Best Tahiti Destinations & Vacation Spots
Tahiti island destinations have always been ready for their close-up, ranking among the most picturesque on the planet. Has Bora Bora ever taken a bad photo? Do Moorea’s lofty spires and opalescent lagoons ever fail to inspire envy? And can the untamed Marquesas possibly be any more appealing to adventure travelers? Add in the pristine beaches and world-class dive sites of the Tuamotu Atolls, the old-school Polynesian customs of Huahine and Raiatea, the vanilla beans and lustrous black pearls of Taha’a, and even the chaotic bustle of the capital, Papeete, and Tahiti stands alone as a Technicolor mosaic of vacation perfection.
If you see yourself in this picture, here’s more exciting details about French Polynesia destinations: They’re bi-lingual with most residents speaking both Tahitian and French. The crystalline lagoons of Tahiti’s 118 islands are filled with so many tropical fish it’s like snorkeling in an aquarium. Its hundreds of overwater bungalows are waiting for you to drift off to asleep as shallow aquamarine water laps a Polynesian lullaby.
Traditions such as hip-shaking tamure dances and hypnotic fire performances seduce resort guests nightly and daytime diversions like shark and stingray feeding and Jet Ski excursions up the adrenaline level. Spa goers will enjoy traditional nature-based treatments that feel (and smell) divine, while cruise lovers can tour with ease, unpacking just once but sampling multiple islands in all their panoramic glory. Plus the merging of French and Tahitian cultures means great food and wine. Yes, Tahiti has star quality – and that’s even before you count the multitude of etoiles in its nighttime sky.
While Bora Bora, Taha’a or even the Marquesas may beckon, French Polynesia’s gateway – where a fragrant lei greeting awaits at Faa’a International Airport after a comfortable eight-hour nonstop from Los Angeles – is a Tahiti destination that should not be overlooked.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first visit or your fiftieth – Moorea’s beauty is mind-blowing. You’ll steal your first glimpse from the main island of Tahiti and then as you arrive and Moorea’s towering green peaks and slender white beaches come into focus, you’ll be in awe over what nature has created for relaxation-starved visitors to enjoy.
The prized jewel in Tahiti’s glittering necklace of islands, Bora Bora has been seducing travelers for centuries and creating romantic memories for honeymooners (and lots of other couples, too) since the first overwater bungalow resort was built some 50 years ago.
Revered by Tahitians as The Sacred Island, Raiatea is an undeveloped tropical playground that’s home to both a rare mountain flower and French Polynesia’s only navigable river.
Taha’a Tahiti – try saying that five times fast! Known as “The Vanilla Island,” Taha’a earned its nickname by producing some of the world’s finest vanilla and you’ll enjoy that deliciously comforting scent practically everywhere you go.
Huahine island has a sparkling blue lagoon, beautiful white-sand beaches and lush green peaks – just like French Polynesia’s more-well-known Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora) of which it is part.
When divers head to French Polynesia in search of stellar coral and adrenaline-rush dives, Rangiroa is often the destination of choice. The water’s 150-foot visibility and abundant schools of sharks and tuna add to the allure.
Tikehau travel is the equivalent of a detox: You land in a tiny airport on a slender atoll, are whisked off via motorboat to an intimate resort set amid soft pink sand, and spend your Tikehau vacation suspended in a swaying hammock and snorkeling a serene aquamarine lagoon.
Located about three hours by air from French Polynesia’s main island of Tahiti and steeped in both history and adventure, the Marquesas is a lost-in-time island chain of dramatic volcanic cliffs shrouded in mystical clouds, and the final resting place of the South Pacific’s most famous artist.
How to Get There
- The Islands of French Polynesia or more commonly known as “Tahiti” are only 8 hours nonstop flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti’s Papeete's Faa'a Airport (PPT).
- Nonstop flights depart Los Angeles almost daily on Air Tahiti Nui and Air France. Hawaiian Airlines operates nonstop flights from Honolulu (HNL) to Papeete (PPT) weekly.
