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Holiday Tips: How to Spend One Perfect Day in Tahiti

Holiday Tips: How to Spend One Perfect Day in Tahiti

Tahiti might be the closest place on Earth to paradise. And it’s not just for honeymooners, either.

September 17th, 2020

Tahiti might be the closest place on Earth to paradise. And it’s not just for honeymooners, either. A stunning archipelago filled with incredible beauty around every corner, there is so much to do here that it can be hard for you to choose. While the unspoiled beaches and overwater bungalows of Bora Bora are best known for their romance, Tahiti is a rich vacation destination bursting at the seams with culture and gorgeous spots.

While exploring the entire archipelago needs a good chunk of time, you can totally get a taste of the best of French Polynesia in just one day. The main island of Tahiti is small (you could easily circle the coastline in a day), and offers up a tremendous demonstration of what makes this little slice of heaven so attractive.

While the islands are pristine and remote, there are a few options to get to Tahiti. You can arrive by water—there are many water taxis and ferries that go to the islands, as well as major cruise ships. You can also fly. This is what most travelers do. Tahiti International Airport is the main airport on the island, but there are also airports on the surrounding islands as well. Read on to get some ideas of what to see and do when you arrive.


You’ll almost certainly be staying in a hotel in Tahiti’s main city, Papeete. Plenty of people just see Papeete as a jump-off point for visiting Bora Bora or one of the more remote Polynesian islands, but there’s loads to see and do here and it is well worth taking a morning to explore. Get out of your hotel as early as you can (unless it is included, skip the breakfast buffet as they tend to be expensive!) and head straight to the bustling Le Marche Market. You can chow down on delicious fruit, tropical juices, and freshly baked pastries, and discover a little bit more about what everyday life is like for the people who call Tahiti home. With a flower market downstairs and local artisan stallholders upstairs, it’s a great experience and the best way to get under the skin of island culture.

Papeete is an authentic and vibrant city, and will probably feel a little more gritty than the picture-perfect palm-fringed beaches and remote coves that make up the rest of the archipelago. But there is lovely architecture to discover, like the colorful town hall or the Chinese temple, and plenty of culture to explore in the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, the Black Pearl Museum, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.


Once you’ve seen enough of Papeete, hit the road and head out of town for a drive around the road that hugs the magnificent coastline of Tahiti. The full circle takes about three and a half hours to complete, so factor in plenty of time for stops. The route is scattered with gorgeous beaches, remote picturesque churches, and amazing views of the island’s rugged mountainous interior. Don’t miss the amazing volcanic black sand of Taharuu Beach, or the jaw-dropping natural beauty of the Vaipahi Water Gardens.

One of the best restaurants on the entire island is located in Taravao, about halfway around the circuit, so it is a great idea to plan for a late lunch. Terre et Mer offers a wonderful take on traditional French Polynesian cuisine from owner-chef Frederic Lij, and the freshly caught seafood here is outstanding.

After lunch, you’ll want to make sure you check out the remarkable Arahoho Blowhole, an extraordinary demonstration of the awesome power of nature. Formed by thousands of years of coastal erosion, every swell of the ocean causes a massive spout of water, making quite the thrilling sight!

Just before arriving back in Papeete, take a quick break at the Point Venus Lighthouse. A lovely spot in its own right, Point Venus is also where Captain James Cook recorded the planet Venus crossing the face of the sun when he arrived in Tahiti in 1769.


No evening in Tahiti would be complete without a visit to Les 3 Brasseurs, one of the only microbreweries for thousands of miles. It is a beautiful setting to enjoy an early evening drink, right on the waterfront, and perfect for a spot of people watching.

Once you’ve refreshed yourself, there are a few brilliant options for dinner. One of the best and most authentic dining options is to head for the Place Vaiete, and grab a casual bite from one of the delightful food trucks known as roulottes, which gather in the square and open after sundown. If you are in the mood for something a little more formal and elegant, try L’O à la Bouche just around the corner from Bougainville Park. One of the best restaurants in Papeete, it has a reputation for gourmet excellence, as well as a warm, romantic ambiance.

One day in Tahiti might not be enough to quench your thirst for this tropical paradise, but it is plenty of time to explore some of the best sights this magical island has to offer.

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.