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Welcome to Paradise, Commonly Known as the Islands of Tahiti

Theses beautiful picture perfect Tahitian islands are located just 8 hours from the Los Angeles, closer than you think! With crystal blue water and gasp taking scenery this tropical paradise in French Polynesia will take your breathe away.

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Travel Information

The best time to adventure to the Islands of Tahiti is whenever you have the chance!

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Destination Overview

Learn about the Islands of Tahiti's interesting history, geography and culture!

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City Guides

Find out all you need to know about the incredible Islands of Tahiti!

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Things To Do

Activities

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Overwater Bungalows

Unlike any other hotel room you've stayed in before, these traditional thatched-roof bungalows are perched above the turquoise lagoon waters. In many of the overwater bungalows, tropical fish swim below as you look through the glass floor or coffee table. With all the amenities of a first-class hotel room, there on your private balcony surrounded only by water and sky, you can enjoy both breakfast, often delivered by canoe, and the sunset, seemingly delivered by the heavens.

Island Tours

There is no better way to gain a sense of everyday Tahitian life and experience the culture of French Polynesia, than passing through the small villages on a circle-island tour. As nearly every island has a coastal road following the lagoon shores, you can either drive around the island by rental car or take a guided bus tour. Explore the island interiors on a 4x4 safari, guided nature hike, or horseback ride. Skim across the lagoons on a motorized canoe, sailboat, or powerboat. For dramatic views above the islands, take a helicopter tour.

Snorkeling & Diving

World-class snorkeling and diving in Tahiti is one of the South Pacific's best-kept secrets. Both experienced and beginner divers and snorkelers are amazed by how clear the waters are and how close they can swim to the marine life, such as the gigantic manta rays. With hundreds of dive sites throughout the islands, divers can choose from the amazing drift dives, oceanic drop-offs, sunken ships, and lagoon dives with infinite marine life.

Shark Feeding

This excursion is one of the most thrilling and popular and can be enjoyed on most of the main islands. After a short trip into the lagoon by powered outrigger canoe or powerboat, you'll float or stand in four to seven feet of clear water behind a secure rope as the docile sharks are hand-fed by an experienced guide. Even non-swimmers can enjoy this exciting scene from the boat.

Tahitian Cultured Pearls

The world-renowned iridescent luster of Mother Nature's most perfect gem can only be created in Tahiti warm lagoon waters. Commonly known around the world as Black Pearls, each Tahitian Cultured Pearl ranges in size and shape and the colors range from the darkest black to shimmering shades of green, blue, bronze, aubergine, or even pink. Tour a pearl farm on Rangiroa, Raiatea, Huahine, Taha'a, Tikehau, and Fakarava or visit one of the many pearl shops.

Polynesian Spas

Tahiti is a world-class spa destination with many of the resorts offering new luxurious spas. Surrounded by a backdrop of natural beauty and floral fragrances, there is no better setting for relaxation. Enjoy fresh-flower baths, herbal rain showers, or even a body wrap in banana tree leaves. You can also rejuvenate your romance at the spas aboard the cruise ships including the Parisian-influenced private Spa Villa for two on the m/s Paul Gauguin.

Tahitian Wedding Ceremony

An authentic Tahitian Wedding is a meaningful and traditional ceremony for couples wishing to wed in the islands. Couples are bedecked in bright pareu, flowers, and shells. The groom is brought to the beach side location in a canoe while the bride is carried on a rattan throne. Music and dancers enhance the ceremony while a Tahitian priest performs the rites and gives the couple their Tahitian name. This ceremony is held for couples who are being wed for the first time, or for those who wish to renew their vows.

Weddings are now legal in French Polynesia! Non-French nationals including U.S. and Canadian citizens can now legally wed throughout the Islands of Tahiti!

Motu Picnic

Enjoy a private or group picnic on your own motu (tiny islets in the lagoon). Your resort or cruise ship can provide an unforgettable experience where Polnesian meals are prepared and enjoyed on a table set either under a coconut tree or in the warm, shallow waters along the beach or at sunset.

Arts

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Tahiti
There are plenty of traditional art galleries in Papeete. Take time to appreciate the works of resident painters, sculptors and other artists.

The Marquesas
The Paul Gauguin Cultural Center opened in 2003 on the 100th anniversary of Gauguin's death. Located on land bought by Gauguin, the center's exhibition of reproductions leads the visitor through three sections themed around quotes attributed to the artist: "escaping to reach art," "the right to dare anything in art," and "becoming part of a primitive culture." 


"Artists’ Corner” at Le Meridien Tahiti
"L'Atelier des Artistes" reflects Le Meridien's passion for supporting art, offering guests a unique experience with local and international artists. More than a gallery, “L'Atelier” was created to feature the artists themselves, as well as their work. Guests can visit them and even participate in the creative process.

The Museum of Tahiti and her Islands
Considered to be one of the best and most beautiful museums in the South Pacific, it is home to rare collections of art carvings and historical artifacts. The museum also hosts art exhibitions (paintings, photography) throughout the year.

Beaches

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Overwater Bungalows

Unlike any other hotel room you've stayed in before, these traditional thatched-roof bungalows are perched above the turquoise lagoon waters. In many of the overwater bungalows, tropical fish swim below as you look through the glass floor or coffee table. With all the amenities of a first-class hotel room, there on your private balcony surrounded only by water and sky, you can enjoy both breakfast, often delivered by canoe, and the sunset, seemingly delivered by the heavens.

Island Tours

There is no better way to gain a sense of everyday Tahitian life and experience the culture of French Polynesia, than passing through the small villages on a circle-island tour. As nearly every island has a coastal road following the lagoon shores, you can either drive around the island by rental car or take a guided bus tour. Explore the island interiors on a 4x4 safari, guided nature hike, or horseback ride. Skim across the lagoons on a motorized canoe, sailboat, or powerboat. For dramatic views above the islands, take a helicopter tour.

Snorkeling & Diving

World-class snorkeling and diving in Tahiti is one of the South Pacific's best-kept secrets. Both experienced and beginner divers and snorkelers are amazed by how clear the waters are and how close they can swim to the marine life, such as the gigantic manta rays. With hundreds of dive sites throughout the islands, divers can choose from the amazing drift dives, oceanic drop-offs, sunken ships, and lagoon dives with infinite marine life.

Shark Feeding

This excursion is one of the most thrilling and popular and can be enjoyed on most of the main islands. After a short trip into the lagoon by powered outrigger canoe or powerboat, you'll float or stand in four to seven feet of clear water behind a secure rope as the docile sharks are hand-fed by an experienced guide. Even non-swimmers can enjoy this exciting scene from the boat.

Tahitian Cultured Pearls

The world-renowned iridescent luster of Mother Nature's most perfect gem can only be created in Tahiti warm lagoon waters. Commonly known around the world as Black Pearls, each Tahitian Cultured Pearl ranges in size and shape and the colors range from the darkest black to shimmering shades of green, blue, bronze, aubergine, or even pink. Tour a pearl farm on Rangiroa, Raiatea, Huahine, Taha'a, Tikehau, and Fakarava or visit one of the many pearl shops.

Polynesian Spas

Tahiti is a world-class spa destination with many of the resorts offering new luxurious spas. Surrounded by a backdrop of natural beauty and floral fragrances, there is no better setting for relaxation. Enjoy fresh-flower baths, herbal rain showers, or even a body wrap in banana tree leaves. You can also rejuvenate your romance at the spas aboard the cruise ships including the Parisian-influenced private Spa Villa for two on the m/s Paul Gauguin.

Tahitian Wedding Ceremony

An authentic Tahitian Wedding is a meaningful and traditional ceremony for couples wishing to wed in the islands. Couples are bedecked in bright pareu, flowers, and shells. The groom is brought to the beach side location in a canoe while the bride is carried on a rattan throne. Music and dancers enhance the ceremony while a Tahitian priest performs the rites and gives the couple their Tahitian name. This ceremony is held for couples who are being wed for the first time, or for those who wish to renew their vows.

Weddings are now legal in French Polynesia! Non-French nationals including U.S. and Canadian citizens can now legally wed throughout the Islands of Tahiti!

Motu Picnic

Enjoy a private or group picnic on your own motu (tiny islets in the lagoon). Your resort or cruise ship can provide an unforgettable experience where Polnesian meals are prepared and enjoyed on a table set either under a coconut tree or in the warm, shallow waters along the beach or at sunset.

