Travel Insurance Tahiti
An aspirational destination for many Australians, the Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned as being home to one of the most picturesque places on earth – Bora Bora. Most destinations rarely look as good in real life as they do on a postcard. Bora Bora is an exception. On a good day, the stunning island is better than picture-perfect and it is little wonder that tourists from around the world save their money in the hope of one day being able to visit on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. But Tahiti has many more islands to explore than just Bora Bora, each of which possess their unique differences but all of which are stunning tropical paradises.
Formed by volcanic activity, the Islands of Tahiti have high mountains and are surrounded by incredible white sand beaches and coral reefs that have to be seen to be believed. Nestled in the central part of the Pacific Ocean, Tahiti is remotely positioned about 4,500 km south of Hawaii and just under 3,500km east of Fiji. Tahiti is the economic and political centre of French Polynesia after being proclaimed a colony of France in 1880. As a result, French is the official language spoken in the country, but the CFP franc is the local currency rather than Euros.
The Islands of Tahiti
The island of Tahiti is the largest of a chain of islands that make up French Polynesia. Also commonly referred to as the Islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia consists of a total of 118 islands and atolls spread across a vast area of the Pacific Ocean, many of which are small and uninhabited.
The Islands of Tahiti are broken up into five regions. The main island of Tahiti – home to the capital of Papeete – is part of the Society Islands group, which includes the nearby sister island of Moorea.
Bora Bora is also part of the Society Islands, as well as Tetiaroa, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a, Tupai and Maupiti. The Tuamotu Islands group consists of 77 atolls, which are described as “heaven on Earth” given their white beaches lined with coconut trees and unique underwater worlds in the surrounding reefs. Highlights of the Taumotu Islands include Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau and Fakarava. The Gambier Islands are the most the most remote and least populated region of French Polynesia, consisting of four islands within the same lagoon – Mangareva, ‘Akamau, ‘Aukena and Taravai. Known for their high cliffs and volcanic peaks, the Marquesas Islands do not have the protected coral reefs of other islands in Tahiti but do have some incredible jungles to explore.
Finally, the Austral Islands are on the southernmost part of French Polynesia, with the highlight being the island of Rurutu which is a refuge for whales. Scores of humpback whales migrate to the waters around Rurutu each summer to mate and give birth.
Flights to Tahiti
There are no direct flights from Australia to Tahiti, but easy connections are available via New Zealand. Tahiti’s national airline – Air Tahiti Nui – operates direct flights between two and three times a week between Auckland, New Zealand and Papeete, Tahiti. A codeshare partner airline of Qantas, connections to meet the Air Tahiti Nui services in Auckland are available from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The flight time from Auckland to Papeete is around 4 hours and 40 minutes, while flights in the opposite direction on the return leg come in at around 5 hours and 45 minutes. Air Tahiti Nui also runs direct flights to Papeete from Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris.
French Polynesia’s domestic airline – Air Tahiti – offers interisland services from Papeete to other Tahitian Islands.
Tahiti Travel Insurance
Tahiti is generally considered to be a safe destination to visit, with the rate of serious crime very low.
However, petty crime like theft does occur. Other risks involved in visiting Tahiti include the cyclone season, which runs from November to April, while the region is also susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. As with any international trip, taking out travel insurance is highly recommended if you are planning to head to Tahiti. Travel insurance can protect you with cover for medical expenses – including Covid-19 – as well as evacuation and repatriation, cancellation fees and lost deposits.
You can also be covered for lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal belongings. Make sure your trip to Tahiti is properly covered.
The best resorts in Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti are blessed with an array of highly-rated and high-end resorts. On the main island of Tahiti, the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa takes the cake as the most visited and top-rated resort. Located on 32 acres, the expansive resort offers renowned fine dining including an overwater restaurant, three bars, a lagoon pool, two infinity pools and a luxury spa. There are seven room types available, ranging from the Classic Rooms through to Overwater Villas with views out to the island of Moorea. On the island of Moorea itself, the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa is hard to beat. It offers 106 luxury rooms including overwater bungalows, many with their own private pools. Among the resort facilities are a full-service spa, lagoon-style pool, tennis courts, a fitness centre and three restaurants.
On Bora Bora, there are two standout resorts that consistently receive near-perfect reviews.
