Last updated on March 4th, 2022
A honeymoon in Tahiti is the ultimate way to celebrate the birth of a new couple. The tropical islands in the heart of Polynesia are among the most stunning and romantic spots on our planet. In this guide, you’ll discover how to plan a perfect honeymoon in Tahiti and how to best plan a trip to paradise.
Heading off to French Polynesia? In-depth island guides to all 5 archipelagos await you, including sample itineraries and essential travel tips & tricks.
After many years of dreaming, I first made it to Tahiti at the very end of a long voyage across the South Pacific Islands in 2015. It was a life-changing experience for me and I have since returned to Tahiti on three additional occasions. I have written extensively about traveling to Tahiti on this website and in other publications. My passion has led me to extensively research Polynesian history and I currently lead organized tours to Polynesia in addition to helping independent travelers plan tailor-made trips to French Polynesia.
The Islands of Tahiti are among the last places to be colonized by mankind, 118 islands, each with their unique personality.
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Before we tackle how to plan a honeymoon in Tahiti, it’s important to note that Tahiti is just one island among the 118 islands and atolls that make up the Polynesian territory of French Polynesia. Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia and where about 65% of French Polynesia’s population of roughly 285,000 citizens live. The confusion stems from the fact that Tahiti is also the brand name used to market French Polynesia as a travel destination, especially to the US market. So when you’re planning a honeymoon in Tahiti, you’re actually planning a honeymoon in French Polynesia.
Tahiti is an island in Polynesia, a vast area of the Pacific Ocean that extended from Hawaii in the north, New Zealand in the West, and Easter Island in the east. This area is known as the Polynesian Triangle, sprinkled by 1,000 tropical islands and atolls and home to a distinct native population known as Polynesians. About 3,000 years ago, Polynesian ancestors embarked on multiple migration waves from Southeast Asia until reaching the far corners of the triangle just a few centuries ago.
The island of Tahiti is the international gateway to French Polynesia. It’s located roughly at the center of the Polynesian Triangle, at a distance of about 8 hours by plane from the west coast of the United States, about 5.5 hours from New Zealand, and 6 hours from Hawaii.
The quick answer is that it doesn’t get more exotic than this. As far as tropical islands go, the islands of French Polynesia are nature’s finest creations. Diving a bit deeper into the topic, here are the ingredients that make Tahiti a perfect honeymoon destination.
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.
Tahiti has two distinct seasons, a dry season that runs from roughly June to October and a wet season that runs from November to April. The best time to visit is in the heart of the dry season during August and September, perfectly timed with the peak of the wedding season. These months enjoy stable and relatively dry weather. Though it is considered to be the “cooler” season, temperatures are warm during the day and might be mildly chilly in the evening due to the trade winds. If you’re interested in Polynesian culture, consider planning a honeymoon in Tahiti during the July Heiva Festival.
The shoulders seasons are also a good time to visit and the wet months should be avoided if planning a short honeymoon, where you’ll only spend a few nights on a given island.
The only practical means of getting to Tahiti is by plane, though many cruise lines offer itineraries that include a few islands in French Polynesia. At the time of writing this guide, you can fly to Tahiti from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hawaii, Auckland, Easter Island, Paris (with a stopover in North America), Japan, and the Cook Islands.
With 118 islands and atolls covering an area of the South Pacific roughly equal in size to Europe, it’s important to choose the right ones when planning your honeymoon in Tahiti. In case you’re wondering, here’s my list of the best islands in French Polynesia.
The most common honeymoon itinerary in French Polynesia is Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora. The next paragraphs outline this itinerary’s highlights plus a few “add-ons”. It’s important to note that all itineraries begin and end in Tahiti since it’s where the only international airport in the territory resides.
This is the classic Tahiti honeymoon itinerary that can be done in as little as a week but more optimally in ten days. These three islands are part of the Society Islands archipelago, home to high volcanic islands that are surrounded either partially or fully by a lagoon.
The “other” stops in the Society Islands group are more off the beaten track. Each island deserves at least three nights and it would be very hard to visit all of them on a single visit (but possible) due to domestic flight routes. The island of Huahine is known for its lagoon, ancient Polynesian temples, and vibe. The islands of Raiatea and Tahaa share a common lagoon, with Raiatea appealing to hikers and Tahaa for lagoon-lovers. Finally, Maupiti is known as “mini Bora Bora” thanks to its topography, but you won’t find here any resorts, just a laid-back vibe, and unparalleled natural beauty.
Moving north of the Society Islands into the Tuamotu Group, you’re now visiting coral atolls that were once high islands but have since sunk beneath the waves, only leaving a narrow stretch of the land made of coral sand in the shape of a pearl. This is the largest chain of coral atolls in the world. The prime reason for visiting these islands are for their rich marine life and the remote beaches that lie in the far edges of their lagoons, seldom visited by humans. You’ll need at least three nights at each stop and possibly more if you want to do a lot of scuba diving.
