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Teresa Nelle   Meet Teresa, one of our travel experts for the Islands of Tahiti.


Teresa is a Certified Tahiti Travel Specialist and works with the Tahiti Tourism Board making sure her guests enjoy a fabulous holiday in Tahiti. Teresa lives on the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. She's been a Travel Advisor for 20 years, specializing in tropical islands around the world but her true love is the South Pacific. Teresa has traveled throughout the South Pacific Islands and is on a first name basis with many of the resort owners. She has visited Fiji 7 times as well as Tahiti, Australia and New Zealand. Her speciality is multi-country holidays. Her agency, Luxury Hideaways, is rated A+ with the Hawaii Better Business Bureau.


Best Time of Year to Visit Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora

Explore > Travel Planning Articles > Best Time of Year to Visit Tahiti

Date published:
2023-05-07


What's the best time of year to visit Tahiti?  Well, the weather in French Polynesia is fabulous year-round: this is the InterContinental Le Moana, with views of Mount Otemanu and Bora Bora, French Polynesia.
View of Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora from the InterContinental Le Moana Resort.


Michael  

About the author, Michael Cottam


Founder of Visual Itineraries, Michael lives in Bend, Oregon. He's an avid traveler, scuba diver, photographer, and a private pilot, and also the founder of Bright Yonder. He's been to Fiji, Thailand, Vietnam, Seychelles, Kenya, France, England, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belize, Costa Rica, Turks & Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Mexico, and the major islands in French Polynesia.

He's been a Rotarian for 21 years, currently on the board of the Greater Bend Rotary Club.

Follow Michael on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.

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Tahiti Vacation Planning

Which Islands Should We Visit in French Polynesia?

Having been to Tahiti Nui, Bora Bora, and Moorea myself, I'd say that it's not just about the resorts, or even the islands themselves. You need to consider how you're going to get there from the main international airport in Papeete, on the main island of Tahiti Nui. Bora Bora, Le Taha'a, and the Tuamoto Atolls are going to require a plane flight, which adds significantly to your cost AND to the travel time. Moorea, on the other hand, is close enough that you can hop on a ferry boat from Papeete right after your plane lands, and be at your resort within about an hour, and at very little expense. And while the main island of Tahiti Nui has some nice resorts, the scenery and the resorts themselves generally don't really compare to Moorea, Bora Bora, etc. Most people stay on the main island at most a night or two, then head to one of the outer islands.

Tahiti Nui:

4 resorts; very few overwater bungalows; shopping, food carts, Paul Gauguin Museum.

Bora Bora:

10 resorts, iconic views of Mount Otemanu, wide range of styles of accommodations, tons of overwater bungalows, privacy, luxury.

Moorea:

8 resorts, overwater bungalows, good range of accommodations from moderate to luxury, family-friendly, dolphins, golf, ATV tours, zip lines, swimming with sharks and sting rays, tons of activities on land and water, easy to get to.

Tuamotu Atolls:

4 resorts, moderate accommodations, a bucket-list quality scuba diving destination, remote and secluded.

Other islands:

6 resorts including Le Taha'a and The Brando, ranging from economy to ultra-luxury accommodations; overwater bungalows, privacy and seclusion.

Overwater bungalows at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort.  Photo by Michael Cottam.
Overwater bungalows at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort. Photo by Michael Cottam.

If you're trying to decide where to stay, we've got over 600 high-resolution photos, about 50 videos, and even some virtual tours. Or talk to one of our Tahiti experts, who know the islands and the resorts like the back of their hand :-).

Click here to see all resorts in French Polynesia.

 
TRAVEL SPECIAL: Royal Huahine


Royal Huahine 5 nights from 1,890 per person
Royal HuahineThis resort is the most recent luxury hotel developed in Huahine, the
"Garden Island". Each bungalow provides modern comfort in a Polynesian atmosphere.

