7 Things You Need To Do On Your Next Tahiti Holiday!
Roulottes found in Papeete and on Islands. Roulottes are local food vans and in downtown Papeete you will find Vaiete Square with its collection of approximately 30 food vans by the water and with wide variety of cuisine. Cheap fast and tasty, this is a fun alternative to more formal restaurants. Vaiete Square is Safe and clean with public bathrooms. Select from one of the many pop up restaurants that open from 6pm most days. This is a cultural experience not to be missed while in Papeete!
The Pink Coconut - The restaurant is ideally located on the docks of Marina Taina, The restaurant provides a beautiful sunset beach atmosphere and is the place to be at night. Not only are the views of Moorea and the Tiki boats stunning, the food is superb.
Le Coco’s in Punavai, is just a short 15-minute ride from Papeete, Le Coco's is traditional French fare but with a slight South Pacific flare. Located right next to the beach, this is the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two.
On the Islands
On the Island of Moorea, the best food is found off the beaten track, away from the concierges and infinity pools of the resorts. Grab a scooter, a bike or a car and drive to one of the small beachside shacks. Order grilled mahi or a tuna burger, both of which are freshly caught. The Tahitian vanilla ice cream here is truly authentic and a great way to finish your meal.
Some of our favourite Moorea restaurants are:
- Snack Mahana – located just down the road from the InterContinental Resort this place is always packed with locals and tourists alike! Offering fresh fish served in a variety of styles as well as steak, chicken and other “roulotte” type dishes. This little snack restaurant is a gem and is perfect for lunch given its gorgeous outdoor lagoon side setting – but we recommend you book a table or you may miss out!
- Hilton Overwater Creperie – this is a fabulous evening dining option as it is uniquely situated over the water amongst the overwater bungalows of the Hilton Resort. Open to non-hotel guests, it offers reasonably priced sweet & savoury crepes and is also a perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink. A bonus is the many reef sharks that are attracted to the lights and gather in the lagoon beneath - a unique view to accompany dinner!
- Les Tipaniers – Located within the grounds of the Les Tipaniers hotel, this little restaurant is best at lunchtime to maximise its stunning lagoon-side position. This is a simple open air snack restaurant offering a varied menu to suit most lunchtime desires. Inexpensive and relaxed.
- Hibiscus – Located lagoon side within the Hotel Hibiscus, this is a great pizza option for lunch or dinner. Inexpensive and delicious wood fire pizzas are on offer as well as a comprehensive a la carte menu.
- Te Honu Iti – Offering a varied menu, this little restaurant offers free transfers from most hotels. Taking advantage of its lagoon-side location, it attracts the local marine life with stingrays often cruising the lagoon waters beneath.
On the Island of Bora Bora a popular restaurant and bar is Bloody Mary's. It's not fancy, but the food, atmosphere and staff make it a must-stop for those visiting the main island.
Also on Bora Bora, you will find ‘LAGOON’ by Jean-Georges, St. Regis Bora Bora Resort. This awarded signature restaurant is run by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and is famous for its tasting menu, seafood and wagyu steak.
Many islands offer a motu picnic. As you journey by boat through the lagoon, learn about the environment and stop to feed and swim with the manta rays and reef sharks. Then go to a secluded motu or sand island where you will enjoy a sumptuous Polynesian lunch including the island’s traditional dish of poisson cru. Also learn how to open a coconut in a traditional coconut demonstration.
Polynesian Dinner and Show
Enjoy a traditional Polynesian Dinner and Show. Most resorts will have one evening a week where you can partake in an extravagant polynesian dinner including BBQ meats, traditional ‘hangi’ style vegetables, poisson cru, salads, desserts and much more followed by a show of attractive traditional tahitian dancers including fire dancing. Alternatively on the Island of Moorea, visit the local Tiki Village which replicates traditional polynesian style living, offers a lavish polynesian dinner and interactive dancing show.
