Tahiti Travel Guide

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Tahiti Islands comprise of several large commercial islands including Moorea and Bora Bora, a great many tiny coral atolls ideal for sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving, and several large remote islands with a very traditional culture and great for exploring. There are plenty of large resorts, many offering idyllic over water bungalows as well as more affordable pension guesthouses, although prices here are exceptionally high all round.

Tahiti travel emanates from the main island of Tahiti and the Port of Papeete or the Faaa International Airport. Getting around the islands is easy with an excellent transport network with frequent daily flights to all the main islands as well as ferries and cruises on a regular timetable.

The main island and population centre of French Polynesia, is Tahiti, a high volcanic island about 40 sq. km in size. All of the of large Tahiti hotels are found along the north west coast and around the capital Papeete but there’s a good scattering of small locally owned pensions all around the island which offer better value for money. The beaches in general around Tahiti are nothing special and the main attraction is exploring the stunning mountainous interior and surfing on the north shore beaches.

Moorea is just 20km from Papeete by ferry and connected by hourly flights (every half hour at peak times). There’s an excellent range of accommodation on Moorea, with a concentration around Cook’s Bay in the north and along the lovely beaches on the east coast. There’s lots of activities around Moorea from cruises around the bays and coast to 4WD tours of the interior. Moorea is small enough to explore by bike and there are lots of small fishing villages along the coast

The Lagoon island of Bora Bora is gloriously recognised as one of the most beautiful spots on earth. From a deep blue lagoon emerges the main volcanic island of Bora Bora with its recognisable flat top peak and craggy points. Around the outer edge is a fringing reef with shallow lagoons and small low lying coral atolls (motu). The south of the main island is the tourist centre with a concentration of resorts and restaurants at Matira Point. There are a handful of resorts on the small motus which can also be explored on one of many cruises that operate around the lagoon. Most resorts in Bora Bora offer the wonderful over-lagoon thatch bungalows. Scuba diving in the deep lagoon is good and snorkelling around the outer fringes is exceptional. The only down side are commercialism, small crowds and expensive prices.

There are equally exquisite islands in the other Society Islands. Maupiti, a little further out than Bora Bora, is a charming island of similar appearance to Bora Bora but with only a faction of the resorts and tourists. The twin islands of Tahaa and Raiatea are rich tropical islands with gentle valleys and deep bays with marinas making it an exceptional sailing destination. Scuba diving around the large fringing reef is its other major draw. Huahine, even closer to Moorea and Tahiti, also has good scuba diving and the atmosphere is truly laid back with several small resorts and high mountains and traditional villages to explore. Huahine has several nice beaches in the south and one of the finest archaeological areas in the South Pacific at Maeva in the north.

The vast expanse of the Tuamotu Islands has a collection of 76 small islands and fringing atolls. The turquoise lagoons and white sandy beaches are some of the best in the South Pacific. Several of these island groups have luxury resorts and hotels and small pension guesthouses and along with Pearl farming, is the groups major source of income. Scuba diving is exceptional and the romance of being lost amongst remote islands draws the honeymoon market. Extending south of the Tuamotu is Gambier. This small collection of mountainous islands is infrequently visited and is a stronghold for subsistence Catholic fishing villages. A few guesthouses offer a unique insight into this traditional lifestyle.

The unusual Marquesas Islands to the north of Tuamotu are unique in that there is no reef. The volcanic islands just pop out from the deep ocean and the bays and cliffs make this one of the most scenic regions to visit. The islands support a number of small traditional villages which retain a rich culture. The Marquesas are renowned for its dancers, wood carvers and tattooists. Two grand sounding islands, Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa have a small variety of accommodation from luxury resorts to guesthouses.

Table of Content


Luxury Tahiti Hotels

Hotel Bora Bora – Bora Bora Island

delightful bungalows and first class service – great base for exploring

Sofitel Beach Resort – South Bora Bora

with 21 over-water bungalows, lots of water activities are on offer with jet boat rides etc

Vahine Island Resort – Tahaa Lagoon

tranquil property on small island on the east side of Tahaa, has restaurant & bar

Tikehau Pearl Resort – Tikehau Island

re-furbished in 2005 and with fine living and now offers 19 over-water bungalows

Kia Ora Sauvage – Rangiroa Island

set on a tiny motu island in the southern Rangiroa Lagoon, far away from civilisation text

Deluxe Tahiti Hotels

Hilton Resort – Moorea Island

nicest beach location on Moorea and ideal base for exploring

Moorea Pearl Resort – North Moorea

is located in a delightful setting on a small beach on the north coast, total of 30 rooms

Hotel Mahana – Huahine Island

beach property located in protected Avea Bay, has a restaurant and bar

Standard Tahiti Hotels

Hotel Hibiscus – Moorea Island

heart of Hauru beach with water activities and restaurants close by

Le Meridien Resort – Tahiti Island

best resort on main island with pleasant beach – good base for exploring island

Radisson Hotel – North Tahiti Island

opened in 2004 and is located on a picturesque black sand beach

Hotel Novotel – South Bora Bora

offers affordable rooms on the mountain side of the coastal road, restaurant & bar

Budget Tahiti Hotels

Relais Fenua – West Tahiti Island

a small Pension about fifteen minutes drive south of the airport, has a swimming pool

Hiti Moana – South Tahiti Island

spacious bungalows with open plan living overlooking lagoon and mountains

Village Temanoha – North Moorea

mountain location in the heart of Moorea, accessible from the north coast

Fare Maeva – Huahine Island

close to the airport and alongside a sandy beach with bedrock, has a swimming pool

Tourist Information

Basic Facts

  • 3-month free entry for EEC citizens and Australia
  • 30-day visas granted on arrival for US, Japan and most other citizens
  • Currency is the Pacific Franc CFP but most hotels quote in Euros
  • ATM machines, EFTPOS and major Credit Cards widely accepted
  • 10 hrs behind GMT ; 2 hrs behind LA ; 22 hrs behind NZ
  • Electricity – 24volts AC – 2 pin plug (as Europe)
  • Tropical climate year round – Jan 28 ; July 24 – more humid Nov-April
  • Light clothing – jumper on occasions at night from May to September
  • Tahitian and French language (some English)
  • 24-hour money exchange at airport – no luggage storage
  • taxi from airport (Faaa) to Papeete town = Euro 15
  • airport bus to Papeete town = Euro 1.50
  • hourly flights from Papeete to Moorea = 15 minutes. (1st flight 6am ; last flight 6pm)
  • 4-8 car / passenger ferry transfers per day between Tahiti and Moorea = 1 hour. (1st ferry 6.15am ; last ferry 4.45pm)

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