Tahiti Travel Guide

Tahiti © Michael R Perry

French Polynesia's main island of Tahiti (meaning 'the gathering place') stands sentinel over her surrounding sisters like a proud queen, her soaring interior mountains sheltering deep valleys, plummeting waterfalls and crystal streams flowing down to the rugged coastline of black and white sand beaches and blue lagoons. Tahiti is made up of two islands, Tahiti-Nui and Tahiti-Iti, joined by a narrow isthmus.

Most holidaymakers will begin their island idyll at the international Faa'a Airport at Papeete, Tahiti's capital and the commercial hub of French Polynesia. The small, busy city has a French flavour and laid-back atmosphere, worth exploring for its vibrant Central Market, pearl shops, attractive waterfront with its unique mobile diners, and a selection of excellent restaurants. Another must for visitors is to take a round-the-island tour, along the 73-mile (117km) road encircling the island, passing historic monuments, museums, beaches, ruined temples, waterfalls, gardens and dramatic scenery.

The island's best white sand beaches are between Punaauia and Papara, but most visitors get more of a thrill out of visiting the famed black sand beaches on the east coast, particularly renowned Pointe Venus. Besides enjoying the seaside, Tahiti also offers some interesting sightseeing, including magnificent Botanical gardens, museums, archaeological sites, the tomb of the royal family Pomare, a lake containing unique eared eels, lava tubes, and a host of other unusual experiences.

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