Atolls and Archipelagoes -Millions of years ago,
underwater volcanic action in the Pacific created flows of lava
that eventually reached the surface of the ocean to become lush
tropical islands, such as Tahiti and Moorea. Other islands actually
sank over eons, leaving huge lagoons surrounded by coral barrier
reefs, called atolls, such as Rangiroa and Manihi. Archipelagoes
are groups of islands and atolls. Five archipelagoes comprise French
Polynesia - The Society Islands (Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea,
and Huahine), Tuamotu Archipelago (Manihi, Rangiroa, and 60-plus
other atolls), the Austral Islands, the Marquesas, and the Gambier
Tahiti - French Polynesia, commonly referred to as Tahiti, comprises
118 islands in a vast area in the central South Pacific. The most
frequently visited islands are Tahiti and the capital city of
Papeete, followed by Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea. Distant
atoll groups like the Tuamotos are now becoming popular with adventure
travelers and divers. A recent series of popular "Survivor"
television shows were filmed on location in the remote, volcanic
Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawaii, two hours further by
nonstop jet from LAX. The flight takes seven and one-half hours
from Los Angeles.
Moorea - Moorea, "The Magical Island', was
the inspiration for James Michener's fictional island of Bali
Hai and the location for many motion pictures, including "Mutiny
on the Bounty'. Located 11 miles across the Sea of the Moon from
Tahiti, Moorea is one of the most photographed islands in the
Dropping anchor at Opunohu Bay is a life's dream to yachtsmen.
Pineapples grow abundantly as do mangoes, papaya and Captain Bligh's
Moorea has many resorts, including the Sheraton, Sofitel and Pearl
Beautiful Bora Bora - Bora Bora, "The Romantic Island", is considered by
many to be is the most beautiful island in the world. Tall, bulbous
just volcanic peaks dominate the center of the island. A narrow
road encircles the landmass, surrounded by a brilliant turquoise,
lapis and aquamarine lagoon. The airport is actually offshore
with the landing strip on a small "motu" or atoll. Transfers
are by water taxi.
Shark feeding is a popular excursion. A Jeep tour through Bora
Bora's interior allows exploration of this wondrous place. Honeymooners
should experience a few night in one of the overwater bungalows!
Huahine - Huahine, nicknamed the 'Garden of Eden',
is located 110 miles northwest of Tahiti and is a short plane
ride away. Actually two islands joined by an isthmus and encircled
by a colorful barrier reef, Huahine is linked by a 20-mile road
winding a figure eight around the islands.
Spectacular views of white sand beaches and turquoise lagoons
make the two-hour drive pass too quickly. Restored Tahitian maraes
(temples) tell the story of an ancient people who could navigate
as far south as New Zealand and north to Hawaii.
largest outrigger canoe race begins here each October.
Huahine is sparsely populated and visitors will fall in love with
the remote, unspoiled scenery and relaxed pace of the island.
Given the high level of accommodation Huahine is an outstanding
value offering a less expensive alternative to Bora Bora, which
in peak season (June through September) is heavily booked.
Raiatea - Raiatea, called "The Sacred Island',
is the most revered island in the South Pacific. This was the
center of Polynesian culture where of kings from all the islands
gathered. From the shores of Raiatea, the large canoes of 100
people or more set out to populate New Zealand, Easter Island
and Hawaii. Raiatea has the only navigable river in French Polynesia.
Popular excursions include exploring the cool, green haven of
the Faaroa River in a motorized outrigger speed canoe.
Bungalows - The overwater bungalows are uniquely Tahitian. Perched on sturdy
pilings, some travelers go to Tahiti just to experience these
exotic quarters, and the Tahitian TV - glass coffee tables often
providing an incredible view of the clear lagoon waters and colorful
fish below. You may even be able to feed the fish by sliding
back the coffee table and flipping a light switch to attract your
underwater neighbors. Room service to your private retreat
on the water may be by canoe. All of the properties we offer reflect
the distinctive character of their locations and heritage, with
many designed and built using bamboo, palm fronds, and thatched
roofs. We offer and feature accommodations on the seven
main Tahitian Islands. You'll find the surroundings breathtaking
and the service exceptional.
