Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia and home to the capital Papeete, the entry point for international visitors. There’s plenty of activity on this island, with funky food trucks, a wealth of accommodation options and great shopping.
After Tahiti many people tend to opt for another spot in the Society Islands archipelago, due to its heady beauty and proximity to the hub of Tahiti.
Of the Society Islands Moorea is a great option. The lush mountainous island is just a 30-minute ferry ride from Tahiti and offers a relaxed island lifestyle and sensational snorkeling opportunities.
If you wish to go a little further afield, it’s a 45-minute flight into Raiatea, which is a great spot if you’re a history buff. Here you can visit a vanilla plantation to see how Tahitian vanilla pods are painstakingly cultivated by hand and also visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Taputapuatea marae, an ancient sacred site estimated to be thousands of years old.
If you really want to spoil yourself, head to Bora Bora, undoubtedly the most famous of Tahiti’s Society Islands. It’s located just a 50-minute flight from the main island of Tahiti and is home to those iconic overwater bungalows.
But if that’s out of your price range, travellers often rave about the small island of Huahine as an alternative, which is described as “Bora Bora without the tourists… or the $2000 per night hotel tariffs”.
If you want to break out of the Society Islands, the Austral Islands are a bit more off the beaten track. Offering breathtaking landscapes, from sheer mountains to valleys and high plains, these islands are famous for their farming activities and local crafts.
Best Time to Visit Tahiti
This part of the world really is blessed with year-round sun, however there are two main seasons: dry and rainy. Dry season lasts from March to November and has temperatures between 21-27 degrees celsius. The rainy season, (December to late February), is slightly warmer with temperatures between 25-35 degrees celsius, though this time of year is also subject to brief tropical showers. The vegetation is particularly lush during the rainy season, making this the best time to indulge in the islands’ tropical fruits.
In general, the archipelagos furthest to the south, the Austral and Gambier Islands, have cooler temperatures than the Society and Marquesas Islands. As for the Tuamotu Islands, they enjoy record-breaking sunshine, reaching nearly 3,000 hours of sun per year.
Tahiti Tours and Deals
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Tahitian islands without a boat trip. Tahiti Lagoon Paradise is one of the most highly regarded companies, with private tours that that allow you to cruise and snorkel around the islands.
If you’d prefer to head for the hills, Tahiti Safari Expedition offers an array for 4×4 adventures that explore the rivers, waterfalls and mountains of the hinterland. You’ll find yourself swimming in beautiful remote locations and having lunch in a volcano crater.
The island of Tahiti is known for the iconic Teahupoo surf break, and Tahiti Surfari offers guided tours to this thumping break (don’t worry if you’re not a surfer, Teahupoo also offers beautiful waterfalls, natural swimming pools, hidden caves, and towering cliffs).
To explore a little French Polynesian culture, travellers love Iorana Tahiti Expeditions. These 4×4 safaris give you the opportunity to explore Tahiti with a local guide, getting a unique glimpse of island life.