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What's so special about Tahiti and her islands?
This is an easy one because we are talking about the most beautiful islands in the world. The water is of breathtaking clarity, teeming with rainbows of tropical fish. The palm-shaded beaches are pristine and secluded. Majestic, magnificent and monumental -rugged volcanic mountains reach for azure skies, while cascading waterfalls flow through emerald green valleys. Perhaps the most rare and precious of gems you will discover are the people with their sparkling eyes and radiant smiles. And let's not forget to mention the flowers, food, music and dance. All of which will delight the senses.

Why should I go to Tahiti rather than the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii?
If you want a mass production style of vacation with lots of tourists, enormous hotels, then the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii are your destinations. However, if you prefer a special experience, spectacular scenery, few tourist and no giant hotels, then Tahiti is for you. Hawaii gets more tourists in a week than Tahiti does in a year.

Will I have to put up with vendors and beggars?
No. Beggars do not exist. The Tahitians have a high standard of living and would not think of bothering anyone or hawking stuff to tourist.

The Islands
The term French Polynesia refers to five archipelagoes spread over an expanse of the South Pacific approximately the size of Western Europe (2,000,000 square miles or approximately 5,000,000 square kilometers). The region includes the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, the Society Islands, the Australs and the Gambiers. Each of these archipelagoes has its own culture, ethnicity and climate.

The stimulus of French Polynesia economy is tourism and natural resources. While tourism brings in much of the region's capital, it is followed by such natural products as coconut, mother-of-pearl shells, cultured pearls, fishing, aquaculture, and vanilla.

Papeete, the capital, has grown into a modern city with a variety of new public facilities: shopping centers, boutiques, restaurants, night clubs and bars, art galleries and museums and all have their own special attraction.

For golfers the International Golf Course of Atimaono is located on Tahiti's west coast some 25 miles from Papeete. It is one of the most beautiful courses in the South Pacific, and is open to the public.

What island(s) should I visit?
When people refer to Tahiti, they're usually referring to a group of islands known as the Society Islands in French Polynesia . . . Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha'a; and the Tuamotu Archipelago atolls of Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau and Fakarava. Each island is strikingly different, and all are miraculously beautiful. Our islands section will help you with your selection.

Bora Bora: Has been called the most beautiful island in the world. It has that incredible lagoon. When ever you see water photographs taken in Tahiti, more than likely they were taken on Bora Bora. It is also known for its 5 star hotels.

Moorea: A larger and more mountainous island than Bora Bora, it is very lush and green with two spectacular bays. There are more things to do on this island in the way of shore excursions.

Huahine: Known as the "Garden Isle" is even lusher than Moorea. It is like a step back in time, more old style Polynesia.

Tuamotu Islands of Rangiroa, Manihi, and Tikehau: These are actually atolls which have a very low profile, quite different from the high mountainous islands. The tallest thing you will find here are the palm trees. They offer beautiful beaches and the best diving.

What are your favorite islands?
Each island is special in its own unique way. The most stunning lagoon in all the Pacific surrounds Bora Bora. The scenery on Moorea is spectacular and the view as you come into Cook's Bay is unparalleled. The delightful island of Huahine is where the traditional Polynesian way of life continues with white sand beaches that border lagoons rich with sea life, and Maeva Village is a wealth of archeological sites. Raiatea, the sacred isle, was the center of royalty, religion, culture and history and has the only navigable river in French Polynesia. Life on Rangiroa and Manihi is simple quiet and peaceful but their impressive lagoons are home to an extraordinary array of marine life attracting divers from around the world. No matter which island you choose, all are worthy of exploration, discovery and enjoyment.

