A Check-list of the must-do things while in the Islands of Tahiti

  • Moorea in the sunset lights

    Moorea in the sunset lights - © Sandy B

    Moorea in the sunset lights

    Moorea in the sunset lights - © Sandy B

  • © Jean Holy Smithereens

    © Jean Holy Smithereens

  • © Jean Holy Smithereens

    © Jean Holy Smithereens

A Check-list of the must-do things while in the Islands of Tahiti pf

Spend at least one night in an overwater bungalow

The idea of overwater bungalows began in our islands. They represent the ultimate level of indulgence: luxury in paradise. Let yourself be rocked to sleep by the water lapping against the stilts, watch fish dance through the glass pane in the floor, dive off your terrace into a natural aquarium and wake up to breakfast brought to you in a traditional dugout canoe: who wouldn't want to make this dream a reality?

Eat marinated raw fish with coconut milk

No visit to Tahiti and its islands is complete without trying the local speciality: raw fish marinated in lime and diced vegetables, sprinkled with freshly squeezed coconut milk. Mobile food vans, snack bars and restaurants all offer this speciality on the menu. There are other outstanding local dishes that are a must and should be sampled, too: Chinese-style raw fish, chow mein, ma’a tinito and, first and foremost, dishes baked in a Tahitian oven (ma’a tahiti) offered by some restaurants on Sundays.

Browse the Pape'ete public market

The municipal market at the centre of Pape'ete is where all the hustle and bustle is focused. It opens at the crack of dawn with fruitvegetablefish and lower stands. Handicraft stalls contain products from the four archipelagos (carvings, tifaifai patchwork quilts, jewellery, sarongs (pareos), basketry, etc.). If you visit the market before you leave, you can load up on souvenirs to take back home (vanilla, crafts, monoi, musical instruments, etc.).

Make a short excursion to Moorea, Tahiti's sister island

Moorea, 17 km from Pape'ete, is reachable by fast ferry in only 40 minutes. It is the most sparsely populated island (just 18,000 people) and things there are still unspoiled. You can do a day-trip, but if you want to fully explore the island you'll need a few days.

Visit an atoll in the Tuamotus

Physically setting foot on a “low island”, or atoll, is an unforgettable experience. Seeing a chain of coral islets, each encircling a turquoise lagoon, stretching on for dozens of kilometres is a breathtaking sight from the plane. Just imagining people living in this environment, lost in a vast expanse of ocean, is almost surreal. Sharing the daily lives of the islanders in tune with the rhythm of the waves, even if only for just a few days, is beyond words...It was on these tiny islets that Tahiti's cultured pearl industry began. The most frequently visited atolls are Rangiroa, Fakarava and Tikehau, all of which have internationally rated hotels.

See Bora Bora...and much more

For most tourists, a stay on Bora Bora is essential. The “Pearl of the Pacific”, despite the development of tourism, is still worthy of its reputation. Nevertheless, there's much more to this island than what the postcards show us: not only the island's interior, its history, the manta ray and the lagoon, but also the luxury hotels and spas on the motu (islets), accessible only by boat.

See a performance of Polynesian dance

Forbidden by missionaries, dancing is even more an integral part of Polynesian culture today. Girls and boys begin dancing as soon as they can walk. The annual Heiva i Tahiti festivals in July, organised in Tahiti and on most islands, is a chance to see a performance by the most famed professional dance troupes and schools. Major hotels regularly organise Polynesian evenings with song and dance during happy hour or themed buffet dinners.