Where is Tahiti and the Tahitian Islands?
Imagine a land of enchantment, myth and magic. Then, imagine this place is secluded, wildly exotic, and peaceful. This pretty much describes paradise on earth, doesn’t it? Around here, we simply call it Tahiti.
The Islands of Tahiti are a sanctuary that serve as the perfect canvas for personal discovery and reconnecting with the beauty of raw nature. Tahiti and the Tahitian Islands are the ideal background for cosmopolitan and confident travelers seeking authentic experiences — a destination, not a location — and The Islands of Tahiti deliver on all counts.
Where Is Tahiti?
Tahiti and The Islands of Tahiti are located in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. They are just as much south of the equator as Hawaii is north of that line, and they are roughly the same distance from California as they are from Australia. Only an eight-hour direct flight from California. For perspective, Papeete is 2,545 miles from Auckland, New Zealand, 9,554 miles from London and 4,117 miles from Los Angeles in the United States. Tahiti itself is the largest of the Society Islands of French Polynesia.
The Island of Tahiti
As anyone who has visited us will tell you, Tahiti is an unforgettable place to travel to. Tahiti features a circle of peaks along its outer perimeter — almost like a crown for the island jewel. Most Tahitians live near the shore. Its capital, Papeete, offers all the amenities you might expect in a city. There are vibrant markets and nightlife, fancy restaurants and great shopping. Visitors also enjoy the Tahitian cultured pearl shops, but really that is just scratching the surface of what Tahiti has to offer. The interior of the island is largely wild and remains untouched as it has for ages. The topography is ancient and unchanged. Go off the beaten path and you’ll find massive waterfalls and deep valleys with rivers traversing the land.
The Society Islands
Of course, Tahiti is just one of the 118 islands in The Islands of Tahiti. It is located in a chain of islands (also called an archipelago) named The Society Islands. There are actually five archipelagos which make up The Islands of Tahiti. The Society Islands are home to some of the most well-known islands, including Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora. Each island offers something different and any visit to The Islands of Tahiti should include a visit to multiple islands. You can take the next step in your adventure by taking a flight to Maupiti. The island is the farthest west of the Society Islands and seated some 195 miles from Tahiti itself. There are rocky peaks, white sand beaches and endless panoramas. Bora Bora is right next door, 25 miles to the east. At the center of Bora Bora stands the iconic Mount Otemanu, surrounded on all sides by sparkling, velvet blue lagoon.
Continue your trip eastward and you’ll find Taha’a. The island is very small and surrounded by rock islands called “motu.” More than 80% of Tahitian vanilla is produced on Taha’a and the aroma of this rare and precious spice is carried on the breeze. Taha’a shares a lagoon with an island farther south named Raiatea. It is the spiritual center of Polynesia and home to the most sacred marae (or stone temple) Taputapuatea, a recently named UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find some ceremonies performed here as well as the cloud-capped Mount Temehani, home to an endemic flower called “tiare apetahi.” Huahine is directly east of the northern tip of Raiatea. It is actually two islands connected by a bridge and surrounded by lagoons. There are eight villages located here but they are very small, and the rest of Huahine is largely untouched. Some call it Tahiti’s best-kept secret. Moorea is located between Huahine and Tahiti and is easily accessed from the island of Tahiti by a short ferry ride. There, you’ll find sharp peaks that rise into the sky, delicate waterfalls, ferns and a series of happy, pastel-colored villages that make you think of one of the Tahitian people’s favorite phrases, la vie heureuse, a happy life.
A haven for birds, sea turtles and marine life, Tetiaroa is a sacred place to Tahitians. It was once a getaway for Polynesian royalty, and Marlon Brando loved the place so much after filming “Mutiny on the Bounty” in 1960 that he bought the entire atoll.
Because of the diversity of island options, The Islands of Tahiti are rarely crowded, and large swaths of the islands appear untouched by man. Whether you spend your time lounging at an overwater bungalow on Bora Bora, hiking the lush peaks and waterfalls of Tahiti, or sailing the lagoon of Raiatea and Taha’a, you’ll never want to stop exploring The Islands of Tahiti.