A name synonymous with tropical relaxation, Tahiti is the busy hub of French Polynesia, located 160 mi/260 km southeast of Bora Bora. Most of the activity is centered around the city of Papeete (pronounced pah-pay-EH-tay). It's the part of the island most visitors see, if only in passing.

We recommend you stick around in Papeete for at least a two-night stay. This exciting city has many flashy boutiques, a colorful local market, a black pearl museum and active nightlife. As the only real city in French Polynesia, Papeete can teach you a lot about life in the South Pacific. And although you will experience some traffic jams and noise, it's relatively clean, safe and efficient for a tropical city.

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