Tahiti is French Polynesia's largest island and acts as the region's economic, cultural and political hub. Part of the archipelago of the Society Islands, French Polynesia consists of 118 islands and atolls, and spans an area of more than two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean.
Formed by volcanic activity, Tahiti was first settled by the Polynesians around 200 CE. An Englishman by the name of Samuel Wallis chanced upon the island in 1767, with Captain James Cook taking possession for the British crown in 1769.
In 1880, the island was proclaimed a colony of France, and today, the island's multicultural population is comprised of a mixture of indigenous Tahitians, European settlers and others attracted by the idyllic island lifestyle.
- Currency - Cour de Franc Pacifique (CFP)
- Population - approx. 183,000
- Language - while the Tahitian language Reo Maohi is widely spoken, the official language of the island is French
- Time Zone - UTC-10
Did you know..?
That residents of Tahiti have a fresh loaf of French bread delivered twice a day to a small box outside their house, but have to go to the post office to collect their mail!
Who goes there?
Luxury cruise lines including Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Silverseas and Hapag-Lloyd, offer itineraries to this exotic island paradise between the months of August and December. Boutique lines such as Paul Gauguin and Windstar offer cruises year-round.
Big-ship lines such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard and Carnival Cruises also stop in at some of the Tahitian ports as part of their repositioning or world-sector itineraries.
Best time to go?
Tahiti's high season takes place between the months of May and October. Temperatures are milder, rain is minimal and visibility for diving is high - but slightly higher too are prices and demand for accommodation.
Tahiti’s low season between November and April offers less competition for tours and lower prices. Although there can be days of consecutive rain at this time of year, average temperatures often peak around 29 Celsius and boast plenty of sunshine.
Things to See and Do
A bountiful tropical wonderland, Tahiti's many highlights are as vibrant as they are varied.
- Located near the waterfront in Papeete, Tahiti’s vibrant main marketplace sells practically everything, from flowers to fish and authentic Tahitian souvenirs.
- Papenoo Valley and its spectacular waterfalls, best explored in a four-wheel drive, offer spectacular views of the lush surrounding countryside and plenty of photo opportunities
- Snorkelling in nearby Moorea Island’s lagoon is truly a unique experience. If you'd prefer to get up close to some tropical fish without getting wet, visit the Lagoonarium - an aquarium located just outside of Papeete.