Discover the Wonders of Tahiti (Papeete), French Polynesia: A Vacation Like No Other

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Curated By

Deborah Ortloff

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  • Tahiti

  • French Polynesia

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • Food & Wine

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Coastal

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Curator’s statement

There's a wide world full of dreamy destinations, but few can match the magical allure of Tahiti, specifically its capital Papeete, in French Polynesia. Unraveling the reasons to vacation here is as enjoyable as unwinding on its sun-kissed shores.

The Fora Difference

Book with Deborah to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

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Killer perks

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay in Tahiti

SOFITEL Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort

Indulge in Polynesian paradise, where turquoise waters, overwater bungalows, and refined luxury create a dreamlike escape in Moorea.

InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa

Nestled in paradise, InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa offers luxurious serenity on the shores of Tahiti's pristine beauty.

The Brando

Unmatched luxury and seclusion on a private atoll 30 miles north of Tahiti — the stuff of true castaway fantasies.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Tahiti

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Embark on an Exotic Journey:

With a cocktail of idyllic beaches, vivid marine life and an intoxicating culture, Tahiti is nothing short of a paradise lost in the South Pacific Ocean. The narrative of Papeete, its bustling hub, unravels like an exotic tale, beautifully blending relaxation with adventure. This blog post explores why you should consider packing your bags for this enchanting island realm right away.

Unveiling The Charm of Tahiti:

1. Luxuriate in Lush Landscapes: Tahiti's natural beauty is simply breathtaking. From lush rainforests teeming with endemic fauna to majestic waterfalls cascading down rugged cliffs, the island is a testament to Earth’s unblemished beauty. To top it all off, Tahiti's radiant lagoons, fringed by vibrant coral reefs, offer a stunning aquatic spectacle.

2. Experience Papeete’s Pulse: The heart of Tahiti lies in Papeete. Around every corner, there's a slice of Polynesian life waiting to be savored. Whether it's marveling at the colonial architecture, browsing vibrant markets brimming with local crafts, or indulging in the city's gastronomic delights, Papeete promises a cultural immersion like no other.

3. Take Part in Time-Honored Traditions: Discover the spirit of Mana, the sacred power that Polynesians believe permeates their islands. Engage in traditional activities such as Tifaifai quilting, stone fishing, or Tahitian dancing. Marvel at the hypnotic rhythm of the Heiva Festival, a celebration of local music, dance and sport, showing that Tahiti's lure extends far beyond its natural attractions.

Beaches, Culture, Food

Papeete Market and Shop in Downtown Papeete

If you're looking for things to do in Papeete, Google will likely suggest the Papeete Market. Many Tahitians wake up with the sun, so the market opens pretty early, around 4 a.m. But that might be too early for some folks. Don't worry if you're not an early bird. You can visit the market later in the day too. There, you'll find black pearls, vanilla, vibrant fabrics, shirts, dresses and more produce.

Black Sand Beaches

Tahiti is known for its stunning black sand beaches. These are not your typical sandy shores! The sand's dark color comes from volcanic minerals and makes for a unique beach experience.

James Norman Hall Museum

James Norman Hall was an American author who greatly influenced Tahiti's reputation through his writings. He co-authored "The Bounty Trilogy," "The Hurricane," and other works with Charles Nordhoff. These books brought the beauty and culture of Tahiti to readers around the world.

Places to eat & drink in Tahiti

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Lotus Restaurant is a luxury establishment located in Papeete, Tahiti. It is part of the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa hotel complex. This floating restaurant offers stunning ocean views and a romantic atmosphere with its soft lights and elegant decor.

On the menu you will find a variety of French and Polynesian dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients. Specialties include Tahitian-style raw fish, grilled seafood and exotic desserts. Lotus is also known for its exceptional wine list.

If you're looking for a high-end dining experience in Papeete, Le Lotus Restaurant is a perfect choice. Don't forget to book in advance as this popular spot can get very busy.

The Blue Banana restaurant is a fantastic place in Papeete, Tahiti. It is known for its delicious food and warm atmosphere. The menu offers a variety of dishes, from fresh seafood to local specialties. In addition to the food, the restaurant offers a magnificent view of the ocean, making it an ideal place for a romantic dinner or an evening with friends. If you are in Papeete, don't forget to visit the Blue Banana restaurant for an unforgettable culinary experience.

Meherio Tahitian Bistro is a charming restaurant located in Papeete, Tahiti. It is famous for its authentic Tahitian cuisine and relaxed atmosphere. The menu offers a variety of traditional dishes, such as Tahitian-style raw fish, grilled seafood and local desserts.

The interior of the bistro is decorated with Tahitian cultural elements, which adds to the dining experience. Plus, the friendly and welcoming staff always makes guests feel at home.

If you're looking to taste real Tahitian cuisine in a comfortable setting, Meherio Tahitian Bistro is the perfect place. Be sure to make a reservation, as this place can get very busy, especially during peak hours.

Need to Know

Q & A:

Q: Is Tahiti a good choice for active travelers?

A: Definitely! Besides lounging on the beach, you can hike through tropical forests, snorkel in vibrant coral reefs, and explore Papeete's lively streets.

Q: How prevalent is the influence of Polynesian culture in Tahiti?

A: From art and cuisine to traditional festivals and daily life, Polynesian culture pervades all aspects of life in Tahiti, offering a rich cultural immersion for visitors.

Q: Is it easy to travel between islands in French Polynesia?

A: Yes, inter-island transport is well-established with options including domestic flights, ferries, and even private yacht rentals.


A vacation in Tahiti, particularly Papeete, is an escape into a vibrant world of beauty, culture and adventure. With its intoxicating blend of stunning landscapes, rich traditions, and warm hospitality, French Polynesia provides an unparalleled holiday experience. Warm up to the idea of sun, sand, and serenity as the Tahitian slice of heaven waits for you with open arms!

In a nutshell, Tahiti offers more than just a break from the routine—it promises a journey of discovery, cultural immersion, and sublime relaxation.

So, are you ready to swap your office chair for a hammock by the turquoise lagoons of Tahiti? If yes, then paradise awaits you!

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to French Polynesia. Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Exploring Hilo: A Journey Through Island Paradise.

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Travel Advisor

Deborah Ortloff

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