As the gateway to French Polynesia, Tahiti deserves your full attention and should not remain a mere stopover. Its culture, mixing modernity and tradition, arouses both surprise and wonder. Life in the southern islands is full of color and music. At the same time, you only have to leave Papeete the capital to discover a wild nature, sometimes rough, often impressive. If you are looking for the best things to do in Tahiti, let’s see a selection of five activities not to be missed during your stay.

1. Going Up the Papenoo Valley

Papenoo Valley in Tahiti, French Polynesia

A wonderful and incredible adventure awaits you in the largest valley on the island. Following the road linking the communes of Papenoo and Mataiea, you will go to the heart of the wild lands of Tahiti. On the way, natural landscapes more grandiose than the others. The lush vegetation and the rain-fed waterfalls give an absolutely fantastic touch to the experience. And here comes the climax at Lake Vaihiria before arriving at the South Coast.

Expect to discover the island’s Polynesian heritage. You will see forgotten archaeological sites where ancient legends of gods and men are reborn. The feeling of living a waking dream is all the more true since the valley is almost uninhabited.

The crossing of the Papenoo cannot be undertaken alone. The trail is quite dangerous because of the risk of landslides and flash floods. We recommend that you take a professional guide who knows the area, in an all-terrain vehicle. A great day trip with the brilliant Teuai at Iaorana Tahiti Expeditions.

2. The Discovery of the Lavatubes of Hitiaa

Lavatube of the Fern Grotto in Tahiti

Still leaving from the east coast, a new and surprising adventure takes you to the center of the earth: the lavatubes. These are tunnels dug by lava flows dating from the formation of the island of Tahiti. You will go from light to darkness, from marvelous to fantastic. Before your eyes, colors change, twirl and create an unreal scenery.

This journey to the center of the earth will make you discover the past of Tahiti. But the experience is reserved for the most athletic. An excellent physical condition is essential to avoid accidents. Indeed, the lavatubes are to be discovered within the framework of an aquatic hike, close to canyoning. On the other hand, a certain composure is required to cross long distances in the dark.

The amateurs of strong sensations and the surpassing of oneself will find here a sporting challenge with the height of their waitings. The lavatubes can only be visited in the company of a professional guide, because of the risks associated with possible flooding.

3. Meeting at the Market in Papeete

Papeete Covered Market

One of the best things to do in Tahiti is to visit the covered market of Papeete. This is the place where all of Tahiti and her islands meet, discuss, exchange, in a festival of colors and flavors. Freshly caught fish, mountains of exotic fruits, thousands of tropical flowers and above all the Polynesians. You will find the best food in Tahiti. Coming to the market is part of the local culture and one goes there as one goes to the fountain. It is also what to do in Tahiti when it rains.

Take your time, wander through the aisles and watch all of Polynesia in motion. At best, visit the market early in the morning and especially on Sundays, when the merchants also occupy the street and the surrounding area. During the week, you will go upstairs where stalls display local handicrafts, clothing and essential oils. This will be an opportunity to buy nice souvenirs from Tahiti. The market is a must-see when visiting the Queen Island of Polynesia.

4. The Faraura Valley Hike

Waterfall in the Faraura Valley in Tahiti

Prepare your backpack and put on your walking shoes, today you are going to hike. Tahiti is a mountainous island, covered with lush and often uninhabited valleys. It is also the land of waterfalls. One of the most impressive of them all is located at the end of the Faraura valley. Starting from the east coast on the main island, you will go up a river for several kilometers through a wild and unforgettable scenery.

In search of the perfect waterfall, the journey becomes almost initiatory. You will cross the river several times and bathe in several pools of water, the famous basins. At the end of the effort, the main waterfall finally appears, almost 200 m high. The moment is simply unreal: cut off from the world and confronted with the force of nature.

The Faraura hike is one of the best ways to discover the interior of Tahiti at your own pace. The presence of a professional guide is not imperative. However, it is preferable to undertake this adventure in a group to ensure certain critical sections. Also, a good physical condition will be necessary to complete this gigantic loop during the day.

5. See the Wave of Teahupoo

Teahupoo wave, a real wall of water nearly 10 m high

Among the legends of Tahiti, the indescribable wave of Teahupoo is without question. Surfers from all over the world watch for it, wait for it frantically and when it appears, the world holds its breath. As the surfer enters a tunnel of water up to 8 meters high, he knows he has no right to make a mistake. Then begins the aquatic ballet, a real sporting and physical feat in the face of unleashed nature.

Let’s meet on the peninsula of Tahiti Iti, at the spot of Teahupoo. Surfers are not the only ones who can enjoy the moment. Indeed, several boats offer to take you as close as possible to the line-up and admire the show in complete safety. The experience is above all contemplative, but what an adrenaline rush when the wave rises higher and higher before breaking! Perhaps the moment when you will realize the particularity of surfing, a demanding sport where humility meets excellence.

To see this mythical wave, go by the blue boats of Teahupoo Taxi Boat. It is the best address to be close to the event, with a competent and friendly staff. Before boarding, don’t forget your camera to capture the most beautiful images.

What You Can Still Do in Tahiti

While surfing is a religion in its own right, golf in Tahiti also offers some nice moments of sporty relaxation. Others will prefer to dive and explore the wrecks of planes and boats. Diving in Tahiti offers a lot of possibilities. Or why not simply discover the benefits of a Tahitian massage. What you can do in Tahiti depends on your desires and expectations. Contact us to organize your next stay in the South Pacific Islands.