This French Polynesian isle, dotted with lush rain forests and intensely blue lagoons, has come to be regarded as practically synonymous with paradise. It’s also a great home base, with its range of accommodation options, to explore more of the 115 islands that make up French Polynesia. But with world-class surf in season, spectacular diving, and warm local charm, Tahiti has plenty to offer all on its own. Here are some tips on what to bring along.
Waterfalls and Beaches
Chances are you’ll spend many a Tahitian vacation day in little more than your swimwear. Invest accordingly in a colorful print, such as this peekaboo bandeau swim top ($103) and matching hipster bottom with cool cutouts ($77).
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Breaking for lunch? Slip on this fringed cover-up dress that’s pretty enough for even the fancier resorts ($112).
Flat, airy footwear with a dash of metallic is a sure crowd-pleaser. Plus, the platinum hue will go well with your South Pacific tan ($185).
No need to bust the bank on trendy sunglasses (likely, the plane fare to Tahiti will already set you back quite a bit). Brands like Australia-based Le Specs have fun styles—we like this tan cat eye with pinkish lenses—that ring in well below your usual designer fare ($59).
Be sure to pack plenty of cotton separates, like solid-colored tanks and these drawstring tie-dye shorts in hibiscus pink ($26.24).
With temperatures regularly in the high 70s, even into the evening, dinner-wear can veer on the lighter side. An island-appropriate palm-print dress seems right on point ($138), and is casual enough even for the food trucks that line up on Friday nights in the lively capital at Papeete.
Mix-and-match separates also add versatility. Go for printed cropped trousers, perhaps in a painterly floral ($61.60).
A simply cut tank in silk habutai can pair with both vibrant patterns and more subdued solids ($60).
Onto accessories, walk on the wilder side with an animal-print clutch, rendered beautifully with natural pony hair ($255).
Keeping with the natural theme, a pendant necklace with Tahitian pearl is a lovely local nod ($250).
Southern Coast Circuit
A popular stop along the worldwide surfer circuit, the Tahitian scene is clustered around particular breaks, like at Taapuna, near Papeete. There’s plenty more for the avid wave-rider to explore, including Papara, further down the southern coast. Naturally, pack a pair of boardshorts, like this tropical floral pair ($43.99).
For scouting the waters, these ocean-blue sunglasses will frame your view ($205).
While out catching waves, boost your sun protection with this light gray surf hat ($29.95) with stay-on strap.
Or, play the voyeur by bringing along this waterproof GoPro camera ($199.99).
Come afternoon, break for lunch and cover up with this aqua-blue tee ($55).
When in Tahiti, give the local hip-shaking dance, tamure, a try. Establishments like Le Royal Kikiriri feature tamure and a Polynesian two-step. These twill khaki chinos ($195) will suit you just fine.
Wear them with the cuffs rakishly rolled up and these sun-faded red slip-ons ($56.21).
On top, a white button-down with micro paisley print ($275) has an effortlessly dressy charm.
Photo credits: Waterfalls and Beaches: Courtesy of Everything But Water; Everything But Water; Everything But Water; BOP LLC.; Zappos.com; Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Papeete Discovery: Courtesy of Island Trends; macys.com; Colin Thomas; Neiman Marcus; Reiss. Southern Coast Circuit: Courtesy of Swell.com.; Saturdays Surf NYC LLC.; BOP LLC.; Tactics Board Shop; Woodman Labs, Inc. Dance Nights: Courtesy of Nordstrom, Inc.; Alternative Apparel.; BOP LLC.; rag-bone.com; Nordstrom, Inc.