Relaxation and Romance
Unwind and relax in your overwater bungalow.
Going for a well deserved traditional Polynesian Spa treatment at your resort’s luxurious Day Spa is the perfect way to truly settle in to the Island lifestyle. Surrounded by the soothing lagoon waters, and a warm tropical environment, immerse your senses with local vanilla and tiare flower scents and oils. A true change of pace from a busy lifestyle.
Spoil yourself with a romantic breakfast in your overwater bungalow brought to you by canoe! Wake up to see your breakfast delivered to your bungalow by a traditional Polynesian outrigger canoe. Ornamented with flowers, the canoe carries local staff serving fresh fruits, pastries, and juices.
Discover all the things to do in your resort. Relax by the pool, snorkel, go stand up paddle boarding, go sailing.
Golf International Olivier Bréaud
Golf International Olivier Bréaud’ was created in the 1970s on an old cotton plantation on the west coast of Tahiti, at Atimaono, 41 kilometres from the centre of Papeete. It offers an 18-hole golf course that is accessible to beginners and experienced golfers. This course is renowned internationally for the quality of its fairways among rich tropical and colorful vegetation and its greens as well as for the beauty of its location. The course is a 72 stroke par, and is approved by the French Golf Federation.
Moorea Green Pearl
Moorea Green Pearl is a course located in the village of Temae on the island of Moorea. The French company Grégori International created this 18 hole golf course, which was designed by the legendary American golfer Jack Nicklaus. The island of Moorea can be accessed by a short ferry ride of 30 minutes from Papeete, or by a 10 minute flight from Papeete. The golf course itself is just a few minutes from Moorea airport and 10 minutes from the ferry wharf. It is one of the newer of the Polynesian golf courses and was inaugurated in 2007; The course is beautifully set on 165 hectares, 650 metres of which are on the shores of the lagoon.
Mini-Golf and Practice in Raiatea
On the island of Raiatea, on a lush site at the edge of the lagoon, you will find a 10-hole mini golf course.
4WD and All Terrain Vehicles
On the island of Tahiti take a 4WD tour to the interior of the island. You can choose between a full or half day tour. You will visit a volcanic crater and several waterfalls where you can swim, archaeological spots, tropical flora, basaltic rocks, with local guides to tell you stories about Tahitian legends.
On the island of Moorea, hire a roadster-jeep and drive around the island stopping at villages and discovering the scenic Opunohu and Cook’s (Paopao) Bay. The island's geography is magnificent with eight mountain peak rising from the shining lagoon.
If you like to be a bit more adventurous hire a spectacular way to discover the mountains of Moorea is with an All Terrain Vehicle. See pineapple plantations on the way to the centre of Moorea’s volcano, and visit the top of ‘Magic Mountain’ where you will see stunning panoramic views of Moorea’s beautiful lagoon.
Also on the island of Moorea, visit Tiki Parc, Zipline and Aerial Adventure - Located in the heart of Moorea in the Opunohu Valley, surrounded by all the peaks of the island, the park’s peaceful atmosphere offers a number of courses for different tastes and adventure levels taking you from tree to tree.
Discover the beauty of the Islands of Tahiti on a horseback for a more authentic adventure. On Moorea, take a journey through the immense pineapple plantations located in the Valley of Opunohu in Moorea and enjoy splendid panoramic views.
There are also opportunities to explore the marvellous wild Marquesan landscapes on horseback.
The island of Rurutu within the Austral Archipelago also offers horse riding through the large plateaus of the island.
Hike Aorai mountain, the second highest peak in Tahiti. This hike typically takes around two days to climb. As you ascend, the weather cools, and it’s one area in Tahiti where it can get cold. From the top, you’ll get incredible views out to the island of Moorea. It’s a hike for experienced and advanced hikers and we recommend going with a guide. This hike takes you through the beautiful Faraura Valley with it’s beautiful waterfalls.
