It was pretty interesting researching things I had to see and do in Tahiti. There weren't many posts written that didn't involve just sticking to a resort / doing resort excursions. However, I managed to go into the trip with a few ideas and left the rest up to change. If you know me, you know that is NOT my style! I love planned itineraries.
I did travel to French Polynesia September / October 2020 and also wrote about how I traveled there in 2020. Restrictions and rules change all the time so be sure to continue to check the Tahiti Tourism board for up to date information. I also wrote about my amazing day trip to the Tetiaroa Atoll. I definitely recommend going if you can!
Here are my recommendations for things to do in Tahiti!
Should I rent a car?
Yes! If you plan to spend any time in Tahiti / Moorea, you will probably want a car to be able to experience as much as you can. I found that renting a car straight from the Fa'a Airport (Tahiti) was the most convenient.
I reserved a car via Expedia and also ended up purchasing the additional insurance. For 9 days we paid $600 USD for the car, $110 for the insurance. This price was also for the smallest automatic car they had. When I say small, it was small! But we were able to fit our two carry on backpack suitcases + our two backpacks in the trunk with no room to spare.
Where to Stay in Tahiti?
For this part of our trip, we were trying to save a bit of money. We ended up finding a great apartment in downtown that also had a rooftop pool! I would definitely suggest it! You can find the link to the apartment here!
Here are my suggestions for 3 days in Tahiti
Spend a day just wandering around Pape'ete. Pape'ete is the largest city in Tahiti. It can get REALLY busy! I don't recommend driving through downtown between 2 - 3:30 when school let's out.
Check out the Pape'ete Market. This is a huge indoor, multi-level market that has souvenirs, food stalls, fresh seafood and produce and a few bars upstairs. If you are trying to travel on a budget, this is a good spot to eat on the cheap.
Visit the Hinano Flagship Store. If you are a beer lover like me, you will more than likely enjoy a few pints of the Hinano brand beer! The flagship store is a multi-level store with every type of merch you can think of.
Eat at the food trucks. I loved these food trucks! We went to eat here two times! There are food trucks for almost all types of food. We ate at one that had Thai and Polynesian food and then got crepes from another food truck a few nights later! There is a free parking lot just off to the left of the food trucks that we used quite a bit.
Enjoy beer at Les 3 Brasseurs. I was shocked at how expensive non-Hinano beer was in Polynesia in general. However, at Les 3 Brasseurs, we lucked out by visiting on a Sunday and then during happy hour. We were able to get buy one get one beers and discounts on pizza. They have a great location and have a ton of outdoor space.
Get coffee from Black Coffee. This coffee shop is right near downtown. We enjoyed some great breakfast sandwiches and iced americanos from here!
Eat breakfast at Urban Café. We sort of stumbled on this super cute café. They had great iced coffee, granola and salmon eggs benedict!
Check out Grottoes De Maraa. We went here pretty early in the day so there weren't too many people. There are 3 grottos here that you can check out. There is also a guy that wanders around and asks you for a selfie. We were a little caught off guard when he came up to us. You currently cannot swim in these grottos, but it is worth it to check out.
Hang out at Taharuu Beach. This was the first beach we went to on our entire trip and it was so nice! All the beaches on the island of Tahiti are black sand beach. This is something you probably didn't realize since all the pictures on the internet show the beautiful white sand beaches of Bora Bora. The sand is still super fine and soft and the contrast with the water is just as beautiful.
Eat lunch at Le Manoa. We sort of stumbled on this spot on our trip around the island. This was one of our more expensive meals we had on the trip, but it was so worth it! We had a few beers and I enjoyed the poisson cru, tuna tartare and sashimi plate and it was so good!
Take the quick walk to the Faarumai Waterfall. This was my kind of "hike" to see a waterfall. The walk from the parking lot to the waterfall is only about 2 minutes and the waterfall is pretty stunning! There isn't a whole lot to see here besides the waterfall, but you can spend a few minutes checking it out. There also weren't too many people here and no one was in the water, so I am not sure you can swim here.
Go see the Arahoho blowholes. There are a few spots at this site that you can see the blowholes. Walk to the left of the parking lot up the steps and you might hear the blowhole on the right before you see it! If you walk a bit further to the overlook you can see another blowhole over the ledge.
Spend a few hours at Pointe Venus. This was one of the last stops on our drive around the island. It's at the very end of a long road and has a great black sand beach + lighthouse. Also on the road to Pointe Venus is a cute pink church!
Treat yourself to a night or two at InterContinental Resort Tahiti. We stayed here for one night. This resort is just a few minutes from the airport so it is very convenient. Our room was nice, and the grounds are great! They have a huge pool overlooking the ocean. It is large enough so that you don't feel crowded. They don't have a beach area, however, they have made up for it by having a lagoon area that the ocean feeds. You can snorkel or hang out on the man made beach.
Food is a bit pricey (but it is expected). Because they are so close to the airport, they have a lot of people that have odd flight times. Ours wasn't until 9PM that night. They allowed us to hang out on the property all day and then we had access to a "transit" room for 30 minutes. These rooms are awesome! They have a shower, sinks and a large space to change. It is complimentary and you can use them as often as you want!
Most people said to skip Tahiti and head out to Bora Bora or Moorea, however, I had a fun few days exploring Tahiti and I hope this guide is useful to you!