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by Santorini Dave • Updated: November 17, 2018
What is the best time of year to visit Tahiti?
- Best Time to Visit Tahiti: May, June, September and October.
- Best Time to Visit Tahiti for Good Weather: May to October.
- Best Time to Visit Tahiti for Sightseeing: May, June, September and October.
- Best Time to Visit Tahiti for Honeymoons: May to October.
- Best Time for Diving & Snorkeling: April, May, June, September and October.
- Best Time for Outdoor Activities: June to September.
- Best Time for Saving Money: Avoid the peak seasons (July, August, and the Christmas/New Year period) when the islands are bursting. Hotel rates increase and flights are sometimes overbooked, so plan ahead. Also, the local school holidays (especially in October) are busy times for inter-island flights.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: Like all tropical island regions in the South Pacific, there are 2 very important factors to consider when planning holidays. Tahiti is especially busy (and overpriced) during the major European vacation times of July and August, and the Christmas/New Year period from mid-December to mid-January. The second aspect is the wet season, which lasts from November to April. At this time, heavy rain is frequent, the humidity can be draining, and cyclones are possible (although very rare).
- Best Time for Diving & Snorkeling: Calm, clear waters are most likely between April and October, the driest months, but conditions do vary considerably because of local variations. And during July and August, trade winds bring relief onshore but can churn up the waves. During the wet season (November to April), rain and wind can also affect visibility, but this is less problematic in the shallow and mostly non-tidal lagoons that surround most of the atolls and islands.
- Best Time for Outdoor Activities: Not surprisingly, the weather affects the accessibility and enjoyment of all things outside. The wet season (November to April) brings heavy downpours, higher waves and stronger winds, and when it’s not raining, the humidity can be uncomfortable. Obviously, don’t go anywhere outdoors during any cyclonic activity. Hiking and surfing are optimal during the driest months of June to September, but remember: anywhere near the mountains will often be cold and wet throughout the year, and July and August can be surprisingly windy.
- Best Time for Beaches: During the dry season (May to October), daytime temperatures average around 25°C, becoming comparatively cooler later in the afternoon and during the evening. Water temperatures in the lagoons that surround almost all islands remain constantly inviting: from 23°C to 26°C. Swimming is sometimes more appealing in the wet season, if only to seek relief from the heat and humidity. Obviously, avoid any bad weather (particularly lightning), and never forget the sunscreen.
Tahiti Travel Seasons
- High Season (July, August, and mid-December to mid-January): This is the European holiday time, with the peak of the peak in August, when half of France seems to go away somewhere; and around the Christmas/New Year period. During these times, hotel rates will soar and some islands like Bora Bora, which has a dearth of accommodation anyway, are bursting. Always book way ahead, and remember that December and January is the height of the wet season, with cancelled flights not uncommon, and cyclones always possible (but very rare).
- Shoulder Season (May, June, September and October): These months are at the start and finish of the dry season, and exclude the peak holiday period (as explained above). The weather is very comfortable – mostly clear, mild and dry – and prices have yet to peak. Traveling around is easy, and numerous festivals rev up from May onwards.
- Low Season (November to mid-December, and mid-January to April): These periods are in the wet season, when rain is frequent, the humidity often unpleasant, and cyclones always possible, so be alert. Hotel rates drop considerably, and with so many empty rooms guests can negotiate. Finding seats on inter-island planes is rarely a problem – although flights can be cancelled due to bad weather or lack of passengers.
Tahiti Weather by Month
- Tahiti Weather in January: Being reasonably close to the equator, Tahiti is blessed with a tropical climate of warm and balmy days, with the heat often tempered by trade winds. The hot and rainy season peaks early in the year, with high temperatures (averaging 26°C in Pape’ete, but often nudging 31°C) and plenty of rain (about 315mm/12.5 inches) this month. When the rain stops and the sun is out, the humidity can force some visitors back inside. Cyclones in Tahiti are not as prevalent as its Pacific neighbours, but always possible from November to April, so check the local media, hotel announcements and official website.
