Tahiti - an island paradise! With rugged mountain peaks, coral reefs, turquoise-blue lagoons, white sand and luxurious resorts, each island has something for everyone. Tahiti covers over two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean with 118 islands and atolls of French Polynesia, spread over 5 great archipelagos.
The 3 most popular archipelagos are the Society Islands -Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha'a; The Tuamotu Atolls or "Tahiti's Strand of Pearls," and the Marquesas, or "The Mysterious Islands."
Best time to visit: May to October
The national dish is "poisson cru" (raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk), and the local pork is featured in many local dishes. The national drink is beer – specially Hinano Beer.
Excellent restaurants offer French, Italian, Polynesian, American, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine throughout. In Papeete, sidewalk cafés and the 'Roulottes' - mobile cafés offer good, inexpensive food from steak and chips, pizza and crepes to Chinese food. For fine dining try Chez Remy or Le Carre at Le Meridien. The restaurants on Bora Bora and Moorea are as legendary as the islands themselves.
French Polynesia is the world's largest producer of black pearls. Buy them from reputable stores like Robert Wan Tahiti, Sibani Perles Joallier on Papeete, Ron Hall's Island Fashion Black Pearls on Moorea and Matira Pearls on Bora Bora. Pick up a "tifaifai", a colorful appliqué quilt, exquisite shell chandeliers, fine quality woodcarvings from the Marquesas Islands, tapa lampshades or mother-of-pearl shells and tropical clothing.
All flights arrive at Faa’a International Airport (Papeete), located near the city of Papeete on the main island of Tahiti. The airport is close and convenient to all the major hotels and resorts on Tahiti.
The airport also serves the domestic airline, Air Tahiti, for further service to the other islands and atolls. We recommend visitors plan international air, inter-island transportation, and airport transfers in advance.
Although the plane remains the fastest and most commonly used means of transportation in The Islands of Tahiti, island hopping by boat is also an option.
There is ferry service between islands that are not too distant from one another (such as Tahiti and Moorea or Bora Bora and Maupiti) while cargo schooners, more picturesque and sailing to the Leeward Islands, the Tuamotu Islands, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas and the Austral Islands, offer cabins and occasionally a space on deck.
Among islands in a same archipelago, there are speedboats or small launches that can shuttle you back and forth.
Tipping is not customary in Tahiti and the other French Polynesia islands and is therefore not expected. If you choose to tip for exemplary service, the gesture is always welcomed and appreciated.
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