- Travelling to Bora Bora, Moorea or Tahiti’s outer islands is easy. Air Tahiti and Air Moorea operate regular scheduled flights out of Tahiti from Faa'a Airport over a network of islands. Charted flights are available on request.
- Catamarans and ferry boats cross between Tahiti and Moorea several times a day. All transfers can be arranged by our specialists at Islands in the Sun.
- For taxis or public transportation, it is best to ask the Concierge for options available and timetables.
Tahiti and her Islands
Can you picture yourself in the warmth of a secluded, sugar-white beach? Exploring lagoons with waters teeming with rainbows of tropical fish? Tahiti is the largest of the 118 islands and atolls that constitute what is officially known as French Polynesia. The main island of Tahiti and the capital city of Papeete are located in the Society Islands, an archipelago that includes the renowned islands of Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha'a.
- In Papeete, main city of the island of Tahiti, you'll find a modern, bustling port, with shopping ranging from black pearl boutiques to island handicrafts to the latest in French fashions. Sip a drink and people-watch at a sidewalk cafe, or savor the delicate flavors of French cuisine.
- On Moorea, jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and breathtaking bays make a stunning backdrop for your tropical adventure.
- Bora Bora has been called the most beautiful island in the world. Its lagoon, a haven for watersports, ranges from palest turquoise to deepest blue. Paradise found!
Tahiti and her islands are two hours behind Pacific Standard Time and in the same time zone as Hawaii. During Daylight-Saving Time (March to late October) the time is three hours behind.
Entry and Visa Requirements
Every visitor must have:
- A passport valid for three months beyond date of arrival.
- A return airline ticket to their resident country or to at least two more continuing destinations.
- Sufficient funds to cover the planned stay.
US and Canada:
For stays of up to 90 days, there are no visa requirements for citizens of the U.S. or Canada carrying a US or Canadian Passport. A foreigner with a residence card for the U.S. is not exempt from the above requirements and should consult the French Consulate based in the U.S. for information.
Entry requirements are subject to change without notice and it is advisable to check with your Islands in the Sun specialist before departure. For more information on French Polynesia entry and visa requirements, please contact the French Polynesian Embassy and Consulates in the United States or Canada.
No vaccines or certifications are required from North America. Regardless of the traveler's nationality, entry from high risk areas of the world as defined by the World Health Organization requires certifications (please check with your airline).
Tahiti enjoys a tropical climate with the average yearly air and water temperature of 80F. The summer months run from November through April, when the climate is slightly warmer and more humid. Winter is from the months of May through to October, when the climate is slightly cooler and dryer.
The official language is French and native languages such as Tahitian are widely spoken. English is spoken and understood in tourist areas. A few basic French phrases and Tahitian greetings are appreciated by locals.
Currency and Tipping
The currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF). Upon arrival most visitors exchange some money at the airport or at their hotels. Since most credit cards are readily accepted in all tourist areas, it is not necessary to exchange large amounts. Tipping is not customary or expected in Polynesian culture. However, tipping is welcomed for exemplary service.
Bargaining and haggling over prices in markets and stores is not customary.
Water and Electricity
Water: tap water is safe to drink in most hotels and restaurants. If in doubt, enquire with your hotel or drink bottled.
Electricity: 110 or 220 volts depending on the island. Islands in the Sun recommend bringing a universal adaptor.
Postal and Telecommunications
Postal: Papeete’s Central Post office is located near the yacht wharf and Bougainville Park, open weekdays from 7am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 11am.
Telecommunications: Direct dialing international calls is available in most hotels and phone booths. Phone cards are easily purchased in Tahiti. When calling from the U.S. to Tahiti, dial 011 and then the country code of 689 along with the local number. Cell phone roaming is available for many telecommunications service providers; however it is recommended to check with your service provider before you leave as to whether their services are available on roaming.
Essential Items to Pack
- Sun hats
- Insect repellent
- Reef-walking shoes – While the color of the lagoon in French Polynesia is magnificent, you will find the beach a little bit rocky with corals. Reef shoes will protect your feet.