The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is only for those with deep pockets, but is a five-star luxury property that offers immaculate rooms, amazing service and great food. There are 107 suites and villas on offer, including overwater bungalow suites with private plunge pools and a three-bedroom beachfront villa for those travelling in groups. The resort also features four restaurants, a full-service spa, an infinity pool, tennis courts and a fitness centre. Water sport equipment including catamarans, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for use. The St. Regis Bora Bora is the other top-rated resort in Bora Bora. It features 90 guest rooms – including overwater bungalows – a full-service spa, four restaurants, 24-hour butler services and two swimming pools, one of which is an adults-only pool.
The best beaches in Tahiti
If you’re on the main island of Tahiti and want a nice public beach to visit, make sure you head to La Plage de Maui. Located on the southern shore, it is the most popular white sand beach on the island and offers great swimming conditions and beginner snorkelling off the reef. On the west side of the island, Plage de Toaroto is another great beach for swimming, sunbaking, snorkelling or paddle boarding. Tahiti also has some popular black sand beaches, coloured by the volcanic rock that formed the island. One of these is Lafayette Beach, not far from the capital of Papeete.
Surrounded by lush greenery, the beach is popular among swimmers and surfers and is considered a great place to watch sunset. Other black sand options include Taharuu Beach on Tahiti’s southern shores and Pointe Vénus on the island’s northern most point. Pointe Vénus, which was a landing spot for famous explorers Captain Cook and Captain William Bligh, also features a historic lighthouse and is another great place to take in sunset.
On the island of Moorea, it is worth checking out Temae Beach, which is open to the public and is frequented by both locals and tourists. It offers soft white sand, crystal clear water and great reefs for snorkelling. On Bora Bora, the biggest and best public beach is Matira Beach.
Located on the southern part of the island, it is lined with tropical palm trees, has amazing blue water and is a popular snorkelling spot.
Tahiti enjoys a tropical and warm climate year-round, with limited days of rain. The town of Papeete observes average daily highs of between 29 and 31 degrees Celsius year round, with warm overnight lows of between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius. The rainy months are December to February, which typically see between nine and 10 days of rain each month. Every other month of the year typically sees seven or less days of rain, with the driest months being between July and September.
Tropical storms can occur at any time, however the cyclone season in Tahiti generally spans from November to April. The Taumotu Islands, which are part of the Islands of Tahiti, enjoy almost 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, with the region one of the most sun-drenched places in the world.
Compared to The Hawaiian Islands, Tahiti receives more sunshine, warmer weather and about half as much rainfall.
When is the best time to visit Tahiti?
The Islands of Tahiti can be visited at any time of year given their warm weather and largely dry conditions. However, if you want to explore the underwater world by scuba diving or snorkelling, it is best to visit between April and October. The dry months make the water calmer and clearer, whereas the rain and wind in the wet season can stir up the water and impact visibility. But if you are instead looking to surf the waves of Tahiti, the rainy months are the best time to visit.
Staying safe in Tahiti
Tahiti is considered a very safe destination to visit, with serious crime rates being very low.
However, there are a few things you should watch out for. Always keep your luggage and personal belongings with you securely, particularly in crowded places, as petty theft does occur. Also avoid leaving food or drink unattended, as drink spiking can be another issue that is sometimes reported.
Avoid large public gatherings, as occasional protests can sometimes turn violent. On arrival, make yourself aware of the cyclone alert system and know the warning signs for a tsunami. It is also important to use insect repellent if necessary, as Dengue-type epidemics are common in French Polynesia. A mix of French and local laws apply throughout French Polynesia.
Tahiti Private Island Resorts
There are a range of private island resorts in Tahiti which provide ultimate luxury and exclusivity.
Here are a few of the best.
Located on the island of Tetiaroa, The Brando is one of the most exclusive private island resorts in the world. Situated about 48km north of the island of Tahiti, the resort can be accessed by private plane and features 35 villas as well as a three-bedroom ‘Brando Residence’. The island offers multiple restaurants with five-star fine dining, water sports, a luxury Polynesian spa, bars, a fitness centre, and even a Tahitian pearl shop.
