Here are the answers to commonly asked questions about Tahiti.
How many islands are in Tahiti?
Tahiti and her islands number 118, in five different and distinct archipelagos: Windward Islands and Leeward Islands, Tuamotu Atolls, Marquesas Islands, Austral Islands and Gambier Islands. Only a half of the islands, 60, are inhabited.
How many people live in Tahiti?
French Polynesia has approximately 250,000 residents, and receives an equal number of visitors each year. A majority are of native Polynesian descent. French and Chinese populations are also well represented at approximately 10% and 5% of the population, respectively.
The island of Tahiti is home to the greatest number of residents - almost 75% of the population.
View of Tahiti and the Sofitel Tahiti from the water, seen during a BigDay 2007 site inspection.
What are popular gifts and souvenirs from Tahiti?
In addition to the ubiquitous black pearl, vanilla beans and products, coconut-flavored soaps and monoi oil, handicrafts including hand-painted pareu (sarong) fabric, wood carvings and woven items are popular.
Should you decide to pick up a pearl or two, the Musée de la Perle Robert Wan should be your first stop. This museum covers both the history of the pearl and also what to look for when making your selections. A pearl market near Papeete's daily market, Le Marché, provides plenty of options.
Additionally, Le Marché is a great place to pick up your gifts for the friends and family stuck back at home!
Click here to view Le Marché and here to see the Musee de la Perle in Google Earth..
What are the business hours in Tahiti?
Shops open early from Monday-Friday, around 7:30 or 8 a.m. and close at 11:30 a.m. for lunch. They reopen at 1:30 and close up for the night at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. In Papeete, some shops are open Saturday mornings.
Do we bargain or negotiate at shops in Tahiti?
Bargaining or negotiating is not common in Tahiti, with the exception of loose black pearls. The price listed is the price paid.
Do we tip in Tahiti?
Tips, although always appreciated, are not customary in Tahiti. Tipping is not widely practiced, even at upscale resorts.
What should we pack for our Tahiti honeymoon?
Light, airy clothes are best. Remember that covering up outside of resorts is required. For dinner-wear, pack a nice pair of long pants and dressy shirt, or light dress or skirt for women. Quick drying fabrics work nicely. Don't forget the sunscreen and film as well!
Will my computer, hair dryer or other appliance work in Tahiti?
Voltage requirements in Tahiti are 110/220 volts, versus the 110/120V commonly found in North America. Plugs are typically two Japanese-style flat blades or European-style two round pins. For travelers from North America, plug and voltage converters are required, although most resorts will have converters you can use.
Can I access my e-mail in Tahiti?
Leave the computer at home! This is your honeymoon, remember?!?! But, if you just want to send your friends and family pictures of your beautiful trip, well, then, we understand. Internet access is available at both internet cafes in Papeete and most upscale resorts for an average of $10-$20 an hour.
How do I call home from Tahiti?
You can phone home from both your hotel and local phone booths. We suggest picking up a calling card at a local shop as direct dials rates from your hotel can exceed $10 a minute.
How do we travel around Tahiti?
On the islands, public transportation in the form of 'le truck' are common.
Boats and small planes travel between the islands, depending on their distances apart.
For more information on travel within French Polynesia, look at our section on Tahiti Inter-island Travel.
Vaitape, Bora Bora shuttle boats.
What is the average temperature in Tahiti?
The average temperature - both in the air and in the water - in Tahiti is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or 27 degrees Celsius.
During the high season, or winter, temperatures range from 70-82 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the low season, summer, temperatures vary from 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. December and January average 12 inches of rain a month, while June through September experiences less than three. For more information, visit the environment and climate article.
When is the high season in Tahiti? When is the Low Season?
Tahiti's peak season is during the months of June through October. Low season is November through May.
During peak season, occupancy is near 100%, while low season ranges from 20% to 50%. Prices dip by an average of 30% in low season.
Where are the best SCUBA diving spots in Tahiti?
It depends on what you're hoping to see! SCUBA diving is available in all the island chains and is especially popular in Moorea, Bora Bora and the Tuamotus.
Common Tahitian words
Although English is widely spoken in resorts, restaurants and touristy areas, learning a few phrases in Tahitian will endear you to the locals...and help you understand words like motu and marae, which are often incorporated in signs and brochures! Knowing French, the other official language, is also helpful, but not necessary.
The Tahitian alphabet contains only thirteen letters.
Vowels: a as in car, e as in may, i as in machine, o as in cold, and u as in salute.
Consonants: f, h, m, n, p, r, t, v pronounced as in English with the exceptions of the h pronounced sh when preceded by i or followed by o and the r sometimes having a trill sound.
hello, good day, friendly greeting: ia orana or bonjour (French)
thank you: mauru'uru or merci (French)
to your health, toast: manuia
yes: e, oia
big, large: nui
islet in the lagoon: motu
ancient temple: marae
traditional quilts: tifaifai
traditional dance: tamurei