Beyond Tahiti’s well-known destinations of Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete are other magical islands that also offer vivid lagoons, pristine waters and friendly Polynesian hospitality.

Whether you want to snorkel through clear-water coral gardens, see rays and turtles on a diving expedition or simply kick back and soak up island life, a trip to Tahiti won’t disappoint.

 

See

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Immerse yourself in bustling Polynesian life at the Pape’ete markets on the North of the main island of Tahiti.

Trade begins at ‘Le Marche’ at the crack of dawn so get there early to buy fresh local fruit, vegetable, fish and flowers or stock up on take home gifts from the large number of handicraft stalls containing wood carvings, patchwork quilts, jewellery, basketry and sarongs.

A 45-minute flight from Papeete will take you to Raiatea, the second largest economic area of Tahiti and major nautical base for sailboats and charter companies. Aside from it’s dramatic scenery and spiritual qualities, Raiatea is also popular for it’s world-famous Marae, a sacred archaeological place that serves as a religious and social focal point for Polynesian communities.

Dance is an integral part of Tahitian culture too, most resorts have nightly exhibitions of zestful Tahitian dancing and drumming but if you visit in July when the annual Heiva i Tahiti festival begins you’ll see performances by the most famed professional dance troupes and schools. See calendar of events.

 

Do

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From outrigger canoeing and horseback riding to spear fishing and four-wheel jeep safaris, there are lots of activities on offer.

Top Dive has introductory dives as well as itineraries for more experienced divers.

From July to November Rurutu, in the Austral Islands, becomes a prime observation platform for watching whales, which come there to calve just off the coast.

If you’re more of a land lover discover volcanic peaks and lush hillsides with a 4×4 Jeep safari.

 

Eat

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Most resorts and hotels offer ‘Island Nights’, where traditionally prepared Polynesian foods such as raw fish and wild pork are served. Tahiti is famous for coconut based recipes such as Chicken Fafa and Banana Po’e.

Sleepy little settlements like Paopao on Moorea all have their own alimentation (grocery) patisserie (baker), or offer homestay meals which is a fantastic way to meet residents and sample the local cuisine at economical prices.

For a more interactive food experience Le Meridien Tahiti offers guests hands-on instruction in culinary techniques ranging from pastry creations to traditional Polynesian entrees.

Learn how to create a feast of crispy shrimp with fresh mint and mango salsa or half-cooked tuna tartar with parmesan biscuits.

Then head to the dining room to enjoy your dish with an equally satisfying view of Tahiti’s sister island Moorea.

 

Sleep

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Renowned for it’s luxe overwater bungalows (Sofitel Marara Beach Resort and The Four Seasons), it’s not just Bora Bora’s five-star accommodation that offers a night to remember.

Boutique family-friendly hotels and rustic bed and breakfasts allow visitors on a budget a special experience too.

Pension Raimiti is a charming guesthouse with authentic accommodations on the southeastern corner of Fakarava, in the west of the Tuamotu group of islands. Hotel Tahiti Nui is the newest hotel on the main island which has a contemporary decor and attracts a hip crowd to it’s Chocco Latte Lounge Bar.

 

When to go

Tahiti records some of the highest sunshine hours in the world so you can enjoy the tropical climate all year around. Keep in mind that the warm/dry seasons is between April and October with the humid seasons coming in between November through March.

Have you been to Tahiti? Are you a laid-back islander or do you prefer a more active escape?