Described by some as “quite possibly the most stunning private island in the world”, Nukutepipi is owned by Canadian billionaire businessman Guy Laliberté, a co-founder of Cirque du Soleil. Set in the Tuamotu atolls, north of Tahiti, the island has its own airstrip and is as private as it comes.Anyone who hires the island gets it all to themselves, including a huge master villa, two junior villas and 13 one-bedroom beach bungalows. The island features facilities for tennis, badminton, beach volleyball, basketball, beach soccer, archery and mini golf. For those who just want to relax, there is a luxurious spa, sauna and outdoor Jacuzzi, as well as a movie theatre. There is also a poker room, fitness room and pool. Those who want to explore can use the sailing canoes, outrigger canoes or go whale watching, snorkelling or diving. The island measures about 5.6km long and can comfortably host up to 52 guests.
If you are looking for something really private, this resort is at another level to most. The private island resort features only three overwater bungalows and six beachfront suites, meaning it only hosts a small number of guests at any one time. It is surrounded by reef on the outskirts of the island of Taha’a, just to the east of Bora Bora. The island features lush tropical gardens complete with coconut trees, a restaurant, a luxury spa and water sports equipment.
Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island Resort
A luxury French hotel and resort chain, Sofitel has two properties in Bora Bora. The Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort is on the main island, while there is also the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island on an outlying island – Motu Piti U’uta – surrounding Bora Bora. The private island property is just a short boat ride across from Bora Bora and features only 30 rooms, including ocean view villas and bungalows on land as well as overwater bungalows. The resort claims to offer “some of the best snorkelling in French Polynesia”, as well as 360-degree views out across Bora Bora and other nearby islands.
Le Tikehau by Pearl Resorts
A slightly more modest private island resort than some, Le Tikehau by Pearl Resorts is a four-star property on one of the atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago, north of Tahiti. The island features 37 suites and bungalows and is the only boutique hotel in Tuamotu. A more authentic Polynesian experience than some properties, the rooms all feature palm roofs and the overwater bungalows and suites feature a glass floor section looking down to the reef. On the island, there is an infinity pool, a bar, restaurant, spa and water sports equipment including snorkelling gear, kayaks and outrigger canoes.
History of overwater bungalows
Tahiti is widely regarded as the home of overwater bungalows, with so many resorts across so many islands featuring the high-end accommodation option. But there is also another reason that Tahiti is known as the ‘home’ of overwater bungalows – it was the first place to introduce them. The world’s first overwater bungalows were built off the island of Raiatea, at the Bali Hai Hotel in 1967.
The island lacked sandy beaches, which inspired American friends Hugh Kelley, Muk McCallum and Jay Carlisle to build the bungalows to give guests direct access to the reef. The concept was then introduced at the trio’s Club Bali Hai Moorea Resort and and later Hotel Bora Bora. In the 1960s, a fairly basic overwater bungalow at the properties cost just $30 per day, per couple with all meals included. However, the resorts quickly grew in popularity, with overwater bungalows becoming an instant hit. It was not long before the concept caught on and more overwater bungalows began popping up across Tahiti, the South Pacific, the Maldives and eventually in the Caribbean.
Best Tahiti resorts for couples
The island of Bora Bora in Tahiti is best known as a destination for couples looking for a romantic escape. Bora Bora is a popular destination for Honeymoons and ramps up the romance with its overwater bungalows and intimate resorts featuring fine dining and relaxed atmospheres.
While children are allowed at most Bora Bora resorts, there are not a large amount of facilities that cater for them. One top resort for couples of Bora Bora is the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, which offers five-star luxury, three restaurants, three bars, a dive centre and amazing views. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is another top honeymoon location, with beachfront suites, overwater bungalows, signature butler service and a sparkling lagoon. The Conrad Bora Bora Nui offers some stunning overwater bungalows each complete with private plunge pools. Le Meridien Bora Bora is also a nice property that can plan custom romantic itineraries and even has a stunning overwater wedding chapel for those who want to tie the knot.
Best Tahiti resorts for families
If you must take the kids to Tahiti, most resorts are not adults-only and do allow children to visit.
On the main island of Tahiti, not far from Papeete, the Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts is considered a very family-friendly resort and is a more affordable option than many resorts among the Islands of Tahiti.
Guests describe the property as friendly and welcoming and it offers connecting rooms for those staying with children. There is a large outdoor swimming pool and direct beach access to Lafayette Beach Matavai Bay. On the island of Moorea, the Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort also tends to attract some families. It features 113 bungalows, including two-bedroom villas which are ideal for families, while additional rollaway beds can also be provided. Another property to consider is the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, where most villas accommodate two adults and up to two children. There is also a Tamariki Kids’ Club, family-friendly daily activities, a large lagoon swimming pool and even a small mini golf course.
