Tahaa Island Travel Guide

May 27, 2016

Tahaa French Polynesia panoramic view

Wild by even French Polynesian standards, Tahaa is really a ‘get away from it all island’, where traditional Tahitian life is still the norm. Sharpen your senses and breath deeply, the ‘Vanilla Island’ blooms with the sweet scented flowers that make your favorite desserts and the island’s prime crop. Venture out into the lagoon, and discover small islets floating in the bright blue, with pristine beaches just waiting for you to set foot on! This Tahaa Travel Guide will help you make the most of your time on this off the beaten track destination.

About This Guide

I spent three months in French Polynesia, as part of a six-month backpacking trip across the South Pacific Islands – with two full days in Tahaa (three nights). This travel guide to Tahaa was written based on my experiences and is meant to help you make the most of the Vanilla Island. The Tahaa Travel Guide is geared towards independent travelers, but any visitor will find it useful.

Heading off to French Polynesia? In-depth island guides to all 5 archipelagos await you, including sample itineraries and essential travel tips & tricks.

French Polynesia Travel Guide - banner

Why Should You Visit Tahaa?

If you’re on a limited vacation, Tahaa is not a must-visit destination. However, here are four reasons for visiting Tahaa:

(1) Of all the Society Islands, Tahaa is its wildest member. There aren’t too many people here (locals and tourists alike) and time really does seem to sit still. Deep emerald bays carve their way into rolling hills, with nothing but sleepy villages and a whole lot of wild hibiscus in between. (2) Tahaa is world-renowned for its vanilla production. Some of the world’s best is grown right here, and you’ll get the chance to see how it all works. (3+4) Tahaa’s lagoon is blessed with some of the prettiest motus (small lagoon islets). I’m talking about pristine beaches, untouched and just waiting for you. Here’s the real kicker: for those seeking to stay in a luxury resort on one of those ‘dream islands’, Tahaa offers a superb alternative to the overstretched resort scene in Bora Bora with one of the top resorts in French Polynesia. Keep reading for more details.

view of tahaa island from the air tahaa french polynesia

What’s Included In This Tahaa Travel Guide?

Tahaa Travel Guide Map

Click on the image to open in Google Maps. This map features all the highlights mentioned in this guide. 

Tahaa Travel Guide Map - French Polynesia

Facts & Brief History

Oddly shaped Tahaa shares the same lagoon with its big sister to the south – Raiatea. Some theorize that the two were once part of a single island, only to be split at some point. There are even accounts of an underground lava tube connecting Raiatea and Tahaa.

tahaa island french polynesia aerial view

The 4,000 residents of Tahaa live almost entirely around the 70-kilometer coast, making a living from copra production, black pearl, and vanilla farming. Over 80% of French Polynesia’s vanilla is grown in Tahaa, world-renowned for producing some of the finest vanilla in the world.

vanilla plants at vanilla farm tour tahaa french polynesia



  1. Is it easy to find locals that are willing to take you to and from the coral gardens instead going through the guided tours? We are going in about 2.5 weeks for the first time and just looking for more info. Also roughly an estimate on grocery foods, we are trying to travel on a budget, eat cheap and spend money on certain tours and rental car or kayaks when needed. Thanks!

    1. Locals won’t undercut the guides so I’m not sure it’s possible. I do know that Pension Au Phil Du Temps does offer its gets return boat trips only to the coral garden so it might be worth to inquire with them. As for groceries, the challenge will be staying in close proximity to a grocery store. Tahaa is not very populated. If you can cook your meals then you can certainly travel on a budget.

  2. What are the options for snacks & drinks to buy and resteraunts? Anything at Tapuamu village? Thanks

    1. Hi. There are snacks or takeaway options at every village but you’ll need a car to get around if it’s not a short walking distance away. In Tapuamu, you have a small snack called Matahina. It might be closed now because of the Covid scare and the slowdown of businesses.

Post a new comment

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.