Tips for the best Tahitian travel times
Halfway between Australia and Los Angeles sits a tropical paradise, the group of islands that make up French Polynesia. Also known as Tahiti, this group is made up of five high islands, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine and Raiatea, and three atolls, Rangiroa, Fakarava and Manihi. They’re just an eight-hour flight from the United States, but their blue water, beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and exotic culture make them seem worlds away. The queen of them all is Tahiti, a sparkling jewel of an island that should be on every bucket list.
Best time to visit
There’s no terrible time to visit Tahiti. The weather is balmy year-round, and there are always amazing sights, smells and experiences to be explored. The best time to visit, however, is probably in winter, when the humidity is lower and the heat less oppressive.
Seasons and crowds
The natural seasons in Tahiti are described easily: there’s a humid season and a dry season. Unlike many tropical destinations, Tahiti doesn’t really have a rainy season. The dry season runs from May to October, and the weather is really at its best in July and August. The humid season, Tahiti’s long summer, goes from November to April. The high tourist season, as might be expected, is the dry season.
The most hectic month for tourism is July, when the Heiva Nui festival occurs, and crowds descend upon the island to enjoy its gorgeous weather. August is also packed, because that’s the traditional French vacation month. Those who don’t mind braving the crowds and paying higher room rates should make reservations well in advance. For those seeking a better combination of good weather and available rooms, May, June, September and October are probably better options.
Weather in paradise
In Tahiti, it’s warm all year. Temperatures rarely dip below 70 degrees F in the winter and get into the mid-90s in the summer. This may seem stifling, but trade winds blow across the islands, keeping everything pleasant. When it rains, storms typically last about 30 minutes. During the wet season, vegetation is particularly lush and green, and the fragrance of flowers fills the air. The water, like the air, is always warm, and it’s a great place to snorkel and scuba dive.
Traffic, tourism and other considerations
Traffic is different than in the U.S. – streets are narrow, and not all of them are paved. Car rental is available on the island, as are taxis, buses and Le Truck, the brightly colored local Jeepney. Many people, however, prefer to ride a bicycle or horse and explore parts of the island inaccessible to larger vehicles.
U.S. citizens need a passport, more than three months from its expiration date, to visit French Polynesia. They do not, however, need a visa, unless planning to stay more than 90 days every six months.
Tourists are warmly welcomed in Tahiti, and it’s fun to embrace the local culture, as well as the touristy activities. Try Polynesian cuisine, and experience the local delicacy of raw tuna marinated in lime juice and fresh coconut milk. Swim and kayak in clear waters amid tropical fish. Take in a Polynesian dance, experience a local festival or stroll through the open air market. There’s no place in the world like Tahiti, so visitors should drink deeply of the experience whenever they’re lucky enough to visit.