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Things to do in Tahiti

Things to do in  Tahiti

Welcome to Tahiti

While wide, white-sand beaches are often the object of vacationers' affections, but don't let Tahiti's lack of them deter you. The largest island in the French Polynesia's Windward Islands, Tahiti one-ups those garden variety shorelines with black-sand beaches, formed from the erosion of volcanic materials. Tahiti is home to the raucous capital of Papeete, where cultures from all over Polynesia mix. Papeete, where you'll find the region's only international airport, is where most travelers land, and the city itself is worth exploring. City tours are available—including bus and Segway tours—and include stops at highlights such as the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral, the Municipal Market (Marché de Papeete), and the bust of Pouvanaa a Oopa. Then, it's time to experience some of Tahiti's natural phenomena in the mountainous, rainforested interior—tours via 4WD, either self-drive or guided, are popular. Be sure to hit island landmarks such as the scenic lookout at Taharaa, beaches of Matavai Bay at Venus Point, and the Arahoho Blowhole (Trou de Souffleur de Arahoho). The west coast of the island is home to ancient Polynesian temples, where you can learn the history of the Polynesian people. Further insight into the South Pacific's flora and fauna can be found at the Vaipahi Gardens. Water sports are a major draw, and floating in the cerulean waters among the abundant marine life is part of the package, whether on a sunset cruise, a whale-watching cruise, or a ride out to watch the surfers tackle the Teahupoo waves.

Top 14 attractions in Tahiti

Arahoho Blowhole (Trou de Souffleur de Arahoho)

Perched along the rocky coast of Tahiti and bordered by a scenic black sand beach, Arahoho Blowhole is one of the island’s most visited natural wonders. As waves crash against the shore, a powerful geyser-like eruption sends spectacular plumes of water into the air, wowing visitors and creating the opportunity for some impressive photos.More

Faarumai Waterfalls

There are numerous waterfalls all over Tahiti, but the most popular and accessible are the three waterfalls at Faarumai, also known as the Cascades of Faarumai. The three majestic falls are surrounded by tropical vegetation and are more easily reachable than other waterfall sites in Tahiti. Although you may see visitors taking a dip in the pools, swimming here was outlawed after someone was injured.More

Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame)

Recognizable for its sunny yellow façade, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame) is one of the oldest and largest churches in Papeete. The Gothic structure was originally built between 1844 and 1875 but has been destroyed and restored several times, most recently in 1987.More

Marché de Pape'ete (Pape'ete Market)

The sights, sounds and smells of authentic Polynesian life are on offer at Pape'ete’s main market, the Marché de Pape'ete (Pape'ete Market). The indoor market hall is the commercial and social hub of Tahiti’s laid-back capital and the oldest surviving institution on the island.More

Vaima Shopping Centre

The Vaima Shopping Centre is the largest shopping mall in Tahiti, French Polynesia's main island. This multilevel mall opened in 1977 and is located in the capital city of Papeete. At the Vaima Shopping Centre, visitors can shop at high end stores for clothing, jewelry, shoes, electronics, art, and much more. Some worldwide brands include Nike, Billabong, and Bose, but there are also many other local stores at the mall. It's a great place to buy souvenirs and island themed clothing. The mall is well known for its French bookstores that sell books in both English and French in many different genres and maps of the French Polynesian islands. A popular item to shop for in Tahiti is the Tahitian black pearl, and there are several shops in the Vaima Shopping Centre that specialize in black pearls.The mall has restaurants and cafes, so you can take a break from shopping to get something to eat. There are also a few travel agents, airline offices, a locksmith and shoe repair shop, salons and a bank.More

Territorial Assembly (Place Tarahoi)

Built in the 1960s on the site of Queen Pomare IV of Tahiti's residence, the Territorial Assembly (Place Tarahoi) is home to the Presidential Palace and French Polynesian Assembly. Its also surrounded by manicured gardens dotted with memorial statues.More

Bougainville Park (Parc Bougainville)

This small park with a tranquil stream, benches, lush vegetation, and an enormous banyan tree providing shade to visitors was named after Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a French explorer who believed he had discovered Tahiti and claimed it for France, unaware that less than a year prior it had been discovered by Samuel Wallis.More
Robert Wan Pearl Museum (Musee de la Perle Robert Wan)

Robert Wan Pearl Museum (Musee de la Perle Robert Wan)

Established by local entrepreneur Robert Wan, Robert Wan Pearl Museum (Musee de la Perle Robert Wan) explores the role of the pearl in art, history, and literature. Exhibits reveal how pearls get from the sea to the display case and how ocean jewels were associated with religious rites and coveted as status symbols.More
Paofai Gardens (Jardin de Paofai)

Paofai Gardens (Jardin de Paofai)

