The quickest way to get to know Tahiti is to rent a car and drive round the island. A chance to see (almost) everything in just one day.
This itinerary is an ideal way to begin your voyage to The Islands of Tahiti. Stopping to admire luxuriant countryside, idyllic beaches, caves, waterfalls and historic sites along the way, you drive along the west coast of the main island, Tahiti Nui, towards the peninsula, Tahiti Iti.
Vaiava Beach is situated to the south of Papeete. It is known to locals as PK 18 beach, because of its location in Punaauia, 18kms from the capital. A superb, white sandy beach, ideal for a swim, and a little snorkeling among the magnificent coral outcrops. You’ll almost certainly want to come here again during your stay.
Marae Ta’ata is at PK 19 in Paea. It is a sacred historical site of The Islands of Tahiti, but it is one that isn’t included in the usual tourist circuits.
A little further on from Ta’ata marae is the historical site of Arahurahu marae. It is a very interesting place to visit, where you can learn much about Polynesian history.
Still in Paea, the Mara’a caves are three caves with freshwater pools inside them. It is a quiet, tranquil setting in a beautiful little area of countryside.
Situated in Papara, Taharuu is a superb surfing beach with black sand. If you’re a surfer, you’ll probably want to stay here for a few hours at least.
As you leave Papara, Atimaono is on the coast road. It’s a new leisure development in a pretty park with a coconut grove. Ideal for a stroll or a short bike ride.
The freshwater spring at Vaima is a lovely, peaceful spot for a refreshing break. It is one of many freshwater springs on the island of Tahiti.
Vaipahi Water Gardens
A little haven of peace and beauty, with waterfalls and pools that make it a refreshing setting for a lunchtime picnic. The gardens are built on the site of an ancient marae.
Just next to the water gardens, you’ll find the magnificent botanic gardens created about a century ago by the American botanist Harrison Smith.
Peninsula West Coast
Having reached Tahiti Iti, the peninsula, go to Maui beach for some seafood and other local dishes. Then drive to Teahupoo point to see the world famous wave. You’ll have to take a taxi boat if you want to see the wave up close.
Peninsula East Coast
Take the east coast road to the belvedere scenic viewpoint in Taravao. After a photo session, drive down to the beach at Tautira for a swim. As an option, you can stay on the peninsula for the night and explore it further.
The Vaihi waterfall is in Faaone on the east coast of Tahiti Nui. You can park at the roadside and walk to the waterfall. A shaded, peaceful spot where you can cool off in the freshwater pool.
About twenty kilometers further on, you come to the beautiful black sand beach of Tiarei. It’s an deal spot for basking in the sun, and it’s nearly always deserted.
There are 3 waterfalls at Faarumai. You have to walk a few minutes from the car park, but it’s a beautiful, landscaped site, much appreciated by the local population.
Trou du Souffleur Blowhole
Not far from the waterfalls, you’ll come to the Arahoho blowhole, known as the ‘Trou du Souffleur’ in Tahiti. it’s a famous site on the island, and there is a car park and picnic area.
Tapahi Point in Papenoo is a calm and peaceful spot on the coast, with lovely views over The Island of Tahiti.
Orofara beach is a perfect place to watch surfers as they ride the waves that roll onto the beach. It’s just one of many superb surf spots in Tahiti.
Continuing towards Papeete, stop at Venus Point. it’s a beautiful black sand beach with superb views over the mountains and Moorea. It was from here that Captain James Cook observed the transit of venus in 1769.
Before returning to the capital, drive up to the scenic viewpoint at Tahara’a. You’ll have a superb view over Papeete and the island of Moorea.
Lafayette is a lovely black sand beach, with a warm and convivial family atmosphere . It’s the perfect spot for a long rest after all that driving.