The most impressive of French Polynesia’s high islands from a geological perspective, the Marquesas Islands form the northernmost archipelago in French Polynesia. The high islands are not protected by a lagoon and their population is small. This is the ultimate destination if you want to witness what a Polynesian island may have looked like before settlement. Nature here is “on steroids”, best enjoyed on hikes, scenic road trips, or on horseback. The islands are also home to the best-preserved Polynesian temples and its local population authentically preserves their proud heritage. Due to its remoteness and the cost of travel, aim to spend a week in the archipelago with a visit to two islands.
French Polynesia’s southernmost archipelago is a wonderful option if you’re seeking to get off the beaten track. The Austral Islands run west to east and every island in the chain has its own unique personality. In Rurutu, explore eerie limestone caves, hike across its highest peaks, and swim with humpback whales between July and October. In Raivavae, visit one of the best beaches in French Polynesia at Motu Piscine and hike to the summit of Mount Hiro.
I can’t really see a reason for honeymooners to head to French Polynesia’s hardest to reach and most remote archipelago. The Gambier Islands are clustered together, with most islands floating inside a massive single lagoon. The islands are home to exquisite churches and pearl farming is the major source of income.
Apart from the ferry connecting Moorea with Tahiti, there aren’t any other reliable ferry services connecting other islands. That said, things are changing with the launch of ferry service from Tahiti to Huahine, Bora Bora, and Raiatea in 2021, and the relaunch of the Maupiti Express. For the most part, domestic flights are the only practicals means to island-hop in Tahiti. At present, Air Tahiti is the only domestic carrier. Depending on your itinerary, Air Tahiti air passes are the best way to save on costs if visiting multiple islands. If you want to travel in style from one island to another, you can also charter yachts, seaplanes, and helicopters.
French Polynesia’s signature hallmark is the overwater bungalow, the quintessential ingredient of a memorable honeymoon. Listed below are the top honeymoon resorts in French Polynesia at present.
Tetiaroa: a private atoll not far from Tahiti that was purchased by the late actor Marlon Brando. The atoll is home to nesting bird colonies and rich marine life. Though you can visit small sections of the atoll on a day trip from Tahiti (by boat), the only way to stay here as at The Brando, one of the finest resorts in the world.
Tahiti: the best resorts in Tahiti are currently the InterContinental Tahiti Resort and the recently-opened Hilton Tahiti. They’re both located on the sunny west coast of the island together with Tahiti Ia Ora Resort. Another good option is the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort, just north of the capital, Papeete.
Moorea: the Hilton Moorea Resort is the only five-star resort on the island and it’s located on prime real estate at the heart of the north coast. Following the closure of the InterContinetal Moorea Resort in 2020 (no replacement yet announced), the next recommended honeymoon resort is the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Resort.
Tahaa: located on a small islet at the edge of the lagoon and perfectly facing Bora Bora, the Le Tahaa Island Resort & Spa is one of the top resorts in French Polynesia. It’s a great option for those who seek the Bora Bora experience without the crowds. Vahine Island is a great under-the-radar option.
Bora Bora: lots of options on the prime honeymoon island. At the very top, both the St Regis Resort and the Four Seasons are the ultimate honeymoon choice, thanks to their location and amenities. In their vicinity, the InterContinetal Thalasso Spa and Le Meridien are good choices. My personal top choices are the more secluded (yet still five-star) Conrad Bora Bora Nui and the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort. If you’re planning to honeymoon in Bora Bora, here’s a guide on how to choose the right accommodation.
Tikehau & Rangiroa: the Pearl Beach Resort is the top honeymoon choice in Tikehau. The island’s famous pink sand beaches are right at your doorstep. In Rangiroa, the Kia Ora Resort has a few overwater bungalows backed by a beautiful coconut grove.
When thinking about how to plan a honeymoon in Tahiti, especially if you’re after the resort experience, it’s important to keep in mind that some resorts in Tahiti will go above and beyond to welcome honeymooners. The leading chains have resorts on every major island and some resorts have paired up with “sister” resorts to fill in gaps. Taking advantage of chains and resort partnerships can unlock major discounts on luxury accommodations in Tahiti, especially if you book in advance. Moreover, all resorts should offer complimentary honeymoon amenities, such as flower arrangements on your bed, champagne, drinks, and more.
Contrary to popular belief, Tahiti is not merely a beach holiday destination, though the destination does have its fair share of stunning beaches. I have highlighted the top experiences in French Polynesia on this planning guide and on which islands to best experience them. Those include the best hikes in French Polynesia, lagoon tours, and more. In this guide on how to plan a honeymoon in Tahiti, I want to focus on unique honeymoon-specific activities.
Now that you know the basics of how to plan a perfect honeymoon in Tahiti, check out an extensive list of related Tahiti travel resources and in-depth information, including travel guides to all the major islands.
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