Tahiti belongs to the French Polynesian Windward group of islands and is the largest among all. Located in the Southern Pacific Ocean, Tahiti is segregated into two distinct parts: Tahiti Nui, the larger northwestern part and Tahiti Iti, the southwestern part.
The island emerged as a result of volcanic activity. Beautiful coral reefs surround this tall and mountainous island. Tahiti is famous as French Polynesia’s cultural, political and economic center. Papeete is the collectivity’s capital and can be found on the northwestern coast. It is home to the region’s single international airport.
The landscape of Tahiti boasts of beautiful green rainforests and several streams, such as the Papenoo River located on the north.
Covering over two million sq. miles of the beautiful South Pacific Ocean, the Tahiti islands comprise 118 islands spread over 5 archipelagos. While several islands are adorned with sharp peaks, others appear to float freely above the waves. Tahiti is located somewhere between Australia and California and falls in the Hawaii time-zone.
Indeed when author James Michener entered Moorea's Cook's Bay, surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks, he said the scene was exactly what he had in mind when he "invented" Bali Hai, a special island, immortalised in the musical South Pacific. Moorea was featured in the film as was Bora Bora.
Tahitian cultures incorporate a unique oral tradition. This involves religious mythology including ‘Oro’ and ancient traditions like navigation and tattooing. The Heivā Festival is an annual celebration of the culture, music, sports and dance. A competitive race takes place between the various French Polynesian islands using outrigger canoes. Oral history also recounts various adventures of warriors and gods in colorful folklore. Javelin shooting was a sport played by the gods and the kings favored surf riding.
One of the most beautiful museums of the South pacific is the Museum of Tahiti. It automatically features on the must-visit list of tourists. The museum showcases the recorded history of Polynesia. The highlights of the museum include historical artifacts and an exclusive collection of exquisite art carvings. It also contextualizes and presents the European arrival on the island.
Tahiti is quite famous for serving up some delicious food. All over the island, you will find some excellent restaurants that offer French, Polynesian, Italian, American, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine.
Fish and various other seafood dishes will be part of almost every meal in Tahiti. The Tahitian food fare primarily includes poisson cru, which is fish marinated using lime juice and coconut water. This is also Tahiti’s national dish and you will find several versions of this dish, some of them with Chinese or French influences.
When visiting Tahiti, you must drop by at the Le Marché, a public market located in Papeete. At 155 years old, you will find unlimited number of stands selling traditional Tahitian crafts, fruits, oils, vanilla and flowers. It is the ideal place to buy authentic island merchandise and take back a souvenir for a loved one. With the exception of holidays, the market is open daily. Sunday mornings are particularly lively as locals gather for a fun family day at the market.
Tourists are advised to contact the office of the French Consulates in their country to obtain all necessary information regarding visa and passport when planning a trip to Tahiti.
Apart from European Union nationals and foreigners with a ten-year metropolitan France residence card, it is imperative for travelers to buy their return ticket. Alternatively, repatriation bonds could also be paid for upon arrival.