Complimentary activities include scheduled boat transfers to and from the main town of Fare, snorkeling, kayak and outrigger canoe paddling, table tennis, beach volley and local cultural activities.

Other activities include: botanical garden and vanilla plantation visits, picnic and circle island tour by canoe, horse back riding, sunset cruises, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, surf transfers as well as car, scooter, motor dinghy and bicycle rentals.
Learn more about Royal Huahine

he combination of a lush botanical garden and pristine white sand beach is the perfect location for this traditional Polynesian resort. The restaurant, bar, and reception desk are located over-the-wat





Expert's Tips:

I've personally visited almost every resort on Tahiti Nui, Moorea, and Bora Bora, and seen all of the room categories, so that I have a first-hand understanding of the differences between them, as this helps match resorts to each of our clients. While I certainly have my own favorites, I believe that the notion of a "best" resort in Tahiti is a silly marketing ploy: best FOR WHOM? It depends so much on what the client likes.

What's really striking is how different the resorts really are. From pictures, the overwater bungalows look very, very similar. Here's where the resorts really differ:

  • Interior style: some are very Polynesian, some have a very classic feel with antique furniture, some are opulent/luxurious with exotic woods and marble, some feel very modern and chic
  • The grounds: some are totally flat, others have interesting hills and jungle bits, some feel very open, and others you wander through twisting paths in the jungle (one of them has a spa set in the middle of a lily pond!)
  • Pools: some are more elaborate than others, with creative shapes, different views, etc.; some of the bungalows even have private plunge pools
  • Dining: I never had a bad meal in French Polynesia--not even a mediocre one, but some resorts have a more expansive menu than others
  • Condition: the photos from the hotels will always make the hotel looks its best--some of them have seen some wear and tear since the pictures were taken, so it's helpful to talk to someone who's seen the properties recently
  • Location: you can snorkel from the deck of your overwater bungalow at any of the resorts--the difference is what you'll see underwater, as there's a radical difference in what's on the bottom near the bungalows from one property to the next
  • Views: on Bora Bora, you'll get views of the spectacular Mount Otemanu from every resort--but, not necessarily every bungalow, as there are a few resorts on the main island (Otemanu is behind you then), and one resort with bungalows on the opposite side of the motu, facing west, away from Otemanu. On Moorea, you're not generally going to get views of the mountains from your bungalow, but you will on the walk back to the shore. And Huahine and Le Taha'a are their own little worlds.
You're going to spend a fair amount of money on your Tahiti trip, no matter what resort you stay at. And, you're spending an important week or two of your lives, and traveling a long ways to get there. You'd be foolish to NOT consult with a travel agent who knows the resorts and islands thoroughly (and who knows all of the specials currently available). It's not going to cost you any more, since our travel agents make their money on the back end, via commission...the cost to you is generally the same as if you booked it yourself directly.

See our complete list of travel specials for Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, and the Tuamoto Atolls.



Best time of year to go to Moorea
Overwater bungalows on Moorea. Photo copyright Michael Cottam.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts


Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts 5 nights from 2,975 per person
Le Bora Bora by Pearl ResortsPoised on Motu Tevairoa, only a ten-minute boat ride from the airport and fifteen minutes across the lagoon from the village of Vaitape, Le Bora Bora combines heavenly location and proximity to the mainland.

The resort boasts authentic Polynesian style and architecture and certainly offers some of the most traditionally designed rooms and villas in Bora Bora.

While overwater bungalows are Bora Bora’s iconic accommodation type, the resort also features spacious Garden Villas with Pool and Beach Villas with Pool and magical views of iconic Mount Otemanu. The 108 rooms and villas are nestled in a beautiful tropical garden, on the beach and of course above the turquoise lagoon.

There are three restaurants and two bars, and cuisine is international with a Polynesian twist.