Tahiti in the movies
The Islands of Tahiti have found themselves featured in a few Hollywood movies over the years.
The island of Moorea was the location of the popular 1984 film, The Bounty, starring Mel Gibson and Sir Anthony Hopkins. The 1962 film, Mutiny on the Bounty, starred Marlon Brando and was also filmed in Tahiti. Brando fell in low with French Polynesia so much that he purchased a Tetiaroa atoll after filming finished, with that atoll now home to The Brando resort. The 2010 documentary, The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D, features world surfing champion Kelly Slater and was also filmed in Tahiti.
Bora Bora features in the 2009 movie Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughan, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman and Kristin Davis. The movie was filmed at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, which was renamed ‘Eden’ in the movie. The 2010 film, Soul Surfer, was largely filmed in Hawaii but also includes some scenes that were filmed in Tahiti. Part of the 2015 surfing film, Point Break, was also shot off the coast of the village of Teahupo’o on Tahiti.
Famous Guests in Tahiti
The world’s rich and famous flock to the Islands of Tahiti as an exclusive, tropical and luxurious destination. The private island resort on the island of Tetiaroa, The Brando boasts that it has hosted such guests as former United States president Barak Obama, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp and television personality Oprah. The likes of Jennifer Anniston, Jason Bateman and Jimmy Kimmell have all stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. The Kardashian clan spent a week at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort in 2011, which featured on their television show Keeping up with the Kardashians. The Hilton has since been refurbished and re-opened as the Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort in 2017.
The best dive spots in Tahiti
There are some stunning dive sites across Tahiti and the wider French Polynesia region for those who like to get underwater.
Here are some of the best spots to check out.
Located off the remote Fakarava Atoll north-east of Tahiti, this is considered the top spot in French Polynesia to dive with sharks. There is a good chance you will spot hundreds of sharks including Blacktip, Whitetip, Grey, Hammerhead, Reef and potentially even Tiger sharks. Part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Fakarava is also home to Manta Rays, dolphins, turtles and plenty of different fish.
Off the second-largest atoll in the world – Rangiroa Atoll – this is another good spot to see sharks including grey and hammerhead sharks. You might also be lucky enough to see Manta Rays, leopard rays, eagle rays, dolphins, turtles and even tuna. Between August and October, it’s also a top spot to observe the migration of whales. Visibility is exceptional and can be as much as 60m.
Considered to be the best diving site off Bora Bora, this spot is to the west of the island and is somewhere divers can find many types of sharks, including the lemon shark. There is also some great coral and Manta Rays can also be found.
For those who like shipwreck diving, this site is arguably the best in Tahiti. Located off the island of Raiatea, south-east of Bora Bora, the Norby Shipwreck lies at 29 metres which makes it accessible for most levels of divers. The metal boat became stuck on a sandbank during a storm in 1900 and measures 50m long and about seven metres wide. Many species inhabit the wreck and its surrounds.
Located south of Bora Bora, this magical site has small caverns and cavities. There is an abundance of colourful coral, while you can also see plenty of reef sharks and sea turtles as well as many schools of fish.
Located off northwest side of the island of Moorea, this is one of the best spots in the world to see lemon sharks. It has amazing visibility and sharks are often near the surface to greet divers. You may also be able to spot dolphins and whales, along with grey sharks, black tips and white tips.
A great spot for beginner divers, The Aquarium is located off the west coast of the main island of Tahiti and is accessible by boat. It is no deeper than 14 metres and features a Cessna plane and two boats, along with swarms of tropical fish. Visibility is generally quite good and currents are low.
When is the best time to dive in Tahiti?
It depends what you want to see. Humpback whales are best spotted between August and October, hammerhead sharks between December and March and Manta Rays between June and October.
However, the water is warm year-round and there is always plenty to see.
Do I need to bring my own dive gear?
Because it is known as a popular diving destination, Tahiti has dive shops everywhere that will lend you all the equipment you need and take you out to the best underwater spots in French Polynesia.
