Transportation

There’s no doubt that getting to Tahiti takes some effort, but the payoff is well worth it. With sheltered blue lagoons, vibrant coral reefs, and a majestic, mountainous interior, The Islands of Tahiti is an idyllic destination that draws visitors from all over the world.

Getting to Tahiti

Most travelers headed to this tropical paradise arrive by air. The Tahiti-Faa’a International Airport is located on Tahiti’s main island and is about 5 km west of Papeete. This is the only international airport in French Polynesia and is close and convenient to all the major hotels and resorts on Tahiti. From here, you can hop on connecting flights via Air Tahiti to explore the diverse regions that make up this pristine island nation, including beautiful Bora Bora known for its turquoise lagoon and white sand beaches. 

Once you arrive at Tahiti-Faa’a International Airport, the domestic terminal for Air Tahiti is located right inside. Air Tahiti provides inter-island flights throughout French Polynesia to the other islands and atolls. For schedules and information, check with the airlines or visit www.airtahiti.pf. When planning your getaway, we recommend booking your connecting flights and airport transfers in advance with a Preferred Travel Professional

Where are The Islands of Tahiti ?

Remote and beautiful, The Islands of Tahiti are located in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, halfway between California and Australia. The smattering of coral-fringed islands and atolls stretches south of the Equator just below Hawaii and is in the same time zone. Also known as French Polynesia, the nation is comprised of 118 islands dispersed across a large nautical area.

How to Get to Tahiti from the United States Mainland

The Islands of Tahiti are easily accessible by air from the United States, and a flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti is just over 8 hours in duration. Many airlines fly direct to Tahiti from the US mainland, including:

  • United Airlines offers direct flights from San Francisco to Tahiti’s international airport in Papeete three times a week: on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
  • Air Tahiti Nui flights depart from Los Angeles six days per week with multiple flights per day. For the quickest direct flights, it is best to depart from Los Angeles.
  • Air France offers direct flights from Los Angeles to Papeete four times per week.

Getting to Tahiti from Hawaii

If you want to break up the journey to The Islands of Tahiti with a stop in Hawaii, you’re in luck: Hawaiian Airlines offers regular flights to Tahiti from Honolulu once a week. Leaving every Friday, flights arrive in Papeete and return on Saturdays, so it’s easy to schedule a one or two-week trip to French Polynesia and spend a few days in Hawaii as well. 

Average Flight Time to The Islands of Tahiti

Flights to the island of Tahiti leave from all over the globe, including direct flights from Japan, New Zealand, Chile, and Australia. Flight time varies depending on your departure location. 

Here is a comprehensive list of flight durations from popular international airport hubs to French Polynesia

  • Paris – Papeete: 22h00
  • Los Angeles – Papeete: 08h00
  • San Francisco – Papeete: 08h00
  • Honolulu – Papeete: 05h00
  • Nouméa – Papeete: 06h20
  • Tokyo – Papeete: 11h00
  • Shanghai – Papeete: 12h30
  • Hong Kong – Papeete: 11h30
  • Sydney – Papeete: 09h05
  • Auckland – Papeete: 05h00
  • Rarotonga – Papeete: 02h30
  • Santiago du Chili – Papeete: 11h00
  • Hanga Roa (Easter Island) – Papeete: 04h50

Inter-Island Transportation in French Polynesia

Once you’ve arrived in Tahiti, you may want to head straight to your hotel or resort, or you may be bound for a different island such as the ever-enchanting Bora Bora and Moorea islands. Regardless of where you’re bound, you can easily book connecting flights and other modes of transportation around the Islands of Tahiti. 

The domestic airline Air Tahiti is the primary mode of transportation between islands. Regular flights leave daily to and from the international airport in Papeete. Additionally, if you’re headed to Moorea, there is a daily ferry service from Tahiti that takes about 30 minutes one way.

Public transportation is widely available on the Tahiti main island. There is a bus system and taxis for transport to your hotel, the airport, and the ferry terminal. On the outer islands, public transportation is less common. Rental cars and motorcycles are available in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha’a. However, other than your own two feet or a local boat, you may not even need transportation once you’re in paradise. 

Getting to Tahiti by Sea

Due to distance and few scheduled departures, getting to Tahiti by sea is a real challenge. However, a great way to sightsee and experience French Polynesia’s culture is to book an island hopping cruise. 

Cruise ships depart from within Tahiti and island hop within the national borders. Papeete serves as the gateway for cruises to the French Polynesian archipelagos. To embark on an inter-island cruise, travelers must fly into Tahiti-Faa’a International Airport in Papeete, which is the jumping off point for ocean odysseys. From there, you can easily hop on Tahitian cruise ships and explore the enchanted isles via Tahiti’s blue waterways. 

Cruises Within The Islands of Tahiti

Paul Guaguin Cruises are among the most luxurious and popular inter-island cruises. The company’s sleek ship carries up to 332 passengers and features comfortable cabins, an expansive deck, and an outdoor pool. Guests also have access to a multitude of watersports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and scuba diving. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of sailing the Pacific, a trip aboard Tahiti’s Windstar Cruises offers the chance to explore the tropical archipelago beneath billowing white sails. While the ship is smaller than a traditional cruise liner, the intimacy and romance of a Windstar cruise is miles away from ordinary. 

Additionally, you can experience the wonders of The Islands of Tahiti on cargo cruise ships such as the Aranui 5, which offers 14-day live-aboard excursions, or the Tuhaa Pae IV, which cruises bi-monthly to the oft-undiscovered Astral Islands.