Tahiti facts & history in
Map of Tahiti
Tahiti, is the largest of the 14 Society Islands
in the South Pacific Ocean and part of French Polynesia,
a French overseas territory made up of five main island
It is mainly a mountainous tropical islands with palms
and luxuriant flora, including a climbing orchid from
which vanilla is extracted.
A broken coral reef surrounds the island.
About 120,000 people live on Tahiti.
About 80 per cent of them are Polynesians or have mixed
Polynesian and European ancestry, the rest of the population
is made up of Chinese and Europeans.
Tahiti became world famous as a tropical paradise through
the paintings and writings of many artists and writers
who lived there or visited the islands.
Paul Gauguin, the French painter portrayed Tahiti's
lush beauty and peaceful atmosphere in many of his paintings.
Many writers, like the American James Michener, and
the Scottish Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote glowing
descriptions of the island.
Their works of and the islands' exotic beauty and tropical
climate have helped make Tahiti famous and popular with
Tahiti covers about 1,040 square kilometres.
Papeete is the Capital, largest city, largest
settlement and chief port of French Polynesia.
Many Tahitians live in or near Papeete and work in the
tourist industry, which is the base of the island's
In 1996 on my way to the U.S.A. I stopped over
in Tahiti for a few days.
I had a bad cold on arrival and the heat was depressing,
I did not enjoy myself as much as I was hoping to, because
my bad cold and feverish state.
Papeete and the nearby islands are really a tourist
Hui Chin and I caught the local bus (Le truck,
a truck with a box on the deck with sitting on either
You have to walk around in it stooped, not high enough
for my 5'8", to stand up straight), just outside the
Airport to go to Downtown Papeete.
Much cheaper than Taxis and suited our limited budget.
We have had some problem with the heat, but it was just
We had to make a few forced stops at bars, but Papeete
is rather expensive, including beer.
(Most of the locals live off the tourists and they will
relieve as much of your money as they can, while you
A Chinese Navy ship was visiting town while we were
there. We went to see some of the ceremonies.
Our Hotel, the "Prince Hinoi" is in the centre of Downtown
overlooking the beach and reasonably priced.
The proprietors also have some New Zealand connection
as some of the family members were educated in New Zealand.
We went on a 4-wheel drive sightseeing tour of Papeete
and Tahiti, (with Adventure Eagle Tours, ph. 77-20-03,
a bit expensive, but we diid get what we were promised,
and we did see what was there to see).
We went to all the sights in Papeete first, like the
Market, Cathedral, driven past some famous peoples homes
(Film stars, etc.), than anti-clockwise we travelled
around the island stopping at all the attractions, like
the fascinating Lagoonarium, Blowholes, "Taharaa" Look
Out Point, One tree Hill, the historical site of Point
Venus (The landing site for the first European), Cook’s
Monument, the beautiful natural site of the Maraa Fern
Grottoes, where overhead springs drip through a ceiling
of ferns and caves, Vaim Pools, Gauguin’s former
homesite, the "Vaimauta Waterfalls, the Gauguin Museum
and Restaurant, Matavai Bay, and a tipical Tahitian
beautiful sunset before we returned to our hotel.
My photo pages in
the Tahiti series.
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