Things To Do & Places To See In Tahaa
This section of the Tahaa travel guide highlights the main points of interest and special activities to see and do during your visit to the vanilla island.
Guided Island Tours
Guided island tours are a great way to explore Tahaa and meet the locals. Most tours are offered on a half-day basis, but some operators offer full-day tours that also include lunch, usually at the guide’s home. The guided tours circle the island, mostly covering all the places mentioned in this section, and perhaps even include some offroading. All guided tours visit both vanilla and pearl farms. I recommend contacting Teva from Poerani Tours (email@example.com | +689 87788025), Terainui Tours, or booking online with Heremana Tours. Thrill seekers can also combine an island tour with a jet ski tour in the lagoon.
If you opt for a half-day guided tour, book a morning tour as the weather tends to be clearer and calmer.
The Coastal Road
Tahaa’s paved road reaches most parts of the islands and is easygoing for the most part. A short section leads to a nice scenic lookout, and another heads slightly inland. There aren’t many distractions along the way, apart from a few fruit stands, local restaurants (called snacks), and black pearl and vanilla farms.
Tapuamu to Patio
The section of the coastal road from Tapuamu, the island’s main quay, to Patio, the island’s main village, offers incredible views of Bora Bora’s dominant skyline. Though many miles of water separate Tahaa from Bora Bora, the vanilla island cannot escape the grandeur of the romantic island.
Stop at Domaine Pari Pari to taste and learn about the process of producing local rum. The distillery uses sugar cane grown on Tahaa and other islands. If your timing is good, you’ll get a tour of the place.
Not far from the distillery, visit the Ia Orana pearl farm and learn about the delicate and scientific process of producing the exquisite Tahitian black pearl. There are other pearl farms on the island, but this one boasts spectacular views of Bora Bora in the distance on a clear day.
The ‘capital’ of Tahaa. Here you’ll find a few shops and snacks (local restaurants) but not much else.
Ancient Polynesian Site
For a walk back in time, track Marae Faremeho À Vaimaì just after Hipu Village. Pay a small fee to the local family and explore this ancient place of worship and gathering.
As with the pearls, there are many vanilla farms on the vanilla island. A great option is La Vallée de la Vanille on the northeast side of the island. The family that runs the farm speaks great English and offers in-depth explanations free of charge to visitors. Of course, you have plenty of ways to show gratitude in the shop, where high-end vanilla pods and other vanilla products are sold at very reasonable prices and directly from the source.
What is especially interesting is learning about the production process of the world’s second most expensive spice, after saffron, and why Tahaa vanilla is considered to be the best in the world. It takes almost nine months to get the finished product. Tahaa’s vanilla is exceptional in quality due to the optimal conditions of elevation, humidity, and moisture. The only problem is that the insects that normally pollinate the flower are not found in French Polynesia. So, vanilla farmers manually pollinate the plants in a delicate manual process done by hand.
If it’s Sunday morning in Tahaa and you’re around Fa’a’aha Village, head to the local church for a memorable service. The entire local community gathers here, dressed in their finest clothes and headpieces. The service includes many beautiful hymns sung by the whole congregation. You do not need to be a religious person to enjoy this authentic cultural experience.
The coastal road climbs inland, as a shortcut between Fa’a’aha Bay and neighboring Ha’amene Bay. The views of both deep bays are sensational from the unofficial scenic viewpoint.
From the viewpoint, the road descends back to the lagoon and Ha’amene Bay. This is the deepest bay in Tahaa, dotted by simple homes and coconut plantations for copra production.
Apu Bay & Peninsula
The Apu Peninsula constitutes a large section of the island, but since the main paved road can bypass it, it remains quiet and beautifully wild. The southern coast of the peninsula is the closest you’ll get to neighboring Raiatea on dry land. The main thing to do here is to drive or cycle slowly along the shores of Apu Bay and enjoy the views and the vibe.
Tahaa’s main road does not entirely encircle the island, so it heads inland to get from Ha’amene to Tiva. This is one of the prettiest sections of the island, wild, quiet, and abundant with coconut palms hidden by lush emerald peaks.
A small picturesque village at the mouth of Hurepiti Bay. The highlight here is the signature church, which is beautiful and right on the water.
Joe Dassin Beach
Tranquil Joe Dassin Beach lies in a short section of the island that’s inaccessible by road. There might be trails leading to the beach. Otherwise, you’ll need a boat. Apart from the coconut palms and sliver of white sand, there’s a nice drop in the reef just meters from the shoreline.
The Coral Garden
Motu Tautau is not only home to the luxurious Le Tahaa Island Resort & Spa, but it’s also the site of a beautiful coral garden. If you’re not staying at the resort, chances are that you’ll snorkel in the coral garden as part of lagoon tours originating from Tahaa or on day tours of Tahaa from Raiatea. If the conditions are right, walk to the reef side of the motu, carefully jump into the water, and ride the current into the lagoon. But even if conditions for this “Superman act” aren’t optimal, head to the reef to see the Bora Bora’s dramatic skyline in the distance.
Apart from hard-to-access Joe Dassin Beach, Tahaa’s main island lacks sandy beaches. However, the islets (motu) straddling the barrier reef around Tahaa are highly regarded, in particular, the motus on the north coast of the island. You’ll stop here for a long and pampering lunch as part of full-day lagoon tours and day tours of Tahaa from Raiatea.
Hiking In Tahaa
The island of Tahaa conceals natural treasures hidden and well-guarded by the inhabitants of the island. Inquire about a hiking guide that can take you to the summit of Mount Moiri. It’s not a very high mountain, but it does afford beautiful views of Tahaa and its lagoon. Along the way, you’ll hike through a rainforest where locals have planted breadfruit and vanilla. Another hiking option in Tahaa is The Crossing, a trail (sort of) connecting the villages of Patio and Haamene.
Other Activities In Tahaa
Apart from the island and lagoon tours we covered above, you might also find local operators offering jet ski tours in the lagoon (~20,000F per couple) and quad tours in the mountains of the main island (19,000F per couple). Contact Poerani Tours for options(firstname.lastname@example.org | +689 87788025).
I hope you’ve found this Tahaa Travel Guide useful. For more information about Tahaa and French Polynesia, check out these recommended guides.
Tahiti, Tailor Made!
The Islands of Tahiti are among the last places to be colonized by mankind, 118 islands, each with its unique personality.
Get expert advice and assistance with planning your trip to the destination where tropical dreams come true!