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One Day in…Tahiti, French Polynesia

One Day in…Tahiti, French Polynesia

Traveler Profile: Ashleigh, 36, USA 

Location: Tahiti, French Polynesia

Time of Year: October 

Traveler Goals: Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, immerse myself in Tahitian culture, take a guided hike to hidden waterfalls and ancient temples, and try local cuisine at authentic island restaurants 

Arriving in Tahiti

Image Credit: Shutterstock / EQRoy

Regarding beach vacation destinations, Tahiti boasts of being French Polynesia’s largest chain of islands. I caught an early flight and flew into Faa’a International Airport. Once off the plane, I hailed a cab and caught a ride to my first stop of the day for coffee and breakfast. 

Fellow Traveler Tip: Tahiti’s main international airport is Faa’a International Airport, located near the capital city of Papeete. Arrange transportation from the airport to your planned activities in advance, whether it’s a hotel shuttle, taxi, or rental car.

Exploring Papeete

Image Credit: Shutterstock / EQRoy

Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, has multiple restaurant options, so I asked my cab driver for recommendations. My driver told me that Brasserie des Remparts Tahiti had the best breakfast and coffee in the city. His confidence was all the convincing I needed, and I asked him to take me there.  

Currency and Language: The official currency in Tahiti is the French Pacific Franc (XPF). While French is the official language, many locals also speak Tahitian. Learning some basic French phrases or carrying a pocket translation guide is helpful.

Becoming Aligned with the Island’s Atmosphere

Image Credit: Shutterstock / sarayuth3390

It seemed like no time at all before he dropped me off at one of the most authentic French restaurants I’d ever had the opportunity to experience. I ordered eufs cocottes huile de truffe, which translates to egg casseroles with truffle oil. It was to die for! I even considered returning for lunch or dinner, especially after looking at their dinner menu. I was in love, and the closest cuisine I had tried that could be compared came from one of my favorite vacation spots: New Orleans. 

Once back outside, I was greeted by the sweet scent of tropical flowers in the gentle breeze. I went to the beach to let my bare feet sink into the soft, powdery sand and wait for my booked snorkeling tour group to arrive at the meet-up location.

Snorkeling Adventure

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Patryk Kosmider

I spent the morning snorkeling around colorful coral reefs and was completely amazed by the wide range of marine life surrounding me. Brightly colored fish darted in and out of the coral. Their movements were so graceful and fascinating to watch. Time seemed to slip away once I was drawn into this underwater world, which was so vast and diverse. 

Relaxing Under a Palm Tree

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Josu Ozkaritz

Later in the afternoon, after returning to land, I paused to relax and lounge beneath the shade of a palm tree. I lay there and sipped on a refreshing coconut drink as I watched the people around me all buzzing around happily. It was like something you’d see painted on a postcard; it was a true Kodak moment. I couldn’t resist getting a passerby to take my picture on the beach before I moved on to my next stop.

Hike to a Hidden Waterfall

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jon Ruiz Ortiz

For my next stop, I had planned to go with a hiking tour group to the nearby island of Moorea. The ferry ride from Tahiti to Moorea took about 30 minutes, and it, too, came packed full of breathtaking views of its own along the way. Arriving at Moorea, I was greeted by yet another postcard-perfect scene – a magnificent blue lagoon and pristine beaches.  

By now, I was ready to experience the island’s natural beauty up close, so I joined a hiking tour group planning to hike the mountainous interior. Our guide led us through dense jungle trails until we reached the most spectacular Moorea waterfalls – Afareaitu. Watching the cascading water falling into a pool below left me was an exhilarating sight. It was a hiking trip full of moments I’ll never forget and views I’ll always see when I close my eyes and think of Tahiti.  

Tourist Information: Tahiti.com

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / wilar.

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