Tahiti Travel Guide

Home > Tahiti Travel Guide
by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 27, 2019

The 100 best hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, clubs, shows, tours, places, and things to do in Tahiti, French Polynesia.

See Also

Tahiti Hotels

1. InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa • Moorea Island • $$$$

Moorea’s most luxurious resort is wedged between a sapphire lagoon and dramatic mountains. Wonderful family-friendly facilities, with immense gardens, several beaches, infinity-edged pools, and lots of exquisite bungalows. • ReviewMap • +689 40 86 51 78

2. Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea • Moorea Island • $$$$

Vast, eco-friendly, and convenient to village facilities, with wooden walkways leading to sumptuous and spacious overwater bungalows offering flawless ocean views. Stunning pool, water-sports, and heavenly beaches, so it’s ideal for families. • ReviewMap • +689 40 43 17 88

3. InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa • Pape’ete • $$$$

Luxurious, spacious, and the most convenient resort to the airport and downtown. Impeccable gardens, stylish overwater bungalows, and family-focused. No beach, but awesome pools and a ‘lagoonarium’. • ReviewMap • +689 40 86 51 78

4. Rohotu Fare Lodge • Bora Bora Island • $$$

So different and so authentic: a hilltop jungle-like escape with far-reaching views. The trio of bungalows are exquisitely decorated with traditional arts and crafts. Not on the beach, but that’s inconsequential with free transfers anytime anywhere. • ReviewMap • +689 87 70 77 99

5. InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort • Bora Bora Island • $$$$

Opulent and convenient, with bungalows ideal for honeymooners, yet also great for families. The beach provides snow-white sand and turquoise water, and the pool is just as inviting. Everything is traditionally designed, and the resort is backed by mountains. • ReviewMap • +689 40 60 49 00

6. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora • Bora Bora Island • $$$$

On a private island and so serene, with a perfect fusion of traditional and modern design and décor. Overwater bungalows perched up to 100m inside the lagoon. Also, secluded spa suites ideal for honeymooners. • Map • +689 40 60 31 70

7. Moorea Beach Lodge • Moorea Island • $$

Adorable boutique lodge with colonial-style charm and limited number of guests. Ample attractions include convenient location, attractive garden, private beach, terrace lounge for sunsets, and restaurant-standard kitchen/bar which guests can use. • ReviewMap • +689 87 23 33 25

8. Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa • Taha’a Island • $$$

Superior luxury on a private atoll with dreamy overwater bungalows. Blends in so delightfully with the lagoon-edge terrain and lush vegetation. • Map • +689 40 50 76 01

9. Hôtel Raiatea Lodge • Ra’iatea Island • $$

Enchanting colonial-style lodge, with traditional décor. Smaller and more personable than an oversized resort, it offers 3-star facilities and price-tag with a 5-star setting facing the lawn and beach. • Map • +689 40 66 20 00

10. Sofitel Tahiti Ia Ora Beach Resort • Tahiti Nui • $$$

Renovations underway during 2018/9 of the overwater bungalows, with plenty of rooms also facing the sea. An astonishing pool offsets the inferior beach, while the tropical gardens, numerous activities, and relaxing ambience add to the appeal. • ReviewMap • +689 40 47 07 27

11. Fenua Mata’i’oa Hôtel • Moorea Island • $$

Handful of exquisite bungalows hidden among congested gardens. In a serene suburban setting and facing an inlet, the lodge also features a guest lounge with a unique décor seemingly from a film noir. • ReviewMap • +689 40 55 00 25

12. Royal Huahine • Huahine Island • $$$

Larger than average and less expensive than imagined, with bungalows above the water, on the beach, and among the gardens. Within a secluded bay, it’s inviting, intimate, and isolated. • Map • +689 40 60 60 50

13. Maupiti Holiday • Maupiti Island • $$$$

On a dreamy atoll just off the main island. With a private beach very close by and a fully-equipped kitchen in each of the traditional-style bungalows, it’s so easy to escape the crowds. • Map