I want to spend my time snorkeling and diving. Where's the best spot?
All of French Polynesia. But to be a bit more specific, experienced diversshould consider going to the Tuamotu Atolls both Rangiroa and Manihi, for the finest experiences. The diversity of the marine life is superb. Dives start along the outer reefs, drifting through the passes and into the unbelievable waters of the lagoons. Moorea specializes in hand-feeding sharks and dives with rays and dolphins. Bora Bora generally offers beautiful, graceful manta rays in its plankton-rich, multi-hued lagoon. Huahine and Raiatea offer more brilliant displays of coral ledges, cliffs and exquisitely colored reef fish.

Airport Services

How do I get there and how long does it take?
It's very easy. There are four international airlines serving Papeete, the capital of Tahiti from the USA. It is just a short 7 ½ hour flight, non-stop from Los Angeles.

What airlines fly to Tahiti?
Air Tahiti Nui, the first Tahiti-based international carrier was officially launched in April, 1998 with an Airbus A 340-300. Other International airlines providing services include Air France, Hawaiian Airlines, Air New Zealand, Qantas Airways Limited, Lan Chile, and Air Caledonia International.

Which airlines should I use?
My opinion on this is let your departure date and time determine the carrier 
you will use. Most people have a set vacation schedule and are not real flexible on their departure and return dates. Therefore you go with the airline that operates at the time and the day you want to travel. (By the way, you cannot mix carriers…meaning you can not go over on one airline and come back on another - it is cost prohibitive.) Air Tahiti Nui, the preeminent carrier to French Polynesia now offers daily service from the west coast to Tahiti. Because they are a Tahitian owned airline and the in-flight crew, food service and ambiance is true Polynesian…your vacation begins when you step aboard. Air Tahiti Nui is the first choice for most travelers .

Services provided at The International Airport of Tahiti-Faa'a:
Westpac Banque Currency Exchange. Open Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and one hour before and after each international flight. This is for money exchange only.

Post Office

Telephones with operator on duty 24 hours/day.

Baggage Storage, open 2 hours before each international flight and at varying; times during the day.

Snack Bar Manureva on ground floor, snack bar, restaurant and bar on first level.

Taxi stands and Taxiphones.

Other services include Manureva Boutique, Namata Boutique, Newsstand, Moorea Fruit Juice and Tahiti Fleurs International counter, Salle Ra'i Nui exhibit hall; and the "Fare Hei" flower and shell necklace stand across the road.

Duty Free Shops and a waiting lounge with bar and snacks are located in the in-transit zone, after passing through Immigration

Faa'a, the airport of Tahiti, is regularly served by frequent jet connections, linking Tahiti with the west coast of the United States and Canada, Hawaii, France and Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South East Asia.

Entry Requirements
Foreigners wishing to visit French Polynesia must have a valid passport, which, depending on the nationality of the visitor, contains a valid visa. Such visitors must also have an airline ticket back to their resident country or to at least two more continuing destinations. Visitors must also have a sufficient amount of funds to cover their planned stay in the territory.

What can I bring into Tahiti - duty free?
In addition to personal effects, the following are allowed into Tahiti duty-free: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 grams of smoking tobacco, 50 grams of perfume, 500 grams of coffee, 100 grams of tea, 2 liters of spirits and ten rolls of film.

How do I get to the other islands?
Air Tahiti operates a number of flights daily to the outer islands. Flights start early in the morning and end soon after dark. If only going to Moorea from Tahiti you have a choice between flying and taking the ferry. The flight only takes approximately 15 minutes, whereas the ferry will take approximately 45 minutes .

What about day trips to other islands?
It is easy and inexpensive to go from Tahiti to Moorea or vise versa on a day trip. However, it is just not practical to go to any of the outer islands without an overnight stay. There is no ferry service returning the same day and the air schedules are such that it would leave you with no time to explore the island.

