The Top 10 Things to Bring Home from Tahiti
A trip to Tahiti wouldn’t be complete without bringing home a piece of the islands with you. In addition to the stunning pictures you’ll take and the many memories you’ll make, we suggest bringing back a few gifts for both yourself and your loved ones. To help you decide what to buy, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to bring home from Tahiti.
- Black Pearls. Tahitian black pearls come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. We recommend visiting a pearl farm in Taha’a, Raiatea, Huahine or the Tuamotu Atolls to learn about the cultivation process and purchase one directly from the source. Or you can also shop at any of the Tahia Collins or Robert Wan jewelry boutiques located throughout the islands.
- Tahitian Vanilla. The vanilla in Tahiti is highly acclaimed for its fragrant, rich flavor. Gourmet chefs throughout the islands use it in many of their signature dishes; meaning you’ll be so inspired by the cuisine in Tahiti, you’ll want to add this delicious island spice to everything you cook at home.
- Monoï Oil. This naturally scented beauty product is made from coconut oil and infused with the fragrant tiare flower, or Tahitian gardenia. Used in almost every spa in Tahiti, this hydrating oil promotes smooth, healthy skin and represents the islands’ signature scent. It’s also available in other fragrances such as vanilla, coconut and banana.
- Tahitian Pareo. These are the colorful sarongs you’ll see the local women wearing. They come in a variety of vibrant colors and patterns and can be worn as a dress or a casual beach wrap. Not sure how to tie one? This video will show you 20 different ways to wear a Tahitian pareo.
- Tifaifai Quilts. These colorful, floral quilts are sewn by the famous island matriarchs, or Tahitian “mamas,” and used to wrap the bride and groom at the end of a traditional Polynesian wedding ceremony. Beyond their ceremonial use, they’re the perfect find if you’re looking to transform one of your bedrooms into a tropical island oasis.
- Wood Carvings. You’ll find a wide selection of wooden items including jewelry, serving bowls and platters, Tahitian drums known as pahu, and tikis meant to replicate the ancient statues found throughout the islands. Woodcarving is a true art form that originated in the Marquesas Islands, but today it is slightly more widespread. Woody Howard, for example, is a Hawaiian native that lives on the island of Moorea and sells his own original sculptures, guitars and ukuleles.
- Woven Items. The local women in Tahiti use dried pandanus and coconut leaves to weave baskets, purses, hats, mats, fans and a variety of other household items. As you’ll see below, some of these woven pieces can be quite intricate in their designs.
- Mother of Pearl. In addition to working with black pearls, jewelry artists in Tahiti are also known for carving beautiful earrings, necklaces and bracelets out of mother of pearl. You’ll find a variety of shapes and designs, including pendants made to look like sea turtles and Tahitian tiare flowers.
- Tahitian Tattoo. Should you decide to commemorate this trip of a lifetime with something that lasts a lifetime, an authentic Polynesian tattoo will definitely do the trick. James Samuela, owner of Moorea Tattoo, is a native Tahitian whose ancestors were among the first tattoo artists in Tahiti. Today, he’s one of the last few artists in French Polynesia that still practices traditional Polynesian tattoo.
- Local Artwork. Once home to French painter Paul Gauguin, Tahiti is an artist’s inspiration. You can find a variety of original artwork, including colorful paintings of island landscapes and local Polynesia people, all created by French and Tahitian resident artists. Who knows, maybe you’ll stumble upon the next Paul Gauguin!