14. Pension de la Plage • Tahiti Nui • $

Affordable and pleasant guesthouse, with spacious rooms overlooking tropical gardens and a sizeable pool. Delightful lounge/library and BBQ area make this very welcoming. Also, one of the island’s most alluring public beaches is only 150m away. • ReviewMap • +689 40 45 56 12

Tahiti Restaurants

15. O Belvédère • Tahiti Nui

Extraordinary mountaintop setting with poolside bar and sweeping panoramas from an extensive wooden deck. French and Polynesian cuisine, as well as fondues. The attentive staff and funky décor also make this well worth the effort. Call about transfers. • Map • +689 89 40 34 03

16. Restaurant Le Lotus • Pape’ete

With tables along a pier perched above the lagoon for light lunches and gourmet dinners from an extensive menu. Romantic candlelit setting and faultless ambience, with French wines and lounge bar, so dress up. Almost hidden within the classy InterContinental resort (see #3). • Map • +689 40 86 51 78

17. Le Carre Restaurant • Tahiti Nui

Intimate and ultra-fine dining alongside the lagoon in Sofitel (see #10). Come for the extensive wine list and impressive menu, with a focus on French and Polynesian cuisine and Japanese seafood dishes. Also popular for the dessert menu, kids’ meals, and lounge bar. • Map • +689 40 47 07 23

18. Chez Tara • Huahine Island

French cuisine and seafood with a difference. Also renowned across Tahiti for its quaint setting facing a sparkling lagoon. A terrific place to try traditional food, including from a Tahiti Oven (see #29) on Sundays. • Map • +689 40 68 78 45

19. Restaurant Matira Beach • Bora Bora Island

Seafood and other tasty treats with French and Polynesian influences, as well as Japanese favorites like sushi and teppanyaki. Family-friendly, with a kids’ room and direct access to a lovely beach. Come early for a cocktail at sunset. Free transfers. • Map • +689 87 79 47 04

20. La Brasserie Le Rétro • Pape’ete

Renovated, and now the swankiest restaurant along the esplanade. Classically Parisienne and très populaire for coffee, light lunches, and humongous grills at dinner. Terrace seating ideal for watching people during the day and live music at night. • Map • +689 40 42 86 83

21. Moorea Beach Café • Moorea Island

Adorable bayside setting for wood-fired pizzas, soups, salads, grills, and of course, seafood. Also attracts returnees for the sunsets, daily specials, bakery, and free transfers. • Map • +689 40 56 29 99

22. Holy Steak House • Moorea Island

Hearty serves of grilled meats, as well as seafood and pizzas. Popular, too, for the hilltop views of the lagoon, children’s menu, live music, happy hours, and free transfers. • Map • +689 40 55 15 14

23. Restaurant Tahaa Maitai • Taha’a Island

Gorgeous seaside position with super-fresh seafood. The French chef and friendly staff also offer cocktails, wine, and a lovingly-selected collection of whiskies. • Map • +689 40 65 70 85

24. Opoa Beach Restaurant • Ra’iatea Island

Variety of French cuisine, mostly with seafood, and a white décor nicely appropriate for the beachside setting. Renowned among locals for lagoon views, yummy desserts, selection of rums, and the ever-changing menu. And vegetarians will be happy. • Map • +689 40 60 05 10

25. Bloody Mary’s • Bora Bora Island

An institution with unconventional tropical-style décor. For buffets where guests select seafood and meat from ice trays, but also other options, including vegetarian. Bar open all day, tapas available in the afternoons, and free transfers. Lively evenings after lots of rum. • Map • +689 40 67 72 86

26. St James Bora Bora • Bora Bora Island

Classy two-level bistro with seaside tables, cocktail bar, and extensive views. Creative menu focuses on seafood and lamb, and is popular among expats for the wines and desserts. • Map • +689 40 67 64 62