How do I know which hotel?
The hotels you select are so important to the overall success of your trip. I can't stress this enough. Your hotel is likely to be the center of your activities - you'll want it to be a good one - the right one. Hotels in Tahiti can range from a large 200-room resort to a small intimate hotel with a few Polynesian bungalows. We try to paint a very clear picture of the wide range of hotels so that you can make an informed choice. Prepared for you are detailed descriptions of each hotel. I have visited each and every hotel featured on our site. I have either stayed at the hotel or done a thorough inspection. The hotels have been rated based on quality of their facilities and services. You will find our "starfish" hotel rating system - 5 starfish being best. I encourage you to take a close look at the hotel section.

What kind of room?
The vast majority of accommodations in French Polynesia are individual units called "bungalows" made of natural woods and material with a Polynesian décor. Much of the fun of coming to Tahiti is being able to stay in one of these thatched-roofed bungalows. Accommodations typically feature a queen or king size bed and a day bed for a third person or child. Please keep in mind, there are very few hotels that can accommodate more than 3 people in one bungalow. Typically the hotels categorize the bungalows by location. Below is a list in general, how hotels classify their rooms/bungalows beginning with the least expensive.

Garden View Room/Lagoon View Room: You will typically find this accommodation on Tahiti. Rooms are located in a 2 or 3 story building with a patio or balcony. Rooms overlook the gardens or the water.

Garden Bungalow: These units are located in the landscaped area of the hotel and may or may not have an ocean view. Often you will find them set back and staggered between the beach bungalows.

Beach Bungalow: The units are built along the beach so you step out your door, off your deck, and your toes are in the sand.

Overwater Bungalow: Built on stilts out over the water. You access your room by walking along a pier. This is quite a unique accommodation and if it fits into your budget, I highly recommend them. Many Overwater Bungalows offer a plexiglass floor or coffee table for viewing the underwater sea life. Some of the plexiglass openings even have hinges to open and feed the fish. Units range US$500 - $900 per night.

"Premium", "Deep", and "Horizon" Overwater Bungalow: Generally the same unit as the Overwater Bungalow but offers a better location or view. Hotels put a premium on these units with an average cost US$750 - US$1200 per night.

What is Pre-Registration?
With many international flights arriving in Tahiti in the very early morning hours and inter-island flights arriving early, it is suggested that you pre-register your hotel room for immediate occupancy where appropriate. If it is already included, this will be indicated in the "Included Features" as "includes pre-registration." In most hotels in French Polynesia, check in time is 1:00 PM or later.

What is a Day Room?
This can be a late check-out from your room that you keep until approximately 6p.m. Some international flights depart from Tahiti very late in the evening. Most hotel check-out times are around 11:00 a.m. You may want to consider pre-purchasing a late check-out. If already included in a package, it will be indicated in the "Included Features" as "includes dayroom". Dayroom check-out times vary from hotel to hotel .

Is it really romantic?
The exotic islands of French Polynesia were made for lovers. Intoxicating scents, palm-shaded beaches, secluded coves, islands more sensuous than the works of Gauguin. Tahiti is without a doubt the most romantic place on earth. The romance of the islands will sweep over you immediately.

We want to go there for our honeymoon. Do you have any suggestions?
Tahiti is the idyllic setting for a honeymoon in paradise. Sleep in your own private thatched-roof bungalow on the edge of a turquoise under star studded skies propelled by gentle trade winds...spend the day on your own secluded motu. You couldn't pick a better honeymoon destination. While in French Polynesia you may renew your vows in a romantic, traditional Tahitian Wedding Ceremony.

Sentimental Wedding Ceremonies
For couples wishing to renew their vows, or lovers looking for a unique and legally non-binding way to express their feelings, the traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony is a fun way to say "I do." Couples are bedecked in pareus, flowers and shells, and the groom approaches the beach in an outrigger canoe. The bride, who is carried in on a rattan throne, awaits her groom on the white sand beach. A spectacular sunset, lapping lagoon, Tahitian music and dancers enhance the ambiance. A Tahitian priest performs the ceremony and gives the couple their Tahitian names.

