What comes to mind when you hear someone say Tahiti? Do you smell floral scents? Do you see pure white sand beaches? Do you see endless shades of blue water lagoons? Do you think overwater bungalows? Do you imagine lush green tropics? All of these things embody Tahiti, but Tahiti is only one island in French Polynesia. People don’t realize the region is not Tahiti. Tahiti happens to be the largest island in the Societal Islands which are the ones most tourists visit. It is also the most populated by the Tahitians and is home to the main gateway of entry to this beautiful South Pacific escape.
Tahiti is more than a connection point.
I would encourage travelers to consider 1 to 3 nights on this island to enjoy everything the main island offers. I recommend you put a visit here before venturing off to the other islands and build your experience with that amazing crescendo at the overwater bungalows to punctuate the end of your trip!
Tahiti has much to offer, from the waterfalls to the beaches to the capital city of Papeete. Take a guided tour of the island’s beautiful, bountiful countryside. I enjoyed stopping at Fautau Waterfalls. It was a pleasant hike in to see the falls from where the car park, but that was half of the adventure. Then you emerge from the forest to see the cascading water in the midst of this deep tropical background. It’s especially spectacular if you go during the rainy season as even more water cascades over the cliff. Just remember the insect repellent.
Are you more of a history buff? A reader of books? Then you might like to take the tour to visit the home of James Norman Hall, author of Mutiny on the Bounty. It is incredible to see the preserved history in this home and learn more about a man who lived his life to the fullest. It’s a true hidden gem.
If it is the culture you are after, then look no further. Papeete, herself, is a multicultural hub of activity with busy boulevards and a bustling harbor. The market, or Le Marche, is the perfect spot to pick up those sought after Tahitian gifts and souvenirs from vanilla beans, to monoi oil, to the colorful pareos. A pareo, a large scarf with many wearing options, is a must-have for any woman visiting the islands. I even had the opportunity during my stay to create my own oil. As evening descends upon the city, be sure to take part in the local cuisine by visiting the food trucks or better known on the island as Roulottes. They can be found set up almost every night and offer a wide variety of cuisines. I know I had to start with seafood and then couldn’t resist ending my evening with a crepe.
While often overlooked by travelers for her more famous counterparts in the outer islands, like Bora Bora, you can see she is not a place to be missed. Tahiti is so much more than an overnight stop before your flight home. Take time to see everything this island has to offer beyond your arrival and departure at the airport.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI.
She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.
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