Weddings & Honeymoons
Our Islands in the Sun Tahiti specialists can assist you with planning your special day. Couples who wish to be legally married in Tahiti can now have memorable and meaningful weddings in one of the most romantic places in the world.
Tahitian Weddings Information
Tahiti Tourisme has outlined the necessary steps involved with planning your Tahitian wedding. The information provided is detailed as the process can take approximately three to five months to complete.
Eligibility to get married in French Polynesia:
- Both spouses must be at least 18 years old
- Neither spouse can be currently married
- Spouses must be of the opposite sex
- The couple cannot be related by direct lineage
- The couple cannot be of French origin or have French residential status
- The bride and the groom must each choose a witness who must be 18 years of age or older (if the chosen witness is not present, the mayor’s office can provide a witness
- The “Marriage of Foreign Citizens in French Polynesia” application must be completed.
- A letter signed and dated by both future spouses, addressed to the mayor of the commune chosen for the marriage ceremony.
- Proof of identity for both of the future spouses (copies of their passports).
- A certified copy of both spouses’ birth certificates authenticated with an “Apostille” (note: the birth certificates must have been issued less than 6 months prior to the date of the marriage). Both of the birth certificates and the “Apostille” must be translated into French by an approved translator and legalized by the French Consulate. Translators can be found on the consulate’s website.
- A “Certificate of Non-Marital Status” signed by a lawyer, translated into French and legalized by the French Consulate. Lawyers can be found on the consulate’s website.
- Proof of residency for both of the future spouses (a utility bill or any bill noting names and physical address will suffice). A photocopy of bills for both spouses is acceptable.
- Optional, if a prenuptial agreement has been created it must be translated into French and authenticated by the French Consulate.
Send All Materials to French Polynesia:
- Expedite all materials to the mayor’s office of the commune in which the spouses are getting married at least 45 days prior to the ceremony. After the submission of the application file the mayor’s office will post a Non Opposition to Marriage document.
- The mayor’s office will then contact the bride and groom to advise them of the approved date and time of the wedding.
- On the day of the ceremony the future spouses, guests and the witnesses go to the Mairie (city hall).
- The mayor (or an appointed representative from the mayor’s office) will perform the ceremony, in the presence of at least two witnesses in the language chosen by the wedding couple.
- After the ceremony, the mayor will give the spouses a Marriage Certificate. This certificate will be dated and signed by the mayor’s office of the commune in which the marriage takes place.
- Determine eligibility (please see eligibility guidelines listed)
- Speak with our Tahiti Travel Experts
- Decide where you would like to get married in Tahiti.
- Choose the date and time of your wedding and allow enough time after your submit your application to ensure documents can be processed.
- Complete all necessary requirements and forms
- Send all documents to the city hall in the commune where the wedding venue is located (please note: this needs to arrive in Tahiti at least 45 days prior to the wedding ceremony)
Honeymoon wedding registry:
Islands in the Sun offer a honeymoon wedding registry as a convenient alternative to the traditional bridal registry. Talk to one of our specialists to set up your free registry!
How it works:
- Add items to your registry with your dedicated honeymoon planner
- Inform your friends and family about the trip
- Guests contact us to purchase from your registry
- Collect wedding gifts
- Have the honeymoon of your dreams!
Tahiti is known as one of the most romantic places in the world. You can find your perfect romance or honeymoon package with Islands in the Sun. Our specialists have helped thousands of couples have memorable time together in Tahiti.
Why is Tahiti so perfect for romance?
Tahiti and her islands offer seclusion and an abundance of romantic experiences for honeymooners, couples, lovers – romance and magic is guaranteed to be in the air!
A sense of romance and the exotic is embedded in the beauty and enchanting landscapes that surround Tahiti. There are so many reasons that create a perfect backdrop for romance, to mention just a few:
- Intimate resorts with overwater bungalows
- Long walks hand in hand along the miles of pristine beaches
- Couples can enjoy the haven of a Polynesian spa treatments to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul
- Relax and do nothing together surrounded by the fragrances of a lovers paradise
- Adventurous couples can enjoy a wide variety of land and water activities including diving, snorkeling, boating or explore the islands by safaris, hiking, or shopping
- Polynesian locals will be your perfect host, embrace their warmth as seen through music, dance, and flowers (you may want to join in)!
