Although the name "Tahiti" is commonly used to describe the entire destination, it is actually one of the many islands in French Polynesia. Often referred to as "Tahiti and her Islands", French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls scattered across 1.5 million square miles of the South Pacific. Amazingly enough, these tiny islands, many of which remain uninhabited, make up a total landmass of only 1,500 square miles.
Where is Tahiti?
It's closer than you may think. The islands are situated halfway between Los Angeles, California and Sydney,
Tahiti is only an 8-hour flight from Los Angeles.
Australia. They are in the same time zone as Hawaii and are located just as far south of the equator as Hawaii is north. Since the word Tahiti often conjures up visions of a distant, unspoiled paradise, it's easy to assume that it's incredibly far away. But the truth is, Tahiti is only an 8-hour flight from Los Angeles. Click the map tab in the gallery to view the Tahiti Map.
The actual island of Tahiti, known as the "Queen of the Pacific", is the largest in the region. Nearly two-thirds of French Polynesia's 270,000 inhabitants live here. It's home to the capital city of Papeete and serves as the country's economic center.
Since all flights arrive and depart through Faa'a International Airport, your Tahiti vacation
will begin on the island of Tahiti. Although you'll be tempted to immediately jet off to the other islands of French Polynesia, we recommend devoting at least one or two days to Tahiti. All too often this beautiful island goes unexplored by its visitors. And with a selection of wonderful and convenient Tahiti resorts to choose from, you won't regret staying....
Papeete is a vibrant, multi-cultural city boasting an impressive variety of restaurants and shops. The downtown market, "Le Marché", is the best place to purchase Tahiti's local produce and handcrafts. Also a must-see is the waterfront Vai'ete Square where gourmet food trucks known as "Les Roulottes" set up nightly with an amazing selection of affordable sweet and savory treats.
Beyond the bustling city, the island of Tahiti offers a wealth of activities. It's home to many historical sites and museums, as well as one of the only golf courses in French Polynesia. The interior part of the island is known for its scenic hiking trails, meaning you can discover Tahiti's many hidden valleys and waterfalls by foot. You can also explore Mount Orohena, the tallest mountain in French Polynesia. Last but certainly not least, Tahiti is home to Teahupoo, one of the world's most infamous surfing spots.
A true Tahitian vacation
begins and ends on the island of Tahiti. How much time you spend here is up to you, but you should definitely give yourself a chance to experience what the island has to offer, beyond the view from the plane.