The Tahiti Traveler

7 little known facts to know before travelling to Tahiti and its islands

You probably know Tahiti and its islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, that we’re under the French Authority and that we have the most amazing turquoise lagoons, right? But, if you’re planning to come our way and haven’t research the destination, don’t worry; I’ve got it covered. Here’s a list of 7 things you need to know before travelling to Tahiti:

#1 – 119 Islands

That’s right; French Polynesia counts close to 120 islands, spread over a territory as vast as Europe. Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and Taha’a are amongst the most popular and will define common itineraries. French Polynesia has many other breath-taking places, such as Tikehau and Tetiaroa. If you’re in for a little adventure trip, off the beaten track, ask us about the Tuamotu and Marquises Islands. Turquoise lagoons and top notch snorkeling guaranteed!

#2 – White Sand Beaches

I am probably to shake up the myth here, but the Tahiti isn’t the best place for endless, untouched, unique and memorable white sand beaches. In fact, the island counts one public white sand beach, which is located on the West coast. Other than that one, most of the beaches here are black sand beaches, and the lagoon isn’t exactly crystal clear, because of that dark sand.  If you’re looking for the perfect gold-like white sand, you should head over the islands. Moorea, for instance, which is the closest island from Tahiti, has beautiful beaches and amazing lagoons, but wait until you see Bora Bora’s waters! Tikehau is popular for its pink sand. Most islands around Tahiti will have exquisite beaches, just for yourself. If this is your main focus, avoid Raiatea and Rangiroa – they have other attractive features, but that’s for another article.

#3 – Bora Bora’s Airport

I am from Tahiti, born and raised. When I first set foot in Bora Bora, no one ever told me I would land in the middle of the lagoon! What a surprise! Can you believe that?

So I am warning you: Bora Bora’s airport is located on a (very) small islet, called Motu Mute, right in the middle of that world famous water. That’s definitely part of the Bora Bora’s experience. The small airport has a little boutique and a small restaurant (if you can hold it, hold it, unless you want to pay an arm and a leg for a drink). Once arrived, you can either board the free shuttle to Vaitape (main village) or wait for your resort’s shuttle. Most likely, they will be waiting for you, with fresh flower leis, next to the resorts respective signs.

#4 – Mountainous islands vs Atolls

In French Polynesia, we have 2 types of islands: high mountain islands like Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Taha’a, and ring shaped islands, such as Rangiroa and Fakarava, we call them atolls. While visiting these islands, it can feel a little odd to see the lagoon on one side of the land, and the ocean on the other: This is definitely a unique experience. These places are the best for snorkeling and diving, as the lagoons are less impacted thus, very much alive.

#5 – Whales Season

Humpback whales migrate to French Polynesia every year, and whether you are a diver or not, meeting a whale is one of the most prestigious encounter you can have in a lifetime. Whales are here from end of July to October and most of the time you will meet mothers with their cute offspring. Departures for whale watching are from Tahiti, or Bora Bora in private tours.

#6 Inter-island transportation

Sea

The only transportation by sea will be from Tahiti to Moorea, there are two companies that operate several times a day, Aremiti and Terevau. Crossing takes about 20 to 45 minutes, and that is in fact a nice way to take a break from all the flying. If you want to stay longer at sea, I suggest booking a Bora Bora 3 night cruise from Raiatea.

Air

There’s only one company that operates inter-island flights, Air Tahiti.  Most flights will depart from Tahiti, but there are connections between the most populated places, such as Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Rangiroa.

#7 Green Tourism

The Intercontinental Thalasso Resort in Bora Bora is the very first resort in the world to successfully implement the SWAC system: “Sea-Water Air-Conditioning System” which basically means they draw very cold water from deep down in the ocean, in order to cool the air blown throughought the resort. This method has zero impact on the environment, and does not produce any dioxide or green house emission. More recently, the Brando Tetiaroa, latest addition to luxury resorts in French Polynesia, has also followed this green move.

If you need any help organizing your trip to Tahiti, don’t hesitate to contact me, I’d be very glad to help you out  🙂