Tahiti Travel Tips
and Her Islands are much closer than you think, only seven and
one-half hours from the U.S. mainland. Tahiti shares Hawaii's
time zones - five hours ahead of East Coast Time.
Requirements - A valid passport, with a return
ticket home, is required to enter Tahiti for U.S. and Canadian
citizens. Those from other countries should check with the
Exchange - Most major credit cards are accepted
in Tahiti, including American Express, MasterCard, and Visa.
Travelers checks and U.S. dollars are also widely accepted.
Banks and most hotels can convert U.S. dollars into French Pacific
Francs (CFP), however, banks tend to offer a higher rate of exchange
for the local currency.
and Tipping - Throughout Tahiti and Her Islands,
there are no sales taxes or service charges and tipping is not
generally accepted, as it is contrary to Tahitian customs of hospitality.
and Health - Vaccinations are not currently required
for United States citizens entering or leaving Tahiti. Consult
your physician prior to departure for any updates. The water is
generally safe to drink in hotels and restaurants, however, we
recommend using bottled water available through the hotels.
The tropical sun can be deceptively penetrating, so be sure to
use a good, waterproof sunblock to protect your skin from overexposure.
Tahiti and her Islands have modern medical and dental facilities
available, if needed.
Electricity - Power outlets for all shavers and other appliances are provided
in most hotels. Most of the hotels use 110 or 220 volts, AC 60
cycles current. A converter/adaptor for other appliances is usually
available upon request from the hotel.
Service - Direct dialing for local and international
telephone calls is very easy in French Polynesia, whether placing
calls from your hotel or from public phone booths. When dialing
direct to Tahiti and Her Islands, dial the proper International
Access Code (011 from the U.S.A) plus 689 (country code for Tahiti)
plus the local number.
Dress - Casual, informal dress is the standard in Tahiti. Lightweight,
washable cottons are suggested for greatest comfort. Men are most
often dressed in shorts (slacks for dinner), sport shirts or T-shirts,
sandals or tennis shoes. Women can wear everything from
shorts to skirts to sun dresses to pareos (wrap-around cloth garment).
We also recommend taking along a couple of swimsuits each, rubber-soled
shoes for walking on coral, hat or sun visor, sunglasses, and
Language - The official languages of Tahiti are Tahitian and French,
however, English is widely spoken throughout the islands. Tahitians,
as any other foreign people, truly appreciate visitors who try
to learn a few of their words. They enjoy helping and you can
expect a big smile and hearty laugh as they teach you.
Whether you are looking for relaxation on white sand beaches,
swaying in the tropical breeze on a hammock or swimming with the
dolphins or feeding sharks, you can find it all in Tahiti. You'll
also enjoy such activities as snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea
fishing, water skiing, hiking, golf, helicopter rides and horseback
riding, tennis, sailing, wind surfing, hang gliding, shopping,
outrigger canoeing, and parasailing. Also available are the unique
of sentimental wedding ceremonies - for couples wishing to renew
their vows, or lovers looking for a unique and legally non-binding
way to express their feelings, the traditional Tahitian wedding
service is a fun way to say "I do" - and Black Pearl
shopping - Black Pearl are can only be found in French Polynesia
and visitors can explore black pearl farms in Manihi, Rangiroa
With the exception of a more cosmopolitan Papeete, you won't find
much in the way of fast foods on the islands. However, you
will discover a palate-pleasing variety of native dishes and French,
American and Chinese cuisine. You'll delight in the abundance
of seafood, tropical fruits, and fresh vegetables. You can
eat at fine restaurants or outdoor cafes,
partake of Polynesian feasts and beach barbecues, and even arrange
gourmet picnics on secluded motu.