- Take a romantic voyage around Tahiti’s beautiful isles aboard a luxurious cruise ship, super yacht, or a passenger freighter
Our Islands in the Sun properties offer a range of dining options from fine to casual dining experiences, ask our experts for more details!
Les Roulottes on the waterfront
This is a great place to try a variety of different food. This area of Papeete, Tahiti has recently been renovated and looks amazing.
Dinner at Le Belvedere Restaurant
An unforgettable experience. Wine and dine on the top of Tahiti’s hills at almost 2,000 feet and enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of Papeete and Moorea. French cuisine, seafood and Tahitian specialties are featured on the menu. Round-trip transfers from the hotel are included. Closed on Tuesdays.
Tiki Village Theatre
Tiki Village theatre in Moorea offers a Tahitian feast, hima’a, and a Tahitian cultural show. Tuesdays, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Toata Bar & Creperie
Located at the Hilton Moorea and built over a natural aquarium. Indulge in French crêpes, a fresh salad and a cocktail over dinner while overlooking the magnificent Moorea Mountains and lagoon.
Lagoon Restaurant by Jean Georges
This signature restaurant is located at The St Regis Bora Bora Resort. A French and Asian-infused menu made with the freshest ingredients designed by one of the world’s most famous chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Dinner at Bloody Mary's Restaurant
Offering your choice of the freshest local catch-of-the-day accompanied by an exotic array of lush tropical drinks, this internationally acclaimed dining experience in Bora Bora is not to be missed. Closed on Sundays and for special events.
5 Reasons to Take a Vacation to Tahiti & Her Majestic Islands
1. A NATIVE ISLAND PARADISE WITH HIDDEN TREASURES
The smell of vanilla amid clear blue skies and tropical waters for miles, Tahiti is your lavish island playground. The islands of Tahiti are exotic, stylish and pleasurable to the eye and spirit. This is the essence of a vacation where there is no time but the moment to experience serenity. Breathtaking views and turquoise lagoons make a stunning backdrop for your tropical adventure – be adventurous or just laze under the Tahitian sun!
2. THE GATEWAY TO LOVE
Tahiti and her beautiful islands are perfect for romance, a stunning backdrop for a wedding or romantic getaway. Capture all those passionate moments amid white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters. Relax together in style and privacy, frolic in the water, stroll on the beach or indulge in the flavors of Tahitian and French cuisine. Here, you can immerse yourself in each other surrounded by the romantic ambiance of Tahiti, and her beautiful islands.
3. NO SHORTAGE OF FUN AND ADVENTUROUS THINGS TO DO
Opportunities abound for every type of traveler. Popular water activities include wind surfing, jet skiing, sea kayaking, sailing world-class surfing and deep sea fishing. See waterfalls and grottos as you four-wheel-drive through the heart of the islands. Sunset cruises, Circle island tours and cultural sites are all great.
4. WORLD RENOWNED FOR SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELING
The waters of the Tahitian islands are ideal for both beginning and advanced divers. Divers and snorkelers will be captivated by the vast marine life, encounters include manta rays whose gigantic wingspan eclipse the passing diver, schools of dolphin dance along the surf, and humpback whales thrill the lucky spectators in their annual parade. From the simple pleasure of snorkeling from your private overwater bungalow in the warm, turquoise waters, or to the more thrilling experience of a diving expedition or a dream dive with dolphins.
5. INDULDGE IN THE FAMOUS FLAVOURS OF TAHITIAN AND INTERNATIONAL CUSINE
Your pallet will not be disappointed. Tahiti offers a wide variety of dining and culinary options, from 5 Star dining to local cuisine catering to every travelers needs. Taste a local range of delightful and fresh options including the local food vans or the many international flavors available including the French, Chinese and Italian.