Tahiti is not just an island - Tahiti has always been a state of mind. The bustling capital of Tahiti and her islands, Papeete is the chief port and trading center, as well as a provocative temptress luring people to her shores. Immortalized in the novel "Mutiny on the Bounty," who could blame the men of "HMS Bounty" for abandoning their ship in favor of basking in paradise? And what would Modern Art be without Tahiti's influence on Gauguin and Matisse? Today the island is a charming blend of Polynesian "joie de vivre" and Gallic sophistication. But venture out from Papeete and you find a landscape of rugged mountains, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and deserted beaches.
Contrasting with other French Polynesian ports, Papeete's coastline initially greets you with a vista of commercial activity that graciously gives way to both black and white-sand beaches, villages, resorts and historic landmarks.
More about Tahiti (Papeete), French Polynesia Points of Interest
A drive of Tahiti is the best way to see the outlying sights and a bit of old Polynesia away from Papeete's bustle, including Tahara'a Hill, Point Venus, Arahoho Blowhole and the Faarumai waterfalls.
Tahara'a "One Tree Hill"
Historical site of a lone tree with brightly colored flowers used by Captain Cook as a navigational landmark, this promontory offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.
James Norman Hall's Home
The American writer and co-author of the "Bounty Trilogy" lived in Tahiti for over 30 years. The museum is an exact replica of his house and stands a few yards from the sea overlooking Matavai Bay.
Explorers Bligh, Wallis and Cook anchored their ships at Point Venus. It was here that Cook's expedition observed the transit of the planet of Venus across the sun in 1769.
Museum of Tahiti
Considered one of the best museums in the South Pacific, the museum tells the story of Tahiti and her islands featuring exhibits on Polynesian history, culture, environment and ethnology.
Tomb of Pomare V
The last king of Tahiti, Pomare V, is buried in this tomb constructed from coral slabs and lava rocks in a tower-like shape that resembles a Grecian urn.
Some of Tahiti's most beautiful spots are accessible only by 4WD. Journey into the island's heart as you travel unpaved trails up the Papenoo Valley crossing rivers with photo stops of the numerous waterfalls on the island.
The valley of Faarumai is home to Vaimahuta, one of the most photographed and breathtaking waterfalls on Tahiti.
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3.25 hours | Tahiti (Papeete) | PPT-130
Tahara'a "One Tree Hill"
Tomb of Pomare V
This tour is designed for passengers who prefer to see some sights from the motorcoach with little or no walking involved. Explore Tahiti's highlights on this half-day excursion. Take in One Tree Hill and Point Venus, where Captain Cook landed in 1769. View the Arahoho Blowhole, the tomb of Tahiti's last king and make a photo stop at picturesque Faarumai Valley.
This half-day tour unveils Tahiti's history and natural beauty. Tour the James Norman Hall Museum, and witness the Monument of Captain Bligh and the tomb of Tahiti's last king. View island highlights such as the Arahoho Blowhole, the popular black-sand beach at Point Venus and the breathtaking Faarumai Valley.
Circumnavigate the island of Tahiti by motorcoach on a scenic half-day adventure that takes in the top attractions. Fill your camera with the beauty of the Vaipahi waterfalls and gardens, feel the spray at the Arahoho Blowhole, marvel at the panoramic vistas from Tahara'a Hill and Point Venus, then climb through Mara'a Fern Grotto Caves.
Board a 4WD vehicle and witness breathtaking views of the east coast of Tahiti and the Papenoo Valley. This half-day tour takes in a tropical forest, graceful waterfalls and dramatic basalt cliffs. Also enjoy a refreshing swim in a forest pool and refreshments at one of the island's scenic lookouts.
Explore the watery wonders of this tropical paradise on a scenic cruise and snorkel dive. After a relaxing sail around the lagoon aboard a sailing catamaran you'll stop for a swim and snorkel in the inviting turquoise waters teeming with colorful marine species.
Spend the day exploring the highlights of the island of Tahiti. View such sights as the famous Arahoho Blowhole, Tahara'a Hill, Point Venus, and the Vaipahi waterfalls. Make a stop at the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, ranked as one of the best museums in the South Pacific, and enjoy a lunch buffet at Restaurant du Musee Gauguin.