- Tahiti Weather in February: The height of the wet season brings the greatest possible threat of cyclones. While many tropical depressions bypass the main tourist centres (and cyclones are very rare), they still bring peripheral winds and rains that make travel by plane and boat uncomfortable and sometimes, impossible. February sees a slight decrease in rainfall, but still enough to possibly affect travel plans.
- Tahiti Weather in March: Many of the most visited islands are mountainous, creating micro-climates along different coasts, while islands to the south can be considerably colder. But overall, rainfall has reduced dramatically in March to an average of 160mm – about half the amount from about 6 weeks earlier. The end of the wet season is nigh, signalling a substantial reduction in humidity, much to the relief of all, even the locals. Temperatures rise a little, often peaking at a year-high average of 31°C in some places.
- Tahiti Weather in April: Average rainfall is about the same as March, but the number of downpours starts to dwindle by the middle of the month, and humidity levels noticeably drop further. But don’t put away the umbrella and wet-weather gear just yet.
- Tahiti Weather in May: Official start of the dry and cooler season, sometimes called ‘winter’ by locals – and with it the chance of cyclones virtually disappears. The weather quickly becomes noticeably drier, with rainfall comparatively little until mid-October. Daytime temperatures remain stable, and reach about 30°C in some places, while night-time averages fall a couple of degrees to about 22°C.
- Tahiti Weather in June: Usually perfect weather, with heavy rain (hopefully) long gone, but perhaps more importantly, humidity is lower as it’s alleviated by increased trade winds. The seemingly endless dry and clear days coincide with the start of the busier tourist season. Nights are about 21°C on average, making it easier to sleep, and some locals start wearing jumpers and jackets after dark.
- Tahiti Weather in July: By now, some Tahitians even start complaining about the ‘cold weather’ (!) amid increased trade winds, which provide relief for many but are unwelcome by some (e.g. divers). But day after day, it’s pleasantly mild, with little or no rain. And it can even become comparatively chilly at night, with temperatures dropping to 20°C – and as low as 15°C in the Austral Islands in the far south; considerably colder than in any mountainous region. Packing a jumper or jacket is not as silly as it sounds anywhere in Tahiti.
- Tahiti Weather in August: The weather continues to be ideal, except the trade winds are at their strongest, sometimes making boat trips less pleasant, and masses have started arriving from Europe for their annual holidays. Daytime temperatures and rainfall are equally at their lowest for the year. Water temperatures are a little cooler, about 24°C, but the lagoons are still very swimmable.
- Tahiti Weather in September: Probably the optimal month to visit, with continuing dry and pleasant weather, and a significant reduction in hotel rates and tourist numbers. Stronger trade winds may linger, but are cooling rather than frustratingly blowy. Temperatures average 20-25°C during the day/night, and this month rivals August as the driest – almost 8 times less rainfall than December or January.
- Tahiti Weather in October: The last month for reliably mild weather. Although almost double the rain of September, it’s still half the precipitation of November. Average day and night temperatures start to rise by 1-2°C, and more noticeably, humidity levels increase, affecting the enjoyment of being outside for too long.
- Tahiti Weather in November: Official start of the wet season, also called the ‘summer’, which continues until late April. Average temperatures rise by another degree (Celsius), while the humidity becomes conspicuously more uncomfortable. Rainfall is double that of October and triple the amount from September. And cyclones are now possible (although very rare) anytime until April, so stay alert.
- Tahiti Weather in December: The wet season has well and truly started by now, with heavy downpours that could affect travel plans. Double the rain of November, exacerbated by high humidity. This month competes with January as the wettest, with over 300mm (12.4 inches), but rain is often immediately followed by extended bursts of sunshine. And tourist numbers increase dramatically during the Christmas/New Year period.
Tahiti Holidays, Events and Festivals
Tahiti Events in January
- New Year’s Day – a public holiday celebrated with gusto by everyone.
- Tere ‘A’ati (changeable, first or second week of January) – on Rurutu in the Austral Islands, with stone-lifting competitions, as well as traditional food, music, and dance.