Stretching from To'Ata Square to Vaiete Square, Paofai Gardens (Waterfront Esplanade) are ideal for scenic strolling. Watch boats sail by as you enjoy snacks from vendors selling fresh juices, popcorn, and French pastries, who enhance the Parisian feel of the park.More
Papeete Town Hall (Mairie de Papeete)

Papeete Town Hall (Mairie de Papeete)

This butter-cup yellow building is surrounded by palm trees, a pond, and manicured gardens. The Tahitian flag flies proudly atop Papeete Town Hall, while inside, crystal chandeliers, glass furnishings, historical artifacts, and pink Italian marble give the space an air of grandeur.More
To'ata Square (Tahua To'ata)

To'ata Square (Tahua To'ata)

To'ata Square (Place To'ata) is the main hub for cultural events, performances, rock concerts, and festivals in Papeete, including the annual Heiva Festival, the largest annual cultural festival in Tahiti. Anchoring the square is a 5,000-seat pavilion with an outdoor stage. Onsite snack bars sell light bites and drinks in the evenings.More
Vai'ete Square (Place Vai'ete)

Vai'ete Square (Place Vai'ete)

Located in downtown Papeete, Vai'ete Square (Place Vai’ete) is a nice place to take a relaxing waterfront stroll during the day. At night, however, the atmosphere becomes much more lively as colorful food wagons (roulottes) offering local cuisine and decadent desserts open to the masses.More
Museum of Tahiti and the Islands (Musée de Tahiti et des Îles)

Museum of Tahiti and the Islands (Musée de Tahiti et des Îles)

The Museum of Tahiti and the Islands (Musée de Tahiti et des Îles represents one of the world’s most important repositories of cultural and natural studies concerning the Polynesian archipelago. It is divided into four sections, covering nature and anthropology, habitations and artifacts, social and religious life, and the history of French Polynesia. The permanent exhibition room is currently closed for renovations, but a temporary space with major pieces is open.More


Tahiti is not overflowing with historic monuments, which makes Papaeari (or Papeari stand out even more. It is the island’s oldest village, settled somewhere between AD 400 and 500. It is also known by art lovers for its association with Paul Gauguin, who lived in the area. It is a great place to relax and enjoy island life on the quieter southern coast.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in Tahiti

Amazing Adventure!
Ari_M, Dec 2022
Crossing the island of TAHITI in a 4x4 safari (mountain, waterfall, river, basins)
There were so many beautiful scenic views, waterfalls and natural beauty all around!
Beautiful Tahiti
Joanne_B, Dec 2022
Tahiti Half Circle Island Tour by Bus
Cookie kept up a stream of (French and English ) information that kept us entertained and interested in Tahiti's beauty and history.
Best of Tahiti
Donna_H, Nov 2022
Unique Tahiti Tour - private, personalised, small group, east coast tour
She took us to places that we'd never been able to see on our own.
Great Sampling of Local Foods
Michelle_S, Nov 2022
Moorea food tour (Tama'a street food tour)
Due to heavy rain, we were not able to visit all sites normally done on a tour.
Tahiti island van tour oct 2022
Roy, Nov 2022
Unique Tahiti Tour - private, personalised, small group, east coast tour
Waterfall, blow hole by ocean, sarong factory, comfortable van.
Better than a Disney ride
jimfaust, Nov 2022
Moorea 4WD Tour Including Belvedere Pineapple Farm and Magic Mountain
Si much to see and the views from the peaks helps you understand where you had been snorkeling etc at other times .
Great day in Tahiti
Katey_B, Oct 2022
Private Island Tour
The guide was knowledgeable and spoke excellent English.
Great Capitan and great Trip
Oren_w, Sep 2022
Small group snorkeling (5 people max): Turtles at 7:30am
Thank you Ben for this trip, Hope to see you again
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All about Tahiti

When to visit

The most popular time to visit Tahiti is from May through October, the dry season. You’ll get plenty of crowds this time of year, and it’s particularly busy in August when the French take their summer vacations. If you don’t mind a few showers, the wet season (September–April) is great for avoiding crowds, except for around Christmas and New Year’s.

Getting around

If you’re staying in the heart of Papeete, you won’t need a car as everything of interest is within walking distance. If you plan to head out for the day, there are local buses that cater primarily to area residents. However, if you don’t speak French, you may find it easier to rent a car or motor scooter or explore the island on a guided tour.

Traveler tips

While French wine is widely available in French Polynesia, you may be surprised to learn that the Polynesian nation produces wine of its own on, albeit on the island of Rangiroa. Fortunately, you don’t have to hop on a flight out to the winery to try French Polynesian wine. Look for it on the wine list at hotel restaurants right on the island of Tahiti.

Tahiti information

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