Updated: June 14, 2015
Planning a Vacation in Tahiti: Best Tahiti Resorts, Accomodations, and HotelsPlanning a trip to Tahiti? You probably have a lot of questions.. Where is Tahiti? What are the islands in Tahiti? Where is the best place to stay? Which resorts offer over-water bungalows? Which is the best island for honeymooners? Let's start with the basics.. Tahiti is a group of islands located in French Polynesia, in the South Pacific. It is about an 8 hour plane flight from Los Angeles. The main islands of Tahiti are: Tahiti, the largest island and home to the capital city of Papeete; its neighbor, Moorea; Huahine; Raiatea and Taha'a; and Bora Bora. The main airport is on Tahiti, where all the incoming planes land. Smaller planes then take visitors to neighboring islands: Moorea is a 15 minute hop, Bora Bora is a little over 1 hour. There is also a ferry that travels between Moorea and Tahiti. Many popular vacation packages feature stays on 2 or 3 islands - we recommend this, as this may be your once in a lifetime visit to Tahiti, so you may as well see as much as you can. Moorea and Bora Bora are popular combinations. Papeete on the main island of Tahiti will feel cramped and dirty after you have visited the outer islands, and you will not likely feel you have been shortchanged if you skip a stay on the big island. Given the European influence in Tahiti, you will find topless beaches everywhere you go - some women choose to be topless, others choose not to. If you are an American, don't stare!
Moorea: This is the closest island to Tahiti, about 15 miles away. Shaped like a heart, this is where the crew of the HMS Bounty first anchored and thought they had found paradise. Ancient vanilla plantations can be found on the island interior - many tours offer days visits via jeep to these locations, picking up fresh coconuts and pineapple along the way for snacks! Temperatures are in the 80s here year-round, so you can be assured of a glorious tropical getaway whenever you visit. Most of the resorts line the southern side of the island, following the narrow ring road the surrounds the island. Watch out for chickens crossing the road! Scooter rentals are plenty and a fun way to see the island at your own pace. One benefit of French rule are the numerous French restaurants that abound on these remote islands. Around Cooks Bay, check out Le Pecheur and Le Cocotier for French cuisine. A good Italian spot is Alfredo's, and Mahogany fits the bill for Chinese food. On the east side, past Club Med, enjoy a quiet evening on the floating restaurant, Le Bateua (the boat). On the west coast, try La Plantation or Le Pitcairn for a romantic meal. The most popular hotels and resorts on Moorea are: Club Bali Hai, Hotel Hibiscus, Hotel Kaveka, InterContinental Resort Moorea, Les Tipaniers, Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa, Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa, Sofitel Ia Ora Moorea. All these resorts offer a variety of activities, from canoe rentals, snorkeling, and hiking, to simply relaxing on the white sand and enjoying the sun. Taxi vans service the island, and most resorts also offer transportation to nearby restaurants - just ask at the front desk if you are planning a night out and need a ride.
Bora Bora: The main island of Bora Bora has Mount Otemanu jutting up in the center, green and steep, while a lovely atoll surrounds most of the island, resulting in beautiful lagoons all around. Many call Bora Bora the most beautfiul island in the world, with white sands, and clear blue water - paradise on earth! Tourists have been visiting Bora Bora for more than 40 years, but this still remains a quiet, off the beaten path kind of destination. A single road circumnavigates the island - rent a scooter and see the whole island in a few hours. There are taxi vans that carry tourists between resorts and restaurants, and no need to rent a car.
Bora Bora Hotels and Resorts: Most of the resorts on Bora Bora are on the southside of the island, or on nearby motus (islands). The most popular resorts are: Bora Bora Dive Resort, Bora Bora Eden Beach Hotel, Bora Bora Lagoon Resort (Orient Express), Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa (Starwood Luxury Collection), Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, Club Med Bora Bora, Hotel Bora Bora (Amanresort), InterContinental Moana Beach Bora Bora, Le Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora Hotel, Le Meridien Bora Bora, Sofitel Marara Bora Bora, and the Sofitel Motu Bora Bora.
Rangiroa is the second largest atoll in the world, and is a divers paradise. You can fly there from Papeete and Bora Bora (a little over one hour flight). Over 200 tiny islets (motus) make a 100 mile ring around the breath taking lagoon. The Hotel Kia Ora is the main resort of Rangiroa, featuring delightful overwater bungalows and delicious French cuisine. The other popular resort is the Novotel Rangiroa Beach Resort, with garden and beach bungalows. You can canoe, swim, snorkel, and scuba dive. This is obviously a very quiet island with not a lot of nightlife or other activities.