Is there privacy and seclusion?
As many of the accommodations in French Polynesia are private bungalows...either in the garden, on the beach or over the water...privacy is not an issue. With the small population and few tourists, you'll feel the beaches are your own private domain. There are several small hotels located on motus (little islands) that take you off the beaten path. They provide solitude and seclusion but offer plenty of amenities to make you quite comfortable.

What is the Power Voltage in Tahiti?
Most of the hotels use 110 or 220 volts, a.c. 60 cycles. Power outlets for shavers and other appliances are a convenience provided in most hotels. A converter/adaptor for other appliances is required.

What time zone is Tahiti in?
French Polynesia is 10 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, 2 hours behind US Pacific Standard Time, and 20 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time.

What's the weather like?
Cooled by the gentle breezes of the Pacific, the climate of these islands is sunny and pleasant. Roughly speaking, there are two seasons. November through March is the rainier season when the weather is warmer and humid. April through October is the drier season when temperatures are slightly cooler. The climate is tropical so that means there could be intermittent rain even in the "dry" season and sunshine for many days in a row during the "rainy" season. Temperatures remain fairly constant throughout the year making it a great travel destination for any time. The yearly average temperature is 79 degrees.

What about the People?
The population of French Polynesia is a mixture of 75 percent Polynesian, 15 percent European, and 10 percent Chinese. Among these racial categories exists every conceivable mixture. It would not be unusual to encounter a Tahitian with a blend of all these ancestries.

I'm looking for a true cultural experience. Will I find it in Tahiti?
Tahitian culture is a lively fusion of ancient Polynesian lore and present day Europe. Culture is still of massive significance. Tahiti and her islands are a veritable cultural Garden of Eden. Tahitians express their culture in their dress, their music, their food, and their crafts. Traditional mat or basket weaving and carving are still practiced in the more remote areas, such as the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Austral islands. In particular, The Australs are known for the quality mats and hats woven from a tree that grows throughout the Pacific, the Pandanus. They also adorn themselves with the flowers of the islands. It is not just a show for is just the way they are and, they love to share their wealth of ancient and lustrous traditions. Polynesia is the birthplace of the tattoo, and this internationally-recognized form of body painting has been practiced here since ancient times. It's almost impossible to walk down a busy thoroughfare in Papeete or Moorea without encountering tattooed locals.

France and Polynesia
The French were not the first people from Europe to visit Tahiti. However, a keen interest was aroused when the French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville claimed it for his homeland. The issue of title to the islands was not resolved with England until 1847. But France never once faltered in their devout conviction that Tahiti was meant to be theirs.

Cultural Events

Heiva I Tahiti (Cultural Heiva)
The largest cultural festival in all of Tahiti taking place at beautiful To'ata Square in Papeete, Tahiti. This year's Heiva will feature the biggest-ever assembly of dance troupes. In addition to the dance competitions there are sporting events, cultural demonstrations, cuisine and artisans. July 1 - July 18, 2004.

Hawaiki Nui Va'a is the International Outrigger Canoe Race from the island of Huahine to Raiatea, Tahaa, and Bora Bora. Over 100 teams from canoeing countries all over the world participate in this grueling open-ocean race.
October 20-22, 2004.

Without question, the most famous artist associated with French Polynesia. This French impressionist painter first came to Tahiti in 1891, left only to return in 1895. His work concentrated on capturing images of daily life with exuberant settings and flamboyant colors. He came to Hiva Oa in 1901 in search of a primitive culture and savage wildness and here he died in 1903.

Additional Notable Names of Tahiti

HENRI MATISSE - A French artist who in 1930 spent 3 months in Tahiti. He return to Europe with only notebooks filled with drawing, many of which were the faces of Tahiti. Toward the end of his life his artwork took the form of paper cut-outs. A process, which closely resembles the applique techniques used in quilting or the making of the Tahitian tifaifai.

The American writer arrived in Tahiti in 1842 and escaped into an almost forgotten valley on the island of Nuku Hiva. His adventures here in the Marquesas provided the material for his book Typee that was his first literary success.


