In the heart of the society islands, Tahiti is the biggest and most populated of French Polynesia’s 118 islands and has over 178,000 inhabitants. dripping in verdant landscapes, archaeological sites, coastlines and grandiose underwater panoramas, this volcanic island was named «new Cytheria» by Bougainville when he visited in 1768. Little by little the island became an essential south Pacific destination. Each year thousands of visitors follow their dreams to see the island’s landscapes, colorful markets, ancestral traditions and cultural heritage. In the capital of Papeete, craft and cultural shows are frequent and are at their peak during the celebrated heiva i Tahiti festivals through the months of June and July. Tahiti is an island of many treasures both natural and cultural.
Le musée de Tahiti et des îles
Te Fare Manaha
Also called Te Fare Manaha, the mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, restore, reproduce and provide public presentations of collections related to the heritage of Oceania, particularly Polynesia. Four departments display different aspects of this part of the world: Nature and settlement, Pre-European culture, Post-European culture and an exhibition of ancient canoes. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits. The original botanical collection in the garden is well worth a look.
Hiking enthusiasts can take trails to discover the valleys on the west coast. Beyond the industrial zone, Punaruu valley leads to the Plateau des Oranges at an altitude of 800m/2625 ft. It is nestled within the depths of an impressive crater dominated by the distant silhouette of Mount Orohena (2241m/7352 ft.). Vaihiria valley leads to the lake with the same name. Located at 473m/1551 ft. above sea level, this vast, deep lake is surrounded by rocky walls that reach 700 m high (2300 ft.). Access to the lake from the west entry of the trail through Mataiea is temporarily closed, but it is still accessible from the east coast of Tahiti through Papenoo valley. It is highly recommended that occasional visitors enlist a guide.
Atimaono Golf Course
This 18-hole golf course, built in 1970, is great for beginners and pros alike. Atimaono Golf Course is internationally renowned for its stunning location and the quality of its fairways and greens. At 72 par and 5,950 m long (6,507 yds.), Atimaono is registered with the French Golf Federation. Every year, the golf course hosts numerous international players during the Tahiti International Golf Open, which is part of the PGA circuit and the French Polynesian Golf Federation.
At over nearly 2000 feet of altitude in the hills of Pirae, this restaurant has exceptional views. dishes are prepared in harmony with the mountain setting and include specialties such as savoyarde (cheeses, white wine and Kirsch) and bourguignonne (beef) fondues. it’s an ideal spot to enjoy the mountains but is only a few minutes from the beach. Take a light sweater at night since the altitude and cool air can sometimes be surprising during the Tahitian «winter» in June and July.
Swimming at Point Venus
In the community of Mahina on the east Coast is a lovely way to relax and appreciate the magnifi cent views of Taharaa Point and the surrounding mountains.
The Monoï Road
The Monoï Institute has designed a tour of the island with the goal of creating awareness and promoting Monoï de Tahiti©, which is a Protected Designation of Origin (appellation contrôlée). This is an opportunity to discover coconut and tiare Tahiti plantations (the flowers used as an ingredient in this world famous beauty product). This is also a chance to visit the factories that make this coconut oil, such as the Laboratoire cosmétologique du Pacifique Sud in Papara. A map of the Monoï Road that indicates all the possible stops is available at the Tourism Office (Office du Tourisme).
Is the third highest summit on the island (2,066 meters or 6,779 feet) and is a fantastic hike thanks to its many view points. Two days are needed to tackle the mountain and there are rustic huts to sleep in. This is a way to truly explore Tahiti’s mountains.
Strolling through Hokulea Park
To relax and enjoy the superb gardens across from Papetee’s waterfront. This shady, fl owerfi lled site welcomes you to the country’s capital, Papeete.
A Lagoon of Several Dozen Square Kilometers
Ocean enthusiasts can also explore beautiful white sand beaches and scuba diving sites, such as White Valley (la Vallée blanche), one of the most reputed areas to view white-tipped and black-tipped sharks. From 35m/115 ft., you’ll see grey sharks, shoals of silver jacks, trigger fish and all kids of tropical fish. Drift fiving is especially recommended.
Harrison Smith Botanical Garden
There are different varieties of beautiful exotic plants imported from America, Asia and Africa here. There is also a Banyan tree that Harrison Smith planted in 1936. Today, it has a diameter of more than 70 meters/230 ft. The garden is also home to two giant Galapagos tortoises that are over a hundred years old.
The Lava Tubes
in the heart of hitiaa Valley on the east Coast, these three unusual volcanic tube caves are 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) in diameter and hundreds of meters long. To see them you’ll need a guide who knows the area.