Paradise on earth is closer that you think. Located somewhere between California and Australia in the Southern Pacific Ocean sits a cluster of islands, that is a part of the French Republic. One of these islands, the largest of them all, is Tahiti. Although the name Tahiti is often used to refer to the entire archipelago, each island has its own name as well as unique experiences to offer. But if you are currently living in a wintery climate that is blanketing your world with snow and blasting chilly winds at you the moment you step outdoors, then perhaps you aren’t really picky about what paradise is called. You’re ready for a getaway to Tahiti or any of its sister islands right now!
Originally named the Georgian Islands, after King George III of England, the newly named Westward islands of French Polynesia are those of the easterly group of the Society Islands, as all the islands as a collective are known as. Tahiti is one of the five Windward Islands. Its capital city is Peete, home to about 27,000 in the heart of it, with about 152, 000 residents inhabiting the rest of the island. The Faa’a International Airport is located in Tahiti and is your entry point to this turquoise paradise as well as to the rest of French Polynesia. Flying in from Los Angeles is only an eight hour flight and a five hour one from Hawaii. Ferries and cruise ships from Tahiti and between islands are often the mode of transportation if you intend on island hopping.
Summer in the islands is from November through to April and is slightly warmer than average and is much more humid. It is also a good time for tropical storms, so if you’re plan is to escape snow and below freezing temperature in your home town then a little humidity and wind-blown palm trees won’t deter you from heading over! If you want to experience Tahiti’s winter, then wait until May to go, when the climate is dry and temperatures are slightly cooler. A cooler temperature by Tahiti standards is about 24 degrees Celsius. In my home town that is considered a great summer temperature!
Tahiti is a place where I assume most travellers would go simply because they don’t want to do anything at all besides lay out on a pristine, white-sand beach, basking under the sun or catching up on some reading under a beach umbrella; listening to the rolling waves and sipping on some cool beverage. But if you are an active individual, you can explore the island on a 4 X 4 safari, go for long hikes or join in on any water related activities like snorkeling the turquoise, crystal clear waters, dive to get closer looks at the marine life, or jet0ski to get your adrenaline going. Stay above ground and go horseback riding or golf a few rounds.
If you want to spend time in the city of Peete, you can always go shopping at Le Marché, the main public market. You can find anything from fresh ripe fruit to Tahitian products from bags to clothing and jewelry. Buy any assortment of beautiful flowers and bring home with you some of the hand-made, intricately woven hats and baskets. Browse the hand-crafted pieces offered by the artisans that include carvings, tifaifai wall hangings, quilts and other embroidered items.
Head to the Centre Vaima mall for a variety of goods and services for tourists, but for something special to Tahiti and the islands of French Polynesia, visit the Robert Wan Pearl Museum, where you can learn about pearls but also purchase some. By the same token, pay a visit to the Tahiti Pearl Market, a family owned shop that sells loose pearls and ready-made settings where you can have a made-to-go design in just hours.