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Tahiti - Papeete

Tahiti

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Overview

Tahiti is the largest of all the islands in French Polynesia and has the only international airport, located in the capital of Pape’ete. 

 

The island is a natural wonderland with towering peaks and plunging valleys covered in lush vegetation, breathtaking blue lakes, cascading waterfalls, white and black-sand beaches, and a crystal clear lagoon teeming with life.

 

Apart from the rich history and culture that Tahiti has to offer, perhaps the most famous drawcard is the annual humpback whale migration that occurs in its waters between July and October. This spectacular event allows you to observe the courting and mating rituals of these gentle giants, as well as watching the calves play and explore under the eye of their doting mothers and in the safety of these protected waters. 

The climate in Tahiti is tropical, and influenced by the south-east trade winds, with hot and humid conditions in the wet season, and cooler conditions in the dry season.

 

Wet Season: November – April

Expect high rainfall in the form of short, sharp showers throughout the day. Temperatures sit at 31°C during the day and drop to 24°C overnight. December to April poses the highest risk for tropical cyclones.

 

Dry Season: May – October

Rainfall and humidity drop off during this period, but you can still expect showers in the mornings, late afternoons and evenings. Temperatures remain warm, with an average of 29°C during the day and 23.5°C overnight.

Diving

Overview

Apart from swimming with whales, there are a wide variety of dive sites to visit around the island, where you will be treated to encounters with whitetip, blacktip, lemon, grey, and silky sharks, moray eels, wrasse, barracuda, tuna, turtles, and smaller critters. Gorgonian fans, blue and violet coral, coral gardens, wrecks, walls, and faults are a few other features that you will have the pleasure of exploring.

 

When swimming with the whales, it is customary first to put your head in the water to hear the reverberating love songs of the male whales as they attempt to attract a mate. Once in the water, you will be able to swim around the whales at a safe distance and observe these benevolent behemoths in their natural oceanic environment. This is a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable experience! Whale swims are subject to weather conditions and will only be allowed if the whales are in a state of rest. 

Water Temperature
temperature-icon

26-28°C  – 3mm wetsuit, 3mm shortie, or rashie

Dive Season

Diving in Tahiti is conducted throughout the year. Visit between July and October to witness the annual Humpback Whale migration, the most popular event of the year.

Dive Highlights

Aquarium

This is the perfect site for novice divers, refreshers, and supplementary dives. Dip under the water of the lagoon to discover a coral ring teeming with brightly coloured marine life. Three wrecks, a Cessna and two boats, dot the site and create artificial reefs for the creatures in this area. Max Depth: 12m

 

Papa Whisky

The partial collapse of an underwater plateau has resulted in the creation of a massive amphitheatre, accessible as two exploration dives, one from the north and one from the south. The south side is a fault densely covered in bright yellow gorgonian coral formations. On the north side, you will find a healthy population of gorgonian coral interspersed with brightly coloured violet coral. A school of tuna will occasionally escort you for a short time before they make their way into the deep blue. The ocean will abruptly become a wall of a cliff, and as you make your way deeper along this wall, the gorgonian corals get larger, denser, and more colourful. Both of these dive plans are only recommended for experienced divers. Max Depth: 50m

 

Turtle’s Flat

As the name suggests, this is a dive dominated by large sea turtle’s slowly making their way through the aquamarine water and feeding on the ocean floor below. To complement this incredible experience is a drop-off covered in vibrant blue coral. Max Depth: 39m

 

The Wrecks

Two wrecks lie in this area of the lagoon, an aeroplane lying on its right side in a sandbank, and a wooden schooner. The aircraft is accessible through a port on the left side of the fuselage, or through the cockpit. The schooner is still in excellent condition and a fantastic bit of history to explore. Max Depth: 21m

Activities

Nature

Hire a guide and take a hike up Mount Orohena, the highest summit in French Polynesia, for breathtaking views of the island, the lagoon and the ocean stretching out to embrace the rest of the atoll. Waterfalls and lakes are plentiful and an absolute joy to find and explore. Visit the botanical gardens and marvel at the fauna and flora that populates this island paradise. For a relaxing day out, visit Venus Point, famous for its black-sand beach and pleasant walks. When you’re not swimming with whales, you can view them from various points around the island.

 

History

Visit Marae Arahurahu; an altar which is dedicated to ancestral divinities. Take a trip to explore the Marae (open-air temples), habitation and agricultural sites which have been discovered and revealed through the efforts of archaeological excavation and restoration in the valley of Papeno’o. For those that enjoy an excellent museum, you will be spoiled for choice. For the lovers of literature, the house of the author of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’, James Norman Hall, has been converted to a museum for you to explore at your leisure. For those who love a good artist, the Paul Gauguin museum is full of exhibitions which provide a chronological historical reference to the painter’s chaotic life. For a thorough history lesson on Polynesia, visit the museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, as well as Tahitian Black Pearl museum, which will give you more of an insight into the arts, legends and pearl farming that sustains this beautiful atoll.

 

Culture

Tahiti is a juxtaposition of modernity and tradition. Explore the streets, markets, valleys, and mountains of this island to get an in-depth view of the duality that makes Tahiti what it is today.

 

Tahiti – Papeete
Whale Watching
Tahiti – Papeete
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Tahiti – Papeete
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Tahiti – Papeete
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Tahiti – Papeete
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Tahiti – Papeete
History
Tahiti – Papeete
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Tahiti – Papeete
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Tahiti – Papeete
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Tahiti – Papeete
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