The Sunny Side of Life
Located in the Indian Ocean at the top of the equator, the Maldives is one of a few unique destinations in the world. A vast underwater mountain range makes up the country, with less than 4% reaching through the water’s surface to form 26 atolls of over 1,000 low-lying islands. Approximately 200 of these islands are inhabited nearly 100 of them have been developed as luxury tourist resorts.
The Islands of Tahiti
Tahiti island destinations have always been ready for their close-up, ranking among the most picturesque on the planet. Has Bora Bora ever taken a bad photo? Do Moorea’s lofty spires and opalescent lagoons ever fail to inspire envy? And can the untamed Marquesas possibly be any more appealing to adventure travelers? Add in the pristine beaches and world-class dive sites of the Tuamotu Atolls, the old-school Polynesian customs of Huahine and Raiatea, the vanilla beans and lustrous black pearls of Taha’a, and even the chaotic bustle of the capital, Papeete, and Tahiti stands alone as a Technicolor mosaic of vacation perfection.
If you see yourself in this picture, here’s more exciting details about Tahiti vacation destinations: They’re bilingual with most residents speaking both Tahitian and French. The crystalline lagoons of Tahiti’s 118 islands are filled with so many tropical fish it’s like snorkeling in an aquarium. Its hundreds of overwater bungalows are waiting for you to drift off to asleep as shallow aquamarine water laps a Polynesian lullaby.
Traditions such as hip-shaking tamure dances and hypnotic fire performances seduce resort guests nightly and daytime diversions like shark and stingray feeding and Jet Ski excursions up the adrenaline level. Spa goers will enjoy traditional nature-based treatments that feel (and smell) divine, while cruise lovers can tour with ease, unpacking just once but sampling multiple islands in all their panoramic glory. Plus the merging of French and Tahitian cultures means great food and wine. Yes, Tahiti has star quality – and that’s even before you count the multitude of etoiles in its nighttime sky.
How to Get There
The Islands of French Polynesia or more commonly known as “Tahiti” are only 8 hours nonstop flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti’s Papeete’s Faa’a Airport (PPT).
Nonstop flights depart Los Angeles almost daily on Air Tahiti Nui and Air France. Hawaiian Airlines operates nonstop flights from Honolulu (HNL) to Papeete (PPT) weekly.
Travelling to Bora Bora, Moorea or Tahiti’s outer islands is easy. Air Tahiti and Air Moorea operate regular scheduled flights out of Tahiti from Faa’a Airport over a network of islands. Charted flights are available on request.
Catamarans and ferry boats cross between Tahiti and Moorea several times a day. All transfers can be arranged by our specialists at Islands In The Sun. For taxis or public transportation, it is best to ask the Concierge for options available and timetables.
While Bora Bora, Taha’a or even the Marquesas may beckon, French Polynesia’s gateway – where a fragrant lei greeting awaits at Faa’a International Airport after a comfortable eight-hour nonstop from Los Angeles – is a Tahiti destination that should not be overlooked.
Moorea’s beauty is mind-blowing. You’ll steal your first glimpse from the main island of Tahiti and then as you arrive and Moorea’s towering green peaks and slender white beaches come into focus, you’ll be in awe over what nature has created for relaxation-starved visitors to enjoy.
Tahiti’s prized jewel, Bora Bora has been seducing travelers for centuries and creating romantic memories since the first overwater bungalow resort was built some 50 years ago.
Revered by Tahitians as The Sacred Island, Raiatea is an undeveloped tropical playground that’s home to both a rare mountain flower and French Polynesia’s only navigable river.
Taha’a Tahiti – try saying that five times fast! Known as “The Vanilla Island,” Taha’a earned its nickname by producing some of the world’s finest vanilla and you’ll enjoy that deliciously comforting scent practically everywhere you go.
Huahine island has a sparkling blue lagoon, beautiful white-sand beaches and lush green peaks – just like French Polynesia’s more-well-known Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora) of which it is part.
When divers head to French Polynesia in search of stellar coral and adrenaline-rush dives, Rangiroa is often the destination of choice. The water’s 150-foot visibility and abundant schools of sharks and tuna add to the allure.
Tikehau travel is the equivalent of a detox. After landing on a slender atoll, you are whisked off via motorboat to an intimate resort set amid soft pink sand to relax in a swaying hammock and snorkeling in a serene aquamarine lagoon.
Located about three hours by air from French Polynesia’s main island of Tahiti and steeped in both history and adventure, the Marquesas is a lost-in-time island chain of dramatic volcanic cliffs shrouded in mystical clouds, and the final resting place of the South Pacific’s most famous artist.
Essential Items to Pack
Tahiti and her islands are two hours behind Pacific Standard Time and in the same time zone as Hawaii. During Daylight-Saving Time (March to late October) the time is three hours behind.
Entry and Visa Requirements
Every visitor must have:
US and Canada:
For stays of up to 90 days, there are no visa requirements for citizens of the U.S. or Canada carrying a US or Canadian Passport. A foreigner with a residence card for the U.S. is not exempt from the above requirements and should consult the French Consulate based in the U.S. for information.
Entry requirements are subject to change without notice and it is advisable to check with your Islands In The Sun specialist before departure. For more information on French Polynesia entry and visa requirements, please contact the French Polynesian Embassy and Consulates in the United States or Canada.
No vaccines or certifications are required from North America. Regardless of the traveler’s nationality, entry from high risk areas of the world as defined by the World Health Organization requires certifications (please check with your airline).
Tahiti enjoys a tropical climate with the average yearly air and water temperature of 80°F. The summer months run from November through April, when the climate is slightly warmer and more humid. Winter is from the months of May through to October, when the climate is slightly cooler and dryer.
The official language is French and native languages such as Tahitian are widely spoken. English is spoken and understood in tourist areas. A few basic French phrases and Tahitian greetings are appreciated by locals.
Currency and Tipping
The currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF). Upon arrival most visitors exchange some money at the airport or at their hotels. Since most credit cards are readily accepted in all tourist areas, it is not necessary to exchange large amounts. Tipping is not customary or expected in Polynesian culture. However, tipping is welcomed for exemplary service.
Bargaining and haggling over prices in markets and stores is not customary.
Tap water is safe to drink in most hotels and restaurants. If in doubt, inquire with your hotel or drink bottled.
110 or 220 volts depending on the island. Islands In The Sun recommend bringing a universal adapter.
Papeete’s Central Post office is located near the yacht wharf and Bougainvillea Park, open weekdays from 7am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 11am.
Direct dialing international calls is available in most hotels and phone booths. Phone cards are easily purchased in Tahiti. When calling from the U.S. to Tahiti, dial 011 and then the country code of 689 along with the local number. Cell phone roaming is available for many telecommunications service providers; however it is recommended to check with your service provider before you leave as to whether their services are available on roaming.