At the TAVAI Spa, the islands’ generous nature has been captured to create decadent treatments that will rejuvenate and renew. Vichy shower body scrubs, hot stone massage with fragrant ‘monoï’ oil, or the local ‘taurumi’ massage, there is a lot to choose from and spa lovers will not be disappointed.

As far as recreation, a variety of non-motorized water toys are available : stand up paddle boards, kayaks and outrigger canoes, snorkeling equipment. On land : tennis court, mini golf, ping pong, pool table, volleyball, pétanque and a fully air-conditioned gym.
Learn more about Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts

Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts boasts authentic Polynesian style and architecture and certainly offers some of the most traditionally designed rooms and villas in Bora Bora.





 

Tahiti Weather: High Season vs. Low Season

During the high season, temperatures are milder and there are fewer rain showers with less humidity, and better visibility for divers. However, there are two or three times as many tourists per resort – thus increasing demand for sightseeing activities and prices for lodging and events.

Throughout the slower months, the costs are lower and there is less competition for spots on popular tours. Additionally, just because it’s off season it doesn’t mean the sun completely disappears! Tahiti still receives warming rays, although consecutive days of rain are possible.




Tahiti Weather: Average temperatures

The annual average temperature in Tahiti is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or 27 degrees Celsius. Closer to the equator, the Tuamotu Atolls and the Marquesas Islands have slightly warmer temperatures than Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora.

During the high season, or winter, temperatures range from 70-82 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the low season, summer, temperatures vary from 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. December and January average 12 inches of rain a month, however, Tahiti receives more hours of sun than Hawaii during the comparable humid season. Less than three inches of rain fall per month from June through September.


Tahiti Weather: Average precipitation




 
TRAVEL SPECIAL: Hilton Hotel Tahiti


Hilton Hotel Tahiti 5 nights from 1,995 per person
Hilton Hotel TahitiEscape to our beautiful hotel, located five minutes from Faaa International Airport, the city center, and the Maritime Port. Unwind by the large outdoor pool overlooking Moorea Island, featuring six private cabanas, or dine in one of three restaurants. We also have a spacious ballroom, perfect for weddings and meetings.
Learn more about Hilton Hotel Tahiti

Price includes hotel stay and all taxes and fees.





Tahiti Weather: Storms in French Polynesia

The humid season in Tahiti is from November to April. Occasionally, strong storms do develop. There actually ARE NO hurricanes in Tahiti (or anywhere in the South Pacific). That's not as good news as you might think--it's because they're not called hurricanes in that region, they're called cyclones :-). But there is good news: cyclones are rare, with the last powerful one occurring in 1982. You can get some pretty dramatic heavy rainfall however--during the humid season, it will often rain hard enough at night to wake you up.


 

High and Low Season Prices in Tahiti

The overall high season in French Polynesia extends from May 1 to October 31, although some resorts change their prices starting April 1. The low season covers November 1 to April 30.

Tahiti wholesalers--and the resorts themselves--are very active when it comes to special offers, discounts, extra inclusions, etc., and so these kinds of deals are changing all the time. Most websites aren't able to keep those specials up to date--there's just too many of them, and they're changing and expiring all the time. At Visual Itineraries, we track the offers from the major wholesalers daily, and our specialists have tools that show them all the available offers and discounts for a particular property instantly.

 

Typical airfares from LAX


Airfares vary by season, but also day of week, and are definitely affected by holidays. The chart above shows the typical minimum and maximum fares for a economy class ticket from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT), by month.


TRAVEL SPECIAL: Maitai Rangiroa


Hotel Maitai Lagoon Rangiroa 5 nights from 1,390 per person
Maitai RangiroaWhether you are looking for an unforgettable vacation or an amazing scuba diving location, Maitai Rangiroa welcomes you to the island of Rangiroa, known worldwide for its exceptional marine life.

