Tahiti & Moorea

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You can do many of the same things on Tahiti and Moorea as on other islands in French Polynesia – shop for black pearls, jet ski, enjoy a Tahitian massage, or explore the mountainous interior in a Jeep – but there are also specific activities and sights not to miss right here. See the French Polynesia Travel Guide and the Bora Bora Travel Guide for details on other islands.

Things to do in Tahiti & Moorea

Cruise the Islands

If you have just seven days and would like to see four or five islands without repacking and flying every one or two days, consider a one-week Society Islands itinerary aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. This 332-passenger ship, known for its fine cuisine and comfortable cabins (70 percent of which have private balconies), leaves Papeete on Saturdays and visits Moorea, Raiatea, Taha’a, and Bora Bora year-round. The ship offers a variety of land and lagoon excursions, plus a watersports marina at the ship’s aft, or you can be independent and explore on your own. The ship also sails 10-, 11-, and 14-day itineraries to the Tuamotus, Cook Islands, and Marquesas.

Paul Gauguin Cruises, Tahiti, 800-848-6172, www.pgcruises.com
Tags: cruise | expensive | things to do

Do a Circle Island Tour of Tahiti

If you’re spending just a single day on Tahiti, a great way to see the sights is to book a circle-island tour that will take you 71 miles around the island’s perimeter with stops at picturesque overlooks and beaches, historic sites such as the James Norman Hall Home (he co-wrote Mutiny on the Bounty and this small house contains his memorabilia), and natural wonders such as the Three Waterfalls and the spring-fed Le Jardin d’Eau (a garden with natural springs). Book a private tour and you can customize your stops and even extend into Tahiti Iti to see the world-famous surf spot at Teahupoo.  

Tahiti, www.tahiti-tourisme.com/islands/tahiti/sites.asp
Tags: beach | family | off the path | things to do | culture | tour | museum | gardens

Feed Sharks and Stingrays

A rite of passage for visitors to Tahiti, this up-close-and-personal encounter with lagoon predators is a must. Many resorts on Moorea provide excursions for this kind of safe, aqua-safari-like experience, where you actually get into the water with snorkel gear as your local guide feeds two-to-three-foot black-tip reef sharks and prehistoric-looking southern stingrays. The sharks circle but generally keep their distance, while some of the more playful rays get close enough to touch.

Moorea, www.tahiti-tourisme.com
Tags: family | snorkeling | editor pick | things to do | wildlife | adventure

Play a Round of Golf

Play a Round of Golf There are only two golf courses in French Polynesia – one on Tahiti and one on Moorea. The latter, known as the Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course, is the better option, open since 2007 and created by Nicklaus Design. Open daily at 7:30am.

Moorea, 011-689-56-27-32, www.mooreagolf-resort.com
Tags: golf | things to do

Sample Street Food

Mingle with locals fresh off of work every day at sunset at Papeete’s legendary “roulottes,” or food carts, which line the waterfront at Vai’ete Square. The selection varies by cart and ranges from freshly made poisson cru (Tahiti’s national dish of raw tuna marinated in lime juice and coconut milk) to crepes stuffed with fruits, veggies, and fish, and even Asian specialties. Wash it all down with a locally brewed Hinano beer.

Vai’ete Square, Tahiti, www.tahiti-tourisme.com/islands/tahiti/sites.asp
Tags: family | things to do | culture | culinary

Shop Le Marché

Tahiti’s 150-plus-year-old main market, known as Le Marché, is located in a buzzing two-story, open-air building in central Papeete. On the lower level, local Tahitians buy and sell a wide array of fresh fruits, flowers, vegetables, and fish, while upstairs rainbow-hued pareus (sarongs) and dazzling displays of black pearls and carved mother of pearl jewelry compete for tourists’ dollars with carved wooden tikis, scented oils and soaps, and Hinano  beer (the local brew) t-shirts.

23 Rue Colette, Tahiti, http://www.tahiti-tourisme.com/discover/shoplocations.asp
Tags: shopping | things to do | culture | jewelry | souvenirs | culinary | market

Tour Moorea on a 4X4 or Buggy Safari

Hold on tight as you sit on a bench in the back of a pick-up-truck-like vehicle or in your own two-person buggy and bounce your way through Moorea’s jade-green valleys, stopping to admire the striking, spire-like peaks towering over its famous pineapple fields. The scenery keeps getting better as you climb higher and higher to the panoramic viewpoint at Belvedere Overlook, offering impressive views of the northern half of this heart-shaped island and its twin Cook’s and Opunohu bays. Book 4X4 or buggy tours via your resort’s activities desk.

Moorea, www.tahiti-tourisme.com/islands/moorea/sites.asp
Tags: family | things to do | tour | adventure

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