Advertisements and brochures lead you to believe Tahiti is one of the most expensive destinations in the world, and it can be. That being said, there are many ways to make a trip to French Polynesia less touristy. To help you plan your itinerary, here are tips for traveling Tahiti.
1. Stay At Pensions
Pensions are simple accommodations run by families and locals that can be charming; essentially they are homestays. Although basic, you can still get a waterfront room, private bungalows and delicious communal meals served family-style so you can meet other travelers.
2. Take Advantage Of Free Activities
Whether you stay at a pension or resort there are usually certain free activities included, like kayaking, cycling, hiking, snorkeling and certain cultural experiences. Check beforehand what accommodations include to compare and contrast what you’d enjoy doing.
3. Food Trucks
Head to Vai’ete Square on the waterfront to check out the mobile food trucks (an especially lively area after 6pm) or the small mom and pop establishments serving local favorites across almost all the islands.
4. Taxis & Le Truck
There are taxis throughout or you can opt for the Le Truck, a colorful open-air vehicle that costs about $2 per person. Bikes are another popular mode of transportation while helping you to really feel the beat of the island.
5. Travel During Shoulder Season
For French Polynesia, shoulder season is April through June and September through November. During this time, you’ll be able to snag great flights, hotels, tours and packages.
6. Choose Lesser-Known Islands
Traveling to Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea will typically be more crowded as they are more popular. Keep in mind there are other islands with much to offer visitors that are less frequented.
7. Opt For An Island Hopping Flight Ticket
If you’ll be traveling to a number of islands on your trip, opt for Air Tahiti’s flight hopping passes — good for up to six islands — which can save you about 30% on domestic flights.
Tahiti sunset. Photo courtesy of jonrawlinson.