There are also a number of beautiful day hikes with beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking views. The local guides have a true passion for their land and love telling traditional and ancestral stories.
Bora Bora’s Valley of the Kings, so named because of the noble and royal burial sites in the area, is where the island’s early history and culture are concentrated. Azdine Oualid, a University of France archaeology professor and a well-known hiking guide, claims to have unearthed 25 village sites, 7 temples and 10 tombs, including a 1,800-year-old burial site belonging to a noble and whose one stone carving is now housed in the national museum. The Valley is the most popular trail for hiking trips up the piercing peaks of Otemanu and Pahia, but is also a tour in itself with most visitors opting to skip the summits to explore the numerous archaeological sites instead.
Walk the Valley of the Kings and you’ll come upon the remains of a papau, or ‘ghost house’, where bodies of important people, nobles and kings were mummified for a year before burial. Don’t miss the enclosure topped off by an altar stone outside — it used to contain the battle-scarred bones of the island’s warriors.
Experience the Lava Tubes
Located on Tahiti’s rocky east coast, Hitiaa’s lava tubes are three giant, elongated caves that make for a unique adventure. Darkness and cool air in the mossy caverns add thrill to the excursion, and the Mars-like landscape which was formed by rapidly-cooled hot lava gives the cobalt-black tunnels an otherworldly feel.
The first tunnel meanders at about 100 metres. After you’ve shimmied through it, you’ll emerge at the 300-metre second tunnel hidden behind two waterfalls. The trail proceeds and goes under a stone bridge which is actually the remains of a collapsed lava tube. The third and last tube is more complex, darker and longer. At 100 metres into it, the trail forks to an exit and a large cavern. Choose the cavern and be rewarded with a lake and waterfalls, with the cavern walls covered in tiny golden algae making for a surreal experience!
Your guide will take you through these mysterious tunnels that were formed during the volcanic period when the island was born. Pull on a wet top and a frontal lamp to hike in dark tunnels and walk through water pools & waterfalls. A Lava Tube hike is a unique and interesting adventure through the rainforest, with water flowing everywhere and spending time in darkness within the lava tube. You guide will also share with you the history and stories of the caves created by the lava. This is a Moderately difficult "Canyoning" style hike.
A great thing about the lava tube excursion is that you do not have to be a hardcore hiker to complete it. With good physical condition, a guide and a headlamp, you’re ready to be on your way swimming through waist-deep waters and capering over rocks.
The jewellery, oils, sarongs and the long list of souvenirs you will bring back from Tahiti are endless. You will love a day of shopping after relaxing at the beach and we know just the places you want to go.
Along with the many art galleries, selling typical Polynesian products, the city Papeete market is the optimal place to shop for economical souvenirs, delicious fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly caught fish and countless other foods. The Papeete market also supplies many different souvenirs, including beautiful sarongs, shell jewellery, wooden bowls, hand-woven bags, soaps, vanilla and many other exquisite products.
Everyone loves a beautiful pearl and Tahiti has the finest you can get. The French Polynesians are very proud of their gorgeous black pearls that are only grown locally in their stunning, silky lagoons. To buy some superb pearls, you can to pay a visit to Robert Wan Pearl Museum (Musée de la Perle Robert Wan) or to the Tahiti Pearl Market during your trip.
The Tahiti Pearl Market also has a number of stores throughout Tahiti including in downtown Papeete. This is a family company, created in 1994, whose principal activity is the culture of Tahitian pearls, and has seven pearl farms across five different atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Who could ever imagine a souvenir you can keep forever? Polynesian tattoo artists are known for their creativity and tattoo art. This is the perfect way for you to remember a remarkable trip. There are strict hygiene requirements on all islands so getting a tattoo will not be a problem. A great way to remember such an incredible holiday.
Skydiving and Paragliding
Experience the thrill of skydiving or paragliding in Tahiti. Skydiving is available in Moorea and Bora Bora. Experience both extreme exhilaration and breathtaking views of the most beautiful scenery. It’s like floating in paradise.