Culture

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The Tahitians of the modern era maintain their heritage and traditions of their Maohi ancestors. Oral history recounts the adventures of gods and warriors in colorful legends where javelin throwing was the sport of the gods, surf riding was favored by the kings, and Aito strongmen competed in outrigger canoe races and stone lifting as a show of pure strength. The Tahitian culture is rich in the islands, welcoming visitors from all over the world.

Marae

The open-air sanctuaries called Marae were once the center of power in ancient Polynesia. These large, sacred, stone structures, akin to temples, hosted the important events of the times including the worship of the gods, peace treaties, celebrations of war, and the launch of voyages to colonize distant lands.

Heiva i Tahiti

In celebration of ancient traditions and competitions, the annual Heiva festival has been the most important event in Tahiti for the past 122 years. For visitors, there is no better place in the world to be during July than surrounded by this pure display of Polynesian festivity. Tahitians gather in Papeete from many islands to display their crafts, compete in ancient sporting events, and recreate traditional and elaborate dance performances.

Tattoo

The word tattoo originated in French Polynesia. The legend of Tohu, the god of tattoo, describes painting all the oceans’ fish in beautiful colors and patterns. In Polynesian culture, tattoos have long been considered signs of beauty, and in earlier times were ceremoniously applied when reaching adolescence.

Music and Dance

The beauty, drama, and power of today’s Tahitian dance testify to its resilience in Polynesian culture. In ancient times, dances were directly linked with all aspects of life. One would dance for joy, to welcome a visitor, to pray to a god, to challenge an enemy, and to seduce a mate. Dance is still accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as thunderous drums, conch shells, and harmonic nasal flutes. Modern Tahitian music is enjoyable as well, with a sound that often blends Polynesian rhythm and Western melody.

Handcrafts

The skills of the ancestors’ artistry are kept sacred and passed on by both the “mamas,” the guardians of tradition and the matriarchs of Tahitian society as well as by skilled craftsmen. Items include weaving, quilting, wooden sculptures and bowls, drums, tapa, carvings, and hand-dyed pareu.

Canoes

Centuries before the Europeans concluded that the earth was round, the great voyagers of Polynesia had already mastered the Pacific Ocean. Aboard massive, double-hulled outrigger canoes called “tipairua,” they navigated by stars and winds. Today, the canoe still plays a role in everyday Tahitian life and is honored in colorful races and festivals throughout the islands. The Hawaiki Nui Race held each year in November is the best tribute to what has become one of the toughest races in the world and could pretty much be called the “Tahitian Superbowl”.

Flowers

Tropical flowers seem to be everywhere on the islands, particularly in the hair of Tahitians. Hibiscus blossoms are worn behind the ear or braided with palm fronds into floral crowns. The Tiare Tahiti flower, which can only be found in Tahiti, is used in leis for greeting arriving visitors and returning family. Tradition holds that, if taken, women and men wear a flower behind their left ear. Some gardens and parks are a beautiful tribute to these colorful and fragrant gifts of nature, more especially the Harrison Smith Botanical Garden and the Vaipahi Garden.

Events

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For exact event dates contact your travel agent. 

JANUARY

VENUS – JAMES COOK EXHIBITION

Date: December – May
Location: Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, Tahiti
A tribute to Captain Cook’s travels to the Islands of Tahiti and more especially the observation of the transit of Venus in 1769. Original prints and Polynesian antiques will recount the stories and encounters of that period. Lectures will wonderfully enhance the whole exhibit. 

TAHITI TERE FAATI
Date: January
The Tahiti Tourism office organizes this out-of-the-ordinary circle island tour onboard “le truck’, traditional Tahitian bus, for a day filled with live music and stops at various points of interest, as well as a sumptuous Tahitian ‘”ahima’a” meal served by the water. A great day of fun and laughter! Tickets on sale at the Tahiti Tourism office in Papeete (wharf).

FEBRUARY

3rd ANNUAL SHELL EXHIBITION
Date: February
Location: Parc Bougainville, Papeete, Tahiti
Shells and jewelry made with shells will be the stars of this exhibition.

POLYNESIAN ART JEWELRY
Date: February
Location: Former Presidency of French Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
Tahitian jewelry to its best with over thirty artisans presenting their pieces made from mother of pearl, pearls, shells, carved bones, natural fibers etc... A fashion show orchestrated by Italian stylist Alberto V will reveal the most creative pieces.

“ART DU FENUA” – LOCAL ART EXHBITION
Date: February
Location: Papeete, Tahiti
An exhibition highlighting local art and crafts, and bringing to the light the creativity of artisans from Tahiti and the different islands. Beautiful jewlery, woven bags and hats, clothing but also glasses engraved with Tahitian symbols, cosmetics, tattooing etc…

CHINESE NEW YEAR
Date: February
Location: Papeete, Tahiti
The local Chinese community, quite important in the islands, will celebrate the year of the “water snake” through a variety of events: parade, dances, etc…

10th FIFO – PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
Date: February
Location: Cultural Center “Fare Tauhiti Nui”
Created to bring together all film and TV professionals of the region and promote the projects to world-renowned documentary buyers, the Pacific International Documentary Film Festival will, for its 10th edition, focus on digital projects. A jury will select the best documentaries.

MOOREA MARATHON
Date: February
Location: Temae, Moorea
Considered one of the finest in the world (ranked in the Top 40 Finest Exotic Marathons), participants from the islands and the planet have made this marathon a not-to-be-missed event. A great challenge to take in a heavenly vacation destination!

“VAKA’IKI 2013”
Date: February
Location: Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
In one of the most stunning settings, the “Vaka’iki” outrigger canoe race gathers local teams from the 5 archipelagoes for a 2-day competition.

WERNER BRINGOLD PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
Date: February - March
Location: Centre des Metiers d’Arts (Arts and Craft School), Papeete, Tahiti
Of Swiss origin, Werner Bringold has a journalist background and worked for “Les Nouvelles”, one of Tahiti’s newspapers, for many years. This exhibition will highlight his work with images featuring the Islands of Tahiti in the 80’s.

MARCH

“INTERNATIONAL ARI’I HOE NO PAPEETE”
Date: March
Location: Mahina, Papeete and Hitia’a, Tahiti
For the first time, thanks to the Tahitian Kayak Association, Tahiti will be included in a world circuit of races organized by the International Federation of Canoe. The event will include outrigger canoe and kayaks races as well as the now well renowned stand up paddle.

TAHITI GUITAR FESTIVAL
Date: March
Location: Hotel Le Meridien Tahiti, Punaauia, Tahiti
All guitar fans and professionals gather at the Meridien Tahiti hotel for 3 evenings of great music. Theme selected for this year’s edition is: “Celtic Encounter”.

NAUTICAL NIGHT
Date: March
Location: Papeete (waterfront), Tahiti
The Tahitian Federation of Sailing (FTV) and the Ministry of Sports of French Polynesia partner to offer a fun evening aiming at promoting nautical activities and sea sporting events… Music, demonstrations, outrigger canoe parade on Papeete’s waterfront will please visitors of all ages.

ART & CRAFTS FESTIVAL
Date: March
Location: Former Presidency of French Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
This first edition will gather artisans from the five archipelagoes of French Polynesia: Society Islands, Marquesas, Tuamotu, Austral and Gambier. A unique opportunity to discover each archipelago’s specialties and traditionally made objects, jewelry, decorative items, etc…

“TE RARA’A” WEAVING EXHIBITION
Date: March
Location: Papeete - Tahiti
The Austral archilepago located in the southern part of French Polynesia is known for its exceptional woven items. “Te Rara’a” exhibition will feature stunning woven hats, bags, “peue” carpets, fans etc. Join the “mamas” for some demonstrations and a contest that will reward the most skilled of them.

WEAVING EXHIBITION Date: March - April
Location: French Polynesia’s Assembly Hall
Visitors will discover the traditional art of weaving through a variety of demonstrations and showcase of creative pieces, such as hats, fans, bags, etc... Learn all about the different weaving techniques and browse through the great selection of products typical from the Austral islands.

APRIL

13th EDITION - LEEWARD ISLANDS HANDICRAFT EXHIBITION
Date: April
Location: Vaitape - Bora Bora
Artisans from the “Raromatai” (Islands of Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha’a, Huahine and Maupiti) will all meet in Bora Bora for a week to showcase all their creations: sculptures, woven bags and hats, “tifaifai” (Tahitian patchwork) jewelry, paintings, etc… Some great shopping to enjoy!

