A strong French influence, combined with ancient Polynesian traditions, has created a unique culture in Tahiti and Her Islands; a way of living, full of warmth and love for the islands, which can be seen through music, dance, and art. These historical and cultural aspects have nurtured a number of influential artists and writers, among them are Paul Gauguin, Robert Stevenson, James Mitchener, and Jacque Brel.
Some of the world’s best snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are found in Tahiti and Her Islands. Also popular are outrigger canoeing, bicycling and horseback riding, four-wheel jeep safaris, spear and deep sea fishing, swimming, sailing, jet skiing, wind surfing, tennis, shark and ray feeding, helicopter rides, museums, ancient maraes (temples), and other cultural experiences. Sunset watching, beach strolling, relaxing in the sand, enjoying exquisite French Polynesian cuisine, walking through beautiful fragrant gardens, and simply getting to know the friendly and hospitable Tahitian people are memorable highlights of any visit to Tahiti.
Every visitor to Tahiti and Her Islands should take the time to chat with locals and learn about their culture and lifestyle. It will make the experience of staying on this beautiful paradise even richer. Places and activities not to be missed include a visit to the public market, Le Marche, located in the heart of Papeete, Tahiti. Visitors should take the local public transportation system, Le Truck, an open-air ride local bus, to experience Tahiti from a local perspective and should stop by the Roulottes, or catering trucks, that gather at the wharf in downtown Papeete each evening. Hungry visitors can wander among the dozens of Roulottes to choose local fare. Other Tahiti highlights include ray feedings, motu (small island) beach barbecues, and the unique experience of an over-the-water bungalow overnight stay where breakfast is delivered to the room by canoe. No visit to Tahiti is complete without a visit to the Pearl Museum, the only museum dedicated to pearls, where Tahiti’s unique Black Pearls are explored.
If the modern permanent structures, and the colonial-based style have become common in Tahiti and its surrounding islands, architecture has nevertheless retained its originality in the local “fare” (houses), with their typical plant design. The ancients built their fare mostly open to the outdoors, and the plant walls were built on piles and the roof structures covered with pandanus or plaited coconut palm leaves (niau). Although the plant walls are tending to disappear nowadays, the pandanus roofs and the use of wooden frameworks continue, both in individual houses and in hotels, anxious to exploit this architectural style.
Wood (mahogany, yaka, tamanu, litchi, coconut and teak) is very often used in the interior decoration, as are many natural materials: bamboo, mother-of-pearl, seashells, kere (bark from the coconut tree), stones, etc.
Hospitality is a Tahitian way of life. Tahitians are proud of their islands and want to share the beauty with visitors. Even tipping is contrary to their beliefs – it’s simply not expected. There are more than 4,000 rooms in more than 40 hotels throughout Tahiti, catering to a wide range of budgets and personal preferences, as well as lodging in hospitable family pensions and private homes. Tahiti offers affordable packages as travel partners closely work together to promote the destination.
Tahiti is closer than most people think. Tahiti’s Faa’a Airport is less than 8 hours by air from Los Angeles’ LAX airport which offers daily nonstop flights.