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Aren Bergstrom Getaway Guide Editor 2 years, 10 months ago

The Islands of Tahiti Offer an Escape to Paradise

  • Tahiti bungalows, Tahiti Vacations

This past year has made us reconsider a lot of things. We’ve come to have a whole new appreciation for the health and safety of those we love. We’ve come to hold family and friends even dearer, cherishing those meals and moments spent together.

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And we’ve come to appreciate the promise of intimacy and seclusion on a vacation more than ever. Thus, it’s no wonder the past year has made The Islands of Tahiti look like the most appealing destination in the world. 

The Islands of Tahiti, including Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti, among other islands, have long been famous honeymoon destinations. But travellers are increasingly clueing into their appeal for more diverse experiences, from family getaways to active and adventure excursions. They still hold all the promise of a romantic stay enjoying the warm breezes of the South Pacific and the calming rhythm of the waves lapping against the sands. But there’s no one way to enjoy them. You can travel for the water and the weather, the food, the little cultural hideaways you’ll discover, and the verdant mainlands beyond the oft-photographed lagoons.

In 2021, there are also other reasons to appreciate the islands.

The Islands of Tahiti offer space and safety

Bora Bora beach

For one thing, The Islands of Tahiti are open to travel to Americans. When other countries have closed their borders, French Polynesia has worked hard to develop a safety strategy that keeps locals and travellers safe while keeping the borders open. Every traveller entering the country is subject to safety considerations, including proof of full vaccination, a negative RT-PCR test prior to arrival, and a subsequent self-test four days after arrival in Tahiti. Such precautions ensure that the islands remain safe and travellers remain comfortable while enjoying these paradises.

The Islands of Tahiti also offer a lot of natural appeal when more crowded destinations are either off limits or unappealing. For one, you’ll never jockey for space alongside other travellers when visiting. Whether you’re hiking up the slopes of Mount Otemanu on Bora Bora, snorkelling through Tahaa’s lagoon, or dipping your feet in the ocean relaxing on your overwater bungalow on Moorea, you’ll have space to yourself. You can call it “physical distancing,” but it’s simply the facts of life on The Islands of Tahiti.

The Islands of Tahiti are more than Bora Bora

Tikehau snorkelling

With its tranquil lagoon, green mountain sides, year-round warm weather, and white-sand beaches, Bora Bora has rightly been called “paradise on earth.” But let’s not forget about the other islands just because the honeymoon haven is so famous. Even if you don’t aspire to enjoy the kind of romantic getaway to Bora Bora that attracts so many newlyweds each year, you’ll still find an island to love in French Polynesia.

The main island of Tahiti is often used as a gateway to the other islands, but it is a cultural powerhouse in its own right. People are drawn to taste the bounty of fresh seafood in the markets of Papeete or see what the food trucks, locally known as Les Roulottes, are all about. Travellers who want to learn about Polynesian arts and crafts and explore the valleys and waterfalls of the interior will also find a lot to like here. Don’t forget that it’s also a great place to shop for Tahitian cultured pearls.

Moorea is a short ferry ride from Tahiti and is typically a bit quieter, although it’s by no means off the tourist trails. Much of its appeal lies in its many mountain peaks, with excellent views over the ocean from Belvedere Lookout, among other spots. Huahine, with its pair of big and little islands, is often referred to as the Garden Island for its lush landscape. It’s also home to important archaeological sites and isolated villages that offer insight into Polynesian rural traditions. Raiatea and Tahaa are known for more relaxed daily rhythms and sacred hideaways. Tahaa is particularly famous for its many vanilla plantations. It’s also home to Tahitian cultured pearl farms, which are also open to visitors in Huahine and throughout the Tuamotu Islands.

If you really want to get away from the usual spots, you can opt for a cruise through the Tuamotu Islands, where you’ll truly avoid the crowds and have the beautiful combination of lapping sea and warm sands to yourself. The islands such as Tikehau are famous for their pink-sand beaches. They’re also renowned for their snorkelling and diving, offering the chance to share the water with rays, reef sharks, and turtles amid the coral gardens.

Beyond overwater bungalows

Tahiti ATV

A stay in The Islands of Tahiti doesn’t just mean what you see on Instagram. It’s true that an overwater bungalow captures the appeal of a luxury vacation like few other accommodations. And it’s easy to see why so many people want to stay in an overwater bungalow on their vacation to the islands. But it’s not the only way to experience this destination.

The Islands of Tahiti offer diverse experiences and accommodations for all manner of travellers. Tahitian Guesthouses have become an increasingly popular alternative for travellers that want to experience a more authentic side of The Islands of Tahiti. Travellers can stay in family-run hotels and guesthouses to get to know locals, enjoy comfortable accommodations, experiences, and meals typical of ordinary Tahitian life, and know that they’re helping the local economy by keeping funds from tourism within the community.

Furthermore, you don’t have to stick to the popular travel seasons of summer or the winter holidays to enjoy what The Islands of Tahiti have to offer. The weather is warm year-round. While there is more humidity from November to March, with frequent rainfall in the late afternoon, the days are still warm and sunny and the waters are attractive at all times of year. You can also take advantage of lower costs during these months.

There are also animal migration patterns to take into account. In August through October, humpback whales reach The Islands of Tahiti to give birth to their young in warm and tranquil waters. You can book a snorkelling or scuba diving excursion to see these magnificent animals beneath the waves during this time. If you’re more of a landlubber, you can book a 4WD ride up the mountainside of Bora Bora to see American bunkers left over from World War II or tour ancient temples and archaeological sites across Huahine, such as Marae Manunu, the tomb of Raiti, the last great priest of the village Maeva. 

There is no limit to how you can spend your time in The Islands of Tahiti. With plenty of beautiful islands to choose from, a variety of accommodation and excursion options, bountiful nature by land and sea, and lots of space to keep safe while travelling, The Islands of Tahiti have everything you could hope for in the current moment. “Paradise on earth” indeed.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated from its original version to reflect current border restrictions.

1 Dec 2020, 8:56 p.m.

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