POLYNESIE 1ere VA’A RACE
Date: April
Location: Tahiti - Moorea
This canoe race sponsored by “Polynesie 1ere/France Televisions” sets the start of the canoe race season in the islands. Paddlers will have the challenging task of crossing the channel between Tahiti and Moorea in open sea.

ORI TAHITI TRAINING COURSE
Date: April
Location: Conservatoire Artistique de la Polynesie francaise (Artistic Academy of French Polynesia) “Te Fare Upa Rau”, Papeete, Tahiti “
Ori Tahiti” or Tahitian dance is vibrant and one of the ways Polynesians were passing on tales and legends. Part of the locals’ daily lives, Tahitian dancing has seduced people around the globe. The “Ori Tahiti Training Course” has been created for foreigners who are passionate about Tahitian dance. Twice a year, beginners and experienced dancers gather to learn or improve their technique and share their common passion for Tahitian dance.

15th EDITION TIFAIFAI EXHIBITION
Date: April - May
Location: Papeete’s City Hall, Tahiti
In Tahitian, “tifaifai” means “to mend” or “to match”. Tifaifai are beautiful bed spreads that originated from the patchwork style and technique. The fabric as well as the technique were brought into the islands by the first European missionaries. The designs and "appliqué" all hand made usually represent nature: flowers, leaves, fruits... The “tifaifai” exhibition is a tribute to the mamas’ long hours and months of work, to create the most original “tifaifai”.

MAY

TAHITI PEARL REGATTA
Date: May
Location: Raiatea, Huahine and Tahaa
The most important regatta in the South Pacific, the Tahiti Pearl Regata celebrates its 10th anniversary. In a fun and festive atmosphere, mono-hulls or multi-hulls boats will race on a course between Raiatea, Huahine and Taha’a. Race during the day and parties each evening! That’s what awaits all sailing fans. The Tahiti Pearl Regatta village will be set in the small town of Uturoa prior to the start of the regatta.

MOTHER'S DAY EXHIBITION
Date: May
Location: Former Presidency of French Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
To celebrate mothers and their special day! Browse through amazing jewelry, locally-made bags, hats, clothing, decorative items, etc…

"MOTHER'S DAY" EXHIBITION BORA-BORA
Date: May - June
Location: Vaitape Square, Bora Bora
To celebrate mothers and their special day! Browse through amazing jewelry, locally-made bags, hats, clothing, decorative items, etc…

“MOTHER’S DAY” EXHIBITION RAIATEA
Date: May - June
Location: Craft Center, Uturoa, Raiatea
To celebrate mothers and their special day! Browse through amazing jewelry, locally-made bags, hats, clothing, decorative items, etc…

TAHITI NUI VA’A
Date: May
Location: Tahiti
The best local and international teams compete in this outrigger canoe race around the island of Tahiti. They will complete a total of 166 kilometers in 3 days, with spectacular sceneries along the way.

"ORI TAHITI" SCHOOLS’ HEIVA
Date: May
Location: Toata Square, Papeete, Tahiti
“Ori Tahiti” (or Tahitian dance) is in the genes! From the moment kids can walk, they are initiated to Tahitian dance. Each year, the “Heiva” festival is a celebration of life through music and dance. The schools’ Heiva sets the start of the Heiva festivities that will pretty much last a whole month. Dance schools prepare their students to this big competition that will reward the best Tahitian school dance.

JUNE

37th EDITION MARQUESAS ISLANDS’ FAIR
Date: June
Location: Aora’i Tinihau, Pirae, Tahiti
In the Marquesas islands, art and crafts is a way of life. True eden, these islands have it all: lush environment, profusion of fruits, fish, breathtaking landscapes and the kindest people ever. The Marquesas islands’ fair brings to the light all the “savoir-faire” of the local artists: jewelry made from beads, feathers, sculpted bones, incredible wood and stone carvings, “tapa” decorative paintings, etc… Not to forget the intoxicating “umu hei” flowers and spices bouquets that women were wearing in their hair in the past to seduce men…

ART EXHIBITION
Date: June - September
Location: Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, Tahiti
This exhibition, co-organized by the Museum of Tahiti and her Islands and the “Centre des Metiers d’Art” art school will highlight ancient art pieces and more modern work from the art school’s students. Carvings, paintings, photography will be the main focus.

TAHITI VANILLA WEEK
Date: June
Location: Papeete, Tahiti
Tahitian vanilla is considered as one of the most fragrant one in the world. While it is mainly used in cuisine, it can also be found in some interesting jewelry pieces! Of course vanilla fragrant “monoi” (Tahitian oil) is a popular buy, also available in body lotion version, not to forget about liquors.

TAHITI MUSIC FESTIVAL
Date: June
Location: various places in Tahiti
Celebrated on the symbolic date of June 21st marking the summer solstice, it is party time for all musicians, bands, professionals or not! Most hotels, restaurants and bars will host special guests, live bands for the occasion.

HEIVA RIMAI
Date: June - July
Location: Aorai Tini Hau, Pirae, Tahiti
The “Heiva” festival has become an essential moment in the year to celebrate the islands’ culture, traditions and art. “Heiva Rimai” showcases an amazing array of products, art and crafts from the different archipelagos: Tuamotu, Marquesas, Austral and Society islands. There is no limit to what can be created from natural fibers, bamboo or wood, mother or pearl or shells, “tifaifai” patchwork and clothing.

STAND UP PADDLE WORLD TOUR
Date: June - July
Location: Tahiti
Established since 2009, the Stand Up Paddle World Tour is the official world’s championship of stand paddle surfing. This sport has grown widely with participation from 15 nations in establishing the undisputed “Champion of the World”. Tahiti, with its world-recognized “surfing” reputation, welcomes one of the stops of this competition, that will be held on the West Coast of the island, in Taapuna.

TAHITI - MOOREA SAILING FESTIVAL
Date: June
Location: Tahiti & Moorea
A fun sailors get-together to promote the nautical world and the beauty of sailing in the Islands of Tahiti. Races, demonstrations, parades, handicrafts booths, folkloric shows will make each day very special.

HEIVA VA’A I TAHITI Date: June - July
Location: Papeete, Tahiti
The “Heiva” festival is a major event in the Islands of Tahiti. Not only celebrating dance and music, the “Heiva” overall is a tribute to the islands’ culture, traditions and way of life. The “Heiva Va’a” brings together paddlers of all ages dressed in pareos and traditional “heis” and leis for races and demonstrations in the Papeete Harbor.

JULY

INTERNATIONAL GOLF OPEN – TAHITI NUI
Date: July
Location: Atimaono Golf Course, Papara, Tahiti
Professional golf players from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United States will compete in the stunning setting of the Atimaono Golf Course. The Tahitian Federation of Golf has developed partnerships with the Australian "Professional Golf Association" to register of this open in the "South Pacific Tour".

OPENING OF THE 131st HEIVA I TAHITI
Date: July
Location: Place Toata, Papeete, Tahiti
“Heiva i Tahiti” is to be seen at least once when traveling to Tahiti! This wonderful homage to traditional Tahitian dances, music, songs gathers, each year, the whole population for weeks of celebration. Dance troupes from the islands will compete for the titles of Best Professional Dance Troupe, Best Amateurs Dance Troupe, Best Band, Best Costume, Best Solo Female & Male Dancer etc… After having been prohibited for a long time by the missionaries, Tahitian dance made its big come back in the 1960’s thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of teacher Madeleine Moua.

HEIVA TU’ARO MA’OHI
Date: July
Location: Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, Tahiti
Part of the “Heiva” festivities, the “Tu’aro Ma’ohi” traditional sports are a strong part of the islands’ whole cultural heritage. From javelin throw to coconut peeling, stone lifting, coconut tree climbing, fruit carrying races, athletes from the five archipelagos will demonstrate their skills and strength to the population. Those are great shows and the setting in the gardens of the Museum boasts great views on the lagoon and the gorgeous sunsets.

AUGUST

AIR TAHITI NUI VON ZIPPER TRIAL 2013
Date: August
Location: Teahupo’o, Tahiti
The outcome of the trials held in Teahupo’o, Tahiti’s mythical wave, will be the selection of the surfers who will enter the renowned Billabong Pro competition. Local and international surfers will face some of the most powerful waves on the planet. A show worth seeing for all surf fans! Added to the charm of the small village of Teahupo’o, the village at the end of the road as most like to call it.

