Tahiti Travel Guide

TAHITI TRAVEL GUIDE

Welcome to the tropical paradise of French Polynesia, a wonderland of aqua blue lagoons, lush green rain forests and majestic mountains rising out of the Pacific Ocean. French Polynesia is a French overseas territory, comprised of a total of 118 islands, stretching over 2 000 km and divided into 5 groups of islands known as “archipelagos”:

  • The Society Islands
  • The Tuamotus Islands
  • The Marquesas Islands
  • The Austral Islands
  • The Gambier Islands

Blessed with a tropical marine climate with lots of sun all year round, French Polynesia’s unique mix of French and Polynesian cultures makes for a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience, each island offering something for everyone. Discover the authentic Polynesia, spend time in the turquoise water, take the time to explore one island after the other, immersing yourself in the Tahitian culture: you can be sure to take home memories to last a lifetime.

BEST TIME TO GO

There are two main seasons in French Polynesia:

  • November to April marks the wet season with January being traditionally the wettest month.
  • May to October is the dry season, with August being the driest month. This is also the busiest time of the year in terms of tourist arrival.

Temperatures range between 24°C (75°F) to 30°C (86°F) and water temperatures between 23°C (73°F) and 26°C (79°F).

FOOD

Tahitian cuisine is one the healthiest cuisines on earth, based on fresh local seafood, tropical fruits, and locally grown vegetables. Seafood is available daily, caught from the lagoon and the nearby waters of the South Pacific. Most restaurants also serve international cuisine.

Currency

The French Pacific Franc (XPF) is the local currency used all over French Polynesia.

Language

The official language is French, although the unofficial language, Tahitian, is widely spoken. English is spoken by some native islanders and by most staff in hotels and resorts.

Cost of Living in Tahiti

The following table presents the approximate prices of some basic grocery items. These prices are valid in Papeete and may vary:

(Above rates are provided for information purposes and may be subject to change without notice).

Shopping

Shops are generally open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., except on Saturdays when many close at noon; only hotel shops are open on Sunday. Long lunch breaks are common in The Islands of Tahiti. Duty-free shopping is mainly available on Tahiti. Tahitian cultured pearls, mother-of-pearl shell carvings, coconut and Tiare soaps, monoï oil, vanilla beans, shell leis, wood carvings, colorful pareus, and woven hats and baskets are among the most popular items.

Entertainment

Music and dancing tell the story of the Tahitian people. Beautifully costumed dancers demonstrate beauty, strength and grace in traditional dances, which have been passed down from generation to generation.

Postal and Telecommunication Services

Papeete’s Central Post Office, located near the Papeete Marina and Bougainville Park, is open weekdays from 07:00 am to 06:00 pm and on Saturdays from 08:00 am to 11:00 am. There is a philatelic center at the Post Office for stamps if required. There are many international card-operated phone booths throughout most of the islands. Cellular phone roaming is available for many global telecommunications companies, however it is suggested you check with your provider before you leave as to whether their services are available on roaming in The Islands of Tahiti.

water

Tap water in Papeete and Bora Bora is safe to drink; inquire locally on the other islands. If in doubt, use mineral water in sealed bottles.

health

No vaccines are required except for passengers from high-risk countries. On The Islands of Tahiti, sanitary facilities and health services are available. The cities of Papeete, Taravao (peninsula of Tahiti) and Uturoa (Raiatea) have fully equipped hospitals. Other tourist islands have, at the minimum, a hospital or a clinic.

size

The Islands of Tahiti extend over such a large area that it took explorers several years to discover and chart all 118 islands and atolls. The total area covers more than 1.5 million square miles, or for comparison, approximately the same area size as Western Europe. The total land area of the 118 islands and atolls covers only 1,544 sq. mi, roughly the same size as the state of Rhode Island.

Overview of Islands

The most frequently visited islands are Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a, and Rangiroa. More and more travelers are discovering the destination’s incredible and distinctive beauty that is found throughout the archipelagos.

Topography

The country’s varied landscape ranges from just above sea level coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. The Islands of Tahiti are renowned for warm waters, white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons, lush green hills and abundant flowering plants.

Capital of French Polynesia

Papeete is the capital city located on the northwest side of Tahiti.

Population

The number of people living in The Islands of Tahiti is more than 245,000. About 75% are Polynesian; 15% European and about 10% Chinese.

Entry Requirements

A passport valid for six months after the return date and a round-trip ticket for entry is all that is required for short stays under 90 days for Australian visitors. Visas are not required for short stays. For visitors wishing to stay longer than 90 days, a long stay visa is required. Citizens of other countries should consult the French Consulate.

Economy

The Islands of Tahiti’s economy relies heavily on tourism, Tahitian cultured pearls, agriculture, and ocean resources.

