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Ein Urlaub auf Tahiti bleibt ein ganz besonderes Erlebnis, Bild: Martin Valigursky / shutterstock

Tahiti – the pearl of the ocean

Holidaymakers like to find everything they are looking for at their destination. A wish that can hardly be fulfilled in French Polynesia, after all, there are often several hundred kilometers between the local Tahiti Islands. Nevertheless, this circumstance has its own charm. Especially since on the islands, in addition to getting to know a foreign culture, an encounter with art is also possible.

A journey halfway around the globe

Admittedly, if you want to visit the islands of Tahiti, you should plan a little time for the trip. After all, French Polynesia is about half a globe away from Germany. Or to put it another way: The flight takes around 22 hours before you go to one of the 118 islands, of which only a little more than half are inhabited. Holidaymakers will find a rich nature here, which often leaves an untouched impression. Both in the water and on land, rare animal species such as monkeys and turtles can be admired. Walks often lead deep into the forests overgrown with tall trees and palm trees, and the climate is warm and humid. Guests can communicate on the islands with knowledge of French and English.

Getting to know a fascinating story

The islands were first inhabited 2,500 years ago. However, this did not result in a homogeneously acting society. Rather, each atoll tried to make the best possible use of the country’s peculiarities. As a result, thanks to a clever irrigation system and the fertile volcanic sand, small paradises have repeatedly been created, in which fruit and vegetables were grown or rare plants were bred, some of which can still be admired today. It is therefore not entirely surprising that holidaymakers can enjoy culinary delights, which are mainly based on seafood, fish and lots of plant-based food. A light yet satisfying cuisine in which meat is rarely served.

A paradise for hikers and divers

Mont Orohena, Tahiti
Mont Orohena, Image: Damsea / shutterstock

The islands of Tahiti invite you to an active holiday. There are several mountains and quiet volcanoes that can be reached on foot and which, once at the top, allow a wide view over the South Pacific. By the way, most of the hiking trails are developed and paved, even laymen should hardly encounter any obstacles with a little fitness and good shoes. On the other hand, there is also a lot to experience on the coast. Boat tours, where you can learn a lot about the history of the islands, are offered at low prices. Swimmers and divers will also love a dip in the clear, blue water, where they can see several meters deep to the bottom.

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Treat yourself to a day of relaxation while sunbathing on the black beach of Taharuu on the south coast, or on the beach of Vaiava in the west. If you miss endless white sandy beaches, you will find them on the neighboring islands. They get there by cargo ships. The cargo ships offer cheap island hopping and dock two to three times a week at the surrounding islands.

A must-see for art lovers

Even before starting the trip, holidaymakers should plan their daily activities. After all, it is not always possible to spontaneously drive from one island to the next in the entire area. If you take Tahiti itself as a starting point, you would have to cover a distance of 1,400 kilometers to get to the Marquesas Islands. They are not only worth a visit because of their nature, but also allow a close encounter with art – after all, the painter Paul Gauguin and the musician Jacques Brel once lived here. Both have chosen the atoll as the center of their lives because of its silence. A visit to the Gauguin Museum is particularly recommended, where many of his everyday objects are exhibited, through which you can gain an insight into his artistic work.

From stilt bungalows to great luxury

Papenu Valley, Tahiti
Papenu Valley in Tahiti, Image: Josip Pastor / shutterstock

Things are not quite as quiet on what is probably the most famous of the Tahiti Islands: Bora Bora has established itself in recent years as a destination for people who like to dig a little deeper into their pockets for their holidays. From bungalows on stilts to luxurious apartments with butlers, guests can immerse themselves in the world of the rich and beautiful here – encounters with Hollywood celebrities are indeed not uncommon on Bora Bora. In addition to its picturesque lagoons, the island boasts an art gallery that exhibits numerous world-class painters. Likewise, a visit to the Oceanographic Museum with its archaeological finds illustrates the long history of the area. One of the last relics of bygone times is the cannon guns of the Second World War standing on Bora Bora.

A look at detail

But no matter which of the islands the holidaymakers may travel to, they always have the same fact that there are still numerous traces of the past to be found. On the one hand, there is the influence of religion on the indigenous people of French Polynesia. Again and again, small drawings dedicated to the gods can be admired on house walls as well as in the caves of the mountains. On the other hand, the settlement of the islands by Europeans, which began in the early 17th century, also had a formative effect. Their legacies – from simple beer mugs to seaworthy ships – still adorn the image of the cities. It is therefore worthwhile to enjoy the Tahiti Islands with all your senses and to embark on a journey of discovery that allows for some rare finds. That should be worth sitting in the plane a little longer.

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Tahiti’s capital Papeete

If you have (dusty) French skills, you can use them, otherwise you can also communicate well in English. In the capital Papeete there is a market hall where local food and the usual souvenirs can be purchased. It is interesting to observe the hustle and bustle of the locals. Pause for a moment and let the atmosphere work its magic on you. If you pass the small mobile roulettes in Papeete, you should definitely try the many refined dishes. Coconut milk and dishes marinated in coconut milk will be an unparalleled taste experience.

Little Tahiti and Great Tahiti

The double island consisting of Little Tahiti and Greater Tahiti has developed into the center of the pearl trade in recent years. Originally, however, the black pearl comes from the neighboring islands. In the Pearl Museum , visitors can purchase jewellery and also get an insight into how the pearl is made and raised.

A hotspot under the Pacific plate created the two extinct volcanoes, which are now called Tahiti. The fascinating plate tectonics means that on the one hand the island moves 12.5 cm per year, and on the other hand that very beautiful waterfalls have been created on Tahiti. On an easy four-kilometre hike through the Fautaua Valley , you will reach the waterfall of Fautaua. Swimming is allowed!

Matavai Bay is also worth a trip, so the bay is wonderfully idyllic and the lighthouse, built in the 19th century, can be visited.

Every year in July, the Heiva Festival is held. However, it is not just any festival, but this festival has become a symbol of Polynesian culture! There is dancing and singing amidst the monumental stone statues in the Arahurahu Valley. Today, remains only give an idea of what an imposing structure the former pyramid once was. For lovers of such imposing remains, there is the so-called Musée de Tahiti et des Îles near Punaauia. Here you can see more sculptures, tools, art and ritual objects. If you want to delve even deeper into Polynesian culture, you should definitely watch a Polynesian dance show ! Experience the magnificent clothing, the typical tattoos and the intoxicating chants.