Ia Orana, welcome to paradise! A trip to Tahiti and French Polynesia is something you’ll never forget. With 118 islands stretching across a chunk of the South Pacific Ocean the size of Western Europe, it’s important to pick and choose the right islands for you. Two weeks will allow you to see quite a few islands and even venture off the beaten track. Here’s a sample 2 weeks in French Polynesia itinerary, which offers a few combinations of islands to choose from.
I spent three months in French Polynesia while backpacking across the South Pacific Islands and have since returned on four additional occasions. While no two islands are the same, it’s key to avoid trying to see too much. This is paradise, after all, so leave plenty of time for relaxing. Independent travelers to French Polynesia will discover that there’s way more to this destination than just luxury resorts. It all depends on you. With two weeks to spend in French Polynesia, and assuming you’re looking to catch up on your reading list, you can see quite a lot while not rushing too much. In this itinerary, we’ll visit several archipelagos. Choose the islands that suit you the most.
Heading off to French Polynesia? In-depth island guides to all 5 archipelagos await you, including sample itineraries and essential travel tips & tricks.
Video Tour of the Islands of Tahiti
Here’s a relatively lengthy but (I guarantee) enjoyable video that takes you across all five archipelagos in French Polynesia. You might need to disable your ad blocker for the video to load.
Part 1: Tahiti (3 Days)
Tahiti is known as ‘the Queen of the Pacific’, and it is the largest island in French Polynesia – where over 70% of the population lives. Most visitors to French Polynesia tend to spend little time in Tahiti en route to the beach destinations, but if you enjoy road trips, nature, and hiking, Tahiti is a magical destination.
Where to Stay in Tahiti?
Most of the recommended places to stay in Tahiti are in and around Papeete. If you choose to stay outside of Papeete and not in one of the places listed below, double and triple check the location of the accommodation as some places are located in the mountains. Such accommodations might have great views but will require having a car.
For a luxury stay in Tahiti, the best resort is the InterContinental Tahiti Resort which is not too far from the airport in Fa’a. It’s perfectly situated to offer the best sunset views in Tahiti with a breathtaking panorama of Moorea. Next door, the Sofitel Tahiti Ia Ora Beach Resort and the Manava Resort in Punaauia are good options, and the Hilton Tahiti is set to open soon. On the other side of Papeete, en route to the east coast, the Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts is another solid option.
If you prefer to stay at hotels in Papeete, the Tahiti Nui Hotel or the Sarah Nui Hotel are your current options. The former is the best hotel in the city, located within a short walk of the central market and evening food market in Place Vaiete.
For a pension stay, the best in Papeete is by far Fare Suisse. They offer free transfers to/from the airport or ferry terminal, the breakfast is amazing, and the rooms are very well-furnished. Slightly out of town, along the west coast, Pension de la Plage and Relais Fenua are recommended options.
Here’s a list of all Tahiti accommodations that can be booked online.
3 Days in Tahiti
Spend your first day exploring Papeete, with its exotic market, colonial architecture, and cosmopolitan vibe. Your walking tour can begin in the central market, continuing to Paofai Gardens and the various city monuments. Papeete’s shops offer a wide variety of authentic island fashions, black pearls, and souvenirs. In the evening, head to Place Vaiete to dine in one of the famous roulottes (food trucks) or head to one of the resorts for a buffet dinner and a Tahitian dance show.
On your second day, rent a car or join a guided tour and discover the coastline of Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti. Along the way, pay a visit to the botanical gardens, the giant waves of Teahupoo, and the legendary black sand beaches of Tahiti. I recommend spending the day driving from Papeete to Teahupoo and, if you’re making good time, detouring to Tautira on the far side of Tahiti Iti.
On the third and last day in Tahiti, you have a few options. Hikers can attempt the challenging hike to Mount Aorai or the easy waterfall hike in the Fatahua Valley. Another recommended option is joining a guided 4X4 tour and crossing the island through its uninhabited center via the lush Papenoo Valley and magical Lake Vaihiria. If you like sailing, join the full-day excursion to Tetiaroa (Marlon Brando’s island) and experience the pristine beauty of this coral atoll.