27. Le Sunset • Moorea Island

Casual, spacious, breezy, and colorful setting facing the sea. The chef is French, but also offers local specialties and Italian fare – and portions are plentiful. With just steps to a pretty beach, families are more than welcome. • Map • +689 40 56 12 20

28. Snack Coco D’isle • Moorea Island

Hugely popular despite – or probably because of – the laidback layout, e.g. sandy floor. Tasty Tahitian, French, and Chinese food, as well as pizzas. Evenings only, and takeaways available. • Map • +689 40 56 59 07

Local Tahitian Food & Drink

29. Ma’a Tahiti

More commonly known as Tahiti Oven, a variety of foods, e.g. fish and taro, are baked in a pit with burning logs and stones. Shared among families during village ceremonies (especially at New Year), but less authentic versions are available at upmarket resorts.

30. ‘Ota ‘Ika

The unofficial national dish of Tahiti and popular across the Pacific, it’s often found on menus in all types of eateries. Known in French as poisson cru, it consists of raw fish marinated in coconut milk and/or lime juice, and is served with chopped vegetables.

31. Chicken (Poulet) Fafa

Popular and hearty meal using leaves of the taro plant (which can be substituted by spinach), and livened with ginger and lime.

32. Tahiti Drink

Well-known cocktail in a carton made on Moorea Island. A concoction of fruit juices, locally-grown vanilla, and an alcoholic beverage brewed from cane sugar. Available in bars and shops in Tahiti, and marketed in the US as ‘Enchanted Isle’.

Tahiti Shops & Markets

33. Marché de Pape’ete • Pape’ete

Extraordinarily vast and remarkably convenient market for fish, pastries, and tropical fruit and vegetables. Also, a tremendous place to buy souvenirs from across Tahiti and try traditional food. Open all day, it overflows along neighboring streets on Sundays. But bargain hard. • Map • +689 87 77 77 03

34. Uturoa Market • Ra’iatea Island

The market in Tahiti’s second-largest town is more compact and authentic than the one in Pape’ete. Easy to spend hours soaking up the cultural vibe and checking out wonderful souvenirs, including pareaus (sarongs). • Map

35. Tahiti Pearl Market • Pape’ete

With several outlets, this is one of the very best of several pearl shops across the islands. Focuses on the black ones for which Tahiti is so renowned. • Map • +689 40 54 30 60

36. Le Petit Village • Moorea Island

Cute but modest cluster of shops and cafés in the tourist and expat enclave of Hauru. Best place on Moorea for most things – from pearls and pareaus (sarongs) to latte and linguine. • Map

37. Creativ • Moorea Island

Charming gallery offering a better-than-expected selection of handcrafted jewelry, locally-made arts and crafts, and other classy mementoes. At Le Petit Village (see #36). • Map • +689 40 56 40 07

38. OcéAnie Galerie • Pape’ete

Contemporary and authentic arts and crafts by newer and more established artistes from Tahiti and across the Pacific. Especially good for woodcarvings. • Map • +689 40 85 58 80

39. Vaima Shopping Center • Pape’ete

The capital’s premier mall provides an impressive array of shops, with several selling pearls and other souvenirs. Also, a pleasing selection of bars, nightclubs, cafés, and travel agencies. • Map

40. Motu Trésor • Huahine Island

Unique jewelry (including pearls), as well as woodcarvings from across French Polynesia. Also worth visiting the museum that houses a massive shell collection, with guided tours in English and French. • Map • +689 87 23 03 23

Tahiti Bars

41. Bora Bora Lounge • Pape’ete

Perfect corner position, almost opposite the ferry terminal, for people-watching and well-priced drinks and meals. Extended cocktail happy hours ensure lively evenings as the DJs and karaoke machine cranks up. • Map • +689 40 45 03 00

42. Les 3 Brasseurs • Pape’ete

One in a chain across French Polynesia, with a lively street-side setting and on-site brewery. Very popular among locals for TV sports, inexpensive pub-style meals (including tapas), and live music on weekends. • Map • +689 40 50 60 25

