Equal Parts Luxury and Adventure: How to Plan Your Dream Trip to Tahiti
Leave the Real World Behind and Escape to Paradise in Tahiti
Tahiti might be one of the most beautiful corners on the planet. It is tropical island perfection, with crystalline waters, ancient jungle-clad volcanoes rising out of the turquoise sea and an abundance of luxurious accommodation.
Black-sand beaches and Polynesian vibes give Tahiti its own unique brand of paradise. Whether it’s floating in a glassy lagoon, exploring archaeological sites or off-roading on a 4WD tour of the mountainous island interior, Tahiti will keep you entertained with luxury and adventure in equal measure.
Start planning your trip to this island idyll with our essential guide to Tahiti vacations.
What to Do in Tahiti
Tahiti doesn’t have a lot of white-sand beaches, but it does have plenty of other natural attractions with a good dose of culture thrown in for good measure. Here are the most popular attractions in Tahiti.
Tahiti is famous for its overwater bungalows, which are synonymous with uber-luxe holidays. They are attractions in their own right (imagine waking up over the water) so if it’s within your budget, a night or two in one of these bungalows is worth splurging on.
The Three Waterfalls
The steep mountains and lush jungles of Tahiti conceal many delightful waterfalls. Some of the prettiest are the Three Waterfalls — also known as Les Trois Cascades or Fa’arumai Falls. The first of the three is the most impressive, at 295 feet high. Ducking in and out of the spray from the waterfalls might be the most refreshing thing you do when you travel to Tahiti.
If there’s one thing you see in Tahiti’s capital, make it the Pape’ete market. An institution of the island, it takes up a whole block and is the place to go for fresh tropical fruit juices, local Tahitian food and souvenirs. You’ll find it hard to walk away without a colorful sarong and shell necklace or woven hat to go with it.
Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands
Tahiti is more than just sparkling water and fancy resorts — there is a deep history here, too. The best place to learn about the Polynesian heritage of the islands is in the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands.
Tahiti’s northeast coastline is more pounding waves and cliffs than beaches — but you won’t miss sand at all when you see the Arahoho Blowhole. Formed by years of waves pummeling the rocky coast, the blowhole is visually spectacular. From the designated viewing platform you’ll see jets of water shoot up into the sky (and get doused in spray!).
The blowhole isn’t the only natural wonder carved out of cliff faces. Found along the coastal road, the Mara’a Grotto is a cavern surrounded by ferns. Inside is a freshwater pool for swimming.
The Robert Wan Pearl Museum
Robert Wan is a pearl magnate who started this pearl museum as a way of enticing visitors into his jewelry store. It’s a marketing tactic worth falling for. The museum covers all aspects of the pearl cultivating business and it’s fun to drool over the gorgeous pearl creations in the shop, even if you can’t afford any of them.
La Plage de Maui
This is one of the only white-sand beaches on the island. It’s a small stretch of sand but immensely popular with local and international tourists alike. The adjacent lagoon has calm, clear waters and the snack bar on the beach is famous for its seafood.
All-Inclusive or No?
All-inclusive vacations in Tahiti are perfect for travelers who want nothing more than relaxation and blissful detachment from the “real world.” With everything you need right there in the resort, you won’t need to tear yourself away from your sun lounger for longer than it takes to order a cocktail.
While wonderfully indulgent though, you’ll probably find that you don’t venture far outside your accommodation. You won’t experience as much local culture as you would if you stayed in a regular hotel.
The all-inclusive option also tends to be slightly more expensive — even though you won’t have to worry about spending much once there, you’re paying for the luxury and overall experience.
And now that we’re talking about price…
How Much Does Travel to Tahiti Cost?
There’s no easy way to say this — Tahiti vacations are expensive. As in, tens of thousands of dollars expensive. For example, if you plan on visiting Bora Bora the average cost is around $12,000 USD per week for two people. That’s not including flights, which cost around $2,500 USD return from North America.
Having said this, Tahiti is within reach for regular people if you skip Bora Bora, pass on the higher-end accommodation, travel by public transport and eat locally.
To give you an idea, overwater bungalows anywhere in Tahiti start at around $1,000 USD a night. In contrast, regular hotels can cost as little as $200 USD in low season. Guesthouses and pensions (essentially homestays) are your cheapest option, usually between $80-100 USD a night, and are great for a truly local experience. They often come with great views but otherwise don’t expect glamour.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Tahiti?
Tahiti is a year-round paradise. The temperatures stay pleasantly warm for all 12 months, but if you struggle with the heat you may prefer the lower humidity of the winter months. There is also less rain between May and October, so you have a better chance of clear skies.
From November to April, the weather heats up and can be uncomfortably humid, plus there is a higher chance of wet weather. This is low season for tourists though, so if you’re after peace and quiet this might be the time for you. You’re also more likely to get bargains on accommodation.