BILLABONG PRO SURFING
Date: August
Location: Teahupo’o, Tahiti
Part of the World Championship Tour, the competition brings together the 48 best surfers in the world in Teahupo’o, small village of breathtaking beauty at the end of the road. Surfers will be in for thrilling waves and adrenalin rush, spectators holding their breath watching how the best in the world ride the Teahupo’o powerful waves machine!

SEPTEMBER

BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP
Date: September
Location: Place Toata, Papeete, Tahiti
After having conquered Europe, America and Asia, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup has chosen Tahiti for this 7th edition. The 2013 World Cup brings the top-notch beach soccer festival to Oceania, with the sands of the Tahua Toata stadium hosting, at the same time, the first ever FIFA senior tournament by the pristine waters of Tahiti.

WORLD TOURISM DAY
Date: September
Location: Islands of Tahiti
Each year, the Tahiti Tourism office organizes a series of events and activities to commemorate the World Tourism Day. The theme this year is " tourism and water: protecting our environment".

OCTOBER

ART PHOTOGRAPHY ASSOCIATION OF POLYNESIA
Date: October
Location: Museum of Tahiti and her Islands, Tahiti
A beautiful showcase of the photographers association’s work, for all art aficionados.

12th AUSTRAL ISLANDS EXHIBITION
Date: October - November
Location: Former Presidency of French Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
Weaving is an art in the Austral islands. Located in the southern part of the French Polynesia, these islands have remained totally unspoiled, and are known for their beautiful woven pieces, whether it is hats or bags, or carpets. Artisans from the Islands of Rapa, Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu and Tubuai will share their technique and “savoir-faire” through the exhibition and demonstrations.

ART EXHIBITION
Date: October - November
Location: Museum of Tahiti and her Islands, Tahiti
Light on contemporary art from the Transpacific Art association. A perfect setting for contemporary art to meet with the islands’ cultural heritage.

NOVEMBER

HAWAIKI NUI VA’A
Date: November
Location: Leeward Islands
Born from the passion of one man for his home islands, the Hawaiki Nui race has now become a key event in the outrigger canoe world and will this year celebrate its 22nd edition. Over 3 days, teams from all over the world will compete in one of the toughest outrigger canoe race. Tahitians live in total harmony with the sea and have mastered the best techniques to overcome the Pacific Ocean. The race starts in Huahine that many consider the “most feminine” island for its silhouette, then heads towards Raiatea, the Sacred island, from where the migrations in the area started. The Raiatea to Taha’a portion is the only lagoon race of these 3 days (these 2 islands sharing the same lagoon). From Taha’a the Vanilla island, the teams will paddle for the hardest and longest segment of the race that will take them to Bora Bora, the Pearl of the Pacific. The Hawaiki Nui race is absolutely spectacular and following the whole race or just one of the segment is a lifetime experience. 

MONOI HERE
Date: November
Location: Cultural Center “Fare Tauhiti Nui”
The “Monoi Here” festival brings together scientists, cosmetic product companies, traditional practicioners, massage therapists. Part of Tahitian women’s beauty ritual, “monoi” originally made from “Tiare” flowers and coconut oil, now comes in various forms and a large array of fragrances (vanilla, pineapple, sandalwood, etc…). For a week, workshops, demonstrations will allow the public to get acquainted with this “oh so” tropical multi-purposes voluptuous oil. Traditional massages and body treatments will also be available. “Monoi” makes beautiful gifts and creates a true voyage for the senses.

INTERNATIONAL HEIVA
Date: November
Location: Place Toata, Papeete, Tahiti The art of Tahitian dance has spread widely and the International “Heiva” will see dance troupes from all over the planet compete in the home Islands of the “Ori Tahiti”. Being awarded the best dance troupe at that occasion will be the best reward for all dancers who actively and passionately practice the “Ori Tahiti”.

CEREMONY ‘MATARII I NIA’
Date: November
Location: Tahiti
This ceremony celebrates the Pleiads and the beginning of the abundance season in the islands. It has created a revival of interest in ancient Polynesian navigation and inspired a few recent expeditions.

TUAMOTU CRAFT EXHIBITION
Date: November - December
Location: Former Presidency of French Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
The Tuamotu atolls (low islands) are rings of corals encircling immense pristine lagoons. There, everything revolves around the sea and its treasures. From fishing to pearl farming or handicrafts, the inhabitants know how to use what has been given to them by nature to make the best of it. Shells jewelry and decorative shell items are one of their specialties. The exhibition will showcase their most beautiful creations. Coconut palm weaving is another if their talent, that they will happily share, showing visitors how to make hats, bags, plates.

MARQUESAS ISLANDS EXHIBITION
Date: November- December
Location: Aorai Tini Hau, Pirae, Tahiti
The Marquesas Islands definitely are a whole world apart and their art is symbolic of their very unique identity, culture and traditions. These islands, wild, mystical, untouched, have inspired many artists, among which painter Paul Gauguin which grave and museum can be found on the island of Hiva Oa. From wood or stone carvings, to beautiful ‘tapa’ paintings, jewelry from beads and bones, not forgetting tattooing, you will discover a variety of creative art pieces. Demonstrations will be available throughout: tatooing, wood carving, “tapa” making, etc… Of course you could choose to get a tattoo just there!

9th ORI TAHITI DANCING TRAINING COURSE:
Date: November
Location: Conservatoire Artistique de la Polynesie francaise (Artistic Academy of French Polynesia) “Te Fare Upa Rau”, Papeete, Tahiti “
Ori Tahiti” or Tahitian dance is vibrant and one of the ways Polynesians were passing on tales and legends. Part of the locals’ daily lives, Tahitian dancing has seduced people around the globe. The “Ori Tahiti Training Course” has been created for foreigners who are passionate about Tahitian dance. Twice a year, beginners and experienced dancers gather to learn or improve their technique and share their common passion for Tahitian dance.

GOUWE EXHIBITION
Date: November
Location: Museum of Tahiti and her Islands, Tahiti
An important figure in the art world in Tahiti, Gouwe has depicted the local life and culture through his art. This exhibition is a tribute to his work and his vision of life.

TE NOERA A TE RIMAI FAIR
Date: November - December
Location: Aorai Tini Hau, Pirae, Tahiti
The last fair of the year featuring art and crafts from the 5 archipelagoes: jewelry, hats and bags, decorative items, tableware, clothing, etc… Find the perfect Christmas gift !

DECEMBER

OPEN TOURNAMENT TAHITI NUI
Date: December
Location: Atimaono Golf Couse, Tahiti
On the beautiful setting of the Atimaono golf course, this competition welcomes pro foreign teams as well as local players.

TIFAIFAI EXHIBITION
Date: December
Location: Papeari, Tahiti
“Tifaifai” mean “to mend” or “to match”. The Tahitian ladies have acquired the technique from the British missionaries at the time. Very often “tifaifai” would represent nature (flowers, leaves, fruits) and be used as bed spreads or decorative items, framed and hung on walls. They are also used in traditional wedding ceremonies, to seal the couples’ love and commitment to one another. The “mamas” will showcase their creations high in colors. Time to get yours?

BOA BORA END-OF-THE-YEAR EXHIBITION
Date: December
Location: Vaitape, Bora Bora
Find a wide variety of products brought to you by the local artists: wood carvings, baskets, Polynesian design patchwork called "tifaifai ", clothing, jewelry, carvings, decorative items, paintings, etc… The perfect occasion to get your Christmas gifts and souvenirs!

HANDICRAFT EXHIBITION
Date: December
Location: Former presidency of French Polynesia, Tahiti
An exhibition highlighting local art and crafts, and bringing to the light the creativity of artisans from Tahiti and the different islands. Beautiful jewlery, woven bags and hats, clothing but also glasses engraved with Tahitian symbols, cosmetics, tattoing etc… Just on time for Christmas!