43. Motu Iti Bar • Moorea Island

At the marvellous InterContinental resort (see #1). An intimate setting by the lagoon and among gardens for imported wines and signature cocktails. Super-comfy seats make it hard to leave, but head to the Beach Bar (also at the resort) if it rains. • Map • +689 40 55 19 19

44. MaiKai Bora Bora Yacht Club • Bora Bora Island

Where yachties (and others) gather for a chinwag amid the idyllic seaside setting. Come for the attractive pool (for all guests), better-than-average happy hours, live music, and excellent meals in the French restaurant. • Map • +689 87 26 12 78

Tahiti Night Life

45. Cesar Rock Palace • Pape’ete

Has it all: disco, piano bar, cabaret, and, um, karaoke, along an alley lined with other similar establishments. The happy hours and colorful cocktails also attract a lively crowd. Open until 4 am. • Map • +689 40 42 88 24

46. Le Royal Tahitien • Pape’ete

Friendly bar and expat hangout, with a stage under a traditional roof. Rock, reggae, and R&B bands get loud and lively on weekends. The classy restaurant and seaside setting add immensely to the appeal. • Map • +689 40 50 40 40

47. Le Petit Morrison Café • Pape’ete

Smoky, smooth, and sophisticated for live rock, jazz, and blues – as well as tasty meals and billiard tables. Trendy DJs stretch out the evenings until the early hours. • Map • +689 40 42 78 61

Tahiti Tours

48. Captain Taina • Moorea Island

The best way to admire the underwater delights is from a glass-bottom boat. Half-day and full-day tours head to secret snorkeling spots among turtles, harmless sharks, and extraordinary statues. Includes lunch and hotel transfers. • Map • +689 87 79 65 50

49. Unique Tahiti • Tahiti Nui

Unreliable public transport and unpleasant traffic often necessitates an organized tour. This locally-owned operator offers very informative trips with English-speaking guides around Pape’ete and the main island. In small groups, or customized for individuals. • Map • +689 89 23 69 32

50. Moana Adventure Tours • Bora Bora Island

Long-established company offering fabulous trips to explore the lagoon, as well as whale-watching, snorkeling, and fishing. Personalized tours are particularly popular among honeymooners. • Map • +689 87 78 27 37

51. Diveasy • Bora Bora Island

With many years of experience, it knows the best places to scuba-dive and snorkel. Specializes in small groups, and can arrange private tours. • Map • +689 87 79 22 55

52. Island Eco Tours • Huahine Island

Highly-regarded company with very informative and enthusiastic guides. Ideal for exploring the remarkable ruins at Maeva (see #57). • +689 87 71 30 83

53. Polynésie Croisière

Island-hopping among Bora Bora, Ra’iatea, Huahine and Taha’a islands on a catamaran with cabins. All chores and hassles taken care of so guests can just sleep, snorkel, and swim. • Map • +689 87 28 60 06

54. Tip Nautic • Moorea Island

Bridging the difference between D-I-Y kayaking and organized boat trips is hiring a motorboat. With no licence needed, this allows a more distant and detailed exploration of the lagoon. Based at Hôtel Les Tipaniers. • Map • +689 87 78 13 30

55. Moorea Fun Roadster • Moorea Island

The optimal way to explore this gorgeous island is in an open-air two-seater buggy. Enjoy the breeze, stop for views, and reach less accessible sites. • Map • +689 87 25 60 70

Things to See & Do in Tahiti

56. Marae Taputapuātea • Rai’atea Island

Imposing remains of an ancient marae (temple) complex listed by UNESCO and probably the largest in French Polynesia. Highly revered and effectively restored, appreciating the buildings, gravesites, and places of human sacrifice is best via a guided tour. • Map

57. Maeva • Huahine Island

Once the base for the former King of Huahine, Maeva now boasts one of French Polynesia’s greatest collections of ruins. With some restored, the 30 marae (temples) can be explored along walking trails around the coast and hills. Ideally, combined with a visit to the separately-owned museum (see #58). • Map

