The main island in Tahiti is also called Tahiti. The length around the island is only 120km, so no matter which direction you go, you will return to Papeete without being afraid of getting lost.
Exchange money to travel in Tahiti
I did not see money exchange shops in Tahiti like any other country, so you can exchange money in Australia a few weeks in advance. I was in New Zealand, so the money was available in the bank after a week of order.
Otherwise, you can bring the USD to change at the airport or you can go to the bank to ask for help. You can also exchange money at the hotel, but the hotel where I stayed charged 1USD = 89 CFP, while on the internet the rate was 1USD = 101CFP.
Is Tahiti safe?
Traveling in Tahiti is very safe. I saw people carrying bags tossing around without anything happening. At night, if you walk in the center, please pay attention. The crossing points have almost no red lights, so remember to look at the front and back. Most vehicles stop to light up when just touching the pedestrian line to wait for pedestrians to cross the street.
In addition, most of the people there are extremely friendly and keep everything clean. Therefore, after eating, clean up the place yourself. Public toilets are extremely clean, however, you should bring a toilet paper for yourselves because some places are out of paper or paper is not available.
Transportation in Tahiti
Rent a motorbike / car
The best way to get around Tahiti is to hire a vehicle. You can rent a car or motorbike. Motorbikes are a bit dangerous, because you will have to drive through several pass roads and unfortunately in Tahiti there is no dedicated lane for motorbikes. There are some rough roads and some potholes. The speed of driving in the suburban area is 90km / h, so the Tahiti people drive very fast. You should consider it carefully when deciding to rent a motorbike to go home.
Website for renting motorbikes / cars in Tahiti: https://www.ecocar-tahiti.com
I rented a 5-Dacia car with price of 5500CFP / day. They delivered the car at the hotel. That price included car insurance, but I bought additional deductions (in case of an accident I would only pay 1,000CFP instead of 45,000CFP). This fee is high but because I was used to driving on the left in New Zealand instead of driving on the right, I bought it for sure. People drive in Tahiti in the same direction as in Vietnam, so it will be easier for you to drive. Motorbike rental price is 3500CFP / day.
Travel by bus
In addition, if you have plenty of time, you can also take a local bus. Prices range from 200CFP to 450CFP per trip, depending on the length of the journey you take. However, the bus only works until about 4pm, so please remember so that you would not have to sleep on the street. Unfortunately, at the places which have a nice view, I did not see any bus stop. Moreover, the more inconvenient thing is that whether you take a bus East or West, it will point to Taravao. From Taravao to Teahupoo (a place suitable for surfing / diving / climbing) or Tautira (bathing / climbing), you must wait for a long time to transfer to another bus.
Attractions in Tahiti island
I went West along the shore, so it was quite comfortable. However, people were only allowed to swim in nine places across the island, so be sure where you can.
Maraa cave is one of the largest caves in Tahiti. This place is between Paea and Papara.
The peninsula from Taravao to Teahupoo: this is where the annual surfing competition is held. This is an indispensable place for those who love surfing and diving. Then, go back to Taravao to enter Tautira. This road is very beautiful!
Vaimahuta waterfall and Blow Hole are on the way from Tiarei to Mahine. However, when I came, the water was shallow, so I did not see Blow Hole.
There are also many other points, but I drove too fast, so I couldn’t turn back.
Remember to bring drinking water because no one sells along the road. Drinking water can be taken directly from the tap, so bring a water bottle for easy access.
What to play at night: in Papeete at weekend nights, the bars are the most populous. Especially the Poke bar at Vaima center is suitable for dynamic young groups. Those who like English, French music or traditional Tahiti music can visit Paradise Night which is opposite the harbor. That place is also suitable for those who do not like the noise too much. Next to it is the bar for U18 +. There are also a few dozen nearby ones. If you want to watch free music, you can go to the park where the food truck is located.
What to eat in Tahiti?
Breakfast: At fairly cheap snack shops: 2 fried eggs, 2 pieces of thin raisin-like bacon with 2 cups of bread, about 1000CFP. That price is low compared to the cost of living there. Or you can go to the food court of Papeete market which provides a wide range of choices.
Lunch / brunch at Master sandwich: chicken stewed with spinach and coconut milk, which is very tasty. Chicken is both soft and fatty with coconut water and aromatic spinach.
Don’t forget to try the cheesecake at the restaurant on the second floor of Papeete ferry. This was my favorite dish, better than the cheese cake in New Zealand. The orange juice there is equally good and fresh.
Dinner: I ate at the food truck and some restaurants selling Vietnamese dishes. There is also a dish called raw fish with coconut milk – Don’t forget to try it. This dish can be eaten at breakfast/lunch/dinner. It is available everywhere, including the market.
If you need laundry, you should go to Laverie Pont de l’Est, 64 Rue Paul Gauguin. This place provides the service of washing, drying and lining up. It could take about 2 hours. The prie of either fast or slow laundry is 2,500CFP / time. The owners do very well and are very enthusiastic.