Hiking in Tahiti
Hiking in Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti are famed for their crystal-clear turquoise lagoons and picturesque overwater bungalows. Yet, to experience The Islands of Tahiti in all their majesty, it is important to consider the adventures that lie inland; home to spectacular waterfalls, striking mountain peaks, lush valleys, and ancient ruins, there is much to be explored and appreciated.
Whether you are a beginner or more advanced, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking in Tahiti; you are sure to have an unforgettable experience in one of the most exquisite places on Earth. A local guide is recommended, as access to many of the trailheads can be tricky; certain areas require hikers to obtain permits beforehand, and others can only be accessed by 4×4. Here are some of the best places to go hiking in Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora.
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Hiking in French Polynesia
Tahiti is the most developed and populous island in French Polynesia, also known as The Islands of Tahiti. Beyond the hustle and bustle of Papeete, its capital city, lies a remarkable landscape rich in hiking opportunities.
Easy Hiking Trails in Tahiti
Great for families, the Papenoo Valley is home to some of the most popular hiking trails in Tahiti. The Papenoo Valley offers a well-rounded glimpse of Tahiti’s landscape: magnificent waterfalls, ancient archaeological sites, lush, tropical vegetation, and picturesque canyons. Here you can find the only hike in Tahiti that allows access to the Mt. Orohena volcanic crater.
Located in the southernmost part of Tahiti Iti, the Te Pari trail is accessible only by boat and offers an expedition into the uninhabited natural area of Tahiti. This scenic coastal hike ventures between the ocean and the Te Pari Cliffs with many points of interest along the way, including white sandy beaches, coral flats, the famous Vaipoiri Cave, lava tubes, the Queen’s Bathing Pool, and much more.
For those interested in seeing waterfalls while hiking in Tahiti, a visit to the Faraura Valley is a must. Explore four spectacular waterfalls and their glistening basins, the Mahateaho River, and lush Tahitian flora while immersing yourself in the legends associated with the valley’s landmarks.
Located near Papeete, the Fautaua Valley trail offers a relatively easy hike through a forest of lush, tropical vegetation. There are several points of interest along this trail, including the Fachoda Bridge and Fachoda Fort, the Fautaua Waterfall, the Governor’s Gardens, Teovere Pass, and stunning views of the Diadem Mountain. You must obtain an access permit from Papeete Town Hall before accessing this hiking trail in Tahiti.
Moderate Hiking Trails in Tahiti
Hitiaa Lava Tubes
The Hitiaa lava tubes near Taravao are some of the most unique and magnificent hiking trails in Tahiti. Formed hundreds of thousands of years ago when hot lava cooled and rapidly hardened, these lava tubes provide an extraordinary spelunking experience; visitors will have to hike in the darkness and swim during this adventure through the cave system. The lava tubes, hidden pools, and waterfalls are well worth the effort.
Located east of Papeete, the Faananu Valley is renowned for its rich and diverse endemic vegetation. Great for canyon enthusiasts, this lush hiking trail in Tahiti features striking landscapes, waterfalls, and native flora.
Difficult Hiking Trails in Tahiti
Mt. Aorai is the third-highest peak in Tahiti, rising 2,066 meters. The trail is well-marked and maintained, so although a guide isn’t necessary, one is recommended for safety purposes as the path winds along a narrow ridge. The scenic trail is lush and features fascinating local flora. Some say that the panoramic views from the summit are some of the best in the world.
Hiking in Moorea
Moorea is a quick ferry ride away from Tahiti. A peaceful and slow-paced island, Moorea is a hidden gem with stunning natural wonders. Beyond the turquoise lagoon and glistening bays lie emerald peaks, fragrant pineapple fields, and lush valleys just waiting to be explored.
Easy Hiking Trails in Moorea
Three Coconuts Pass (Col des Trois Cocotiers)
The most popular hiking trail in Moorea, Three Coconuts Pass is well-maintained and easy to follow. The trail begins at the Belvedere parking lot and offers impressive views of Mount Tohivea, the Opunohu Valley, Opunohu Bay, Cook’s Bay, and more.
Three Pines Pass (Col des Trois Pinus)
Named for the three distinct pine trees found along the trail, Three Pines Pass offers impressive views of Mount Rotui, Opunohu Bay, and Cook’s Bay, as well as the famous pineapple fields of Moorea.
Moderate Hiking Trails in Moorea
Located in the Afareaitu Valley, the trail to the Afareaitu Waterfall is relatively short and has many points of interest along the way. Rich, colorful vegetation abounds, and visitors can delight in taking a refreshing dip in the glistening pools beneath the picturesque falls.
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Hiking in Bora Bora
Bora Bora is world-renowned for its pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and luxurious overwater bungalows, which is why it may come as a surprise that there are some excellent opportunities for hiking in Bora Bora. Bora Bora’s iconic peaks are steeped in history and legend, providing a transformative experience to those fortunate enough to traverse them.
Easy Hiking Trails in Bora Bora
Ancestors’ Path – Valley of the Kings
Winding through the Valley of the Kings, the Ancestors’ Path in Bora Bora is famous for the giant banyan tree that sits atop the valley (fun fact: this very tree was the inspiration behind the Tree of Souls in the Avatar film!). The banyan tree has great cultural significance, as it served as the final resting place for the kings of Bora Bora. This trail features ancient temples and colorful native flora, culminating at an exquisite outlook with panoramic views of the famous Bora Bora lagoon and neighboring islands.
Moderate Hiking Trails in Bora Bora
Mount Otemanu is the most iconic peak in The Islands of Tahiti. While it is not possible to reach the summit by foot due to safety reasons, visitors can still explore its various hiking trails, including the path to the Cave of Mount Otemanu on the northeastern side of the mountain.
Difficult Hiking Trails in Bora Bora
Boasting incredible panoramic views, Mount Pahia is the second-highest summit in Bora Bora. Due to dangerous trail conditions, a local guide is essential for this hike; climbing experience is also necessary.
Hiking in French Polynesia is an experience unlike any other. With an abundance of tropical vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and awe-inspiring views, hiking in Tahiti, Moorea, or Bora Bora is sure to be a transformative and unforgettable experience.