58. Fare Pōte’e Eco-Museum • Huahine Island

Preferably visited before exploring the ruins at Maeva (see #57), this petite but passionate museum contains exhibits from various archaeological digs. With informative explanations in French and English, it’s housed in a handsome traditional fare (hut). • Map

59. Museum of Tahiti and the Islands • Tahiti Nui

Meaningful displays about the geography, natural history, and colonial past of Tahiti and French Polynesia. Attractive setting in a coconut plantation and facing a popular surf beach. Guided tours and cultural workshops are also available. • Map • +689 40 54 84 35

60. Marae Arahurahu • Tahiti Nui

More remarkable archaeological remains of pre-colonial settlements, including a beautifully restored marae (temple). The serene locale is also used for public events and dance shows. • Map

61. Faarumai Waterfalls • Tahiti Nui

Along the less-visited east coast is a valley dotted with some of Tahiti’s highest, loveliest, and most accessible waterfalls. These can be reached along well-signed hiking trails among forests and fruit plantations. Swimming is no longer allowed, but it’s an idyllic spot for a picnic. • Map

62. Maraa Grotto caves • Tahiti Nui

Firmly on the around-the-island tourist circuit, these are among verdant landscaped gardens. The extensive system includes the largest underwater cave in Tahiti, which provides a refreshing (if a little icy) place for a dip. • Map

63. Harrison W. Smith Botanical Garden • Tahiti Nui

Expansive and very pleasant setting with meandering paths leading to waterfalls, ponds, and the beach. Founded about 100 years old by a fanatical American, it is home to numerous local and introduced plant species. An adorable respite from traffic-clogged Pape’ete. • Map

64. Fitiiu Point • Bora Bora Island

Unique, unusual, and accessible relics of ancient marae temples and WWII forts scattered among hillsides. So much fun stumbling across menacing cannons and bunkers, and admiring lagoon views. • Map

65. Belvédère Lookout • Tahiti Nui

A narrow and hair-pinned road leads to this viewpoint with jaw-dropping panoramas of the ocean, mountains, forests, and valleys. Perhaps, best enjoyed from the magnificent restaurant (see #15). • Map

66. Belvédère Lookout • Moorea Island

From the revered volcano of Mount Rotui, sublime views of the two bays and Tahiti Nui. The access road passes relics of ancient temples, pristine forests, and pineapple plantations – all of which can also be explored on foot. • Map

67. Huahine Pearl Farm • Huahine Island

One of Tahiti’s superior pearl farms offers detailed explanations about producing these oyster-ticklers and crafting them into jewelry – and without a hard sell. The heavenly location inside the lagoon is worth a visit in itself, and they offer free boat transfers. Ceramics are also made and sold on-site. • Map • +689 87 78 58 31

68. Vaipahi Gardens • Tahiti Nui

Another worthwhile break on the circular day-tour of the island. Easy walking trails lead to the river and waterfall, and pass archaeological ruins and lily ponds. Also, plenty of shade and clifftop views. • Map

Beaches in Tahiti

69. Fakarava Island • Tuamotu Group

Isolation means emptiness, yet this is still reasonably accessible. Regarded as one of the most dazzling beaches among hundreds of rivals across Polynesia. And there’s even more beauty underwater. • Map

70. Matira • Bora Bora Island

The island’s most chic beach region is surprisingly underdeveloped, with more budget-priced guesthouses than upmarket resorts. The bleached-white sand facing the turquoise lagoon is kept immaculate by resorts, but still open to the public. Numerous resorts, such as the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort (see #5), are based there. • Map

71. Temae • Moorea Island

Near the airport, yet unexpectedly lacking many resorts, the beach is powdery white and particularly wide. Other attractions are the sizeable playground in a coconut plantation, exquisite snorkeling, and enjoyable walking trail, so it’s very busy on weekends. Home to the Villa Dream Lagoon. • Map