Family

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The Islands of Tahiti offer a world of adventure for families and children of all ages! Whether there for a day or a week, the urban and island environment provides a safe environment and unique blend of accommodations and activities designed for family fun and enrichment. Popular family activities include:
 

  • Large swimming pools- many with sand bottoms- at the resorts with fountains and waterfalls
  • Beaches with calm and shallow crystal-clear waters
  • Family-sized 4X4 excursion vehicles for half-and full-day expeditions to explore the islands’ lush interior
  • Guided hikes from easy to advanced levels (a majority on the island of Tahiti)
  • Guided excursions by boat or motorized canoes for close encounters with the marine life
  • Island tours to museums and points-of-interest highlighting geology, art, history, and nature
  • Performances of music, sport, and dance featuring local children
  • Nightly outings to the Papeete waterfront where the roulottes offer a fun way to enjoy food and dessert along with local families and their children
  • Some resorts feature more specific kids’ programs

Food

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Coconut Milk
This typical Tahitian recipe starts with opening the coconut, grating the meat and squeezing out the milk.

Breadfruit
Breadfruit is a symbol in French Polynesia, and helped to put Tahiti on the world map with the famous “Mutiny on the Bounty” that was associated with young breadfruit plants.

“Maa Tahiti”
“Maa Tahiti” is cooked in a traditional “ahima’a”, a Tahitian earth oven. The main ingredients include succulent suckling pig, “fafa” (chicken and taro leaves), breadfruit, taro and other root vegetables, and delicacies such as “po’e”, a sweet dish made with baked bananas, papaya and other fruit. You pour creamy coconut milk over it all and slurp it up with your fingers. Picnics on the motu (islets) around the lagoon are often supplemented by a beach fire, where freshly caught lagoon fish such as the blue jacks (paaihere), emperor fish and small red snappers are grilled.

The variety and abundance of fish from perch to wrasses and parrotfish, particularly in the Tuamotu, that are caught and eaten on the spot make up the daily menu that is always appreciated by fine food lovers.

Poisson Cru
This delicious fish salad, marinated with lime juice and served with coconut milk, can be considered Tahiti’s national dish. This is called “poisson cru” and it is the most typical food in Tahiti.

Hinano Beer
The microbrewery and brewpub sensation has arrived in Tahiti. The Brasserie de Tahiti brews Hinano, Tahiti’s favorite beer, which is very popular in Tahiti and overseas.

Vanilla
Among the typical products to be found in Tahiti, do not forget vanilla, considered one of the most fragrant varieties in the world. The islands of Taha’a and Huahine produce almost all the local vanilla found in Papeete's central market and grocery stores around the island. The beans are very rich in oil, and are larger and shinier than those of other varieties. You can also buy pure vanilla extract and powdered vanilla, which are perfect for baking and cooking.

Coffee
Coffee perfumed with vanilla is a must-try when visiting. Locals also enjoy coffee with a hint of fresh squeezed coconut milk.

French “Patisserie”
In Tahiti you can eat the best French pastry in the South Pacific, and there are many options in Papeete especially. French “crepes” also come in a sweet or savory version and you may have those for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Nutella-pineapple or nutella-banana crepes are among the favorites.

Juices and Liquors
Taste juices and liquors made from island-grown fruits. These exotic liquors make perfect gifts!

Coconut Oil
Recognized for its various health benefits, coconut oil is not only used for skin and hair products but also as a nice alternative to other culinary oils.

Cuisine
The islands of Tahiti also called French Polynesia (considered part of the “French Overseas Territories”, or TOM) are filled with great dining options from elegant restaurants to more local and casual eateries. Chefs have worked their creative art into delicately incorporating local ingredients into French cuisine.

Pineapple
Tahitian pineapple, in comparison, will make any other pineapple you may have tried before seem very dull. A lot of tours will offer a nice tropical fruits tasting, but make sure to try a fresh squeezed pineapple juice while you visit! Candied pineapple infused with rhum and covered in chocolate make a great souvenir to bring home.

Monuments

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Tahiti

Point Venus Lighthouse
The name “Point Venus” was given to this black sand beach located on the East Coast of Tahiti after Captain Cook's first mission of observation of the Transit of Venus in 1769. The lighthouse was built in 1867 by workers from the island of Mangareva (Gambier archipelago). They were the only ones at the time to excel in large stone constructions. The lighthouse was designed by the father of writer Louis Robert Stevenson. The lighthouse has been automated and is still in use nowadays. It stands within a park popular with locals for community events and festivals.

The Anchors of Captain Cook and Bougainville
In 1769 Captain James Cook arrived in Tahiti on the HMS Endeavour. He anchored in Matavai Bay to record the transit of the planet Venus as it crossed the face of the sun. This beach park is now called Point Venus. Louis-Antoine de Bougainville anchored in Tahiti on August 6, 1768, at PK 38 on the east coast of Hitiaa. You can visit these historic sites while driving around the island.

Marae Temples
The marae or "pagan temples" of the ancient Polynesians were built to worship their gods, which sometimes differed from one island to another. There are several kinds of marae; some are public and others are private. These religious sites contain various stone block structures that were dedicated to the old gods. The sites in Tahiti include Marae Mahaiatea, Arahurahu, Anapua, and Farehape. Marae Arahurahu (PK 22.5) is a restored construction of dry stones. In addition to its use as a place of worship, this marae was also used for important events such as crowning kings, for weddings, war councils and celebrating battle victories. This site is located in a lovely valley and serves as an open-air theater for historical reenactment ceremonies that are performed each July and August following the Heiva Festival.

Presidential Palace
“It was an historic site and so it will remain. For a little more than a century the Broche quartier was the meeting place of pages out of Tahiti’s history.” These words were spoken by Gaston Flosse, President of the French Polynesian government, during the inauguration of the presidency work site in 2000. Numerous Polynesians used their knowledge and skills as they employed the new techniques that were used in the construction of these impressive buildings. The landscape specialists created the harmonious gardens that lend a cool, refreshing look to the overall decor. The Presidential Palace has become a conservatory of the most beautiful plants and flowers of Polynesia. You can visit the Presidency on appointment only.

Tomb of King Pomare V
Walk past the Protestant church at PK 4,7 in Arue to a point of land beside Matavai Bay and you will see the mausoleum of Pomare V, Tahiti's last monarch. This royal tomb is built of coral stones in a tower-like shape that is supposed to resemble a Grecian urn that has been painted red.

Chinese Temple
This classic oriental temple, with its pagoda roof made from ceramic tiles, was built between April 1985 and May 1987, replacing an old wooden temple that was destroyed by fire in May 1981. Local historians estimate that the original temple dated back to around 1860.

Moorea

Papetoai Village
History buffs will want to make a stop at the historic octagonal church located in the northern coastal village of Papetoai. Established by the London Missionary Society in 1822, the church is the oldest European building in use in the South Pacific.

Huahine

The largest concentration of pre-European marae (ancient temples) is located in Huahine. The local guides are very knowledgeable and enjoyable to hire for guided walks among these religious and mythical sites.

Raiatea

Taputapuatea
The most sacred and best-preserved historical site in Polynesia is Raiatea's Taputapuatea. Now considered a national monument, this immense archaeological area is easily explored by foot and includes dozens of marae and shrines.

The Marquesas

Hidden in the theatre of mountains of the Marquesas is a mother lode of ancient sacred sites including ceremonial complexes, stone temples, and tiki statues. On Nuku Hiva, Taipivai Valley is home to temples and large tiki, while the village of Hatiheu is home to the famous Kamuihei and Hikoku sites known for their petroglyphs and ruins. On Hiva Oa, an immense ceremonial complex in Taaoa Valley has been restored and offers a unique view of the fierce and proud Marquesan heritage.

Gambier Islands

Rikitea Ruins
At Mangareva's main village, Rikitea, visitors will find a number of ruins. Among these archeological relics are a convent, a triumphal arch, several watchtowers, a prison and a court. These abandoned remains have been noted for their dark, eerie feel.

Rikitea Rectory
Across the path from St. Micheal of Rikitea Church is a well-maintained 140 year-old rectory, occupied by the parish priest.

St Michel of Rikitea Church
Constructed of fired limestone, this neo-gothic Catholic Church was built under the auspices of Father Honoré Laval. The church, which is still in use today, is inlaid with iridescent mother-of-pearl.

Museums

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Tahiti

Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands

This is an historic area where there was once a marae, a major religious structure. The museum's collections cover archaeology and displays of the native Polynesian natural environment, Polynesian material culture, technology and skills.

Black Pearl Museum

This is the only museum in the world dedicated to pearls. Multiple displays will show you the various aspects of art, history, mythology, philosophy and religion that are associated with pearls, as well as technical explanations. You will find a collection of pearl producing oysters and shells. Open daily.

