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Tahiti Vacations: What to Expect In French Polynesia's Biggest Island

Travelers Today       By    Paulie Yap

Updated: Nov 09, 2016 06:42 PM EST

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Known for its iconic beaches, water bungalows and French infused Tahitian Cuisine, it is no wonder that Tahiti is recognized to be one of the most exclusive destinations--but do we really know what's inside this pearl just off the coasts of California and Australia?

Major airlines land in Faa'a International Airport close to Papeete, Tahiti's capital. And from there, internal flights reach other islands. Getting there, being greeted by flower leis and the luxurious tropical air, what is there to expect from Tahiti?

Travel

From UK to Los Angeles to Papeete, it is a two-day trip via Air Tahiti Nui. Air France also offers flights to Papeete, stopping over Paris and Los Angeles first.

For nationals from EU countries, and South and North America, you could stay for up to one month in Tahiti without a visa. And for French nationals, all you need is a national ID.

The transportation in Tahiti is pretty urban. Taxis are available but they are quite expensive. Instead, rent a car, 4WD, scooter or bike. All you need to present is your driver's license.

Tourist Destinations

To'ata is hard to miss, expecially during the month of July. It is a square with little restaurants and in the month of Heiva, their month-long cultural celebration, it is the place to be.

Created after years of coastal erosion, the Arahoho blowhole is a natural tourist site that shoots out huge sprays of water from its blowhole when the energy is enough. Though there's a viewing platform provided, be ready to get splashed by water especially when it surges skyward.

And to make a spiritual detour, visit the Arahurahu Marae. It is a religious site that used to be an area for ceremonies honoring the old gods.

Food

Fresh off the waters of Tahiti, their array of seafood is a must; ranging from tuna, mahi-mahi and bonito to parrotfish, barracuda and sea urchin. Poisson Cru, Tahiti's national dish, is a twist on ceviche. Think raw, red tuna marinated in a delicious and aromatic fusion of coconut milk and lime juice.

Culture and People

The main dialects in Tahiti are Tahitian and French. But majority of the locals also speak in English.

As for the locals in Tahiti, there's no problem at all. Tahitians are known to be the warmest and most welcoming people. How they will greet you with a "hello!" in the streets will show you how respectful and courteous they are.

Along those streets, you will also see them engaging in rap and hiphop. But nevertheless, they are still rich in culture with their festive dances and hymns. With their philosophy "Aita Dea Pea" which means "not to worry", they are a great people to be around with.

Health and Safety

Just like in other tropical countries, Dengue Fever is quite common to avoid wearing tight clothing and put on mosquito repellant at all times. In Tahiti, hospital and medical evacuation is difficult, so if something happens (ie. coral poisoning, which is really regular there), acquiring the supposed medical attention is not going to be easy. Read more about health information here

Bring your ID at all times and just like in other countries, the police force is quite strong so avoid, or don't even try, doing anything illegal. French law is applied here so dogma "garde a vue" will not give you immediate access to a lawyer and the police can detain you for up to three days.

It is pretty pricey in Tahiti though, which adds to its exclusivity. But surely, it's a one-time vacation that will certainly be worth it.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

Tags
french polynesian, tahiti, tahiti vacation, south pacific, papeete, island
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