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Tahiti is the largest island in the stunning South Pacific archipelago, French Polynesia.
Shaped like a figure of eight, it consists of a northwestern region known as Tahiti Nui (Big Tahiti) and a southeastern region, Tahiti Iti (Small Tahiti).
It has a dramatic mountainous terrain which is perfect for exploring on a 4WD tour, whilst the ruggedly beautiful coastline offers superb hiking trails. In the jungle, a variety of waterfalls, streams and enormous valleys wait to be discovered.
Tahiti’s natural beauty permeates the underwater landscape, with a number of vast chasms, vibrant coral reefs and fascinating shipwrecks.
Rather than the stereotypical white sand found on the neighbouring islands, Tahiti boasts immaculate black beaches. One of the finest is Plage de Taharuu on Tahiti Nui’s south coast, offering great swimming conditions, long stretches of pristine sand and excellent surf.
Pointe Venus is another popular beach, situated on the northern tip. It's where the famous explorer, Captain Cook based his observatory which he used to calculate the distance between the earth and the sun in 1769. The beach itself has lush trees, souvenir shops and a charming 19th Century lighthouse.
If visiting Tahiti in July, be sure to attend the ‘Heiva Tahiti Festival’ in the capital, Pape’ete. It is a month-long celebration of everything held dear by Tahitians, namely music, singing and sports. It is also a great opportunity to see the locals perform the world renowned ‘ote’a dance, which involves fast hip shaking in grass skirts.
There are frequent ferry crossings from Vai’are on the nearby island of Mo’orea. The journey lasts around half an hour, arriving in Pape’ete on the northwest coast. The service is operated by Aermiti, a family run company offering comfortable vessels with spacious sun decks.