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.
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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).
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.