TIPPING

Tipping is not customary or expected in Tahitian culture. However, tipping is always welcomed for exemplary service.

Accommodations

The Islands of Tahiti, catering to a wide range of budgets and personal preferences, offers a diverse array of options from hotels, resorts to hospitable family guesthouses and private homes.

Popular Activities

Some of the world’s best snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing are found in The Islands of Tahiti. Also popular are outrigger canoeing, bicycle and horseback riding, four-wheel jeep safaris, spear and deep-sea fishing, swimming, sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, tennis, island tours, swimming with sharks and rays, helicopter rides, visiting museums, ancient maraes (temples), and other cultural experiences. Sunset watching, beach strolling, relaxing in the sand, enjoying exquisite Tahitian cuisine, walking through beautiful fragrant gardens, and simply getting to know hospitable Tahitian people are memorable highlights of any visit to The Islands of Tahiti.

GETTING AROUND​

Taxis and buses are popular forms of transportation on the main island of Tahiti. On the outer islands, car and scooter rentals are available. Boats are often the mode of transportation on many of the islands including Bora Bora.

Cruise Ship/Sailing

The Islands of Tahiti offer a wide range of cruising options operating year- round, including the Aranui, Haumana Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Other cruises offer cruise rotations within The Islands of Tahiti with various itineraries focused on the South Pacific. Numerous private yacht charters are also available. Contact our friendly Tahiti Specialists and they will be happy to assist.

Tips for Travelers

The electric current in most hotels is 110 or 220 volts, depending upon the specific location. Visitors should bring adapters, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent and a hat for shade. Loose fitting cotton washables are recommended for comfort, and old sneakers or rubber aqua socks are suggested for walking in shallow water.  Our Tahiti Travel Specialists are an excellent source of information, you will find knowledgeable staff who are eager to assist and help tailor itineraries or provide recommendations for your trip to French Polynesia.

For Expert Friendly Advice Call 1300 526 868 or email us and you will be contacted by a Tahiti Specialist.

POPULAR TAHITI PACKAGES
TAHITI

Explore Our Range of Tahiti Holiday Packages.

BORA BORA

Explore Our Range of Bora Bora Holiday Packages.

MOOREA

Explore Our Range of Moorea Holiday Packages.

HUAHINE

Explore Our Range of Huahine Holiday Packages.

EXCLUSIVE TAHITI DEALS

YOUR CRUISE HOLIDAY INCLUDES: Return economy airfares to Papeete...

from $6,790 per person, twin share

Experience the epitome of luxury amidst the breathtaking beauty...

from $9,590 per person, twin share

Your Cruise Holiday Includes: Return economy airfares to Papeete...

, 16 Days
from $9,990 per person, twin share

Indulge in a dreamy island escape featuring seamless travel,...

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Experience paradise with our Moorea Holiday package, featuring flights,...

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FAQ

As an Australian citizen, you do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days in Tahiti. However, you must ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date and have proof of onward travel or return tickets.

 

The best time to visit Tahiti is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. This period offers pleasant weather with lower humidity and fewer chances of rain, ideal for outdoor activities and water sports. Although the low season offer more competitive prices, weather might be more unstable.

 

Light and breathable clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, reef-safe sunscreen, and sturdy sandals or water shoes are essential. Don’t forget to pack a waterproof phone case and a reusable water bottle for excursions.

 

The social environment in French Polynesia is highly secure, with no firearms in circulation.
(Just mind your head for falling coconuts!)

Some of the must-see attractions in Tahiti include the stunning beaches of Bora Bora, the lush landscapes of Moorea, the vibrant markets of Papeete, and the breathtaking waterfalls and lagoons throughout the islands.

The cost of a trip to Tahiti can vary widely depending on factors such as the time of year, accommodations, activities, and length of stay. However, budget travelers can find affordable options for accommodations and activities, while luxury travelers may opt for Overwater bungalows and exclusive experiences.

To snatch the best prices it is a must to book in advance, most travelers book between 6 months to a year before traveling.

Tahiti offers a wide range of activities for travelers, including snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, horseback riding, cultural tours, and traditional Polynesian performances. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy surfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking, and jet skiing in the crystal-clear waters.

 

For several years now, the Islands of Tahiti have been equipped with broadband internet connectivity, facilitated by an underwater fiber optic cable linking them to Hawaii. Various internet service providers, including Vini, Vodafone, and Ora Mobile, offer different packages to ensure you stay connected during your visit. Typically, Wifi access is readily available at your accommodations for no additional cost.

Tahiti Wifi allows you to pickup a pocket wifi box upon your arrival in Tahiti, that you can use and carry throughout your stay in the Islands.

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