72. Tereia • Maupiti Island

Pretty as a postcard, with snow-white sand and walking trails across to another atoll and to a viewpoint on the island’s only mountain. • Map

73. Jardin de Corail • Huahine Island

The Coral Garden is another beauty: serene and shady, it’s easy to reach but under-visited. Stroll along the granular sand or snorkel just offshore among rare reefs. • Map

Family Fun in Tahiti

74. Lagoonarium de Moorea • Moorea Island

Constantly wows guests who swim among an abundance of multi-coloured fish, as well as harmless rays and sharks, from an islet just offshore. With reassuring and knowledgeable guides, it’s ideal for learners and younger ones. Hotel transfers can be included. • Map • +689 87 78 31 15

75. Tiki Parc Moorea • Moorea Island

Kids will squeal with delight while dangling from ropes and traversing bridges across the forest. Various courses are available based on size, age, and degree of adventurousness. Adults will have heaps of fun, too. • Map • +689 89 40 00 39

76. Moorea Dolphin Center • Moorea Island

Unique within French Polynesia, with up-close and interactive experiences; even a free-dive with a dolphin. Educational and engaging programs are offered, or just walk around and admire. At the InterContinental resort (see #1), also home to the Turtle Care Center. • Map • +689 40 55 19 48

77. Aqua Safari Helmet Dive • Bora Bora Island

With a helmet resembling a TV screen, those less comfortable with snorkeling and swimming can wander about, and wonder at, the undersea delights. Helpful staff and heaps of fun for all, but minimum age of six. Book through your hotel. • +689 87 28 87 77

78. Tropical Garden Moorea • Moorea Island

At a genuine vanilla plantation, visitors can sample (and, of course, buy) locally-made jams, juices, and ice-creams made from fruits rarely tasted by westerners. Come for explanations about vanilla production, lagoon views, and lunch on weekends. • Map • +689 87 70 53 63

Outdoor Activities in Tahiti

79. Cycling

Usually, one road surrounds the mountainous interior on the main islands. On Moorea and Bora Bora, especially, these coastal roads are mostly flat and traffic is minimal (but not so on Tahiti Nui). Bike rental is provided (often for free) at most resorts, hotels, and guesthouses.

80. Diving & Snorkeling

Locals argue there is more beauty beneath the water than above. Each lagoon is clear, shallow, and calm, so snorkeling is ideal. Even first-timers can safely swim among dolphins, luminescent fish, and harmless manta rays and sharks just about anywhere. Scuba-diving can also be easily arranged through the handful of specialist agencies around the islands.

81. Hiking

Many islands (rather than just atolls) are dominated by at least one mountain, often volcanic. Most interiors are undeveloped, with pristine forests of waterfalls, caves, cliffs, views, and swimmable ponds. Plan ahead, follow trails, and/or consider a guide.

82. Kayaking and Paddle-boarding

The optimal way to explore the lagoons, which are clear, calm, shallow and non-tidal, is by kayak or paddle-board. These are easy to rent (often for free) at resorts and midrange hotels. And access to the lagoon can be as effortless as stepping from the sundeck of an overwater bungalow.

83. Surfing

Tahiti boasts some of the greatest surf on earth. Sometimes strictly for experts, and occasionally downright terrifying, there are, however, several places (mostly on Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti) with milder waves, which are ideal for boogie-boards and kite-surfing. Check online about lessons and rental of gear.

84. Water-Sports

While non-motorized water-sports (such as kayaking and paddle-boarding) are often provided free at resorts, expensive but exhilarating water-sports (such as jet-skiing and parasailing) are also offered. These can shatter the serenity of the lagoon, but are popular and enjoyable.

85. Horse Riding

Beginners and those comfortable in a saddle can join guided tours along well-established trails. This is a pleasant way to explore wide beaches, lush forests, and coconut plantations. Particularly enjoyable among the serene and spacious islands of Moorea and Huahine.

