Tahiti is a mountainous island with an impressive relief. Its luxuriant nature magnifies the steep walls, revealing numerous waterfalls. The deep valleys become wild and offer fantastic panoramas. Bring your water bottles and mosquito repellent and discover the magic of hiking in Tahiti.
Hiking in Tahiti With Children
Young parents can rest assured that hiking in Tahiti can be as simple as a short walk. Some routes are easy to access, not too long, and will please the young adventurers. On arrival, the spots are often impressive.
Let’s start with a small excursion on the East coast of Tahiti Nui: the 3 waterfalls of Faarumai. Starting from the shore, you will leave from the famous blowhole, one of the natural curiosities of the Queen Island. Located at the mouth of a volcanic rock tube, this hole looks like a geyser. Depending on the strength of the waves rushing in from the sea, its blast is more or less powerful. Visible and sometimes noisy, the attraction is sure to please children.
Then, let’s head inland! Walkers will take a round trip route of about three kilometers. However, it is possible to park your car in a parking lot near the site of the 3 waterfalls. In doing so, you will only need a few minutes to complete this walk in the heart of a lush forest. Once at your destination, a beautiful waterfall of nearly 80 m is available to you.
The access to the two other waterfalls is unfortunately closed, while waiting for a securing of the site. However, only one waterfall is enough to make the place unforgettable. This hike is therefore an great family outing in Tahiti.
Hiking in Tahiti for a Day
To really feel the power of the island of Tahiti, there is nothing like going on a full day hike. Grab your favorite headgear, a raincoat and your best walking shoes and head out to discover the natural wonders. However, a good physical condition is necessary.
Visit Faraura Valley!
From the village of Hitiaa on the East coast, you will walk up a river for several kilometers. The natural setting is sublime and enchanting. This magnificent hike leads you to numerous waterfalls and pools, where you can take a well-deserved break and have a swim.
If the walk is relatively easy on the first third of the route, the continuation proves to be more sportive because of the uneven ground. From the first waterfall, you will sometimes have to use your hands, or even ropes, to cross certain passages. In spite of the low heights, the difference in level can be very steep at times.
The viewpoints on the valley are fabulous. The waterfalls in particular will leave you with unforgettable memories. The apotheosis will certainly be a waterfall of 180 m, at the foot of which you will be able once again to bathe in all discretion. Some will try jumping in the basins, always observing the rules of safety and prudence.
A beautiful adventure in contact with nature and to live at your own pace. Count between 5 and 8 hours depending on your level and the duration of the stops. This excursion is one of the best things to do in Tahiti.
Swim at Fautaua Valley Waterfall
At 135 meters, the Loti waterfall is one of the most popular in Tahiti. Not far from the capital Papeete, a path takes you through the lush vegetation of the forest. If the first kilometers are on flat ground, the second part of the hike is steeper. What a pleasure to walk to the sound of the flowing river!
After a few kilometers, two routes are offered to you. The first one leads even higher up to the upper basins which overhang the Loti waterfall: the famous Fachoda basins. The second one continues along the river until the foot of the waterfall and some passages will require you to get a little wet. In both cases, the panorama at the arrival is fantastic and a refreshing swim is necessary.
This round trip requires a certain amount of stamina and between 4 and 6 hours of your time, depending on your pace and swimming times. To hike the Fautaua Valley, you will need to present a permit to the staff in charge of the site. This authorization, which costs about $5, can be picked up during the week at the Papeete City Hall, or from your hiking guide. Please also make sure to observe the opening hours, as access to the site is closed at the end of the afternoon.
Spend a Night in a Mountain Lodge
How about leaving the deep valleys to get a little height? The Mount Aorai hike will take you up to more than 1,500 meters, along narrow paths on the ridges of the mountain ranges. You will feel like you are walking on the clouds, between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The effort will be rewarded by extraordinary panoramas. Even better, it is possible to spend the night in one of the two refuges on the route. The ideal occasion to admire the sunset on Moorea and the sunrise on Tahiti.
If the trail is relatively well marked, the walk is quite difficult. The distances are great and the climbs can be quite steep. On several occasions, you will have to use ropes to continue your progression. The round trip from the outskirts of Papeete is approximately 20 kilometers. Undertaking it in one day requires an excellent physical condition.
If you plan to bivouac, you will have to bring with you sleeping quilts, provisions and especially a lot of water. In addition, equip yourself with adequate clothing to protect your legs and the cold. The ideal is to reach the second refuge before 4 pm and spend the night there.
In both cases, it is better to be accompanied by a guide who knows the terrain. Indeed, some forks are deceptive and lead to more perilous passages. Moreover, a guide will know how to pace the walk to arrive in time.
A Great Alternative: Aquatic Hike in Tahiti
Probably the most atypical experience to live on the Queen Island of French Polynesia, the visit of the Lava tubes will put all your senses to work. You will go into huge tunnels dug by lava flows dating back to the time of the formation of the island. Today, erosion has left fantastic natural relics and offers an extraordinary visual.
The contemplative adventure is above all a sporting challenge, close to canyoning. Indeed, you will climb rocks, swim across a ford and even jump into the lower basins of the caves, that is to say in total darkness. You will cross labyrinths with the help of headlamps to make this hike akin to caving.
The most famous of the aquatic hikes is in the village of Hitiaa, where you can visit three Lava tubes in succession. This trip is considered one of the best activities on the island. Of course, it is imperative to be in good physical condition and to undertake this tour in the company and under the supervision of a certified guide.
Use the Services of a Certified Guide
Risks of Hiking in Tahiti
Hiking in Tahiti must be earned. The routes are often demanding and require caution. The first precaution is to take into account the weather conditions. Refrain from any expedition if it has rained in the previous days or if the weather forecast forecasts rain the same day. The ground would be slippery and the risks of falling rocks or landslides would be high. Then, bring the right equipment: walking shoes, a head covering and for isolated walks a first aid kit. To make sure you don’t forget anything, see our tips for preparing your trip to Tahiti.
Preferably, start the hike early enough in the morning to avoid the heat during the climb and to reach your destination before the clouds cover the sky. However, because of the tropical climate, you will not escape the heat. It is therefore important to remember to hydrate regularly. Take enough water with you, between 1 and 3 liters depending on the length of the route, but also something to eat and fill up on energy: fruit, energy bars, a sandwich, etc. This advice is particularly applicable to children.
Finally, many routes take place on private land, requiring prior permission from the landowners. For a safe and carefree experience, we recommend that you use the services of Tahitian hiking specialists.
Choosing a Hiking Guide
We recommend that you organize your hikes with certified guides. Their extensive knowledge of the terrain and their professionalism make them essential to ensure the best conditions. In this respect, two agencies hold our attention.
Aito Rando will make you discover sumptuous natural landscapes with competence and excellence. The concern of transmission is real, especially since Aito Rando is also the story of a father with his son. A very high quality address for your mountain hikes.
Tahiti Reva Trek offers to discover the hidden treasures of Tahiti. The key words would be conviviality and authenticity. The lavatube outing is particularly indicated, especially since a delicate attention is given to beginners.
There Is So Much to Discover in Tahiti!
There is no shortage of hiking itineraries in Tahiti and walkers will find a great terrain for discovery and exploration. All you have to do is plan your stay in French Polynesia. Choose the best period to visit the island avoiding the wet season and find your flight to Tahiti. Do not hesitate to contact us during your Polynesian stay.