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Tahiti Travel Guide

This Popular Vacation Destination Is More Affordable Than It Has Been in Years

"It’s a good time to stretch your budget with this rare availability.” 

Tahiti is going to be affordable for travelers this summer. Hotels and resorts on Tahiti and nearby islands such as Bora Bora are booking behind expectations for the summer months, and many are offering good rates and special promotions to help fill the gap. Tahiti’s tourism promoters are also turning out to promote summer travel. 

Tahiti Tourisme CEO Jean-Marc Mocellin told Fodor’s that the Paris Olympics are one of the drivers of the drop in visitor bookings. “This summer, amidst our peak season, The Islands of Tahiti are experiencing an unprecedented event: remarkable hotel rates and ample availability, all because of the Paris Olympic Games.”

French and other European travelers, Mocellin says, have been wary of the possibility of crowds and possible disruptions at airports in Paris, which has depressed summer outbound travel from France. Paris is the European gateway to Tahiti, with French carriers Air Tahiti Nui, Air France, and French Bee all serving Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport with one-stop flights via the United States.

Mocellin also notes that the Olympic surfing events in Teahupoo (which was recently the source of controversy over the Olympic Committee’s plans for a new judging tower) will not be open to public spectators, which hampers any plans to make up the visitor shortfall with sports fans. 

June through August is peak season in Tahiti and the rest of French Polynesia, which Tahiti Tourisme markets collectively as “The Islands of Tahiti.” During this period, which is marked by mild winter weather and the well-known local cultural festival Heiva I Tahiti, visitor numbers typically peak, driving up airfares and hotel rates. As a bonus, visitors will also find the summer months are peak season for whale-watching.

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Raphael Bernard, CEO of the package tour operator Tahiti Legends notes that an increase in the number of airline flights to Tahiti has also kept airfares low. “We have six airlines servicing the destination from North America and that means a more competitive airfare.” At press time, United Airlines was advertising roundtrip fares from San Francisco starting at $746 roundtrip. In addition to United, Air Tahiti Nui, Delta Air Lines, French Bee, Air France, and Hawaiian Airlines all serve Tahiti from the United States.

In the same time zone as Hawai’i, Tahiti is roughly eight hours nonstop from Mainland gateways in Seattle/Tacoma (Air Tahiti Nui), San Francisco (United, French Bee), and Los Angeles (Air France, Delta, Air Tahiti Nui). Tahiti is a five-hour flight from Honolulu (Hawaiian Airlines). Travelers bound for other parts of the South Pacific also use Tahiti as a stopover before connecting to onward flights to New Zealand or the Cook Islands. 

In addition to the increase in flights, new hotels like Cooks Bay Hotel & Suites on Moorea are also providing competition in the marketplace, says Bernard. 

The return to destination promotion is something of a reversal for Tahiti Tourisme, which in late 2022 announced a cap on annual visitor numbers

Travel Consultant Christina Turrini, who specializes in Tahiti Travel, says that visitor peaks in 2022 and 2023 might have been an anomaly. “Travel to Tahiti and travel in general has been slower in early 2024 than the past two years. I think the ‘revenge’ travel of 2023 is behind us,” she told Fodor’s.

She went on to explain that the travel restrictions on other popular destinations—like Japan—have melted away, so Tahiti faces more competition from other destinations than in years past. However the good news, she says, is that last-minute summer bookings for Tahiti will benefit. 

“We’re seeing spring promotions extended through summer travel dates—it’s a good time to stretch your budget with this rare availability.” 

Pearl Resorts of Tahiti, which operates the luxury resorts Le Taha’a and Le Bora Bora under the Relais & Chateaux banner is just one of the resort operators extending spring availability through summer. 

Tahiti Tourisme noted that midweek rates at two major resorts on Tahiti are also lower than normal, particularly in July. Hilton Tahiti and InterContinental Tahiti both have rooms from around $375 per night at press time—roughly a third lower than the typical rate for that time of year, and comparable to rates at similar resorts in Hawai’i. 

French Polynesia is a semi-autonomous territory of France in the South Pacific. As with France, US and Canadian passport holders can stay for up to 90 days for touristic purposes without a visa. The official language of the islands is French, but English is widely spoken in resorts and other tourism-focused businesses, particularly on islands popular with tourists including Tahiti, Moorea, Tahaa, Bora Bora, and Rangiroa. 

Visitors will find a variety of tropical activities, from snorkeling and diving in crystal-clear lagoons to beach picnics with poisson cru, the local version of poke made with coconut milk, vegetables, and a squeeze of fresh lime. 

Visitors can also shop for Tahitian Pearls in chic boutiques or find great deals at the public market in Papeete, where pearls are sold by the bucket—travelers can pick the ones they want to have them set in any fashion they choose—at astonishingly modest prices. Another favorite souvenir in Tahiti is monoi, a locally crafted coconut oil used to soften and fragrance the skin and hair.

What visitors won’t find this summer in Tahiti, says Mocellin, are crowds. 

“This unique phenomenon, unusual in our destination where bookings are usually made several months in advance, invites travelers to take advantage of this opportunity and secure their summer holidays in our enchanting islands.”