The Hotel Maitai Rangiroa is located on the lagoon between the passes of Avatoru and Tiputa. This hotel offers excellent French Polynesia accommodation at a great value, welcoming hospitality, great facilities, a multitude of activities and much more
Learn more about Maitai Rangiroa

The Maitai Rangiroa is set facing the lagoon between Avatoru pass and Tiputa pass, where the two main villages of the island are located





Overwater bungalow, or garden bungalow, or beach bungalow?

Definitely overwater bungalows give the iconic French Polynesian experience--the views, the ability to step off your own private deck into the lagoon, having your breakfast delivered by canoe, and watching the fish below you through the glass floor in your bungalow...these are all pretty amazing experiences, and we'd recommend you spend at least 1 or 2 nights in an overwater bungalow.

We're very familiar with all of the resorts in French Polynesia, and have seen all the different room categories in person, and honestly, most resorts' garden and beach bungalows are pretty fantastic.

Many will have a private plunge pool or a jacuzzi. And while the "horizon" overwater bungalows have spectacular views, after a few days, you might get a bit tired of walking all the way out to the end of the wooden walkways and back every time you want to go to the restaurant, go on an excursion, etc.

  Regardless of the weather, the view from the beach bungalows at Bora Bora Pearl Resort is stunning
View from a beach bungalow at Bora Bora Pearl Resort.

The garden and beach bungalows are typically going to be less of a trek from the main points in the resort.



A garden pool suite at Bora Bora Pearl Resort
A garden pool suite at Bora Bora Pearl Resort.
 

What we'll often recommend is that you split your time between the overwater bungalows and the beach or garden bungalows. You'll get some variety that way, and you'll save some money, as typically the garden and beach bungalows are less expensive per night.

It's important also to realize that many of the resorts on one island have "sister" resorts on the other islands.

A great option is to spend a few nights in a garden bungalow on one of the islands, and then a few nights in an overwater bungalow on another. Often, the resorts will have special discounts if you stay at two or more of their resorts.


Popular combos:

Often, people will combine these with 1 night in Papeete, so you have a chance to see Marche Papeete, Les Roulottes, explore the town, shop for pearls, etc.





TRAVEL SPECIAL: Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts


Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts 5 nights from 2,975 per person
Le Bora Bora by Pearl ResortsPoised on Motu Tevairoa, only a ten-minute boat ride from the airport and fifteen minutes across the lagoon from the village of Vaitape, Le Bora Bora combines heavenly location and proximity to the mainland.

The resort boasts authentic Polynesian style and architecture and certainly offers some of the most traditionally designed rooms and villas in Bora Bora.

While overwater bungalows are Bora Bora’s iconic accommodation type, the resort also features spacious Garden Villas with Pool and Beach Villas with Pool and magical views of iconic Mount Otemanu. The 108 rooms and villas are nestled in a beautiful tropical garden, on the beach and of course above the turquoise lagoon.

There are three restaurants and two bars, and cuisine is international with a Polynesian twist.

At the TAVAI Spa, the islands’ generous nature has been captured to create decadent treatments that will rejuvenate and renew. Vichy shower body scrubs, hot stone massage with fragrant ‘monoï’ oil, or the local ‘taurumi’ massage, there is a lot to choose from and spa lovers will not be disappointed.

As far as recreation, a variety of non-motorized water toys are available : stand up paddle boards, kayaks and outrigger canoes, snorkeling equipment. On land : tennis court, mini golf, ping pong, pool table, volleyball, pétanque and a fully air-conditioned gym.
Learn more about Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts

Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts boasts authentic Polynesian style and architecture and certainly offers some of the most traditionally designed rooms and villas in Bora Bora.





 
Whitetip reef sharks just offshore of Moorea
Whitetip reef sharks just offshore of Moorea--daily snorkel tours will take you to see these and sting rays. Photo copyright Michael Cottam.

