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How to Experience Tahiti

Swim with baby humpback whales, explore the islands’ Tahitian vanilla and cultured pearl farms, or simply never leave your private bungalow in this French Polynesian haven.

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on right now, it’s that we could all use a beach escape. Conjure the dreamiest, sea-bluest variety and you’ll likely land on Tahiti, origin of the overwater bungalow, legendary muse to artists, and magnet for romance, spanning 118 distinct islands flung across the South Pacific.

Swim with Baby Humpback Whales

From August through October, humpback whales make their way to Tahiti’s warms waters to give birth to their calves; the islands are one of the few places snorkelers and scuba divers can swim with the cetaceans. Outside of humpback season, plenty of other charismatic creatures cavort here, including graceful manta rays, blacktip reef sharks, and dolphins, which are often very friendly.

Let Your Tastebuds Do the Talking Tahiti’s culinary tradition ties Polynesian cooking methods, French training (Tahiti is a French territory), and Chinese-immigrant influence to a larder abundantly stocked with fruit, seafood, and aromatics such as Tahitian vanilla, a species unique to the islands, grown on plantations that hand-pollinate the beans. Popular food trucks called roulottes serve street food (only in Tahiti: a baguette sandwich stuffed with pork and Chinese noodles). Poisson cru, a ceviche-like dish of raw fish dish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, is the unofficial national dish.

Overload Your Senses on an Adrenaline Bender

Tahiti isn’t all sunsets and chaise-lounging. For adventure seekers, the islands are eco-playgrounds with opportunities to sail, jet-ski, stand-up paddleboard, hike, bike, zipline, skydive, and surf. You can tour the Bora Bora lagoon with a ukulele-playing outrigger captain, including snorkel stops to see coral gardens, stingrays, and sharks, and a picnic on a remote motu with a table set in the shallows. On Moorea, hike through the tropical forest to remote waterfalls. Or, bike the 26 miles around Bora Bora, ending at the legendary Bloody Mary’s bar for an ice-cold Hinano beer.

For more information and our hotel suggestions


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