James Norman Hall and Charles Nordhoff came to Tahiti after WW I. They began collaboration on what was to become the most famous seagoing novel written in the 20th century. The resulting narrative was divided into three sections: "Mutiny on the Bounty", "Men Against the Seas", and "Pitcairn Island". The trilogy was based on facts taken from Bligh's log and the British court-martial proceedings.

A French artist who came to Tahiti to paint in 1902. He searched for work in the Gambier Islands and the Marquesas as he was unable to make a living from his art. He returned to France in 1918 due to declining health. The Gauguin Museum has on display his painting "Tahitians on the Veranda".

The purpose of Captain Bligh's expedition to Tahiti was to gather breadfruit seedlings. Plantations were to be grown in Jamaica to feed the slave population. A naval inquiry cleared the Captain and he returned to Tahiti to once again collect the seedlings. The irony is the plantations were planted and began to bear fruit however; the slaves found it distasteful and refused to eat the starchy breadfruit.

This American novelist became enchanted with the Tahiti when he was a young naval officer stationed on Bora Bora. His first book, Tales of the South Pacific won a Pulitzer Prize and became the basis of the award-winning Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific.

In 1767 the English explorer, Samuel Wallis arrived in Tahiti. He named it King George Island and claimed it for Britain. He returned to England after only a brief stay. When Wallis returned and learned of the imminent voyage Cook was to command, Wallis related to him he would find hospitable natives and an abundance of food and water.

This Scottish writer, author of Treasure Island, sailed into Tahiti aboard the Casco in 1888. He enjoyed a delightful stay in the village of Tautira on the island of Tahiti. Enamored with the villagers he was inspired to describe Tautira as "a paradise with the friendliest people in the world".

An expert seaman and brilliant navigator, Cook made three great expeditions to the Pacific. Cook's first arrival in Tahiti was on board the Endeavour in 1769. Cook visited Moorea and named Cook's Bay. He discovered the Leeward Islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora, Maupiti and Tupai naming them the Society Islands "as they lie contiguous to each other".

The first great French explorer arrived in Tahiti in 1768. Bougainville's accounts of Tahiti as a paradise of stunning beauty inspired a mythical vision of the islands, which has survived today. It was Bougainville who coined the expression "noble savage".

What about the food and dining?
You will discover a palate-pleasing variety of native dishes, Chinese, French and American cuisine. You will delight in the abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and fresh vegetables. You can eat at fine restaurants or outdoor cafes; partake of Polynesian feasts and beach barbecues. There are few restaurants on the outer islands other than those within the hotels. Meal plans are available prior to the start of your trip and will generally represent cost savings. Meal prices are comparable to those at better restaurants in other resort destinations. Most restaurants have a la carte menus so that you will not have to order a complete meal if all you want is a salad. A package that includes meals represents a value. However, if a package does not include meals, my suggestion is to leave some days open so you can venture out from your hotel and experience other island restaurants. Pre-purchasing meal plans not included in a package represents more of a convenience than a savings.

Dressing up doesn't appeal to me and how fancy do I have to be in the evenings?
Tahiti sounds like the right place for you. You never need to dress up in the evenings. A simple cotton dress or shorts outfit will do for ladies and the gentlemen are fine with a sport shirt and either slacks or shorts. During the days, the coolest of clothing is preferred and natural fibers are best. Do not forget your swimsuits, sunblock and hats. Another essential to bring with you is rubber-soled or plastic shoes, preferably shoes you can wear in or out of the water to protect your feet from coral.

No tipping and no taxes
Tipping is not customary, Polynesian hospitality simply does not allow it. Throughout French Polynesia there are no sales taxes or service charges. Consider these savings when comparing Tahiti with other destinations.

