Destination guide: Tahiti, Polynesia

Tahiti is in the South Pacific and is the biggest island in Polynesia. Its capital is Papeete, its official language is French and its economy is mainly based on tourism.

Together with the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, Tahiti is a true paradise which hundreds of tourists from all four corners of the globe come to visit. If you're looking for an unforgettable vacation, check out our promotions and travel to Tahiti with LAN Airlines.

  • Tahiti - Things to do


    Museum of Tahiti & Its Islands

    Only 15km from Pape’ete along the west coast, the excellent Musée de Tahiti et des Îles is in Puna’auia. The museum is divided into four sections: geography and natural history; pre-European culture; the European era; and outdoor exhibits. It’s in a large garden and if you get tired of history, culture and art, you can wander out to the water’s edge to watch the surfers at one of Tahiti’s most popular breaks.

    Sub-Type: Museum
    Telephone Number: +689 58 34 76
    Opening Hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Tue-Sun
    Pricing: admission 1000 CFP
    Address: Puna'auia
    Extras: 15km from Pape'ete along the west coast
    Transportation Type: bus
    : Puna'auia le truck

    Musée Gauguin

    The Musée Gauguin is definitely worth a visit. Much of the text about Gauguin and his life is in English, and although the museum is dimly lit and there is a conspicuous lack of original works by Gauguin, there’s a lovely natural setting. The museum gardens are home to three superb tiki from Raivavae in the Australs. Tiki do not like to be moved, and there are colourful stories about what happened to the men that moved these tiki here (they apparently died ‘mysteriously’ within weeks of the move). The huge tiki figure beside the walkway stands 2.2m high and weighs 900kg; it’s a baby compared with the figure towards the waterfront, which stands 2.7m high and weighs 2110kg. You’ll find a third, smaller figure beside the giant.

    Sub-Type: Museum
    Telephone Number: +689 57 10 58
    Opening Hours: 9am-5pm
    Pricing: admission 600 CFP
    Address: south coast of Tahiti Nui
    : PK 51.2


    Rangiroa, in the Tuamotu Archipelago, is the second-biggest atoll in the world, behind Kwajalein in Micronesia. It measures 75km (46.6mi) by 25km (15.5mi) and is the most populated island in the archipelago. Its lagoon is more like a vast inland sea and dry land exists as a narrow chain of sandy motu (islets) encircling this huge waterway. Divers come to Rangiroa from all over the world; the lagoon's configuration and tide movements cause powerful currents that they 'surf'. The lagoon is also home to a great abundance of diverse marine life. Pearl farming and mother-of-pearl production are important to the local economy.

    Sub-Type: Beach


    Just outside Pape’ete’s urban sprawl, the Lagoonarium is a pleasant tourist trap with a meshed-in area of lagoon with a modest underwater viewing room; it’s reached through a giant (though crumbling) concrete shark’s mouth. The entrance to the Lagoonarium is part of the Captain Bligh Restaurant, and if you eat at the restaurant there’s no charge to visit the Lagoonarium.

    International Number: +689 43 62 90
    Opening Hours: 9am-6pm
    Pricing: adult/child 500/300 CFP
    Extras: PK11

    Jardin Botanique

    The 137-hectare Jardin Botanique has walking paths that wind their way through the garden past ponds, palms and a superb mape forest. The gardens were founded in 1919 by an American, Harrison Smith, who introduced many plants to Tahiti including the large Southeast Asian pomelo known on Tahiti as pamplemousse, the French word for grapefruit. Unfortunately, Smith also introduced one or two botanical disasters that Tahiti could well have done without. Look out for the huge Galápagos tortoises. Mosquitoes in the gardens can be fierce.

    Opening Hours: 9am-5pm
    Pricing: admission 600 CFP

    Marae Arahurahu

    Whether or not you believe in the powers of the tiki (sacred statue), it’s hard to deny there is an amazing energy radiating from Marae Arahurahu in the Pa’ea district. Tranquil, huge and beautifully maintained, the marae (traditional temple) is undoubtedly the best-looking one on the island and even rivals those on other islands.

    Extras: PK22.5


    Western Grill

    Tired of raw fish? Tie your pony up at this saloon, complete with a Native American statue by the door and Western kitsch a go-go, for a good ol’ American steak or burger and a beer. There are also creative but delicious interpretations of Mexican food available.

    Telephone Number: +689 41 30 56
    Opening Hours: lunch & dinner
    Pricing: mains 1500-2500 CFP
    Extras: PK12.6

    Pink Coconut

    We love this lively spot located right on Marina Taina among the sailboats. Dine on French-inspired fare like delicious risotto with scallops and wild mushrooms or French-style shellfish platters. At night it’s candlelit and there’s sometimes live music and dancing on the weekends.

    Telephone Number: +689 41 22 23
    Opening Hours: lunch & dinner
    Pricing: mains from 1600 CFP
    Extras: Marina Taina

    Blue Banana

    This hip new, lagoonside restaurant (it replaced the L’Auberge du Pacific) is heavenly romantic. The roof in the main dining room retracts, revealing a starry night-sky tableau. The food is as good as the ambience – feast on innovative French dishes (small portions but artistically presented) and fine French vintages from the air-conditioned cellar. Reservations recommended on weekends.

    Telephone Number: +689 41 22 24
    Opening Hours: lunch & dinner Mon-Sat
    Pricing: dishes 2000-4000 CFP
    Extras: PK11.2

    Coco's Restaurant

    Dine in a gorgeous open plantation-style house bordered by a tropical garden that’s framed by coconut trees and looks out to Mo’orea. This is the sort of place that doesn’t list prices on the menu and each dish is served under a silver dome so that everyone can unveil their meal at the same time. The fine food is very French, with lots of seafood options. Tahiti’s swankiest and most romantic option.

    Telephone Number: +689 58 21 08
    Opening Hours: lunch & dinner
    Pricing: dishes 2000-4500 CFP
    Extras: PK16

    Chez Marie Claire

    It’s amazing that a place this big out in the middle of nowhere can fill up nightly but Chez Marie Claire does. It’s a basic open restaurant with red plastic chairs, an extensive and very good Chinese-Tahitian menu and lots of local atmosphere.

    Telephone Number: +689 57 44 69
    Opening Hours: lunch Wed-Sun, dinner nightly
    Pricing: mains 800-1800 CFP
    Extras: PK53.1