Festivals & Events in Tahiti

86. Heiva i Tahiti (throughout July)

A month of traditional dancing, music, and boat-racing, as well as sporting carnivals and art festivals across all islands. For weeks beforehand, dancers at special schools practice their moves, while yachties and jockeys arrive from across French Polynesia for the races. Tahiti’s greatest festival is especially appealing on Bora Bora Island.

87. Hivavaeve (29th June)

Also known as Internal Autonomy Day, this public holiday celebrates the granting of self-governance to French Polynesia. Parades and concerts are held in most towns and villages, but are particularly flamboyant in Pape’ete.

88. Stone-Throwing Competitions (early October)

These are held at various locations (notably Maupiti and Bora Bora islands) to honor the ancient tradition of fishing using stones.

89. Matari’i Ni’a (changeable, late November)

Many traditional events are held across most islands as locals express their gratitude for the rain and eagerness for a plentiful harvest.

90. Missionaries Day (5th March)

Also known as Gospel Day, this public holiday honours the arrival of Protestantism over 220 years ago, with re-enactments and traditional dancing across the islands.

Cultural Experiences in Tahiti

91. Tiki Village • Moorea Island

Better than expected, with a cultural center, reconstructed Tahitian village, music/dance shows, and a lagoon-side restaurant offering evening buffets of traditional food. English-speaking guides are available, as are cultural workshops and island tours. Free entry from 11 am to 3 pm. • Map • +689 40 55 02 50

92. Fire and Dance Show

Attending one of these is a must. Sometimes tacky, but often quite authentic, these feature hip-swinging young women and ukulele-playing old men. Guests are constantly impressed by the energetic moves, hypnotic percussion, and startling fire displays. Can often be enjoyed at a resort for as little as the price of one drink.

93. Stay at a Family-Run Lodge

Perhaps, the greatest possible cultural experience is simply staying with a family on a remote island that attracts few tourists. Sometimes, a home or family-run guesthouse is the only accommodation option anyway, and with few restaurants (and, sometimes, none at all) eating with Mum, Dad and the kids is mandatory.

Best Regions to Stay in Tahiti

94. Moorea Island

Only 30 minutes by ferry from downtown Pape’ete, this lovable island offers forests, waterfalls, beaches, and plantations, as well as abundant adventure activities and several historical remains. Most accommodation is in Maharepa and Hauru (sometimes erroneously called Haapiti) because they offer the only real facilities on the island.
Best Stuff: InterContinental Moorea Resort & SpaManava Beach Resort & Spa MooreaMoorea Beach LodgeFenua Mata’i’oa HôtelMoorea Beach CaféHoly Steak HouseLe Sunset restaurant • Snack Coco D’isle café • Le Petit Village shopping center • Creativ art/craft gallery • Motu Iti BarCaptain Taina tours • Moorea Loca Boat rental • Moorea Fun Roadster car • Belvédère LookoutTemae beach • Lagoonarium de MooreaTiki Parc Moorea rope courses • Moorea Dolphin CenterTropical Garden Moorea • Cycling • Horse Riding • Tiki Village cultural center

95. Bora Bora Island

Perhaps, the quintessential tropical island paradise. Prices are very high, and flights and accommodation heavily booked. Most stay at a resort on an outlying atoll, or on the main island: i.e. at Matira, the main beach region, or Vaitape, Bora Bora’s only town.
Best Stuff: Rohotu Fare LodgeInterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana ResortFour Seasons Resort Bora BoraRestaurant Matira BeachBloody Mary’s restaurant & bar • St James Bora Bora restaurant • MaiKai Bora Bora Yacht Club restaurant & bar • Moana Adventure ToursDiveasy tours • Fitiiu Point • Matira beach • Aqua Safari Helmet Dive • Cycling