There is an abundant variety of fruits grown in French Polynesia. Among the fruits grown in French Polynesia are pineapples, grapefruits, mangoes, papaya, guavas, limes, lychees, watermelons, cantaloupes, vanilla, coconuts and bananas in all shapes and sizes. There are boundless other natural delicacies to be found on the islands as well.

Tap water in the hotels and restaurants is safe to drink. Local mineral waters and all sorts of French mineral waters are available.

The Flowers
One of the most lasting impressions of French Polynesia is the captivating floral scents which permeate the tropical air. The region is home to a myriad of tropical flowers, many indigenous to these islands.

The basis for French Polynesia's traditional "hei" wreath is the perfumed "Tiare Tahiti." This heavily scented gardenia is widely used for greeting arriving visitors and returning family. In fact, the "Tiare Tahiti" is so revered in French Polynesia that it has its own national holiday.

The flower is also used as an ingredient in tanning lotions, perfumes, soaps and other cosmetic products.

What is the local currency?
The currency in Tahiti is the French Pacific Franc (CFP), though credit cards and US dollars are common. It's also helpful to know business hours and where to exchange money.

Where can I exchange my money?
A privately operated foreign exchange office is located on the Papeete waterfront next to the harbor and in back of the port immigration office and the Socredo Bank. It is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is open Sundays and public holidays from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Additionally, there is a currency exchange stand at Faaa International Airport in Tahiti that is open for all arriving passenger flights.

Credit Cards
Visa credit cards are accepted (banks will give you a cash advance), as are American Express. MasterCard is accepted in some areas. On many of the smaller islands, credit cards are not accepted. Though ATMs are a growing presence in Tahiti, there is no guarantee yours will work here.

Do they take travelers checks?
Travelers' checks are easily cashed at banks and hotels. Visitors are advised to carry both traveler's checks and credit cards to make their trip more convenient. All banks charge a 350 to 400 CFP (U.S. $3.50 to $4.00) commission on a travelers' check transaction, particularly if you are changing from one currency to another.

Do I need to speak French?
No. Many locals speak English and you'll find that English is widely understood in hotels and establishments catering to tourists.

Bugs & Insects - Mosquitos
The typical bug or inspect you could encounter are mosquitoes, flies, geckos and some sand flees. Most resorts treat their grounds to prevent infestation. Packing a supply of repellent is a good idea.

Do I need to be vaccinated to travel to Tahiti?
No, there is no requirement for ANY Immunization prior to your departure.

How do you get around?

Tahiti's most famous form of transportation is the inimitable "le truck". This brightly painted jitney is actually a flatbed truck outfitted with an open- air cabin and wooden seats. Just wave to the driver to stop and pay when you get off. It is an entertaining and inexpensive way to get around and see the sights.

The climate lends itself to open-air jeeps and convertible cars, as well as scooters and bicycles, all of which are available for rent on the majority of islands.

Domestic airlines offer inter-island travel on modern aircraft, while Tahiti and Moorea are also served by high-speed passenger catamarans. For visitors seeking a more leisurely pace, island trader ships follow routes that have been followed for more than 100 years.

What kinds of activities are available after I get there?
There is an abundance of activities in and around the water and much to do on land. Most of the hotels offer free snorkeling, outrigger canoes, windsurfing and lazing in a hammock.

Tahiti Museum Tours
There are a number of uniquely captivating museums to visit on the island, from the earthy art of Paul Gauguin to cultural relics and exhibits recounting the exploits of famed Tahitian explorers James Cook and Louis-Antoine de Bougainville. The Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands is known all over the world for the thorough exhibits detailing the history of French Polynesia. Some of the most beautiful displays of black pearls are at the Tahiti Perles Museum in Papeete. There is a qauint colonial-style museum, Musee des Coquillages showcasing seashells from the region.

Tahiti Shopping
Black pearls, hand-blocked fabrics, exquisitely carved bowls, drums, tikis, local shell craft, baskets, dance costumes and vanilla beans can all be purchased in the markets and shops of Tahiti. French imports such as perfumes, are available in duty free shops. Stores are normally closed daily for a long lunch, on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.

