Outriggers, Moorea Background
Visit Tahiti – Gateway to French Polynesia
With the only major airport among the French Polynesian islands located a few miles from Papeete, Tahiti is the gateway for tourism in French Polynesia. Flights from Faa’a Airport (PPT) connect on a regular basis to Los Angeles, Paris, Honolulu, Auckland, Tokyo, Easter Island and Noumea. Air Tahiti Nui is the major international carrier and often affiliates with other airlines. Moorea is a 10-minute flight or a 30-minute ride by high-speed catamaran. Bora Bora can be reached on a one hour flight.
Weather in Tahiti
Expect very little variation in temperatures throughout the year. Average highs will be about 85 F (30 C) and lows will average 75 F (23 C). The rainy season extends from November to April. Temperatures can be slightly higher during this period, because this area of French Polynesia is south of the equator. June through October are the popular tourists months, because they are drier. It can rain any time of year though and global warming influences of El Nino bring inconsistency to weather forecasting. September is likely the best month to visit Tahiti.
Visit Tahiti – Papeete and the Cruise Ship Terminal
For those with luggage, a taxi cab or an airport / Papeete shuttle are the best alternatives to reach downtown Papeete and the cruise terminal. Cabs are fairly expensive with a high entry price before the mileage charge even starts. Car rentals are easy to obtain. Tahiti is like two circular islands joined together. Tahiti Nui is the larger section and Papeete is located on it. A paved coastal road circles completely around it. The Circle Island Tour covers 72 miles (114 km).
Waiting for that Late Night Flight
Our favorite thing to do while waiting for a late night flight is to take a cab to the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa for dinner. This hotel is the best one on the island. The ambience and views are fabulous.
Faa’a Airport (PPT) offers luggage storage on the main concourse, which is an excellent option for those waiting all day for the standard midnight flight to Los Angeles. Store your baggage after leaving the hotel or cruise ship and spend the day in Papeete. Take an airport / Papeete shuttle or a local bus, called Le Truck, since you won’t have bags to bother with. Fares on Le Truck fares are extremely low, but be prepared for irregular service schedules and no service after 5 pm.
Visit Tahiti – See More Sights
- James Norman Hall Museum, where the author of Mutiny on the Bounty lived, is a few minutes from Papeete by vehicle, in Arue.
- The Gauguin Museum – closed for many years with no scheduled reopening date. Most of its paintings were not originals. The Harrison W. Smith Botanical Gardens are located beside the closed museum.
- Museum of Tahiti and her Islands (Muse de Tahiti et des iles) – located in Punaauia, with waterfront grounds and views to Moorea.
- Tiarei Arahoho Blow Hole (Trou du Souffleur) and Fa’aurumai Valley Waterfalls (Les Trois Cascades or Cascades de Faarumai). It’s about a 5 minute walk in to Vaimahutu and then another half hour to Haamaremare Iti and Haamaremare Rahi waterfalls.
- Maraa Fern Grottoes – on the circle island road about 27 km (16 mi) from Papeete. Grottoes include Vaipoiri, Mata Vaa, Paroa and Te Ana Tetea.
- Marae Arahurahu – a fully restored Polynesian ruin a few miles north of Maraa Fern Grottoes, plus the Tahiti’a Mai native dance performances and handicrafts.
Famous visitors to Tahiti in the past include Captain Cook in 1769, Captain Bligh aboard the Bounty in 1778 and Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835. Today most visitors are usually celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary. Tahiti’s larger size makes it a center for tourism and resorts, but the smaller islands have basically the same features and attractions in a setting that has fewer tourists and fewer permanent inhabitants.