This is Tahiti's local public bus system, which runs around the island along three basic routes. They operate until 10pm at night, are air-conditioned, reliable and cheap, and will give you an authentic taste of Tahitian life. Make a note that the service doesn't run on all of the islands, where the dirt tracks demand a 4x4 and guide.
Renting a bike lets you explore the magical coastline at your own pace and with the breeze in your hair. Beach-hop your way around the islands, dipping in and out of the clear waters along the way. There aren't too many hills to conquer and you can expect to pay approximately 1500 francs for the day. Check with your guesthouse as they may have some.
Embrace your adventurous side and rent a 4x4 to conquer some of the less developed roads. Go beyond the main tourist attractions into the island interiors – off limits to other vehicles. You'll discover beautifully lush vegetation and breathtaking views. The price isn't cheap, but with islands this size you will definitely save on fuel costs.Chicago's taxi fleet is enormous and you'll have no trouble hailing one down whenever you need to from the sidewalk. A base rate of US$2.24 means they're generally inexpensive if you're travelling a few blocks. However, the driver will expect a 15-20 per cent tip on top of the fare, so don't forget to keep some loose change in your pocket!
Tahitian taxis are expensive, so save a trip by cab for when you really need it. The public bus system stops running at 10pm so you'll probably need to rely on a taxi after an evening out. There's little point in trying to barter them down – the best advice is to pay up and avoid using them where possible.
Australian and New Zealand citizens don't need a visa for travel to Tahiti if they're spending less than 90 days on the island. However, the immigration desks will require that you have an unused page for stamps in your passport, and that you have at least 90 days left on it before it expires.
The currency of French Polynesia is the French Pacific Franc – or CFP. Although US dollars are widely accepted across the islands, you'll probably need to have a few francs in your pocket just in case. If you want to exchange currency, you'll be able to at most banks and hotels. There are 75 francs to AU$1 at the time of publication.
There are just two seasons in Tahiti – wet and dry. The wet season is hot, sticky and humid and runs from December to March. The dry season has warm temperatures with a comfortable humidity factor, running from April to August. The ideal month is July, when day time exploring is comfortable and evenings will cool you off.
Tahiti is a water paradise of swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Packing more than one pair of swimmers is a must, along with plenty of poolside sarongs and thongs. The island dress code is casual so focus on comfort. A tip to remember is to not rely on purchasing any day-to-day essentials when you're there. Everything is imported and the price tags reflect it.
With Emirates and Air Tahiti Nui, you'll get from Sydney to Papeete in less than 9 hours, 30 minutes with one stop in Auckland.
When flying out of Melbourne, get to Papeete in 10 hours, 30 minutes with Emirates and Air Tahiti Nui.
Reach Papeete in 15 hours and 40 minutes when flying from Perth to Tahiti on Qantas.
Serving up to eight passengers in one ride, a private airport shuttle will drop you at your front door in style and comfort. This is five-star paradise, so ensure you make a suitable entry! Book in advance online or by phone to have your driver meet you straight off the plane. Prices start from around USD $120 for an eight-person shuttle.
This is a shared shuttle service, so it doesn't have the same level of sophistication as a luxury fleet, but it is air conditioned and more affordable than its pricier rivals. The driver will meet you and your fellow tourists at the airport and run you down Tahiti's west coast, stopping at the various resorts along the way.
Most hotels and resorts will offer their own form of transport, which makes life much easier than booking through different channels. When you book online or over the phone ask them about their private transfer service. It'll be a comfort knowing that your driver knows exactly where he's going and you won't have to stop en route.
Taxis should be your last resort. They've developed a poor reputation on the island, damaged by high prices, infrequent services and pushy drivers. If you find yourself low on options, there will be a small fleet of cabs waiting outside the airport. There's also little point in haggling with them – they're used to getting what they want and they'll probably win!
Tahiti is one of the world's true tropical paradises. With dense, lush mountain vegetation, crystal clear lagoons and warm seas, spend the day enjoying its natural gems like enormous fern grottos and heavenly gardens. Pausing from the natural splendours, spend some time gazing at Gaugin's famous Tahitian paintings in the Gaugin Museum. End the day with a dip underneath rushing waterfalls.
Embrace your inner adventurer – and a lot of mud – and hop into a monster 4x4 to tackle the bumpy roads, rivers and forests leading up to Mt Marau and down into Papenoo Valley . Discover thundering waterfalls and breathtaking views which will leave you exhilarated. Prices start from AU$73 per adult for a half day, leaving from your hotel lobby.
If you're a certified diver, Tahiti's crystal waters are teeming with tropical marine life. Spend time in the waters all over French Polynesia, from Tahiti to Bora Bora and beyond during your trip. Diving centres across the islands have different operating hours so check before you make your way. The Discover Diving 10-Voucher Pass costs just under AU$730 per adult.
