The tropical climate in The Islands of Tahiti guarantees lots of sunshine, but at certain times of year, it means there’s a fair bit of rain, too. This rain gradually makes its way down to the coast and, because Tahiti is a mountainous island, much of it cascades down in waterfalls.
Tahiti is the most visited island in French Polynesia, which is partly because the international airport is on the island, but also due to the magnificent scenery of its coast and the lush green mountainous interior. There are exceptional hiking trails on the island, on which you can explore its luxuriant countryside. One of the best is in the valley of Papenoo, where the views over the mountains are breathtaking. Many of the trails lead to picturesque waterfalls, which are always impressive sights. Use the services of a guide to make sure that you don’t miss any of the most spectacular waterfalls.
Waterfalls on the island of Tahiti
A full-day excursion to the valley of Papenoo, in the north of the island of Tahiti, will take you to the waterfalls of Topatari, Vaiharuru and Puraha. You get a spectacular view of Puraha waterfall when you walk in the shallow pool, surrounded by thick ferns and heavy moss, at its foot. You can walk across the pool under the waterfall, where you’ll be in the company of some big, but harmless, wriggling eels. The hike to the waterfall is down a shaded trail in the forest, which provides a pleasant break from the sunshine. To the east of the island, the Vaihi waterfall at Faaone is also a very agreeable, calm and shaded spot. Ideal for a picnic if you’re doing a tour of the island.
The Fautaua waterfall in one of the valleys in the district of Pirae, is very high and extremely impressive. You need sturdy walking shoes or boots on this trail, which takes half a day. You should also take plenty of water with you. You won’t meet many people on this trail. A less challenging hike is the Trois cascades (three waterfalls) trail at Faarumai, in the north of Tahiti. A short walk through a forest of Tahitian chestnut trees, takes you to the first of the three waterfalls on this popular trail. Called Vaihimauta, the waterfall has an impressive drop of 80 meters.
Waterfalls in Moorea
The island of Moorea is only 30 minutes from Tahiti by ferry, and is equally as picturesque. A magnificent, blue lagoon, beautiful beaches, and a lush green, mountainous interior with several impressive waterfalls. The most impressive of these is at Afareaitu.
The waterfall is named Afareaitu, after the village close by, in the southeast of the island. Although it is not the highest waterfall in The Islands of Tahiti, it is certainly one of the most beautiful. The water cascades gently down the side of a cliff and drops into a calm, refreshing pool. The hike to this picturesque spot isn’t particularly challenging and takes about an hour.