In continuation of “Tahiti Week,” we’re sharing the various attractions and things to do while in Tahiti. What we love most about the island is its diversity. In just one day, you can experience the exciting downtown scene and then journey inward to discover the island’s lush interior.
If you stay in Tahiti long enough to explore what it has to offer, you’ll want to experience the island’s bustling city life. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Downtown Papeete is actually an active city where trucks and motorcycles zip past pedestrians and the locals gather on the streets to play live music. There are two main attractions in the downtown area that we highly recommend: Le Marché and Les Roulottes.
This famous open-air market is the most affordable place to buy local goods from all of the Tahitian islands. Here, you’ll find fresh produce and fish; vanilla beans and monoï oil; jewelry and black pearls; woodcarvings and tiki statues; woven hats and baskets; and colorful clothing and Tahitian pareos. If you have only a short amount of time to spend on Tahiti, this is the one place you’ll want to visit so you can stock up on souvenirs for the trip home.
Each night, the famous gourmet food trucks known as “Les Roulottes” are open for business at Tahiti’s waterfront, Vai’ete Square. These trucks serve a range of affordable sweet and savory treats including Chinese food, French crépes, fresh fish and steak sandwiches. It’s the perfect chance to grab a quick bite and spend some time at a popular local hangout.
From deep sea fishing to hiking, there are plenty of sporting activities available on the island of Tahiti. Specifically for golfers and surfers, Tahiti provides the perfect opportunity to partake in these sports amidst gorgeous tropical surroundings.
Olivier Bréaud International Golf Course
Considered by many golf enthusiasts to be “Tahiti’s best kept secret,” this 18-hole golf course is located on the southern side of Tahiti Nui. It features a clubhouse, driving range, pool, restaurant, pro shop and tennis court – not to mention an amazing view. It’s one of the only golf courses in Tahiti (there’s also one on Moorea), so you’ll want to take full advantage of it while you’re there. The best part? It’s open to any and all skill levels.
As we’ve mentioned before, Teahupo’o is Tahiti’s famed surf spot where the Billabong Pro Tahiti takes place and many industry videos are shot. If you’re a surf aficionado, you’ll definitely want to check it out. Before you visit, find out if the surf is going to be big that day. If so, you could be in for a real show. Want to learn how to surf? You can also take lessons in Tahiti and learn how to surf some of the best waves in the world.
Beyond the golf courses, the shops and the museums – far away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Papeete – lies the island’s lush interior. This part of Tahiti is often the least explored and yet it’s one of the most breathtaking. Here are just a few of the sites you’ll want to discover during your trip:
- Mount Aorai: This is Tahiti’s third highest mountain. It’s a moderately difficult hiking trail, but it’s worth it. Once at the top, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the island.
- Papenoo Valley: This valley is the very heart of the island’s large, central volcano. Here, you’ll find lush landscapes, a rural village, and a long bridge that crosses Tahiti’s longest river.
- Vaipahi and Faarumai Waterfalls: These aren’t the only waterfalls in Tahiti, but they’re some of the most popular.
- Maraa Fern Grotto: This is a natural pool created by rainwater flowing from the island’s volcanic mountains. Surrounding the pool is a beautiful tropical garden of flowers and ferns.
- One Tree Hill: As the name implies, this steep hill has a single tree growing on top. It offers a stunning view of the north coast of Tahiti and looks out toward the island of Moorea.
- Arahoho Blowhole: This is a short stop, but it’s a fun one. Located along the north shore of Tahiti, the blowhole is an old lava tube that opens up to the sea below. If the swell is just right, the waves will rush into the cavern and shoot a powerful gust of air and water through the hole.
Many guided hikes and excursions will take you to these natural wonders, or you can also explore most of them on your own. Just be sure to ask your reservation specialist what he or she recommends. Even if it’s just a day or two, you’ll be happy you devoted some of your vacation time to Tahiti.