It is therefore not necessary to bring your own dive gear. However, some divers may like to bring their own mask and flippers, both of which could come in handy if you also go out for a simple snorkelling trip or two. It is also recommended that divers bring their own personal dive computers if they have one.
Surfing in Tahiti
Tahiti is one of the world’s best spots for surfers of all abilities and hosts the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o each August, which is part of the World Surf League. The Islands of Tahiti have a rich culture of water sports and surfing is one of the activities that is at the forefront of that. If you’re a surfing beginner, there are plenty of good surf schools in Tahiti that can show you the ropes and get you riding a great little wave. For advanced and semi-professional surfers, you can bring your own board and find plenty of great breaks off the main island of Tahiti or the island of Moorea.
When is the best time to surf in Tahiti
You can surf year-round in Tahiti, which boasts plenty of powerful waves and warm waters throughout the year. The waters around Tahiti hover at around 28 degrees for most of the year.
However, the dry months of May to August are generally considered the best time to visit if you are planning a surfing trip. There are good reef breaks along the south and southwest coasts during these months, creating large hollow waves. Between October and March, swells can be found from the north, which are less heavy and generally considered better for less experienced surfers and beginners.
Best surf breaks in Tahiti
There are a host of great surfing spots around the Islands of Tahiti, but particularly on the main island of Tahiti and the island of Moorea.
Here are some of the top places to catch a wave for beginners through to experienced professional surfers.
The home of the Tahiti Pro, these waves are certainly not to be attempted by beginners. Tahiti’s most famous wave, which is located on the southern side of the island of Tahiti, is one of the heaviest in the world and can reach 30-feet tall. Tahaupo’o can be surfed all day, but some surfers prefer it best during the morning on a low tide.
Another spot on the southern coastline of the island of Tahiti, Papara is one of only a few beach breaks in Tahiti. Off the black sand beach, you can find mild to moderate waves, making it a perfect spot for beginners. Waves often roll in at 4-6 feet. Many of Tahiti’s best surfers learned to surf here.
Located on the northern beaches of the island of Tahiti, this is a good spot to start if you have never been on a surfboard before and want to catch a wave. Another black sand beach break, waves measure only 2-3 feet and there are a couple of different surf schools in the area.
Passe de Maraa
Located on the south-west corner of the island of Tahiti, this spot is an exposed reef break which delivers relatively consistent breaks. Offshore winds blow from the north-east, creating fast, hollow and shallow waves that regularly measure 4-7 feet tall. The reef provides both left and right break and it isn’t normally a crowded area with other surfers.
Another great spot on the northern coast of the island of Tahiti, this is an exposed point break which creates consistent surf. The best time to visit is during the dry season, when winds come from the south and create great swells. But be careful or rocks and sharks.
A right-hand wave located on the north east beaches of the island of Moorea, this spot is only for experienced surfers. It is a 20-minute paddle out from the beach and waves can be dangerous and inconsistent. However, regular surfers rate it one of the best waves in French Polynesia given its amazing barrels.
Located on the south side of the island of Moorea, this is a very popular surfing spot for intermediate surfers. With a coral reef below, it is a left-hand wave but is generally relatively gentle and only reaches 3-4 foot high. The area has crystal clear waters, with the coral breaks visible. But be warned that it is a 40-minute paddle from the town if you do not take a boat.
A narrow cut in the reef on the northern coast of Moorea, this is a lesser known but popular surfing spot. Located near the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa, you can find nice little waves measuring 1-2 feet high. However, be careful of strong currents and search out sharks on the nearby motus.
Travel insurance for surfers
If you are planning a surfing trip to Tahiti and are taking your own equipment, make sure your international travel insurance policy covers both surfing and personal surfing equipment.
Surfing can be a dangerous activity and overseas medical costs for any injuries sustained could be high. Many travel insurance policies include cover for surfing as standard, although some may have it as an optional extra as part of an ‘adventure’ or ‘water sports’ pack. If you are planning to take your own surfboard, you also need to make sure it is covered under your policy. Under many policies, it will be included under the umbrella of lost, stolen or damaged luggage or personal belongings. But some insurers may require you to specify sports equipment, such as surfboards, when you take out a policy.
Sailing around Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti are a great spot to sail and explore multiple islands and their waters.