Paul Gauguin Museum

An amazing retrospective on the life of Paul Gauguin, the famous French artist who spent his final years in Polynesia. Gauguin's art had a profound influence on the primitive and exotic painters and sculptors of the 20th century.

James Norman Hall Museum

The James Norman Hall Museum celebrates one of Tahiti's most famous resident authors. This museum is the rebuilt home of the late American writer, James Norman Hall. Visitors enjoy seeing his original writing desk, art collection, and his library.

National Parks

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The islands of Tahiti offer an abundance of natural sites and beauty.

Tahiti

Petroglyphs of Te Pari
The wild sea cliffs of Te Pari are located at Fenua Aihere on the southern end of the Tahiti-Iti peninsula, situated between Hihitera point and the Vaipoiri River.

Garden of Matatia and Vaipahi
This garden at PK 49 in Mataiea specializes in heliconias, green plants and other tropical flowers. You can take a leisurely hike to a nearby waterfall, surrounded by red and pink and torch ginger. From the black sand beach across the road you will have a lovely view of Tahiti-iti.

Mount Aorai
Climbing Mount Aorai (2,066 m.) is a very pleasant walk and can be done without a guide.

Fautaua Valley
An easy 3-hour walk will bring you to this valley just a few kilometers east of Papeete. The Fautaua waterfall 296 m. (985 ft.) cascades over the volcanic cliffs into a large pool.

Three Waterfalls of Fa’arumai
Leave the circle island road at PK 22 in Tiarei to reach these three waterfalls in the valley. The Viamahuta waterfall is 90 m. (295 ft.) high and is easily reached by walking across a bridge and following a well-defined path under a cool canopy of trees. The other two cascades require more effort and time. This is a “must” stop for most visitors to Tahiti and is worth the effort.

Blowhole of Arahoho
One of Tahiti’s biggest roadside attractions is the Blowhole of Arahoho, located in Tiarei on the east coast.

Maroto
You will go into the heart of the island when you visit this valley and the famous Lake Vaihiria, a natural body of water that is the home of the “eels with ears” legend.

Botanical Garden and the Galapagos Tortoises
This garden was established in 1919 by Harrison Smith, an American physics professor. He introduced a range of tropical shrubs, trees and flowers to the islands from throughout the world. The spacious garden is laced with footpaths that wend their way through acres of well-tended palms, hibiscus, bamboo, bananas and Tahitian chestnut trees (mape). There are also Galapagos tortoises.

Taravao Plateau
This is another spectacular drive on the Tahiti-Iti peninsula, with Eucalyptus trees, orange groves, pineapple fields, Tiare Tahiti plantations and dairy farms. This plateau is more than 1,200 feet high and is blessed with a refreshing spring-like climate.

Orange Tree Plateau of Punaru’u
The Punaru’u valley was formerly a fortress built by the French during the Tahitian uprising of 1844-1846. The road up the valley leads to a hiking trail up the Tamanu plateau, where wild oranges grow in profusion.

Belvedere of Taravao
A short walk at the end of the road on the Taravao Plateau takes you to a lookout point where you will see beautiful panoramic views of the Tahiti-Iti peninsula and the narrow Isthmus of Taravao.

Tetiaroa
Tetiaroa can be visited during an enjoyable day trip from Tahiti. This beautiful privately owned atoll lies 26 miles north of Tahiti. It consists of 12 small islets grouped in a circular configuration around a magnificent lagoon about 4.3 miles in diameter. This is a 20-minute flight from Tahiti or you can go by boat.

Paofai Gardens
Located on the waterfront, this newest park is a nice haven in the heart of Papeete.

Moorea

Belvedere Overlook
Moorea's most spectacular sites are seen from this easily reached overlook. Located in the center of the island, visitors marvel at the panoramic views of the twin bays and the plantations of Opunohu Valley. The overlook is a popular stop on circle-island or 4x4 tours.

Gambier Islands

Mt. Duff
Named for the European ship belonging to explorer Captain James Wilson, this mountain is the highest point in the entire Gambier Islands group.

Places

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Tahiti
Tahiti, the largest island throughout the country, towering over the ocean like a proud and royal Queen, is appropriately crowned by a circle of majestic peaks.

The mountainous interior is adorned with deep valleys, clear streams, and high waterfalls, all bathed in green iridescence of Mother Nature's light. The coastal lands, edged with a rugged coastline, are home to fields of tropical flowers and most of the island's population.

Papeete, meaning the “water basket”, was once a gathering place where Tahitians came to fill their calabashes with fresh waters. Now the invigorating capital city and gateway of the country, boasts world-class resorts, spas, fine dining and unique restaurants, nightclubs, vibrant markets, pearl shops, and boutiques.

Moorea
A few minutes from the island of Tahiti by plane, and only thirty minutes by high-speed catamaran, Moorea soars magically out of the ocean in an explosion of green velvet - what you would imagine a South Seas island to be.

A wide, shallow lagoon surrounds the island's vertical mountains where poetic threads of waterfalls tumble down fern-softened cliffs. Peaceful meadows flanked by pinnacles of green will fill your senses and renew your belief in the majesty of nature. Pastel-painted houses surrounded by gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise, circle the island in a fantasy of happy, yet simple villages.

Bora Bora
Under a one hour flight from the island of Tahiti or Moorea, the island of Bora Bora, with a lagoon resembling an artist's palette of blues and greens, is love at first sight. Romantics from around the world have laid claim to this island where the castle-like Mount Otemanu pierces the sky. Lush tropical slopes and valleys blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. Perfect white-sand beaches give way to emerald waters where colored fish animate the coral gardens as they greet the giant manta rays. This could be easily be described as the center of the romantic universe, where luxury resorts and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, thatched roof villas, and fabled ambience.

Huahine
About thirty minutes by plane from the island of Tahiti, Huahine, with its lush forests, untamed landscape, and quaint villages, is one of Polynesia's best-kept secrets.

A deep, crystal-clear lagoon surrounds the two islands while magnificent bays and white-sand beaches add drama and solitude to their virtues. Relatively unchanged by the modern world, Huahine offer a slower taste of old Polynesia.

With only eight small villages scattered across the island, the few residents welcome visitors with great kindness. Not surprisingly, this fertile world offers rich soil providing the local farmers a bountiful harvest of vanilla, melons, and bananas.

Raiatea
Raiatea, meaning "faraway heaven" and "sky with soft light,” was first named Havai'i is considered the most sacred island in the South Pacific. It is believed that the migrations to Hawaii, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and other parts of East Polynesia started from there. This, the second largest Tahitian isle, was the center of religion and culture over 1000 years ago and still lends enchantment to ancient legends told to this day. The green-carpeted mountains include the celebrated Mt. Temehani, a sort of Polynesian Mt. Olympus. The ancient sacred site of Marae Taputapuatea remains a strong symbol of the island’s past.

Taha'a
Taha'a, with the rich aroma of vanilla lingering heavily in the air, offers a glimpse of the traditional, tranquil life of the Tahitians. The flower-shaped island's simple beauty is charmed by soft mountain shapes, deep bays and surrounded by an endless mesmerizing lagoon and tiny “motu” islets with bright sand beaches. The island shares the same lagoon as Raiatea and a legend says that they were one island until they got separated by a giant eel.

Rangiroa
Rangiroa, a string of coral encircling a luminous turquoise and jade-green lagoon, is one of the world's greatest dive destinations.

From the air, the atoll - the second largest in the world - seems to be a giant pearl necklace laid upon the water. There is a world where 240 tiny islets, or motu, each no more than three feet in elevation, lay upon the ocean for more than 110 miles completely encircling an infinitely deep lagoon.

Surrounded by two legendary bodies of water, Moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean) and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean), the main villages of Avatoru and Tiputa offer the visitor with a unique look at the South Pacific. Along the few roads, coral churches, craft centers, local restaurants, and tiny shops provide enjoyable land-based experiences to complement the many activities in the lagoon.

Manihi
Manihi, lost in the vastness of the South Pacific, conjures up castaway dreams of a tropical isle.

Far from the modern world, the crystal-clear lagoon was once filled with mother-of-pearl and is the site of Tahiti's first black pearl farm. Today, Manihi is still the leading supplier for the Tahitian cultured pearl industry.