Tahiti Marketplace (Le Marché)
A "must see" is the Central Market located downtown behind the waterfront. It displays in an open-air fashion local flowers, fruits, fish and Tahitian handicrafts.

Outer Islands

Bike/Scooter Rentals
Bicycle or scooter is a great way to see French Polynesia. Rentals are an excellent way to take in the sights and mix with the locals. Most hotels have both bicycles and scooters available for rental.

Circle Island Tours
Experience French Polynesia by taking advantage of a circle island bus tour excursion. The bus tour visits the small villages, fields, hills and plantations of the region, giving tourists a feel for everyday Tahitian life. Please note that not all islands have these tours available.

Rental Cars
Travelers wishing to explore French Polynesia on their own can rent vehicles from the many automobile rental agencies serving the Islands. Rental car agencies including Avis, Budget, Hertz and others have available for rent everything from compacts, 4x4 vehicles, minivans, and luxury automobiles such as Mercedes and BMW.

Jeep Safari Tours
Take a jeep safari tour in a rugged 4-wheel drive vehicle. Jeep excursions allow visitors to explore the mysterious and exotic Tahitian interiors with High-altitude peaks, rushing waterfalls, lush bamboo forests, and emerald valleys.

Helicopter Tours
Discover the islands from a bird's eye view. Try to spot goats on the mountainside. Fly over the reefs and get a closer look at misty Mount Otemanu and see why no one has ever been able to climb to the top of this fabulous basalt obelisk. The flight is spectacular and very popular for all ages, especially for those who enjoy aerial photography.

Hiking trails are numerous on all the islands, and it's a good idea to seek out a guide or pick up a map to ensure against getting lost.

Horseback riding is available in the Tahitian Islands. You can get information on local stables from the hotel concierge.

Water Activities

Scuba Diving
Diving in French Polynesia is colorful, varied, and among the best anywhere. You will encounter a myriad of colorful reef fish, moray eels, turtles, even manta rays and sharks. The translucent waters are warm (80° and above) and clear (100 foot visibility) and full of colorful, exciting marine matter which island you choose to explore. Moorea specializes in hand-feeding sharks and dives with rays and dolphins, along with a variety of reef fish and low-growing corals. Bora Bora generally offers beautiful, graceful manta rays in its plankton-rich multi-hued lagoon. Huahine and Raiatea offer more brilliant displays of coral ledges and cliffs, along with varieties of colorful reef fish. However, it is the Tuamotu atolls of Rangiroa and Manihi where more experienced divers will enjoy the fullest diversity of marine life, with dives starting along the outer reefs, drifting through the passes, and into the lagoons. It is high excitement diving with black-tip and white-tip sharks everywhere and occasionally silver-tip or hammerhead.

Jet Ski Tours
Guided tours are available to some of the most beautiful and remote spots on earth.
Parasailing Parasailing is an easy water sport to enjoy with no training required. You will be able to get a bird's eye view of the lagoon from 300 feet high as a 28 foot boat pulls your parasail. A special platform on the boat allows people of all ages to take off and land without getting wet.

Half-Day Shark and Ray Feeding Excursion
This is one of Tahiti's most popular excursions. It is an unforgettable experience. A motorized outrigger canoe speeds across the lagoon toward the barrier reef. You slip into the lagoon, just inside the fringing reef. Watch riveted, as countless tropical fish and black-tip reef sharks are hand feed. The sandy -bottomed location the stingrays enjoy will be visited next. You have a change to even touch the rays. Rays are one of nature's most elegant swimmers, watch as they glide in an effortless ballet in and around the swimmers.

Snorkeling is a popular water sport. Most hotels make available mask and flippers so you can explore the reefs surrounding the islands of French Polynesia. The lagoons abound with tropical fish of every color and description. Among the sea life to be found here are rays, eels, sharks, tunas and barracudas. The best snorkeling is generally found on the outer islands, where the undersea resources are abundant.