- Tere Fa’ati (last Saturday in January) – traditionally-decorated trucks and buses take visitors to major sites around Tahiti Nui. Also, parades, music, dance, and food.
- Chinese New Year (changeable, January/February) – influential Chinese minority (and others) celebrate for a week or more with parades, fireworks, music, and arts. Mainly at the Chinese temple in central Pape’ete.
Tahiti Events in February
- Flower and Handicraft Festival (1st to 14th) – promoting indigenous flowers and traditional crafts from various communities across Pape’ete.
- Pacific International Documentary Film Festival (changeable, early February) – screenings and judging of short films from across the region. Mostly in French, but some in English. For a week in Pape’ete.
- Tahiti Guitar Festival (changeable, late February) – increasingly popular, with local and international acts. In Pape’ete for 2 days.
Tahiti Events in March
- Missionaries Day (5th) – also known as Gospel Day. Public holiday honouring the arrival of Protestantism over 220 years ago, with re-enactments and traditional dancing across the islands.
- International Women’s Day (8th) – marking the worldwide event with conferences and entertainment in Pape’ete.
- La Tahitienne (10th) – female-only sports carnival in Pape’ete linked with International Women’s Day just beforehand.
- Festival of ‘Uru (15th to 17th) – showcasing Polynesian food, particularly the revered ‘uru (breadfruit). In Pape’ete and a few villages around Tahiti Nui.
- Papara Pro Surf Festival (changeable, mid-March) – one of several competitions attracting diehards to the renowned reefs at Papara in southern Tahiti Nui.
- Tahiti-Moorea International Marathon (changeable, late March) – attracts some 2,000 runners, with fun activities before and after for all.
- Easter (changeable, March/April) – celebrated throughout the islands. Some facilities close for 4 days, while Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Easter Sunday is a great time to visit a church.
Tahiti Events in April
- Paddle Festival (7th) – paddleboard races, part of an international circuit. At Puna’auia on the west coast of Tahiti Nui.
- Jazz Festival (changeable, mid-April) – over a week in Pape’ete, a delight for enthusiasts with local and international acts.
- Labour Day (1st) – public holiday, with cultural shows, music, and dancing across the islands.
- Tahiti Pearl Regatta (7th to 13th) – largest sailing race in the Pacific. For all sorts of boats, from yachts to canoes, around Tahiti, Ra’iatea and Bora Bora islands.
- Victory Day (8th) – public holiday commemorating the end of WWII in Europe.
- Ascension Day (changeable) – public holiday 40 days after Easter Sunday.
- Whit Monday (changeable, May or June) – also known as Pentecost, a public holiday and religious event.
- Ta’iri Paumotu (changeable, mid-May) – festival in Pape’ete showcasing the unique guitar and ukulele styles of the Tuamotu Islands.
- La Ronde Tahitienne (changeable, late May) – international endurance bicycle race around Moorea Island.
- Tahiti International Golf Open (changeable, late May) – major event at the course in Papara in southern Tahiti Nui.
- Pareau Day (25th) – celebrating the history and beauty of the traditional pareau (like a sarong). Fun-filled activities throughout Pape’ete.
- Mother’s Day Fair (changeable, late May) – for about 1 week across the islands, showcasing indigenous arts and crafts as mothers are rightly revered.
- Flower Show (changeable, late May to mid-June) – displays of indigenous flowers, shrubs and plants. For 3 weeks at Faa’a (suburb of Pape’ete).
- Orange Festival (changeable, late June) – honours the popular fruit, with sports and music at Puna’auia, on the west coast of Tahiti Nui.
- Heiva Dances (changeable) – in the lead up to the major Heiva celebrations next month, dance schools around the islands practice and perform.
- Heiva Rima’i (from around mid-June for three/four weeks) – also linked to the Heiva celebrations next month, craft stalls in Pape’ete sell products from across Polynesia.
- Miss Tahiti (22nd) – honouring the beauty of Tahitian women, with pageants across the islands.