This is "farm country" South Pacific style. Instead of crops, over 60 farms produce the world’s most sought after gem: pearls. Manihi's lagoon waters are among the most perfect on earth for cultivating pearls because of the temperature, density, salinity, light, and overall climate.

Besides the pearl farms, visitors enjoy exploring the lagoon and the main village of Turipaoa. There are few cars here so walking around the town square and along the coral paths is as peaceful and romantic as the lagoon itself.

Tikehau
Tikehau, a graceful oval crown of white and pink-sand beaches, can only be described as a picture postcard.

Considered to be one of the most beautiful atolls in Polynesia, the fragrance of the air is matched only by the abundance of life in the bright-blue water. The friendly people, their homes awash with gardens, invite you to share and explore their world beyond imagination.

In Tikehau, fish seem to outnumber people one-billion-to one. In fact the density of the fish in the lagoon is so high that Jacques Cousteau's research group declared it to contain the highest concentration of fish among any other Tuamotu atolls.

Fishing is among the primary industries for the 400 residents. Families share fish parks - underwater fenced areas - where they trap parrotfish and other lagoon species as a primary source of food and income. Families also ship fish by air to Papeete for sale in the local markets. Visitors enjoy endless hours of exploring the perfection of the lagoon through snorkeling, diving, and boating and exploring the village of Tuherahera.

Fakarava
Fakarava, is an untouched world where nesting birds and marine life live in harmony with the land and water.

The rich ecosystem is home to rare birds, plants, and crustaceans while the dive sites are virtually undiscovered. Life along the shores is equally unique with quaint villages, old coral churches, and welcoming people.

Even though Fakarava is the newest destination to welcome resort visitors among Tahiti, it was one of the first population centers and once served as the ancient capital of the Tuamotu region.

The lagoon, the second largest after Rangiroa, is rich with life below and above the surface and a prime example of nature at its finest.

So pure is the environment that Fakarava has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for the preservation of rare species. This designates this atoll, and six surrounding atolls, as a recognized area where local communities are actively involved in governance and management, research, education, training and monitoring - promoting both socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation.

The Marquesas Islands
About a three-hour flight from the Society Islands and the Tuamotu Atolls, the Marquesas, or Henua Enana meaning "Land of Men,” are seemingly lost at the end of the earth.

Even now, some of the islands are virtually untouched since the era of European exploration and can only be reached by boat. Their isolation has created an immense pride among the people and a fascinating culture. The language is unique to Tahiti, as the lilting Marquesan dialect is traced directly to the ancient Polynesian tongue of Maohi.

Natural wonders abound as 1000-foot waterfalls cascade down sheer volcanic cliffs, and towering mountains disappear into the clouds. The Marquesas are breathtaking and like no other islands in the South Pacific. Many writers and artists have found shelter in these wild, mysterious islands. Hiva Oa is the final resting place of poet-singer Jacques Brel and artist Paul Gauguin.

Gambier Islands – Mangareva
Over one thousand miles southeast of Tahiti are the Gambier Islands. The cradle of Catholicism during the nineteenth century following the arrival of the first missionaries to the region, hundreds of stone buildings from that era survive including churches, convents, schools, and watch towers.

Mangareva, the largest island of the region, is home to most of the population and the center of the region's pearl industry. The island's only small family pensions are located in the town of Rikitea. In Rikitea, you will find the St. Michael's cathedral dating from 1848 richly decorated in pearls. The lagoons in the Gambier are shelter to some pearl farms producing among the most stunning gems.

Austral Islands
Hundreds of miles to the south of Tahiti lay the Austral islands, a chain of five high islands located on the Tropic of Capricorn. The islands are known for the traditional art of weaving coconut and pandanus leaves into elaborate hats, purses, mats, and bags. From July to November, humpback whales and their calves can very often be seen cruising the ocean. Rurutu is more especially famed for that. This island is also home to interesting limestone grottoes and their maze of stalactites and stalagmites.

In 1789, the mutineers of the HMS Bounty lead by Fletcher Christian decided to hide on the island of Tubuai. A conflict arose while the mutineers were still on their ship and several islanders were killed in their canoes. The site of this event still holds a name that reminds of what happened: “Baie Sanglant” (Bloody Bay).

Shopping

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Made in Tahiti

Discover the treasure chest of products created by the hands of Tahitian craftspeople working with wood, stone, plants, and cloth.

The skills of the ancestor's artistry are kept sacred and passed on by both the mamas - the guardians of tradition and the matriarchs of Tahitian society - as well as by skilled craftsmen.

Tahitian products are found throughout the islands at local stores, in markets, and at the artisan studios.

Monoi oils: this delicate oil is Tahitian women’s beauty secret, widely used as a skin moisturizer and hair conditioner. Extracted from the copra (dried meat from the coconut), the oil is then perfumed with “tiare” flower or vanilla or sandalwood. Nowadays, it comes in a wide range of exotic scents. It is commonly used for massages.

Handcrafts: intricate carvings of stone; wooden drums, bowls, platters, and sculptures carved from precious native woods; and elaborate hats, purses, and mats woven from coconut and pandanus leaves.

Original paintings: of the water, bungalows, and people created by Tahitian and French resident artists.

Pareu: (akin to Polynesian sarong) cloth wrappings. Those created in Tahiti are hand dyed and brightly colored.

Handmade quilts: called tifaifai crafted from traditional designs by the island matriarchs or "mamas".

Pearls: Pearl shops such as Robert Wan, Tahia or Tahiti Pearl Market are all great places to begin the  search for your own perfect Tahitian Pearl! It is highly recommended to buy your pearls from reputable stores for a guarantee of quality.

The warm lagoons of many of the islands are among the most perfect on earth because of the temperature, density, salinity, light, and pure climate. Commonly known as "Black Pearls," Tahitian Cultured Pearls range widely in pricing, size, shape and colors. From the darkest black to shimmering shades of green, blue, bronze, aubergine, or even pink - these are truly the jewels of the ocean.

Tahiti is the best place in the world to shop for pearls. With first-hand expertise and infinite selection of dozens of major pearls retailers on all the islands, visitors quickly discover that this is the best place in the world to learn about and shop for pearls. Visitors are encouraged to visit several merchants during their vacation to learn about judging quality and style to help determine their preference.

Tahitian pearls can be found at shops in resorts and cruise ships, at pearl showrooms on Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea, also at family pearl farms on Huahine, Taha'a, and throughout the Tuamotu Atolls.

Pearl shops such as Robert Wan, Tahia Collins or the Tahiti Pearl Market are all recommended places to begin the search for your own perfect Tahitian Pearl!

The public market: "Le Marché": The 155 year-old public market in Papeete is in every sense the heart of the city. "Le Marché", as the municipal market is called, is the perfect place to find local Tahitian products and produce and it is located just one block inland from the waterfront.

On the ground floor of the spacious building are many stands with displays of luscious ripe fruits, Tahitian and Chinese vegetables, "monoi" oil and scented soaps, vanilla beans, cakes and pies, fruit preserves, dance costumes, woven hats and bags and shell necklaces.

Strings of brightly colored fish are brought from the fishing boats to the market each afternoon around 4.00 pm, which is a good time to visit. "Le Marché" is open daily from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm (Sundays until 9 am), and reaches its peak of activity very early on Sunday mornings, when Tahitian families come to shop for their Sunday feast.

Be sure to stop at the flower market on the ground floor where you will find brilliant displays of lovely floral arrangements of orchids and anthuriums, and daisies, red ginger and jasmine as well as shell necklaces, woven hats and baskets.

The upstairs section is reserved for artisans selling pareos, carvings, tifaifai wall hangings or quilts, embroidered cushion covers and other handicrafts. Here you will also find a cafeteria serving local dishes. All around the exterior of "Le Marché" are more vendors of pareo, Tahitian vanilla, table sets, shell jewelry, monoi oil products, leis and crowns of "Tiare Tahiti" flowers.

Centre Vaima: The Centre Vaima in Papeete is the Tahitian version of a mall. Tourists can find a variety of goods, services, pearls and books at good prices.

Robert Wan: Shopping on the island of Tahiti should certainly include a visit to the famous Robert Wan Pearl Museum. At the museum, visitors can not only learn about pearls, but also shop for pearls. Robert Wan operates several shops in several hotels on Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. More recently he has launched “Pearl Spirit” a brand of cosmetics using the multi-benefits of mother of pearl powder

Tahia: the flagship store is located on the island of Moorea, and she has outposts on Tahiti and Bora Bora. Call and arrange transportation from your hotel. Collins won awards for her original designs, which incorporate Tahitian pearls with 18-karat gold and pavé diamonds. The store is located near Le Petit Village in Papetoai, Moorea.

