Tahiti, also known as The Islands of Tahiti, or French Polynesia, is located in the South Pacific Ocean about halfway between California and Australia. Although, it seems half a world away, Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawaii and is about as far south of the equator as Hawaii is north of the equator.
Onboard a comfortable, modern widebody jet, you can cover the approximately 4,000 miles from California to Tahiti on a quick overnight flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco.
The inset image on the map below, shows Tahiti resting in the South Pacific. The island nation is easily accessible from North America, South America, New Zealand, Australia and Asia. Seemingly small when viewed in the context of the vast Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia's many islands are actually spread across approximately 1,200 miles.
The larger map below illustrates that the outer boundary of the islands is approximately the size of the European Union. Most of this area is made up of ocean and lagoons as these 118 islands and atolls only have approximately 1,600 square miles of land mass between them.
The Islands of Tahiti
Just the mention of “Tahiti” or “Bora Bora” evokes visions of an idyllic, tropical paradise. Islands filled with stunning beaches, crystal clear lagoon waters, overwater bungalows, and warm and welcoming Tahitian people.
These islands are primarily divided into five main island groups and are truly a magical destination for any occasion. On the more popular islands, you will find a wide variety of luxury resort accommodations, culinary delights, spa services, land and water-based activities, and much more.
The island of Bora Bora is one of the more famous of the 67 inhabited islands and home to several of our favorite hotels and resorts. Other well-known islands include: the main Island of Tahiti, Moorea, and Taha’a. We list our favorites in more detail below.
Given its tropical location, the islands are blessed with a wonderful climate all year round. On some of the more remote islands, you could visit a Tahitian village to experience normal island life or just get away from it all. Tahiti has something to satisfy all your vacation desires. These islands are the place where your dreams of paradise can truly become a reality!
French Polynesia has a local government, but is an overseas collectivity of France and subject to French rule of law. Below you will find a list of our favorite islands in Tahiti. Our team visits the area frequently and we are happy to provide our unique insights into the best resorts, the most exciting excursions, our favorite restaurants, the most decadent spas and more. We can certainly help you customize the perfect itinerary tailor made to your personal specifications that includes visits to as many islands as you like!
Venture Tahiti Travel Tip: When we plan itineraries, we would typically recommend spending at least 3 nights on each island you choose (except possibly Tahiti) to avoid feeling rushed. Since you are going to Tahiti to relax, we normally recommend against just 2 nights per island or resort. Also, as there is so many islands to see and each island is relatively small, we usually recommend spending no more than 8 nights on one single island.
Below, is a short, but wonderful video providing a visual introduction to The Islands of Tahiti followed by brief descriptions of each major Tahitian island group or archipelago.
The Society Islands is one of the most popular archipelagos in French Polynesia as it is home to the capital city of Papeete and the International Airport. These islands are divided into the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands. They are all a tropical dream! Amazing blue lagoon waters and white sand beaches abound at the many excellent resort choices. Choose between various land and water activities or just relax on the private deck of your overwater bungalow. There is something for everyone in the Society Islands!
To read more about some of our favorite islands, click the links below.
The Tuamotu Islands, with the pristine beauty of their lagoons and unique underwater worlds, offer some of the best diving in the world. This island group is only a short flight away from the Society Islands. In fact, on clear days, you can see Bora Bora’s Mt. Otemanu from Taha’a. This region is more remote, however, and consist of 77 atolls spread over approximately 930 miles.
To read more about our favorite islands in Tuamotu, click the links below.
The Marquesan people call their 12 islands “Te Henua ‘Enana”, the “Land of Men”. This unique landscape is painted with legendary high cliffs, volcanic peaks, wild nature settings and amazing beaches. Only 6 of the Marquesas are inhabited and take a little more effort to reach. Two of the Marquesas, Nuka Hiva and Hiva Oa, are accessible by plane from the main Island of Tahiti. You can also venture out to the islands aboard a custom-built freighter/ passenger cruise ship named The Aranui. There are a couple of hotels located on Nuka Hiva and Hiva Oa, which offer a truly authentic island experience, well off the beaten path.
THE GAMBIER ISLANDS
This archipelago is the most remote (about 1,000 miles from the Island of Tahiti) and the least populated region of French Polynesia. With only 1,000 inhabitants, there are four main mountainous islands lying within the same lagoon with dozens of smaller islets, called motu. The Gambier are an important source of the famous Tahitian Black Pearls.
THE AUSTRAL ISLANDS
Located south of The Island of Tahiti on the Tropic of Capricorn, these 7 islands represent the southernmost boundary of French Polynesia. The climate is cooler than in Tahiti and the shape and ecology of these self-sufficient islands make them a charming world apart. Each year between August and October, humpback whales return to these waters to give birth.
By now, you should have a better understanding of where the beautiful Islands of Tahiti are located and the make up of this island nation. We hope this piques your interest and helps make you feel like a visit to these islands is more within reach.
We are often asked about the cost of food in Bora Bora and Tahiti. Food tends to be a bit expensive in French Polynesia. It is on par with dining out in New York, Los Angeles or Honolulu. If you are trying to stick to a preferred travel budget, regardless of how much you plan to spend, the cost of dining in French Polynesia should be considered in your travel and vacation planning.
Which islands to visit and how many islands you should visit depends a lot on how long you plan to stay in French Polynesia.We typically advise clients to spend at least 3 nights on each island in their itinerary (except possibly the Island of Tahiti). Spending less than 3 nights tends to make travelers feel too rushed. After all, you are going there to at least try to relax.
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is absolutely incredible. There are no words to describe the beauty of Tahiti and the staff there was wonderful. I cannot thank Venture Tahiti enough for helping us book the most incredible experience of our lives!! We plan on bringing our children there very soon!
The spa is beautiful, we had a great couples massage! ...the excursions are amazing & the best snorkeling channel around! Its worth every penny you spend and an experience of a life time! The sunsets are the best you will ever see! We used VENTURE TAHITI in Boca Raton, Florida to book our trip and it went off without a hitch. They did an excellent job and I highly recommend them!
I wanted to say thanks for helping us set up an amazing trip. We are home safe & sound! Everything was wonderful-- I am so happy you recommended the Shark & Ray tour on Bora Bora-- it was by far our favorite thing that we did! We ended up relaxing on Taha'a as it was the most perfect place to unwind and get massages. All of the hotels were awesome-- Le Taha'a Resort and The Conrad were our favorites! We absolutely loved our beach bungalow (it was huge!!)