Tahiti has its share of resorts, however the striking sandy beaches and crystal clear lagoons that made French Polynesia famous are more easily found elsewhere in the islands.
Additionally, the island is home to French Polynesia’s only major city, with surrounding suburbs. There is a fair bit of traffic and definitely a rush hour – so your trip might take longer than it looks on a map!
Due to the large population in Tahiti, remote, traditional villages are better off explored on less populated locales.
Tahiti is the largest and most populated island in French Polynesia, home to more than 60% of French Polynesia’s population.
Flower greeting at Faa’a Airport in Papeete, Tahiti, received on a 2007 visit. As the location of the islands’ largest international airport, Faa’a Airport, and its capital, Papeete, most travelers spend a day on Tahiti. An international city, Papeete is home to the biggest nightlife in the islands and widest array of dining and activity options, including the Paul Gauguin Museum, Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands and other activities. Not surprisingly, all of the banks, large hospitals, businesses, embassies and government offices are headquartered here as well.
We recommend at least that amount of time to comfortably visit Le Marché, the central market with the best souvenir and pearl shopping in French Polynesia, and les roulottes – the roadside night dining. There are plenty of outdoor activities to participate in too!
How to travel to the main island of Tahiti
Tahiti is easy to reach via a short, eight hour flight from Los Angeles or Sydney. It also has plentiful connections via ferry or plane from the rest of French Polynesia to the island. Upon arrival, visitors are usually greeted with music and the traditional gift of tiare (gardenia) flowers.
Although Tahiti is the largest of the 118 islands, it also possess the best roads, including one that encircles the paradise, stopping at all of its most beautiful locations, including surf, hiking and beaches. In addition, there is access to archaeological petroglyphs and other sites of importance on Tahiti.