Every year Teahupoo hosts the surfing Billabong Pro for the world’s top surfers. Teahupoo is a village on the south-east coast of the island of Tahiti and is known for its surf break with heavy, glassy waves offshore, often reaching 2 to 3 m and sometimes up to 7 metres. This surf break is known as the Kumbaia tubes, one of the most beautiful waves in the world.
Haapiti off the island of Moorea is one of the world’s most consistent breaks. While not as difficult as other Tahitian reef breaks, it is still challenging due to the long paddle out to the break and strong currents. It offers a powerful and long ride over a deep water reef.
Scuba Diving in Tahiti is truly rewarding. The warm waters are filled with marine life and the water is calm and exceptionally clear. Many of the dive sites are close to the dive sites meaning that you won’t have to travel far to get to your dive.
‘Passes’ or breaks in the atoll surrounding the lagoon are created when freshwater that flows from the rivers into the lagoon and then out into the ocean. The pass is therefore a natural opening between the two ecosystems of the lagoon and the ocean. When the tide changes, the water squeezing through the pass creates a strong current. This has created the ability for experienced divers to ‘drift dive’, or be carried with the current. The most exciting drift dives are in the Tuamotus where you might see schooling sharks, dolphins and manta rays all during the same dive.
Sailing in Tahiti is an experience you will never forget. The delight of cruising over Tahiti’s aqua lagoons feels like you’re in a fairy tale. With a yacht charter, you will have the choice of which lagoons, anchorages and bays you want to explore, with the steady winds to push you along. The French Polynesian waters are just about the size of Western Europe, so with expert staff accompanying you, you will have the a pleasant experience explore the wonders of Tahiti.
You can experience two different types of sailing conditions to make your journey just that more exciting. The unique geographical formations make the journey both exciting and relaxing. The coral reefs provide steady winds for a relaxing trip, observing the exquisite scenery and when out in more open water, the wind will stronger and you will enjoy the excitement of a more courageous ride.
The wind in your face, the water splashing at your feet, coral reefs watching from under as you glide by. A pretty unforgettable experience, right? It is so beautiful and exhilarating that it will be one of your highlights of the trip. As well enjoying the refreshing water in this pleasantly warm location, you are brought the opportunity to venture out and see all there is to see in the French Polynesian lagoon waters.
For an extra special experience, on top of this luxurious adventure, time your tour with the beautiful sunset overlooking the lagoon for a quiet, relaxing end to your day.
Stand Up Paddle boarding and Canoeing/Kayaking
At most resorts borrowing kayaks and stand up paddleboards is included as part of your resort experience. It is nice and easy to organise and there are so many places you can explore. Looking for turtles while you go over coral reefs, paddling in and out of overwater bungalows and simply getting some exercise over stunning, crystal lagoon waters.
Kitesurfing and Windsurfing
Another fun water activity you can do is kitesurfing and windsurfing. It is another great way to see the stunning waters and have fun at the same time! Kitesurfing and windsurfing are a great way to experience of the best water activities.
Things to do with Kids
Visiting Tahiti with kids is super easy and there are accommodation options that provide childcare and rooms suitable for you.
The best kids club facilities are at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bora Bora where they have a unique ‘splash pad’ for the kids to play in and a well-appointed facility with games and entertainment. They also have exceptional activities such as hermit crab racing, snorkelling with a marine biologist which the kids absolutely love. The kids will love spending time here while you relax, enjoying your time in Tahiti.
Most activities are great for families and you will all enjoy it. The best activities to do with the kids are shark and ray feeding, swimming with dolphins, spending time at the beach and kayaking/canoeing.
- Part 1: About Tahiti
- Part 2: Tahitian Culture
- Part 3: Tahiti’s History
- Part 4: Tahiti’s Natural Beauty
- Part 6: The Islands