10 things to do when visiting Tahiti, French Polynesia

10 things to do when visiting Tahiti, French Polynesia - upaupatahiti

Whether you are already planning to spend your next vacation in Tahiti or you know the island only by name, Tahiti is an idyllic place for many travelers. All over the world, its paradisiacal setting is a dream!

In this article, we will advise you on a non-exhaustive list of things to do once there to discover the island in all its authenticity. Let's go for our tour of the island of Tahiti!

1 - The Papeete market

We start our excursion with a key place on the island of Tahiti: the Papeete market! It is a dynamic place where the different flavors of fruits, flowers and local dishes intermingle to create a lovely blend of scents. The best time to go is Sunday morning, the day of the week when the market is busiest as the food stalls are plentiful. Fishermen get up early to come from the peninsula to sell their fresh fish and rub shoulders with sellers of fruit, vegetables or even homemade dishes. You can discover the "ma'a tahiti", the local "Tahitian meal". The rest of the week, the market is embellished with brightly colored sarongs, jewels with pearly pearls, handmade Polynesian bags, local monoï or even flower crowns with intoxicating scents.

2 - Vaiete Square

Place Vaiete is the second must-see place in Papeete and characteristic of local Polynesian life. Located on the seafront, it welcomes several caravans every evening to the delight of young and old alike. There are Chinese dishes, Polynesian dishes or pancakes. There really is something for everyone and the majority of options are local specialties that all of Polynesia loves! Raw fish with coconut milk, sashimi, steak and fries with Roquefort sauce, chao men and more… When you come to fenua, you will hear about these dishes and we highly recommend that you try them! The trailers are advantageous because they offer good portions at affordable prices and can be found all over the island. In addition, those of Vaiete host some evenings traditional party musicians who play melodious and catchy tunes on the ukuleles, enough to accompany your meal and spend a beautiful evening.

3 - The PK18 beach

If for you Tahiti rhymes with bright sunshine and a white sand beach lined with coconut palms, then the “PK 18” beach which is located in Punaauia will please you! Here, all addresses are marked with a “PK” which stands for “kilometer point” and indicates how many kilometers from the city center they are located. The Papeete Cathedral being at PK 0, the PK 18 beach is located 18 kilometers from Papeete. Bring a mask and a snorkel because the fish are magnificent to observe while snorkeling.

4 - Hikes

For lovers of nature walks, Tahiti is full of mountains to explore with rejuvenating trails. For a beautiful hike between the fir trees, we recommend that of Mount Aorai, in Pirae from the Belvedere, and that of Mount Marau accessible from the Miri district. The locals are always on hand to show you their favorite paths! Also in Paea are the Mara'a caves, another place in nature and very easy to access. There are also walking trails that lead to the famous caves and some high hiking trails for the more athletic.

5 - The Taravao Belvedere

The Taravao Belvedere offers a splendid view of the rest of the island of Tahiti and the lagoon. The car ride to Taravao is also very nice, snacks or restaurants are on the way for a lunch break or picnic tables are available at the Belvedere!


6 - The valleys of Tahiti

The valleys of Tahiti are also other must-sees on the island, despite the fact that they are very little represented on postcards. They are however the emblem of Polynesian cultural history, place of ancestral life. With their mystical side, the valleys are full of waterfalls, each more beautiful than the next: the site of the 3 waterfalls in Tiarei, the impressive and sublime waterfall of Fautaua or the natural slide of Papeari... Sometimes traditional ceremonies are even organized in certain valleys for special occasions (often to honor the customs of the ancestors). You will then attend the bewitching and symbolic Polynesian dances!

7 - The marae

Also in the valleys are sacred places where religious and social life took place before colonization: the marae. It is said that the spirits are always present there and take shape through stone sculptures called tiki. Marae are historic places of worship where mana (energy) is still omniscient today according to Polynesians. The Ta'ata marae at PK 19 in Paea is impressive as it unusually combines three chieftain marae into one.

8 - Teahupoo Spot

Impossible to go around Tahiti without going to the peninsula! On the west coast of the island is Teahupoo, a surfing and competition spot known for one of the biggest waves in the world! There, many walks along the water are possible through small paths along the river. Many families or children meet there on weekends to play in the water and enjoy the pleasant climate.

9 - Tautira

TAndis that on the east coast, Tautira offers us its peaceful black sand beach with a resplendent view of the mountains… The road stops there but to reach the last plots of the island, you will have to take the boat. You will then arrive at Fenua 'Aihere, the "secret flower of the earth", where lies a majestic forest of mape, the Tahitian chestnut tree.

10 - The ferry

Finally and to close it all, we advise you to cross the island to see the interior of Tahiti, just as splendid! No turquoise lagoon but mountains as far as the eye can see and lush and abundant vegetation await you! It is best done in a 4x4 with a local guide who will explain all about the life of yesteryear and the legends of the heart of the island, giving you a taste of ripe fruit on the way. Did you know there was a lake there? You will have the chance to see it and learn more by taking the ferry from Papenoo to Mataiea.

That's it, we've finished our tour of the island of Tahiti and we hope you enjoyed it! Of course, depending on your desire and your budget, many other options are possible. A multitude of excursions are possible such as a jet ski outing, a boat trip to see the dolphins, a first dive or even a paragliding descent! Finally, don't forget to take a trip to the commercial district in Papeete where you can get a beautiful Upa Upa Tahiti ukulele to remind you of the joyful tropical melodies of your stay!

See you soon, girl!

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