- Hivavaeve (29th) – also known as Internal Autonomy Day. Public holiday celebrating when French Polynesia was granted self-government (but not independence). Parades and concerts in all towns, but particularly flamboyant in Pape’ete.
- Heiva i Tahiti – everyone seems to go a little crazy during July. Expect lots of hip-swinging dancing, ukulele-playing, canoe racing and sporting carnivals across all islands. Especially appealing at Bora Bora.
- Marae Arahurahu Re-enactment (changeable) – along the west coast of Tahiti Nui. Historical re-enactments and traditional dancing.
- Tahiti Traditional Sports Championship (changeable, mid-July) – plenty of fun, with local sports, such as fruit-carrying, in Pape’ete.
- Bastille Day (14th) – public holiday celebrated across the islands with food, singing and fireworks. Pape’ete also hosts a military parade.
- Rautirare Festival (first weekend in August) – more water-sport competitions, including surfing, paddle-boarding and beach soccer. For several days at Mataiea in southern Tahiti Nui.
- Assumption (15th) – public holiday, with church services held throughout the islands.
- Super Aito Vaa (changeable, mid-August) – another popular and serious race featuring outrigger canoes. Starts and finishes at different places each year.
- Ra’iatea Gliss Festival (changeable, early September) – Ra’iatea Island comes alive with entertainment and water sports.
- Ukulele Festival (changeable, mid-September) – promotion and performances of this much-loved instrument across Tahiti Nui.
- Salon des Australes (changeable) – festival in Pape’ete showcasing artistry from the Austral Islands, renowned for baskets and hats made from pandanus leaves.
- Tahiti Nui Tour (changeable, mid-September) – major event on the international cycling calendar.
- Farereihaga (changeable, mid-September) – tourism festival at Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago, with cultural shows and competitions.
- Stone-Throwing Competitions (early October) – at various locations, mainly Maupiti and Bora Bora islands, honouring the ancient tradition of fishing using stones.
- International Graffiti Art Festival Ono’u (changeable, start of October) – discussions and displays of street art from across the Pacific. At Pape’ete for several days.
- Vaipahi Run (changeable, late October) – grueling cross-country race starting on the west coast of Tahiti Nui.
- Reva i Eimeo Nui (last Saturday in October) – truck tours of Moorea Island, with traditional food and wandering ukulele players.
- All Saints Day (1st) – public holiday honouring various venerated saints. Many locals visit graves of relatives.
- Armistice Day (11th) – commemorates the end of WWI.
- Lychee Run (changeable, early November) – challenging cross-country race at Tubuai (Austral Islands) celebrating Tahiti’s favourite fruit.
- Hawaiki Nui Canoe Races (changeable) – serious races around Hauhine, Ra’iatea and Bora Bora islands. Over 3 days, with lots of fun for all.
- French Polynesia Book Fair (changeable, mid-November) – all things literary, with speakers, launches and readings featuring writers from across the Pacific. In Pape’ete.
- Matari’i Ni’a (changeable, late November) – many traditional events across the islands as locals are grateful for the rain and hopeful of a plentiful harvest.
- International Tattoo Festival – tattoos are an integral part of Tahitian culture. Experts and enthusiasts flock to Pape’ete to admire the art of skin painting.
Tahiti Events in May
Tahiti Events in June
Tahiti Events in July
Tahiti Events in August
Tahiti Events in September
Tahiti Events in October
Tahiti Events in November
Tahiti Events in December
- Pineapple Festival (changeable) – on Moorea Island, with concerts, craft stalls and displays of local foods. Highlight is the making and eating of the Giant Pineapple Cake.
- Tuamotu Inter-Island Games (changeable, mid-December) – serious and fun events for over a week across the Tuamotu Islands, with traditional sports such as palm-tree climbing.
- Christmas Day (25th) – celebrated fervently. Also a public holiday, with most shops and restaurants closed for several days, and public transport almost non-existent.
- Boxing Day (26th) – Christmas celebrations continue, although not a public holiday.
- New Year’s Eve (31st) – commemorating the changing of years with parties across the islands and fireworks in Pape’ete.
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