Warm weather, winds averaging between 15 and 20 knots throughout the year and calm waters make Tahiti a great place to sail at any time. A number of operators offer catamaran hire so you can set sail around Tahiti for an unforgettable experience. With a little bit of previous sailing experience or education you can sail your own boat. Alternatively, you can hire a catamaran complete with a captain and chef to do all the work for you. Where you set sail is largely up to you but operators can make some suggested itinerates. Popular places to sail to include the idyllic Bora Bora as well as Raiatea, Moorea, Huahine, Tupai and Maupiti.
A personal sailing trip allows you to get off an explore different islands on land for as long as you like each day, while you can also squeeze in all the swimming, snorkelling and diving that your heart desires.
Cruising around Tahiti
If a little self-skippered sailing catamaran is not your style, you can also take a cruise around the Islands of Tahiti. There are multiple small boutique cruise lines that offer cruises out of Papeete, Tahiti. Paul Gauguin Cruises boasts an elegant five-star ship that carries 332 passengers and offers seven-night cruises around Tahiti and the Society Islands. Wind Spirit is a four-masted sailing yacht that accommodates 148 guests in cosy staterooms and offers a range of itinerates from 7 to 18 nights around the Islands of Tahiti. Oceania Cruises offers some 10-night ‘Tahitian Legends’ itinerates which start and end in Papeete and also visit Moorea, Fakarava, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Bora Bora and Raiatea. For those looking for something a little different and more affordable, Aranui Cruises offers some unique itinerates onboard the Aranui 5, which is a dual-purpose cruise passenger and freight ship that sails from Tahiti to the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Island.
It caters for up to 230 passengers and has all the comforts of a normal cruise ship at the back, while the front half of the vessel delivers supplies to the outlying Islands of Tahiti.
Many other large cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean, also make stops in Tahiti as part of their trans-Pacific sailings between the United States and Australia.
Helicopter tours in Tahiti
A great way to see the beauty of the Islands of Tahiti is from above on a helicopter tour. Tahiti Nui Helicopters offers flights over the main island of Tahiti as well as the islands of Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea-Tahaa and Nuku Hiva. You will not only see the stunning colours of the water and reefs from above but a helicopter tour can also give you a better look at some of Tahiti’s amazing mountainous terrain, including waterfalls.
Tahitian Black Pearls
Among the clear waters around Tahiti, some of nature’s best gems are produced in the form of the famous black Tahitian peal. Coming from a black lip pearl oyster, Tahitian black pearls are unique with a naturally dark colour. They are also some of the largest pearls on the planet, ranging in size from 8mm to 18mm. There are a host of pearl farms across Tahiti and plenty of shops where you can buy a Tahitian black pearl of your own to take home.
Paul Gauguin & Tahiti
Paul Gauguin was a famous and outspoken French artist who is much celebrated in Tahiti.
Gauguin travelled to Papeete in 1891 and realised that what he thought would be a primitive paradise had been profoundly changed since being colonised by France. He created paintings, including The Seed of the Areoi (1892) and The Moon and the Earth (1893) that portrayed his impressions of ancient Polynesian culture and was vocal in his disgust that this culture was being eroded by French influence. There was a Paul Gauguin Museum in Tahiti, but this was closed in 2013.
The main island of Tahiti centres around two volcanic mountains, being Mount Orohena (2,241m) and Mount Roonui (1,332m). Tahiti was first settled by migrating Polynesians as early as 500BC, before eventually being discovered by European explorers and colonised by France in 1880.
Tahitians have a rich and expressive culture, passed down from their ancestors over centuries.
Tahitians believe in a world where the lives of gods, warriors and men cross paths in colourful legends. Music, song, dance, tattoos, flowers and crafts are some of the ways the Tahitians express themselves.
According to the 2017 census, the island of Tahiti had a population of 189,517, of which 136,777 people live in main city of Papeete and the surrounding area. The wider French Polynesia region has an estimated overall population of about 280,000 people.
Tahiti National Holidays
French Polynesia celebrates the standard Christian holidays that many of the western world embrace, including Christmas Day and Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. It also celebrates New Year’s Day on January 1, Missionary Day (March 5), International Workers Day (May 1), Victory Day (May 8), Ascension Day (Flexible), Pentecost (Flexible), Whit Monday (Flexible), Autonomy Day (June 29), National Day (July 14), Assumption Day (August 15), All Saints’ Day (November 1) and Armistice Day (November 11).