French Polynesia is like an exhilarating playground of secrets.
Dreamy atolls and astounding lagoons dot the endless Pacific wonderland and right there in the middle of it all is Tahiti,
– an island that seemingly lies right in the very heart of the greatest ocean on Earth. If this fact alone doesn’t fascinate you or fill you with wonder that just makes you want to go there, here’s why Tahiti is my favourite island in the South Pacific. And don’t forget to pack Lonely Planet’s Tahiti & French Polynesia! We sure did!
Tahiti is Where All the Fun Happens
Sure enough, Tahiti is only one of the 118 islands of French Polynesia, and even though it’s the largest, that fact alone is not much of a selling point. Specifically, Tahiti belongs to the archipelago of Society Islands, and this merry grouping also includes Bora Bora and Mo’orea, which is where all the fun happens! They are by far the most popular and interesting islands where most natives and visitors gather and organize amazing and colorful activities.
The Climate is Perfect
The weather on Tahiti is as close to ideal as it can be. Overall, the climate is (as expected) tropical and the average temperature is always somewhere around 27°C. But here’s what’s really amazing – this median temperature does not fluctuate drastically throughout the year. The average temperature is 26°C in the winter and 29°C in the summer, and yes – although it sounds “too good to be true”, it actually is true this time.
People are Wonderful
The residents of Tahiti are not very well versed in English. The official language is French, and they mostly speak in a vernacular that combines French and Tahitian. However, this will not pose too much difficulty, as they are the most wonderful people in the world and you’ll easily find some sort of “common tongue” with them. Sooner than later, you’ll find you’ve learnt and started using Tahitian phrases without even noticing. All the natives are very generous, patient, respectful, earnestly positive (and wouldn’t you be if you lived in this paradise?), and they tend to say hello to complete strangers. Just remember to say it back.
Papeete is the Epitome of Charm
The capital of French Polynesia and the biggest city on the island is a charming little city called Papeete. A population of 137,000 of the urban area doesn’t exactly spell out “metropolis” to most people, but don’t let that fool you. The city easily offers a great deal of amazingly fun things to do in Tahiti. The waterfront is a long park with a lot of attractions and carnivalesque spirit. The food is amazing and not particularly expensive – you can find midrange delish food joints without skipping a beat. Since the city itself is quite small, you can get anywhere on foot in the blink of an eye.
If you ever wanted to feel like a nautical adventurer on a quest to discover the wonders of lost islands, then Tahiti is a perfect backdrop for you. Impressive and towering mountain ranges of volcanic rock are practically inviting you to embark on incredible adventures. Water-related activities like scuba diving, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, surfing and kite surfing are only scratching the surface.
Hidden Wonders of Spectacular Twins
Two volcanic ranges have basically created two closely connected islands – Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti, and trekking across both of them and discovering every nook and cranny is a daunting task. These islands are like jealous twins, both of them hiding a treasure trove of amazing secrets. You have to see Les Trois Cascades, three jaw-dropping waterfalls on Tahiti Nui. The Pointe Venus Lighthouse, the Tomb of King Pomare V (it is not as ominous as it sounds), Arahurahu Marae and many other incredible, captivating landmarks also await you here.
Black Sand Beaches
Tahiti is known for its mesmerizing black sand beaches – probably due to rocks of volcanic origin. Taharuu, L’embouchure and Le Trou de Souffleur are three beaches you simply must visit at least once if you come to Tahiti. The last one is especially interesting – since it is the location of Arahoho blowhole, a peculiar natural phenomenon and one of the most popular attractions on the island.
This quick rundown of Pacific beauty cannot even begin to honor all the incredible things Tahiti has to offer. Its beaming residents, interesting topography, colorful history and breathtaking scenery coalesce into an experience that is hard to put into words. If you are interested to see the wonders of Tahiti for yourself, just pack your suitcases and come over. You’ll wish to spend the rest of your life here.
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