10 Best: Tahiti - A Trip of a Lifetime

  • Tahiti Outrigger Races

    Tahiti, Paradise Close at Hand

    The 118 islands of the Tahitian archipelago cover an area larger than Western Europe with a landmass smaller than Rhode Island. This chunk of French Polynesian paradise is more easily accessible than you might think. Sitting halfway between California and Australia, you can reach Tahiti via daily direct flights from Los Angeles lasting less than eight hours.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • Glass-Bottom Bungalows

    Lazy lagoons and Colorful Reefs

    Without a doubt, honeymooners, A-listers and other lucky travelers come to Tahiti first and foremost for the water. Placid turquoise lagoons and reefs teeming with technicolor life seem too good to be true, and with so many small islands a short ferry ride away, you shouldn't have any trouble staking out your own bit of powdery white or black sand real estate.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • Tahiti Sunset

    Romance Awaits, Island-Style

    Tahiti likely falls near the top of any honeymooner's wish list, and for good reason. Private glass-bottom bungalows perched above the water on Tahiti and nearby Bora Bora give new meaning to the word "secluded." Couples can easily wile away the days taking a swim literally steps outside the door and lounging on a private patio, all with the luxury amenities and attentive staff of a world-class resort. Destination wedding? Tahiti's resorts have lots of practice planning the perfect day for you.

    Photo courtesy of Jon Rawlinson

  • Tahiti by Helicopter

    Circle the Island

    While the beaches are reason enough to visit, Tahiti has a lot more to offer. Circumnavigating the island, about 70 miles total, makes for an enjoyable day trip. Stop at the Le Marché market in Papeete on your way out to pick up a picnic lunch (don't miss the mangoes) and some Monoi, a locally produced, heavily scented tanning and moisturizing oil. Pull over to see the Arahoho Blowholes, Faarumai Waterfalls, Papeari (Tahiti's oldest village), the Maraa Grotto and the Lagoonarium underwater viewing center.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • Brightly colored Tahitian Fish

    Water Sports Galore

    Water sports enthusiasts should never be at a loss for what to do. Tahiti has it all, and most of the hotels and resorts will rent equipment to their guests free of charge. Take your pick of Tahiti beaches and lagoons for snorkeling and swimming, but for world-class surfing, it doesn't get much better than Teuhupo'o, home of the annual Billabong Pro Championships. Both the InterContinental Resort Tahiti and the Sheraton Tahiti Resort & Spa operate fully equipped dive centers and will take you to explore the reefs and wrecks surrounding the island.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • Sunset on the Beach

    Immerse Yourself in Polynesian Culture

    French Polynesia enjoys a rich history dating back more than 4,000 years, and consequently, there's ample culture to be explored. Today, the locals live by the motto "not to worry." Let it become you motto as you delve into the local customs. Shake your hips at a Tahitian dance workshop, learn to paddle a traditional outrigger canoe, visit a black pearl farm or catch a local musical performance.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • ATV Excursion in Tahiti

    Inland Active Persuits

    If you can bare to tear yourself away from the water, you'll be rewarded with a range of outdoor activities amid some mighty spectacular scenery. Golfers will drool over the 27 holes of the Olivier Breaud International Golf Course, set on a 19th century cotton plantation with Tahiti's volcanic cliffs serving as the backdrop. For something a little more rugged, organize a guided day hike or overnight camping trip into the island's verdant, mountainous interior.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • Sailin the Azure Waters

    Dinner with a View

    With beautiful beaches and tropical waters come good seafood. The island's French influence and the sea's natural bounty make for a heady combination. Restaurant prices can be hard on the wallet, so one of the best ways to enjoy good food at reasonable prices is to make your way to the Papeete waterfront to eat at les roulottes. These portable meal carts take over on Friday and Saturday nights serving crepes, Chinese food, grilled steaks and seafood.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • Romantic Candlelit Dinner

    The Fun Starts When the Sun Goes Down

    Tahitians know how to party as well as anyone, and night owls staying near Papeete will have plenty of late-night hotspots to choose from. Private dance clubs come with a hefty cover charge and cater exclusively to tourists, but if you want to get down island-style, let the sounds of Tahitian guitar-playing lure you into one of the hole-in-the-wall local pubs or dance halls where islanders sip on Hinano beer.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

  • White Sand Tahitian Beach

    Bring Your Vacation Home with You

    What's a vacation without a few souvenirs? Before you hop on the plane back home, make sure to indulge in a little shopping. Tahiti's warm lagoons create the perfect conditions for cultivating black pearls, and these tiny treasures can be purchased at shops and showrooms throughout Tahiti. The public market in Papeete is an excellent place to pick up scented oils, vanilla beans, bags and shell necklaces to take back home.

    Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

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