96. Huahine Island

Rivaling Bora Bora for beauty and serenity, Huahine is actually two islands connected by a bridge. Despite the sparkling lagoons, mountain hiking, friendly villages, and top-notch snorkeling, it’s not on the usual tourist trail, and so is more authentic and laidback.
Best Stuff: Royal Huahine hotelPension Fare Ara Huahine (well-equipped, with tropical gardens and lovely beach) • Hotel Le Mahana (relaxed, secluded, and beachfront) • Chez Tara restaurant • Omai Restaurant (beachside, intimate, and attentive staff) • Chez Guynette café (casual, friendly, and lagoon views) • Motu Trésor jewelry shop and shell museum • La Passion du Pareo (authentic sarongs at bargain prices) • Island Eco ToursLe Mahana (numerous excursions on land and under the sea) • Maeva ruins • Fare Pōte’e Eco-MuseumHuahine Pearl Farm • Jardin de Corail beach • Horse Riding

97. Ra’iatea Island

More developed than most Tahitian islands, with the territory’s second-largest town (Uturoa). The usual lagoons, traditional villages, and mountainous interior, but the beaches are less inviting, so there are fewer tourists.
Best Stuff: Hôtel Raiatea LodgeFare Vai Nui lodge (traditional and seaside, with pool) • Hôtel Atiapiti (friendly, self-contained, and private beach) • Opoa Beach RestaurantLe Napoli pizzeria (slice of Italy on an idyllic beach) • Raiatea Lodge Restaurant (fresh and tasty food, with an impressive wine list) • Uturoa MarketPerle d’Ô pearl shop (good-value without the hard sell) • Marae Taputapuātea ruins • Sunsail boat trips (reliable and long-established) • Shuttle boat or canoe to Taha’a Island • Kayak up Faaroa River

98. Taha’a Island

Only accessible by boat from neighbouring Ra’iatea, it’s usually ignored and, therefore, always easy-going. Not as mountainous, but still surrounded by numerous uninhabitable motu (atolls). Plenty of outdoor fun and chic resorts.
Best Stuff: Le Taha’a Island Resort & SpaHôtel La Pirgoue Api (traditional bungalows facing a private beach) • L’Hibiscus Tahaa lodge (cozy, casual, and quiet) • Restaurant Tahaa MaitaiLe Ficus (scrumptious food and traditional shows) • Le Vanille Restaurant (treetop setting and Tahitian buffets) • Love Here Pearl Farm (quality, choice, and value) • Pari Pari vanilla plantation (tastings, market, and guided tours) • Temana Tours (boat trips, car rental, and lagoon tours) • Shuttle boat or canoe to Ra’iatea Island

99. Pape’ete

The Tahitian capital has inferior beaches, but many visitors are still attracted by the cosmopolitan lifestyle and its convenience to the airport and ferry terminal for Moorea. Frequent festivals, a trio of museums, and massive market, but constant traffic jams.
Best Stuff: InterContinental Tahiti Resort & SpaHôtel Tahiti Nui (attractive, chic, and convenient) • Hôtel Sarah Nui (spacious, inexpensive, and handy) • Restaurant Le LotusLa Brasserie Le RétroMarché de Pape’ete market • Tahiti Pearl Market jewelry shop • OcéAnie Galerie shop • Vaima Shopping CenterBora Bora Lounge bar & restaurant • Les 3 Brasseurs bar & restaurant • Cesar Rock PalaceLe Royal Tahitien bar & music venue • Le Petit Morrison Café music venue • Unique Tahiti tours • Ciao Tahiti Excursions 4×4 (multi-lingual 4WD tours)

100. Maupiti Island

Yet another slice of paradise. Not nearly as developed and crowded as its more fancied neighbors, so facilities are limited, but beaches are snow-white, while the mountain trails and fabulous diving/snorkeling add to the allure. No resorts (yet).
Best Stuff: Maupiti HolidayPension Tautiare VillageSnack Chez Mimi (idyllic beachfront setting and traditional food) • Snack Tarona (waterfront, laidback, and huge serves) • Sammy Maupiti Tours (knowledgeable snorkeling) • Tereia beach

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