From lazy days on the beach to pampering and parties, Tahiti is a holiday destination that can suit any mood. Beloved by honeymooners, spring break students and families alike, a trip to Tahiti is ideal for recharging your mental batteries and enjoying a few lazy days, or seeking out some thrills and adventure if the mood strikes. Why not go beyond the beaches and see some of the unique sights of this idyllic "Fantasy Island."
Beneath the surface of the tranquil blue waters of Tahiti's lagoons there is a stunning array of marine life to be found. See the wildlife up-close without having to get your hair wet by taking a trip in a glass-bottomed boat. Relax and enjoy the views of rare coral and brightly colored fish, and sharks too! There are more than 800 fish species to be seen in the warm Polynesian waters.
Enjoy the stunning views of, and from, Mount Orohena. This picturesque mountain is the highest point in French Polynesia, with the summit standing 7,352 feet above sea level. Choose from a leisurely stroll around the sandy beaches at the base, or one of the more challenging guided climbs to the peak.
Go snorkeling and see the unspoiled coral reefs in the shallow lagoons. Look, but don't touch! These delicate coral reefs have grown slowly, at a rate of between 0.3 and 2 cm per year over a period of thousands of years. Enjoy the sense of wonder as you admire their delicate formations and the rainbow colors of clownfish, parrot-fish, ray, and other species that swing among the reefs.
Join in the beautiful and energetic acapella choirs at the Temple de Paofai. This large pink temple is full of life and color, as the devout congregation packs the pews and sings himene. The church stands on the site of Pape'ete's first Protestant church, which dates back to 1818, and the infectious passion of the congregation can still be felt to this day.
Haggle for a bargain and pick up some souvenirs at the Pape'ete market. This bustling municipal market is full of fresh produce, handmade goods, and local treasures. Be sure to sample some of the classic Tahitian street food. Freshly prepared fish is a staple of the local diet and can be found on many stalls. Sample freshly caught and prepared sea urchin, mahi-mahi, and bonito.
Watch as waves crash against the shore near the black sandy beach and huge plumes of water are sent up into the air. This geyser-like eruptions caused by this natural phenomenon are awe-inspiring to see first-hand. Many guided tours include a stop at the Arahoho Blowhole, and vantage points are easy to drive to in a 4WD vehicle.
After a busy schedule of snorkeling and trail walking, treat yourself to a lazy day on the beach. The fine black sandy beach of Plage de Taharuu is large, clean, unspoiled, and lined with green leafy palm trees. The sheer size of the beach means that there is plenty of space for you and your family to find a quiet spot to relax and unwind. The waters are ideal for swimming and surfing.
Point Venus is a picturesque peninsula at the tip of the island. History buffs will delight at the chance to see the landing sites of Captain Cook and Captain William Blight. The main attraction is Point Venus Lighthouse. This tall, iconic structure is a working lighthouse from the 1800s that stands on the spot where Captain Cook built an observatory to study the planet Venus. Explore the park grounds and enjoy a meal at the restaurant, or relax with a picnic on the beach.
Robert Wan is a pioneer in pearl culture and has been in the market for the black Tahitian pearls. This fascinating museum is the only exhibition in the world entirely dedicated to these precious items. The exhibits celebrate everything to do with pearls and their religious and cultural significance in art, history, and literature. Learn how pearls were gathered in the days before mass cultivation, see the "Black Pearl" and learn why Mary Queen of Scots coveted them so.
This bustling port is a stunning starting point for your exploration of Tahiti. Walk along the palm-lined shores and enjoy the picturesque gardens full of orchids, jasmine, hibiscus, tiare, and heliconia. Explore the markets and sample the street food. The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, the oldest Catholic church in Tahiti and one of the last remaining early colonial buildings, is not far from the port.