Water temperature, scuba diving and surfing in Tahiti

Clownfish in anemones in Moorea, French Polynesia
Clownfish in anemones in Moorea, French Polynesia. Photo copyright Michael Cottam.
  The water temperature in French Polynesia, like the air temperature, doesn't change all that much. August and September it's around 77 Fahrenheit; in March and April it's more like 85F. Some people wear shorty wetsuits, some a t-shirt (mostly to avoid chafing), but I've found a diveskin is ideal--just enough warmth, and less restrictive on your movements than a shorty.

Also, if you have your own diveskin with some sort of design on it, you'll be easier for your dive buddy to spot amongst all the other divers in identical rental shorties. For more on diving vacation trips, check out this article I wrote for Expert Beacon.

Scuba diving is possible off the coast of many islands. In Bora Bora, you'll find an amazing array of sharks at Tapu, the entrance to the lagoon on the west side (I included this spot in my article on top 10 "bucket list" destinations for scuba divers at Go World Travel Guide). Really spectacular diving can be found in the Tuamotu Atolls.

You'll find a terrific, detailed description of dive sites on the various islands in our friend and world super-traveler David Stanley's Tahiti guidebook (now in its 7th edition). Surfing is most abundant in Tahiti and Moorea and up-and-coming in Huahine. May is a popular surfing month, due to the Billabong Pro competition at Teahupoo in Tahiti.



Things to see and do in Tahiti: jet skiing around Moorea
Jet skiing around Moorea. Photo copyright Michael Cottam.

Things to see and do in Tahiti



ATV tour on Moorea
ATV tour on Moorea. Photo copyright Michael Cottam.
  There are a ton of adventures to be had on each of the islands, especially Moorea and Bora Bora, where you can do ATV tours, jet skiing, hikes, as well as the obvious: snorkeling and scuba diving.

Moorea has both golf and ziplining available, and everything is easy to get to, since the resorts are all on the main island there.

On Bora Bora, the majority of resorts are on the surrounding atolls, so you'll need a short boat ride to the island in the middle for the land adventures.
  Ziplining on Moorea, French Polynesia
Ziplining on Moorea. Photo copyright Michael Cottam.



Heiva

Heiva is a month-long cultural celebration that comes from the Tahitian word for festival (hei = to assemble, va = community places). Given the various different activities and parties that stretch for the month of July, Heiva is a good enough reason in itself to visit Tahiti during the summer season! There is plenty to see and do, from the traditional dance and music performances, singing competitions, colorful dinners, and sports competitions (like javelin throwing, stone lifting, coconut tree climbing, and outrigger canoe racing).

Heiva has evolved over the years from its rich history--Tahiti's traditional dance, Ori Tahiti, was once central to Polynesian culture, but these centuries-old festivities were banned by 19th century Christian missionaries for being too sensual and erotic. In 1819, recent Christian convert King Pomare II officially forbade the practice; dancing became a clandestine activity in danger of being lost as both an art form and a key to Tahiti's past. But the festivities returned in 1881 as a result of France's victory over its long struggles with England and Protestant missionaries; the Polynesians adopted France's Bastille Day (July 14; the French equivalent of America's Independence Day) and had the opportunity to revive some of its dancing in celebration. Ori Tahiti finally saw a greater comeback in 1956 when a Papeete high school teacher, Madeleine Moua, led the true comeback of the traditional dance by forming the dance troupe Heiva Tahiti. Now, Ori Tahiti has resumed its rightful, vibrant place in French Polynesian culture, and the entire month of July is used for Heiva and its celebration of this history.


Fire Dancers





How we work with you to plan the perfect trip:

  • We'll talk with you to find out what you're looking for, what you like/don't like, etc.
  • We'll use our first-hand knowledge of the destination to pick out a handful of resorts we think you'd like
  • We'll create a custom mini website for you, with photos, videos, maps, etc. of the resorts we are recommending
  • We'll follow up with you to help you make your decision
  • We'll go to work with our suppliers to get you the best deal available on what you've decided on.


 

Map of all Resorts in French Polynesia


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