Many roads leading into the island's intriguing interior are closed off to normal vehicles. Go on a 4x4 adventure, winding your way along the stunning coastline and then turn in to reach Tahiti's heart. Dip your toes in mountain streams and explore gorgeous fern-covered valleys. Prices start from AU$98.50 for a full day with a guided tour and picnic lunch.
Perched over the edge of a gorgeous azure lagoon, this intimate thatched restaurant serves a wide range of deliciously fresh seafood from local waters. Marvel at exquisite tropical views across to Moorea in what is arguably Tahiti's best restaurant for views alone. Order from the a la carte or fixed-price menu, all of the dishes are excellent and prepared by some of Europe's top trained chefs.
Take a break from Tahiti's seafood and indulge in a meat lover's feast at Western Grill, a saloon-themed restaurant that's great for a casual, fun family evening. Sink your teeth into fillet Nebraska, ribs, lamb chops and Texan rump steaks, followed by a classic American cheesecake dessert. This is a carnivore's heaven, so vegetarians beware!
If the local French fare becomes a little repetitive, Casa Bianca provides an authentic Italian respite among the boats moored along Tahiti's main harbour, Taina. The vibe is casual, seaside cool and the menu is primarily pasta and pizza – perfect for any taste buds that aren't won over by seafood. Tasty food and a sunset scene make for a fabulously relaxing evening on the island.
If you aren't quite sure of your food mood, Polyself is the place to go. With an amazing array of cuisine on offer, this venue is guaranteed to please palates all round. Ignore the clinical stainless steel setting and focus on the feast in front. Chinese, French, eggs in any style – name your order, it will probably be there.
Tahiti's energetic and traditional dance shows are magical to watch and offer an insight into the island's vibrant culture and customs. Think grass skirts, fireballs and incredible acrobatic feats lighting up the stage. Top of the list is the Grande Danse de Tahiti troupe, performing at the Intercontinental Resort Tahiti.
Le Mana Rock Café boasts live rock music and four floors of disco tunes, DJs and cheap cocktails. This evening venue has proved a hit with tourists who party across the rooms mingling with other tanned, sun-and-fun seekers from 8am to 3am weekdays and until 4am on the weekends.
A mahu community hangout, you'll experience authentic Tahitian nightlife at The Piano Bar. As well as a few drag shows! Don't be daunted – it's a spectacle of lights, makeup and incredible outfits. This fabulous gay bar is in a vibrant part of Tahiti and great fun for the traveler who likes to see it all.
With a thatched, beachside bar overlooking the beautiful waters of the island, the popular bar of this stylish hotel is perfect for enjoying some icy sundowners. With live band music at the weekend, you'll also have the chance to shimmy the night away with the more glamorous traveller types.
Spend the morning exploring the gorgeous waterfront of Papeete, indulging in some local retail therapy at Le Marche and the Pearl Museum for an extra special purchase. Explore the cultural side of the island at the Gaugin museum and see beautiful famous depictions of island life. That afternoon, hire a bike to explore further afield and the island's stunning beaches. At night, head to the InterContinental Resort Tahiti to take in a local dance show and feast on delicious authentic Tahitian cuisine.
Are you feeling adventurous? You will be after a day of exploring Tahiti's rugged terrain on a 4x4 mountain safari. Race through mud puddles and rivers on your ascent to the peak of Mount Marau, where you'll be blown away by the incredible views of the water and surrounding islands. Enjoy some cooling off time under cascading waterfalls and learn about the fascinating fauna and flora of this tropical island paradise. That night, continue to indulge all of your senses at a local drag show at The Piano Bar!
After a heart-racing day tearing around the island, relax with a day spent in the stunning tropical waters. Begin with a morning swim at your hotel resort – all of them have extraordinary pool facilities – and then take it to the sea. If you aren't a diver, snorkeling is the next best thing and lucky swimmers might happen upon some turtles! If not, enjoy plenty of other rainbow corals and marine life. That evening, take a break from the energy of local customs and head to the Western Grill for a hearty steak with a side of ribs!
The magnificence of the islands and corals that make up French Polynesia are not to be missed from the dizzying heights of a helicopter ride. Polynesia Helicopters offer rides around the islands. This isn't a cheap morning out, but it is a once in a lifetime experience and an incredible way to remember your time in Tahiti. That afternoon, spend your last hours soaking up the sun on one of the island's glorious and pristine beaches. A chance to relax before a long flight home!
Terms & Conditions
*Sample package prices include accommodation plus roundtrip airfare for travel during the stated period. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy at hotel and lowest available airfare, inclusive of compulsory taxes & fees. Prices will vary by date, departure city, and availability. Some airlines may charge a fee based on your payment method, the fee is not reflected in the ticket price.
# Hotel only prices are for the stated travel period, based on twin share and include taxes and fees. Offers are subject to availability and change and may be discontinued without notice. Additional restrictions, minimum stays and blackout dates may apply.
^^ Price Guarantee is subject to eligibility requirements and the Price Guarantee T&Cs
Expedia, Inc. is not responsible for content on external Web sites. ©2017 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved.