11 Aug Cally’s Top Tips For Tahiti
Our awesome agent Cally recently traveled to Tahiti. We’ve included some of her favorite photos of the islands along with her top travel tips!
The Society Island Chain in French Polynesia (also known as the Islands of Tahiti) are the most visited islands in French Polynesia. They include the main Island of Tahiti which houses the Capital city of Papeete and the famous Bora Bora. While a lot of people just pass through Papeete on their way to Bora Bora, there are several reasons you should not only take some time to explore this gorgeous country’s capital, but also consider visiting some of the lesser-known islands as well!
Tahiti: The biggest island, and namesake for the island chain, is often overlooked as a stop at the international airport in Papeete before moving on to another destination. But, there is plenty to see and do on this island that makes it worth at least one night’s stay. The Papeete Market (known as The Marché) is a must for all visitors. You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering the aisles full of fresh fruit, flower crowns, woven beach bags, and endless amounts of jewelry adorning the famous Tahitian pearls at all prices. Papeete is also a great place to get a classic, black-ink Tahitian tattoo that you’ll see on almost every local. Tattoos are sacred markings in Tahitian culture. If you’re wanting to leave the city, I highly recommend venturing inland on a safari to visit the breathtaking peaks and waterfalls scattered throughout the island. Tahiti is also the only island with easy access to surfing breaks.
Moorea: Scattered with beautiful bays and calm reefs, Moorea is an often overlooked island only seen from the shore of Papeete. But, after a short ferry ride from Tahiti, you’ll see that this island has so much to offer. The deep bays are a great place for snorkeling and swimming. During whale season, the whales come into the bays to give birth and can easily be spotted. Going out further into the reef, you can swim with sharks and the very cuddly sting rays. On land, there’s great hiking and amazing lookout points. The small towns around the island are great for exploring. There are also several gorgeous hotels with overwater bungalows at a much lower price than the famous Bora Bora.
Huahine: The next island in the Societal chain is the beautiful Huahine. Dotted with mountains, broken up by many bays, and covered in greenery, the island almost looks completely untouched. With a small population, the people of Huahine are very in touch with nature, their heritage, and ancient Polynesian culture- all of which can be observed in their harvesting and fishing practices. Visiting the various nature parks is a must. The mountain that inspired the goddess “Te Fiti” from the Disney movie Moana is also located in the northern part of the island.
Raiatea and Taha’a: Directly west of Huahine are the islands of Raiatea and Taha’a. Raiatea has the best of both worlds with incredible beaches and stunning mountain views. Arriving by boat or cruise ship, you’ll dock in the “downtown area” filled with small shops, restaurants, and a two-story farmer’s market selling jewelry, flower crowns, and fresh fruit. Going inward on the island, the historical site of Marae Taputapuatea is a must-see. Listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site, the ancient complex was once the site of sacred rituals. Continuing around the island, you’ll start to see the amazing peak of Mount Temehani and the surrounding valley. Just north of Raiatea is the very small island of Taha’a. The first thing you’ll notice is the incredibly bright blue water as you enter the lagoon. The reef is incredibly diverse and one of the best snorkeling sites. Ha’amene Bay, the deepest bay in all of French Polynesia, has amazing lookout points. While there is only one hotel actually on the island of Taha’a, the island is a must to visit. From Taha’a, you can see Raiatea, Huahine, and Bora Bora.
Bora Bora: Perhaps the most famous of all the islands in French Polynesia, Bora Bora truly looks like no other destination in the world. The lagoon protecting the volcanic island features dozens of different shades of blue creating an unbelievable paradise. The resorts of Bora Bora are special in that only a very small number are actually on the main island. The rest are located around the reef, jutting out into the water, and can only be reached by boat. Mount Otemanu rises up from the middle of the island and can be seen from almost all resorts. The iconic overwater bungalows can be found anywhere you stay. If you want to do more than relax on the beach, and enjoying the incredible views, renting a bicycle is a great way to explore the main island. Visiting the motus (small, uninhabited islands around the reef) or swimming with stingrays and sharks are musts.
On every island, you’ll experience the hospitality of the Polynesian people, the amazing fresh food, and the indescribable energy of the culture. No matter where you decide to visit in French Polynesia, your visit is guaranteed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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