As more yachts are getting off the well-beaten milk run route in search of Pacific paradise, the international gateway and well-facilitated hub of Tahiti is growing in popularity for yacht charters. Located in the heart of French Polynesia and part of the Society Islands, this volcanic island with a lush rainforest interior surrounded by coral reef and tranquil waters is ideal for a range of activities.
The island is usually used as a stopover for many vacationers heading to the surrounding islands but it offers so much more than a one-night layover before sailing away.
If Tahiti wasn’t already on your radar, here’s a few reasons why it should be…
For its adventurous and rugged interior
French Polynesia may conjure up images of perfect palm trees, turquoise lagoons and white beaches but some of the most impressive landscapes on these stunning islands are the jagged and dramatic mountains within the vibrant rainforest. The island is composed of two volcanic mountain ranges made of Tahiti Nui, the larger mainland and Tahiti Iti, the smaller peninsula.
Spend time hiking the Hitiaa lava tubes, explore the Fautaua Valley, or take a 4×4 tour into the Papenoo valley. To up the adrenaline, with plenty of cliff faces and waterfalls, you can also go canyoning here. After a busy day adventuring, there are plenty of waterfalls to admire and cool off in.
It’s just as fascinating under the water
Above sea level, Tahiti is pretty idyllic with incredible scenery and below the water that doesn’t stop. Whether it’s manta rays, tropical fish, sharks or turtles, Tahiti’s waters has an abundant marine life. The clarity of the water, full of fascinating and unique fish species, coral and reefs will leave you not wanting to swim anywhere else. There are plenty of scuba diving operators and sites to explore, from beginners to more experienced divers there is a site for everyone.
The cuisine is the perfect blend
Thanks to the blending of tropical ingredients with French recipes and styles, it’s no surprise that the food is so good here. For something low key but a great foodie experience head to the Roulottes. These food trucks in Papeete have a mix of Polynesian, Asian and European style cuisines with a great variety of food from chocolate crepes to a steaming bowl of Pad Thai. The staple of the Tahitian diet is fresh fish and you won’t be short of this on any menu. Also be sure to try the national dish of poisson cru.
For a luxurious experience head to the Intercontinental Resort and dine at Le Lotus, enjoy an over the water restaurant with freshly caught fresh and an extensive French wine list. The Blue Banana is also a favourite, a vibrant restaurant with great views out over the lagoon.
It’s the place to shop
For the shopaholics, there is no shortage of things to buy on the island. The famous black pearls and other handicrafts will be enough to tempt you in. The Papeete Municipal market is the place to shop whilst on the island. You can find jewellery, homemade monoi oils, colourful silks, local artwork, fine quality handicrafts and woodcarvings.
You will be warmly welcomed
The richness of Tahitian culture will make you feel at home straight away with their genuine, friendly hospitality you won’t want to leave. There is a mix of both traditional and foreign culture, with their Maohi heritage combined with a French influence, lived out on island time with tropical vibes. Be sure to check out a Polynesian dance show, this incredible and energetic art isn’t just for locals, you will be encouraged to join.
There is plenty to do
There is a vast range of activities for visitors here, you will easily forget the clock and get on island time. Spend your days trying the watersports from windsurfing, kayaking, diving to checking out the legendary surf conditions down at Teahupo’o. On land, there is plenty of sightseeing opportunities from the lighthouse at Pointe Venus, a wander around the botanical gardens or a trip to the Robert Wan pearl museum. For incredible views, take to the sky with a helicopter tour to see the beauty of Tahiti and its neighbours from above. For the ultimate relaxation, book in a soothing Tahitian massage using fragrant monoi oil at one of the many 5* spa resorts on the island. With so much to do, you also shouldn’t feel guilty if you just want to immerse yourself on Tahiti’s many beaches, with the choice of black or white sand.
The ease of island hopping
You may not want to leave Tahiti although there is good reason to visit its neighbouring islands. A yacht charter gives you the perfect vehicle and base to explore this intriguing part of the world. With a vast number of islands and atolls, whether it’s a week or a month, there is plenty of cruising around these Pacific islands to make you leave wanting more. Tahiti’s nearest neighbour is Mo’orea and just a stones throw away is the paradise of Bora Bora.