The main island of Tahiti and its peninsula to the south form together a huge “8”. At the junction of these two worlds, the isthmus of Taravao is located about 50 km from the capital Papeete in the north. By following the coastal roads from the east or west, it is possible to drive around Tahiti Nui in just two hours. The tour gets a little longer if you venture onto Tahiti Iti, the peninsula. Getting around Tahiti requires a car. It is the practical and comfortable solution to discover the Queen Island of French Polynesia in complete freedom. Let’s look at your options to get around Tahiti.
How to Get Around Tahiti: Bus and Cab
Getting Around Tahiti By Bus: Only in Urban Areas
Unlike most of the Polynesian islands, Tahiti benefits from a fairly efficient public transport network. About twenty bus lines cover the whole main island. However, there are deep disparities between the urban area of Papeete and the more remote areas on both coasts.
In the capital city of Papeete and its surroundings, there is no problem to travel by bus. The service covers the city and the airport quite well, from very early in the morning until late in the afternoon, before stopping completely around 5-6pm. On average, there is a bus every 15 minutes depending on the line chosen. On the other hand, the frequency drops sharply on Saturdays and there is no service on Sundays.
In non-urban areas, getting around Tahiti by bus becomes more complicated. With about one bus per hour, the frequency is less sustained. The price of the ticket is progressive but remains very democratic. Count $5 to reach the city of Taravao from Papeete. Of course, the travel time is longer: it takes almost 2 hours to travel the 50 km between these two destinations.
Public transportation is a good way to discover Tahiti and its inhabitants. However, pretending to go around the island by bus is not a viable option.
Calling a Cab in Tahiti
A first alternative to public buses would be to take a cab. This is obviously the ideal solution for people who cannot or do not want to drive. However, the option of a cab is best reserved for essential or occasional trips.
You will mainly use Tahiti City Taxis for your transfers to and from the international airport, if these are not taken care of by the hotel where you are staying. Count on about $20 for trips to Papeete. Also, we recommend that you take a cab in the evening as it is the only way to get back to your accommodation besides walking. The night rates are of course higher.
On the other hand, we do not recommend that you organize all your transportation in Tahiti on the basis of a cab service. As an example, the fare between Papeete in the north and Taravao in the south is $80 during the day and up to $140 at night. Don’t plan to go around Tahiti by cab. At this rate, it is better to rent a car.
The Ideal Way to Get Around Tahiti: Rent a Car
In Tahiti, renting a car is not only recommended but also necessary. You will enjoy total freedom of movement, whether in the evening, on weekends or during excursions to the East and West coasts, and even further to the peninsula. It is a much more comfortable solution than renting a scooter, and less dangerous and restrictive than renting a bike.
The rental conditions are generally quite simple. Don’t forget to fill up the tank when you return the vehicle. Also, be careful on the road. It would be a shame to have to pay the deductible for a small accident!
Which Car Rental Agencies to Choose?
When it comes to renting your car, you’ll be spoilt for choice between agencies and individuals. Due to the quality of the service provided, the reliability of the vehicles and the customer contact, we recommend two rental addresses.
With professionalism and friendliness, Tahiti Rent is the best rental address in Papeete. Rates are very affordable, from small city cars to off-road vehicles for unpaved roads. Pick-up and drop-off options at the airport and ferry terminal make it very easy to exchange and rent. Convenient and high quality.
Based in Arue and Papara, the Regina Rental Cars agency covers the East and West coasts of Tahiti Nui. It is the address by which to pass for all those which would reside away from the urban zone of Papeete. Several categories of vehicles are available at affordable rates. For your convenience, the agency has a pick-up system at the airport or your hotel in Tahiti.
Rental cars with driver
For those who don’t want to drive, you can hire a private driver. This is a very convenient solution to use when you arrive at the international airport to make transfers to your hotel. On certain occasions, you can also book your own chauffeur-driven vehicle for travel around the island.
For transfers, we recommend the services of Taxi Wind Tahiti, which offers quality services at very reasonable rates. You will pay per trip. However, if you are looking for a greater autonomy, the agency Tahiti Transports Privés offers you a vehicle with a driver. In this case, you will pay by the hour.
To finish on a glamorous note, honeymooners can also opt for a luxury car transport. This is what Tahiti Limousine offers with transfers from the airport, the ferry dock in Papeete and the various hotels in Tahiti.
Choosing the Right Itinerary to Tour Tahiti
Once you have your vehicle at your disposal, you can finally discover Tahiti and push the adventure to the peninsula. In order to enjoy the best travel conditions, the ideal itinerary would be to go around the island in a clockwise direction. On the way back along the west coast, you will enjoy the magnificent sunset over the ocean and the sister island of Moorea.
From Papeete, you will go to the covered market before taking the road. Then you will head to Pointe Vénus and its magnificent black sand beach, one of the best Tahiti beaches. After a walk to the waterfalls of Faarumai, you will go to Teahupoo on the peninsula to approach the world famous surf spot. On the way back, you will enjoy a short stop to visit the water gardens of Vaipahi. Finally, you will end up on Vaiava beach, with your eyes riveted on the setting sun. Getting around Tahiti has never been easier.
Having a car gives you the opportunity to be in control of your day, without schedules and with complete peace of mind. Perhaps you’ll take the chance to go to the Tahitian Golf Course? Or visit the best massage in Tahiti at Pointe Vénus? There is so much to discover on the Queen Island of French Polynesia. Don’t hesitate to contact us for the organization of your next stay in the South Pacific Islands.