The warm water and calm tropical breezes in French Polynesia make it an excellent windsurfing spot.

A number of visitors have recently discovered the excellent surfing in French Polynesia. The best surf can be found around Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea and Huahine. April through October is generally the best months for surfing.

Bora Bora Deep Sea Fishing
Enjoy half day, full day or multi day fishing excursion with Captain Richard Postma's crew and the newest addition to his fleet, a Black Watch 34. The 34' Black Watch has an open plan interior which has large entertaining area making it excellent for day charter or private game fishing.

If you're looking for more freedom and independence on your next vacation, to be able to chart your own course at your own pace, then try yachting. For the more experienced sailor, bareboating is the ultimate escape. For a more leisurely vacation, experience a Fully Crewed Yacht Charter with Captain and a hostess/cook. Delight in scuba diving off the back of your very own boat, enjoy meals, music and friends while watching the sunset from aboard a luxury sailing yacht. There are a number of Yacht Charter companies in French Polynesia offering charters from 4 days to 4 weeks and beyond. No matter what your choice, you're in for a truly memorable experience.

Is film for my camera expensive?
Yes, film in Tahiti is extremely expensive. Plan ahead and take a good supply of film and camera batteries.

Is Tahiti too expensive for a vacation?
If you compare an all-inclusive week in Tahiti with a week in Hawaii it will probably be more money. However, Tahiti will transport you to a simpler time with few distractions, where life moves at its own pace. The most beautiful islands in the world invite you to indulge yourself and create the memories that will last a lifetime. Don't forget there's no tipping or added tax in Tahiti.

If I need to call home, what can I expect?
Direct dialing for local and international telephone calls is very easy in French Polynesia, whether placing calls from your hotel or from public phone booths. When dialing direct to Tahiti and Her Islands, dial the proper International Access Code + 689 (country Code) + Local Number. The International Access Code if calling from the U.S. is 011.

When transmitting telex messages from the U.S., the code 702 or 711 for Tahiti and Her Islands must precede the telex number.

Calling cards can be purchased at any post office, or at retail outlets such as newspaper stands or shops with phone booths nearby. There are three denominations of cards that purchase corresponding "call units" - 5000 CFP, 2000 CFP and 1000 CFP. If you plan to make a long-distance call, it's a good idea to pick up a 5000 CFP card and keep it with you.

If I need medical attention or medications, where do I go?


French Polynesia enjoys a high standard of health, with excellent medical and dental facilities. The tropical sun can be deceptively penetrating, so be sure to use a good, waterproof sunblock to protect your skin from overexposure. The water is generally safe to drink however; we suggest bottled water available through the hotels. Medications, even aspirin, should be brought from home, as pharmacies are not always convenient to hotels. If you are prone to ear infections, we suggest you take along ear plugs.

There are no snakes, poisonous spiders or fearsome animals in these islands. Hotels and dispensaries on each tourist island and atoll keep first aid supplies on hand to treat coral cuts, sunburn and the extremely rare case of poisoning, when the barefoot swimmer steps on the toxic spines of the stonefish. All the islands maintain hygienic controls to combat potential epidemics of tropical diseases, such as the dengue fever.

Please take precaution and do not overexpose your body to the tropical sun. Tennis shoes or plastic sandals are recommended when walking on the reefs and in the lagoons of Polynesia.

Church Services
Religion is very important to the Tahitian people. The church, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, is the center of activity in all villages. Attend a Sunday service, you will find the Tahitians' singing to be beautiful and moving. Guests are certainly welcome in places of worship as long as they adhere to the usual decorum: men should wear long pants and shirts, and women should wear subdued dresses .

Is there anything else we should bring?
If you desire, you can bring cigarettes (up to two cartons), film (up to ten rolls), and liquor (up to two liters).

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