent journey takes me to Tahiti! Learning about the Islands of Tahiti for the Tahiti Tiare Program is helping me understand the appeal and desire to visit Tahiti and now, I'm just going to "have to" visit Tahiti someday to truly understand her personality!
If you love Hawaii (and really, who doesn't??!!), The Islands of Tahiti and the South Pacific islands are a logical next step destination to visit! For a place offering a similar relaxing experience, but more authentic, more luxurious and more exotic, and possibly even more relaxing, it may be time to consider Tahiti on your next destination list!
The Islands of Tahiti, is a French colony and officially known as the French Polynesia but the islands are autonomous and have their own government. There are two official languages - French and Tahitian and Tahiti is the official capital of the French Polynesia. Covering a geographical area as large as Europe, there are 118 islands and 5 archipelagos that make up the paradise know as the Islands of Tahiti!
"Arche-what???" (I had to look Google that too!") An "archipegalo" is simply a chain or cluster of islands together. The 5 archipelagos that make up the Islands of Tahiti include the following:
- The Society Islands
- The Tuamotu Atolls (An "atoll" is a flat island that is what's left when the island sinks into the ocean.)
- The Marquesas Islands
- The Austral Islands
- The Gambier Islands
Tahiti, the Queen of the Pacific, is the largest island and the capital of the French Polynesia. All international flights arrive into the Faa'a International Airport.
It's closer than you realize! It is only eight hours away from Los Angeles and five hours away from Honolulu. If you can make the trek to Honolulu, it's easy to take another 5 hours to go to Tahiti!
It is also on the same time zone as Hawaii (2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time) so it's just as easy to get used to Tahiti time!
It is the perfect year round destination. The tropical weather yields warm and sunny temperatures all year round with an average temperature of 80'F (26'C-27'C). According to weather studies, Tahiti receives more sunny months and less rain than Hawaii.
Tahiti's summer season is from November to April, and their winter is May to October (which is also their peak season).
With so many islands you can visit, island-hopping ensures you can see several different islands! Air Tahiti offer domestic air service with island-hopping passes to give you the greatest value for transportation options. Tahiti Helicopters offers private charter flights and several fast ferry companies can connect Tahiti and Moorea (Moorea is the only island that offers passenger catamaran/ferry service).
Take the time to learn about the history of Tahiti from a variety of museums including Paul Gaugin Museum, Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, Pearl Museum, James Norman Hall House and the Point Venus Lighthouse. The Polynesians were also very superstitious people and had many sacred places that served religious, ceremonial and social purposes. These archaeological sites are called "Marae Arahurahu" and are full of past and history and offer insight into Polynesian culture and history. Many of these sites are accessible for visits.
Beauty everywhere! Take advantage of the many tropical gardens for stunning views of nature and its beauty. There are lots of great hiking opportunities for easy to advanced hikers to explore beautiful lush valleys and mountains, and discover The Faarumai Waterfalls, also known as the "Three Waterfalls". Visit Teahupoo's mythical wave on Tahiti Iti - where the best surfers in the world compete.
Eat like a local and enjoy the "roulettes", Tahiti's versions of food trucks. They are located on the waterfront and will offer an assortment of Tahitian, French, Chinese and Italian cuisine.
The people are amazingly friendly and generous, warm and welcoming. In Tahiti, you are not a tourist but a guest of the people. They treat you like family and welcome you into their homes with open arms and feed you like you haven't eaten for days! Their hospitality is unmatched and engaging with the locals can provide a truly authentic Tahitian experience!
Hop on a 15 minute flight from Tahiti to Tetiaroa, Marlon Brando's Dream island. The actor was in Tahiti in the 1960's filming "Mutiny on the Bounty" and fell in love with the island so he acquired it. The man has good taste! Back in the day, Tetiaroa was the retreat for royalty, but today, it is an incredible sanctuary for sea life and birds and a haven for the non-profit organization "Tetiaroa Society", where scientists from around the world can come and conduct research. On the island, where would you stay?? Well, at the one and only, "The Brando", of course.
The island of Moorea, also known as the Magical Island, is Tahiti's sister island. It is the only island reachable by fast ferry (30 minute ride) and is known for its gorgeous valleys and mountain peaks, 2 stunning bays - Cook's and Opunohu. The island has a completely different feel to Tahiti and is where the best pineapple in the world is produced. Visit pineapple plantations and the Agricultural School, the Beledere Lookout point for incredible views of the valley and bays, the Tiki Village (reconstructed ancient Polynesian village) and the only Dolphin Center in the islands.
If you are looking to see more of the islands in a shorter time frame, a cruise is the perfect option to island hop. Paul Gauguin Cruises offers ships that are ideal for navigating the small and narrow waters between the islands so passengers can get up close and personal with the stunning scenery. Princess Cruises and Windstar offer itineraries allowing you to enjoy the Islands of Tahiti and South Pacific.
- Visit pearl farms and pick up a Tahitian cultured pearl as a souvenir.
- Scuba diving for amazing underwater species and excellent for all levels from beginner to advanced.
- Snorkeling with giant manta rays
- Secluded islands for exploration to visit natural beauty, birds, and ocean species in their natural habitat.
- Fishing (lagoon, deep sea and fly fishing options)
Get married! By French Polynesian law, Americans and Canadians can legally wed in the Islands of Tahiti. Many resorts have wedding packages that can offer stunning scenery, authentic cultural and ceremonial touches to add to an intimate yet unforgettable wedding in paradise!
So many islands to choose from and with 118 islands to visit, there is something for everyone. Enjoy Tahiti for the pristine, untouched natural beauty where you can truly escape from the world. If you stay on the smaller, more remote islands, many will have private boat shuttles to transport you from the airport to the resort. It doesn't get much more remote and secluded than that!
Surrounded by overwhelmingly and unbelievably gorgeous scenery, the Islands of Tahiti are the perfect place to unwind and disconnect with the world while reconnecting with those you love and enjoy life's simple things.
Have you been to Tahiti?? There will be a lot of exciting opportunities to visit Tahiti in the upcoming future (wink wink, nudge nudge!) so stay tuned and see if you find yourself on a unique experience to Tahitian paradise!