Tahiti Pearl Market: Family-owned Tahiti Pearl Market has shops on Tahiti, Taha’a, Bora Bora and in Honolulu (Hawaii) and sells loose pearls as well as readymade settings. You can choose your pearls and have them set into one of the designs within hours. The market is located on 23 rue Colette in Papeete, Tahiti.

Sports

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Snorkeling
The Tahitian islands are blessed with stunning lagoons protected by coral reefs for the majority. All islands offer incredible snorkeling options from nice shallow waters to deeper. One of the highlights for the most adventurous ones will be the thrill of drift snorkeling in channels or coral gardens.

Diving
Around all of the islands of Tahiti, dramatic views continue below the water with drop offs, ledges, caves and an amazing density of large marine life and. Regular encounters include manta rays whose gigantic wingspan eclipse the passing diver, schools of dolphin dance along the surf, sharks seemingly at every turn and humpback whales thrill the lucky spectators in their annual parade. The Tuamotu atolls, ranked among the best dive sites in the world, will definitely be THE dream place for experienced certified divers looking for the adrenaline rush and unforgettable encounters.

If you have never tried diving before, the Islands of Tahiti are the perfect place to do your introductory dive, in nice, warm, crystal-clear and uncrowded sites.

Boating
The popularity of bare boat charters in Tahiti has grown tremendously over the last five years. This entails renting a fully provisioned boat for several days or several weeks. Those who are not up to actually sailing the vessel on their own have the option of "renting" a skipper and even a host or cook, as well. Charter a vessel, learn to sail or – if you’re feeling really adventurous – rent a personal submarine.

Many of the largest sail boat charter companies in the world are located on Raiatea. Here, yachts are launched for voyages among the Society and Tuamotu Archipelagos where passengers enjoy the steady trade winds, temperate climate, and the hundreds of dramatic anchorages around each of the islands.

Surfing and Stand Up Paddle Surfing
There are two surf seasons in Tahiti: one from November to March (their summer) and another one from April to October (their “cooler season”.) The swells from the North come during the summer and are often 8ft (as a reference, Hawaii is 15ft). The cooler season is generated from big southerly storms from Antarctica and New Zealand.

The Tahitian shores are pounded with surf and there are spots that can handle all swells. Teahupo’o is the spot that has made surfing in Tahiti world-renowned. This small village at the “end of the road,” as locals call it, is home to the Billabong Pro competition each year. Teahupo’o is a huge wave machine and only the best surfers in the world play in and confront those barreling waves.

Bodysurfing or Body Boarding
If the breaking waves beckon to you but you're not quite ready to commit to standing up on a surfboard, try bodysurfing. Bodysurfing is the art of using your body for maneuvering on a wave.

Windsurfing
Windsurfing has become very popular in Tahiti over the last decade. There's an abundance of warm water and gentle breezes in Tahiti, so it is an excellent place to windsurf.

Golf
There are two golf courses located in the islands. The Olivier Breaud International Golf Course, located on the west side of Tahiti just between the mountains and lagoon, offers a spectacular 18-hole fairway set in rich tropical and colorful vegetation. It has been noted by golf enthusiasts as "Tahiti's best kept secret."

The Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course, a Jack Nicklaus design, was built on the lush island of Moorea. The unique architecture of the international golf course will please professional golfers and amateurs alike, due to its numerous bunkers, stretches of water and a driving range over the lake. Nicknamed the "Green Pearl" in reference to the emerald green fairways and the lush valleys of Moorea, add in the tropical palms, deep blue lagoons, and multi hued flowers and players' strokes vibrate intense colors that seem nearly artificial.

Automotive Sports
Discover the Papenoo Valley and the heart of the island by Quad, with river crossings, waterfalls and pure mountain streams. Enjoy a day you will never forget.

Horseback Riding
There are several first-class facilities available in Tahiti; the horses are usually from the Marquesas Islands. You can enjoy long rides into the heart of Secret Mountain. The Marquesas Islands: horseback riding is still a common means of transportation for some Marquesans and it will be a great way to explore the wild beauty of these breathtaking islands.

Horseback excursions into the rugged interior of Rurutu are available. Inquire with your travel agent or the management at your lodging facility.

Fishing
The Islands of Tahiti offer rich fishing grounds and are a Disneyland for fishermen. Visitors can try lagoon fishing as well as the more challenging deep-sea fishing. Game fish include marlin, swordfish, tuna, mahi mahi, barracuda. Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotu atolls are vast sea aquariums, offering fly anglers a well-stocked and preserved fishing environment with the guarantee of great catches. Bonefish, jack, snappers, bonita, trevally are bountiful in these endless flats.

Kayaking, Canoeing and Stand Up Paddling
Gliding on the gorgeous turquoise waters is a national sport that you will be able to enjoy in most islands. In Raiatea, the Faaroa River is the only navigable river in French Polynesia and you will enjoy winding through a lush rain forest by kayak or stand up paddle board. These historic waters launched migratory journeys to faraway islands now called Hawaii and New Zealand.

Winding through a lush rain forest, the Faaroa River is the only navigable river in Polynesia. These historic waters launched migratory journeys to faraway islands now called Hawaii and New Zealand. Powered outrigger canoes provide a comfortable and unique way to enter the river and explore the coast.

Water Skiing
Introductory and advanced water-ski lessons with a qualified instructor; also wake-board, ski-tubes, mono-ski and barefoot skiing lessons are available.

Hang Gliding
This sport is unique in Tahiti because of the marvelous beauty of the mountain sites and the multiple rocky points that serve as launching pads for hang gliders. Come and discover a bird’s eye view of Tahiti from the sky.

Swimming

Grotto Caves of Mara’a
This is the sort of natural wonder that everybody would like to see and stop to admire. Fern bordered caves are deeply thrust into the mountainside and contain a small lake with chilly waters. This grotto has no particular importance or significance in the native traditions, although Queen Pomare IV and Paul Gauguin both swam in its refreshing lake. Its claim to fame rests on a slight optical illusion.

Bora Bora
Swim with sea turtles at the Turtle Center in Bora Bora. The Center was created to raise awareness about the protection of the species. Swimming with the rays: in Moorea, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Huahine and the Tuamotu atolls, it is quite a treat to get up close and personal with these graceful creatures.

Moorea
Swim with dolphins. Encounters with the ocean's friendliest residents are waiting. Adults swim side by side with dolphins, while children wade in the waters with them. For an educational excursion, expert guides lead dolphin-watching boat tours into the ocean to observe them in their native habitat as well.

Rangiroa
Enjoy a day excursion to Rangiroa's nearby islets, explore the lagoons, the Blue Lagoon, the bird sanctuary, or to watch the dolphins frolicking at Tiputa Pass.

Parasailing
In Moorea and Bora Bora be pulled by a boat, reach heights that will make you feel like a bird above the glistening lagoons

Jet Skiing
The shallow waters, large secluded bays, and quiet shores give couples and small groups the feeling of true freedom and adventure. There are several companies that offer full-and half day programs. Guided tours are complete with frequent stops for snacks or picnic on your own private beaches and islets.

Biking
Although renting bikes is pretty much available everywhere, the Tuamotu atolls probably are the best for biking. With only flat roads (and usually just one road on the island) between lagoon and ocean, very few cars, they offer the perfect environment and conditions for leisurely cycling.

Hiking
With deep lush valleys, high peaks, “plateaux” and lava tubes, hikes of all levels are available. Tahiti’s interior boasts rivers and waterfalls as well as a rich flora. Guided hikes are highly recommended.

Like Tahiti, Moorea with its stunning bays and valleys offers various hiking options, a very popular one being the “Three Coconut Pass” starting from the Moorea Agricultural School. Views on Moorea’s splendid bays of Cook and Opunohu will reward hikers.

Raiatea the Sacred Island has much to unveil to hikers. The hike to Mount Temehani will take you to the highest point on the island. It is where the rare “Apetahi” flower can be found. This delicate white flower only grows on this mountain. Hiking to the waterfalls is another highlight. Bathing stops in natural pools or rivers are often part of the trip.

What kind of vacation would you like to take?