Tahiti is a beautiful, exotic island in French Polynesia. The figure 8 shaped island is the largest in the South Pacific archipelago and is known for its black sands beaches, waterfalls, extinct volcanoes, and hidden lagoons. Polynesian culture is celebrated all over the island immersing visitors in dance and drumming, Tahitian costumes, and special events that tell the story of the ancestors. Whether you are traveling to Tahiti for the beaches, history, culture, or all of the above, there are many site and activities to keep visitors entertained on the islands.
1.Tiki Parc Moorea
© Tiki Parc Moorea
On the island of Moorea, visitors can travel to the Opunohu Valley to complete obstacle courses and zip line through the exotic, tropical forests of Moorea. There are courses meant for children as young as eight years old, as well as adults only courses. There are currently 22 zip lines with the tallest being 46 feet high and spanning almost 400 feet. Courses do have height and weight restrictions. Guests should know that there are no guides or supervisors. All courses must be completed on your own, and you must keep your harness on at all times.
Paopao, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-89-40-00-39
2.Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands
© Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands
The Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands celebrated and showcased the history of the French Polynesian Islands and Oceania and opened with three permanent exhibits in 1979. Museum of Tahiti now has four rooms for permanent exhibitions as well as spaces for rotating, traveling, and special exhibitions. The museum is found at Nu’uroa Point and is 7.5 acres and also features an ethnobotanical tour. Visitors can also enjoy an interactive game in the gardens called The Heritage Game.
Puna’auia, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-54-94-35
© emmanuel gillardin/stock.adobe.com
Papeete Market is the number one attraction in Papeete and is also the oldest institution on the island still operating today. The market has been around since 1850 and has been in the same location since 1869. The market was completely redesigned to be The New Market in 1987 which tripled the size of the property to take up an entire city block and added a mezzanine where crafters can set up their booths. The market opens very early, including at 3 am on Sundays. Vendors carry everything from meats and produce to craft, wood carvings, art, textiles, artisanal items, and more.
Rue Gauguin BP 106 Papeete, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-41-57-00
© Aleksandr Matveev/stock.adobe.com
Bourgaine Park in downtown Papeete was once the city’s public square where the administrative buildings, stores, post office, food stalls, hygiene stations; however a hurricane in 1906 demolished most of the buildings. The post office is the only building that remains in the park though it has been demolished and reconstructed several times. In 2003 the park was updated with seating areas and playgrounds, and there are regular special events in the park which is open 24 hours a day.
Avenue du Général de Gaulle, Papeete, French Polynesia
Aorai Mountain is one of the most hiked mountains in Tahiti and the third tallest peak on the island reaching 2,066 meters. There is one hiking path that begins at O Belvedere Restaurant, and while guides are not required, there are guides that can be hired, which is recommended for safety. The trail is well maintained and will take at least 4.5 hours to reach the summit. To reach the top and climb back down on the same day, hikers should be prepared to begin their ascent at dawn. There are two shelters available on the mountain that hikers can stay in for free. Twenty hikers can be accommodated in each, and the shelter has electricity and cisterns filled with rainwater.
6.Tomb of Pomare V
© Tomb of Pomare V
Pomare V was the last Tahitian King and lived from 1839 to 1891. He is buried at Outuai’ai Point at the Evangelical Church of Polynesia gathering place. Pomare ruled for only three years, 1877-1880, and abdicated the Tahitian Islands to the French. The mausoleum is impressive and consists of coral bricks and cement is both pyramidal and rectangular and is considered an architectural masterpiece. Outuai’ai Point is also considered the place Christianity first spread throughout the Kingdom of Pomare in 1815.
Arue, French Polynesia
7.Grave of Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin is known to be one of the first bad boys of the art world and is buried on Hiva Oa Island in French Polynesia. The Post-Impressionist French painter lived as a Bohemian, was friends with Vincent Van Gogh, and lived a questionable lifestyle after moving to Tahiti and leaving his family behind in France to embrace primitivism. He died suddenly at only 53 years old in 1903 at his home in Marquesas. The infamous artist still has descendants living on the island today.
Calvary Cemetery, Atuona, French Polynesia,
8.Robert Wan Pearl Museum
© Robert Wan Pearl Museum
Tahiti is home to the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to Pearls. Located in Papeete Tahiti, the Robert Wan Pearl Museum highlights the history of pearl and their use throughout the world, the legends surrounding pearls, and perliculture. Robert Wan is also a jewelry designer who specializes in pearls and his private collection of pearls and pearl jewelry, which includes the largest Tahitian Pearl known to exist in the world, is exhibited at the museum. The museum also features black pearls which are high quality and rare.
56 Avenue du Commandant Destremau, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-46-15-55
9.Teahupo’o Tahiti Surfari
© Teahupo’o Tahiti Surfari
Visitors to Tahiti looking for some of the best waves for surfing in the world will find them in Teahupo’o village of the Island of Tahiti’s southwest coast. The glassy waves can reach up to 23 feet high, and the beach is the home to the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti surfing competition that brings surf pros from all over the world to the small island village. Wind and kitesurfing are also popular at the beach. There are also waterfalls, hidden caves, and natural swimming pools to explore. Visitors to Teahupo’o can take a surfari of either one hour, half a day or a full day and travel by boat with stops for swimming, hiking, and surfing. You might be fortunate enough to get up close to a Humpback Whale.
10.Snorkeling and Scuba Diving with TOPDive
One of the best dive centers in Tahiti is located in the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort. TOPDive allows divers to access 12 dive sites at both the east and west coasts of Tahiti and provides jet ski guided tours and instruction in snorkeling. The dive sites available offer snorkeling amongst the coral, lemon sharks, and in the lagoons and amongst the staged shipwrecks. There are even guided dives available for shark feeding for certified divers only. Night dives, whale watching tours, and transfers from select island resorts are also available at TOPDive.
POBox 42692, 98713 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-83-50-60
© InterContinental Tahiti
The InterContinental Tahiti is a luxury resort with 32 acres of gardens, a lagoon, fining dining and dinner shows, the Deep Nature Spa, and overwater bungalows. The resort also offers standard classic rooms, executive rooms, and suites decorated with a Polynesian theme. There are also lounges and bars for adults including the swim up bar, Lobby Bar Terrace, and Le Lotus, which features tables set over the water on covered platforms and fine French cuisine.
PK7, Fa'a'a 98702, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-86-51-78
11 Best Things to Do in Tahiti
- Tiki Parc Moorea, Photo: Tiki Parc Moorea
- Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, Photo: Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands
- Papeete Market, Photo: emmanuel gillardin/stock.adobe.com
- Bougainville Park, Photo: Aleksandr Matveev/stock.adobe.com
- Aorai Mountain, Photo: damedias/stock.adobe.com
- Tomb of Pomare V, Photo: Tomb of Pomare V
- Grave of Paul Gauguin, Photo: guyberresford/stock.adobe.com
- Robert Wan Pearl Museum, Photo: Robert Wan Pearl Museum
- Teahupo’o Tahiti Surfari, Photo: Teahupo’o Tahiti Surfari
- Snorkeling and Scuba Diving with TOPDive, Photo: Tomfry/stock.adobe.com
- InterContinental Tahiti, Photo: InterContinental Tahiti
- Cover Photo: Martin Valigursky/stock.adobe.com