Read More: Guided Tours in Tahiti

A trip to Tahiti - the largest of the French Polynesia Islands

Introduction

Somewhere at the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in the southern hemisphere of the planet, there are hidden islands of the French Polynesia which Tahiti is the largest among them.
Papeete, The capital city of the French Polynesian islands is in Tahiti island.

The map of the Pacific Ocean: 

Pacific Ocean map

 

These islands are divided into five major groups over a huge surface like the size of Europe and include in total 118 islands of which 67 are populated. The total population of the country is 270,000 people, some are pure Polynesians and some are mixed with many Chinese immigrants who arrived in several waves to the islands with Europeans, mainly French who settled here.

The French Polynesia is a protectorate of France with an autonomous government and the official language is French.

The only international airport in the country is located on the island of Tahiti, so it is the only possible way to arrive French Polynesia from other countries around the world thru the island of Tahiti. The closest country with direct flights is New Zealand (4.5-hour flight). Other direct flights are from Los Angeles, Tokyo and several flights from Honolulu. The arrivals at the airport are greeted with typical Polynesian songs and dances.

Singing and dancing at the airport in Tahiti:

singing and dancing at the airport in Tahiti


The local currency marked XPF is the French Polynesian Franc. The driving here is done on the right-hand side like France.
The French Polynesian economy is developed on a medium level and is based on tourism, agriculture and budgetary support by the French government.

The presidential residence in Papeete:

בית הנשיא

The tourism is developed, especially in the island chain called the “Society Islands”, which includes Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and a few other islands. You can find high class and luxurious hotels including many hotels with cabins “on the water”.

 

The island of Tahiti

Tahiti is the largest island in the French Polynesian islands in which the islands’ capital is in the town of Papeete. The only international airport for the islands is in Tahiti. In some of the other islands there are airports for domestic flights between the islands run by the Air Tahiti airline.

Most of the Island’s population, about seventy percent, live in Tahiti (about 180,000) and mainly in the town of Papeete.

Most of the residents of the different islands have immigrated to Tahiti because it is the island's center for business, culture and politics and it is easier to find there employment, education and entertainment.
The geographic structure of the island is divided into two parts: the north-western part called Tahiti Nui and the south-eastern part called Tahiti Iti.

The large center of Tahiti is high forested mountains, which usually have clouds over them, and hardly inhabited and most of the residences and hotels are centered around it and along the west coast of the island.

Tahiti view

A chain of corals are spread along the southwestern beaches of the island and it blocks the waves from the open sea and therefore on these beaches the waters are calm without waves. There are few sandy beaches on the island recommended for swimming.

Le Meridian beach:

Le Meridian beach

There are beaches with black sand and there is one small beach by the Le Meridian hotel with white sand.

A beach with black sand

On a few of the beaches there are sea cucumbers and a type of prickly snakes and it is recommended not touching them. In general, you should swim here in the sea with water sandals or shoes suitable for water.
This is not the island for recreation and leisure in the sea, but a place to learn about the local culture, the habitants, the rich vegetation and mainly it is for tourists a starting point for flights or sailing to other islands filled with stunning beaches. It is recommended taking here a couple of days to see the best of what this island offers.
A local water sport in the island is canoeing and there are events and competitions held around that theme.
There are in Tahiti many music and dance festivals, murals etc.
The locals are warm, gentle and hospitable.
The entire island is filled with roosters and chickens roaming around freely around the island, including next to the luxurious hotels in the center of the island.

A chicken running freely by the hotel:

A chicken running freely by the hotel

The chickens were brought over in the past to eat the centipedes who was the only dangerous animals on the island and since then the chickens have multiplied undisturbedly. In the French Polynesia, there are no snakes or dangerous carnivores. In short – paradise!

The flag of the French Polynesia:

the flag of the French Polynesia

The flag consists of two horizontal red stripes and one white stripe in the middle, these are their national colors. In the center of the white stripe there is a circle which its bottom part are waves with gold bars over it which represent the sun. Over the waves there is a canoe (rowing is their national sport) with five rowers marked as starts which represents the five island chains of the French Polynesia.

Market in Papeete:

שוק העיר פפטי

Hotels

Most of the hotels in Tahiti are located on the southwest part of the island which is characterized by the small amount of precipitation due to the high mountains blocking the clouds.

 

Recommended hotels:

Le Meridian

A quality and luxurious hotel located on the beach with a small strip of white sand beach, the only one in Tahiti. The beach is pleasant for swimming but it also has rocks, sea cucumber and strange sea snakes resembling a sea cucumber but thinner and longer with short hair.
However, the hotel has a large sandy pool excellent for swimming.

Le Meridian Tahiti

 The hotel has large and spacious rooms and cabins on the water but no descent to the water. The view from some of the rooms overlooks the ocean and other rooms to the pool and garden. The hotel has a tennis court, beach volleyball, ping pong and kayaks. There are two restaurants and two bars in the hotel, the hotel also offers in some evenings different musical performances, including typical Polynesian music. It is located fifteen minutes’ drive south of the airport, close to the museum of Tahiti and the islands and about a 20 minutes’ drive from Papeete.

 

InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa

A luxurious spa hotel close to the airport in the town of Faaa, about a ten-minute drive from Papeete. The hotel has a swimming and a private artificial sandy beach. It also has regular rooms and cabins on the water. The hotel has a diving center, an aquarium, tennis courts, a spa and a beautiful restaurant on the water.

 


Guided Tours in the island of Tahiti is most reccommended. More details and recommendations you can find in that linked article.

 

Weather

The weather on the island is perfect most of the year and there isn’t any season that is unsuitable for a visit and a vacation there. The weather is tropical but the trade winds cool and moderate the temperatures.
The average daytime temperature ranges between 28 C in the “cooler” months to over 31 C in the warmer months while at night the temperature ranges between 22-24 C. The sea water temperature is 27-29 C.
November to April are the hottest, most humid and wettest months, especially January – February, while during May to October, there is very little rain and the weather is less humid but the winds are stronger.

More articles on French Polynesia:
Bora Bora - Vacation and Travel Attractions
Trips and tours in Bora Bora
Vacation on Moorea island
Guided Tours in Tahiti


 

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