Flights to Tahiti / Papeete


The word "Tahiti" refers to the largest of the French Polynesian islands and the entire 118 islands that make up French Polynesia. Tahiti itself is made up of two volcanic mountain ranges, Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti, and two cities, Papeete and Faa'a. Papeete, the capital city, has a busy harbor, sidewalk cafés, high fashion shopping and a wide variety of restaurants serving Tahitian, French and Asian cuisine, while Faa'a serves mainly to host the airport.

Of course, you can indulge in just about every type of water activity in Tahiti, including surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling and canyoning, not to mention stingray and shark feedings. But don't let that deter you from other island activities that are unique to Tahiti. Like the spectacular Les Trois Cascades (meaning "the three waterfalls") in Tahiti Nui. Or the Arahoho Blowhole — a cavern on the side of the road where water gushes in and, if the swell is just right, shoots out through the hole in the rocks. See some of Tahiti's spiritual side at Arahurahu Marae, a restored religious site where important ceremonies used to take place.

You can spend hours at Marché de Pape'ete, the public market, watching the catch of the day being brought in or the "mamas" weaving baskets. If you're looking for some souvenirs, Monoi oil, pareos, Marquesan carved bowls, ukuleles, woven hats and pareus (typical Tahitian clothing that can be worn as a dress, shorts, shawl and just about any other way) can all be found here.

Good restaurants (with the views to match) aren't hard to find in Tahiti. Dine by candlelight at Le Coco's on the lagoon or by sunset at La Belvedere, the restaurant with the 2,000 feet view. Sacrifice at least one 3-course meal to dine with the locals at the Roulottes at Place Vaiete. These snack shops on wheels deliver delicious Chinese food, crepes, French-style dishes and even pizza.