Some people haven't heard anything of such an exotic place. Therefore, today we want to talk about the paradise island of Tahiti, and list its main attractions and leisure options.
- General information
Let's start with the simplest info such as what is actually Tahiti? No, this is not a country, but just a small island in French Polynesia. It's a piece of land lost in the ocean. Getting to it is more difficult than, for example, to the countries of Europe, but if you have long dreamed of feeling like an explorer of uncharted lands, then it's worth it. However, you will not be left without the benefits of civilization either.
Since Tahiti is a former colony of France, some locals speak French quite well. English is widely used in the tourism industry. But the main language of the island is Polynesian. If you do not plan to leave the hotel and are going to move around Tahiti only with an organized tour, then this will not cause you any inconvenience. And if you want to win the favor of the locals (and get a discount in the market), then it will not be superfluous to learn a couple of common expressions in the local language.
The currency of Tahiti is the French Polynesian franc. It can be withdrawn from an ATM or exchanged at a local bank. Some shops accept EUR and USD, but you will still be given change in French Polynesian francs. Payment by credit card is possible, but not everywhere.
If you have arrived in Tahiti for a few weeks or more and can't live without social networks, then you should buy a Vini SAS SIM card for high-quality mobile Internet. The quality of communication and coverage is very good for such a remote island.
Tahiti is the tropics. Accordingly, the year is divided into two seasons - dry and wet. The dry season in Tahiti lasts from late April to mid-October. The rainy season means frequent downpours and storms, but also lower housing prices and fewer tourists. If you want to save money and are not afraid to get caught in a short rain, then feel free to fly to Tahiti from October to April.
Tahiti has a well-developed bus service around the capital and its environs, there are taxis, and other islands of French Polynesia can be reached by Aremiti Ferry. But, of course, car rental provides maximum freedom of movement.
And now let's talk about the reasons why it is worth flying to such a distance.
- Papeete, the capital of Tahiti
The city of Papeete is a perfect place to get acquainted with the history of French Polynesia, look at the modern life of its inhabitants and buy souvenirs. The city is small, you can spend there a day or two.
Let's start with places for history buffs. First of all, it is the Museum of Tahiti and the Islands. It contains an impressive collection of exhibits, including ancient tools, wooden canoes, and jewelry. If you like places with a rich historical past, then be sure to go to Arahurahu Marae, the site of Polynesian rituals. The Queen Mārau’s Old Bungalow (she was the last queen of Tahiti) will give an idea of how the monarchs of the island used to live. And the Paul Gauguin Museum will show you the boundless love that the French postmodernist felt for this heavenly place.
A separate museum is dedicated to the most famous gem of Polynesia, Tahitian pearls. The Robert Wan Pearl Museum is not only the history of mining and artificial production of pearls, but also the opportunity to buy original black pearl jewelry.
The main attractions of Papeete are concentrated around Toata Square. This is the Tahitian Notre Dame Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, and the residence of the bishop, which is more than 400 years old.
Are you tired of museums and palaces? Go to the market. Papeete Municipal Market is the oldest attraction in Tahiti and the maximum concentration of local flavor. Everything that can be bought on the islands of French Polynesia, you will find here: fruits and seafood, clothes and aromatic oils, fridge magnets and original handmade souvenirs. A nice bonus for a tourist is that you can pay not only in cash, but also with a bank card.
In Papaete, there are enough green areas. For example, Paofai Gardens, which start from the central square of Toata. But the most beautiful park in Tahiti is Bougainville Park, located in the western part of the capital.
- Beaches of Tahiti
Most tourists fly to Tahiti not for museums, but for a beach holiday. No wonder, because the beaches on the island are of the highest level.
On Lafayette Beach, you can take spectacular photos or just sunbathe on the black volcanic sand. This beach is located on the edge of Matavai Bay, and there are usually few people here. White sand can be found on Maui Beach, and the best conditions for a luxury bungalow vacation are on Punaauia Beach. The latter, by the way, also offers the best conditions for snorkeling.
Active entertainment on the beaches of Tahiti is diving, kitesurfing, yachting, in general, everything that people fly to tropical islands for. Surfing occupies a special place in this list, because, according to legend, it originated in Tahiti. The center of Tahitian surfing is Teahupoo reef in the south of the island. You can learn how to stand on the board at the Tura'i Mataare Surf School, and hone your skills on Taapuna, Papara and Sapinus surf breaks.
- Natural attractions
The nature of Tahiti is mountains, rivers and waterfalls, lush tropical vegetation and bays with clear water.
The most popular natural attraction of the island is the Taravao Plateau, which can be reached from Papeete for about an hour. Along the way, you will admire the rural scenery, and from the top of the plateau, you will see a breathtakingly beautiful panorama.
Venus Pool at Cape Point is not only a natural, but also a historical attraction. It was on this cape that the famous captain James Cook conducted observations of the celestial body. Now there is a lighthouse on the cape. Another place in Tahiti associated with the legendary captain is called the Papenoo Valley.
The mountains of Tahiti are a paradise for hikers. They are not too steep, climbing most of them will not be difficult for a person with an average level of physical fitness. The most difficult route leads to the top of the extinct volcano Orohena, you can climb here only accompanied by an instructor. Routes are simpler, they lead along the mountains of Aorai and Marau. It is not even necessary to climb the last mountain on your own two feet, as a comfortable jeep will save your strength.
Of all the waterfalls in Tahiti, Faarumai is the most famous and most visited. In fact, this is not one waterfall, but a three-stage cascade. There are three magnificent waterfalls waiting for you in the Papenoo Valley - Puraha, Topatari and Vaiharuru. To see the Fautaua waterfall, you will need a special permit.
The Maraa Grotto complete our review of the natural attractions of Tahiti. The local caves cannot be called particularly deep or large, but their appearance inspired Gauguin, and this really means something.
Tahiti is a small piece of land that can be a huge discovery for a curious traveler.
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