Tahiti is a place where romance thrives. French Polynesia’s popular Society Islands teem with honeymooners and anniversary celebrators, all happily paired off and in their own private worlds. But if you’re a solo traveler and still want to experience the incredible beauty of French Polynesia, you're not alone. Here are five ways to fall in love with Tahiti, solo:
1. Island hop on a luxury yacht
Stepping out solo on a small yacht to see the Tahitian islands is actually really fun. The newly refurbished Island Escape Cruises “Island Passage” is perfect for a singles trip, as it has just twelve cabins, including a solo cabin with no surcharge for not traveling as a couple (a rarity in cruising). Jump on for a seven-day trip, beginning in Bora Bora, then off the beaten path to Raiatea, Taha’a, and Huahine; return for a few days in Bora Bora’s iconic lagoon, in the shadow of Mount Otemanu. You'll spend days diving right off the back of the ship into the warm water, and exploring the calm lagoons by snorkel, kayak, or standup paddle board.
2. Scuba dive with sharks, manta rays, and turtles
Scuba diving is a must while visiting Tahiti -- and it's an ideal solo adventure. Once you're on the boat, each diver is paired up with a dive buddy as well as a dive master, allowing you to find new friends along the way. This underwater playground is chock-full of sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, eagle rays, Moray eels, colorful tropical fish, and even a shy octopus, all living among the crystal-clear waters. Highly skilled or novice divers are equally welcome, especially at Top Dive on Bora Bora, Tahiti, and Moorea; and at Mahana Dive on Huahine. Not a diver? Try snorkeling or whale-watching instead -- Top Dive offers those trips for singles, too.
3. Dance the day and night away
For a uniquely local experience, schedule your visit around Papeete, Tahiti, in July to see the month-long celebration of the annual Heiva Tahiti dance competition while it's in full swing. The Heiva Tahiti began in 1881 and features large dance troupes (of at least seventy-two members), along with singers and musicians all celebrating traditional Polynesian culture -- and vying for the top prize of best performance. During this iconic event, the troupes create new costumes, choreography, and music, all based on legendary or historical themes. The Heiva Tahiti celebration also features traditional sports and competitions (think: outrigger canoe races, stone lifting, even fruit carrying) all creating a panoply of sights and sounds to enchant a solo traveler. Mid-November also offers a different dance competition, the Hura Tapairu, also held in the capital city of Papeete. Small groups show off their traditional dancing skills and troupes from around the world join in the colorful competition.
4. Sink into spa bliss
If traveling solo means spending every day of your trip in one of the most beautiful spas on the planet, then Bora Bora has just the spot. Find it on its own private motu (the Tahitian word for small island) at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort. That’s where the Miri Miri Spa by Clarins beckons, with lavish treatment rooms that look out onto the property’s lagoonarium, complete with private Jacuzzi and swimming pool. Imagine the ultimate indulgence, like having a water treatment one day and a hot-stone massage the next. And those stunning overwater bungalows, overlooking Mount Otemanu and Bora Bora’s incredible lagoon, aren't just for couples to enjoy.
5. Pick your own South Sea pearls
Black South Sea cultured pearls -- stunningly beautiful gems grown inside oysters that live in the warm lagoon waters -- are Tahiti’s signature jewels. Start your quest for the perfect pearls with a visit to the Robert Wan Pearl Museum on Tahiti (free) to garner expert knowledge on the process. Aboard the Island Passage yacht, guests visit the remote Champon Pearl Farm on Taha’a’s Apu Bay, a tour that includes learning every step of cultured-pearl growing from grafting to harvesting to grading. Shopping, of course, is the highlight: Explore the boutique's perfectly round or fascinatingly misshapen baroque pearls set in various precious metals with a new appreciation.