Whether you want to explore Tahiti itself or use the island’s capital, Pape'ete, as a starting point to visit other destinations in the South Pacific, United’s new service makes it easier to escape to a tropical paradise this winter
For centuries, The Islands of Tahiti have loomed large as the ultimate paradise, verdant lands surrounded by the Pacific, the goal of explorers like Captain Cook and artists like Paul Gauguin. It’s also been the ultimate fantasy of countless others making it through their 9-to-5 workdays while daydreaming of giving up office life to sit under a palm tree by an azure lagoon.
The fantasy has long been elusive, however. While visiting Tahiti no longer requires weeks at sea, it typically does involve multiple flights and layovers if you are traveling from the United States. United Airlines is set to change that as it continues a 70-year tradition of connecting the islands of the Pacific to the continental United States which began in 1947, with flights from Honolulu to San Francisco. United’s new Dreamliner service promises to make getting to Tahiti, well, a dream.
Once there, you can explore Tahiti itself, the largest of the Islands of Tahiti archipelago, commonly known as French Polynesia. Snorkelers will want to put on a mask and swim through the turquoise lagoons filled with colorful fish and curious sea turtles while surfers can get on a board at one of the island’s black-sand beaches. On dry land, choose between hiking to a waterfall or simply to your hammock. At the Pape'ete Market you can shop for handicrafts or take some Instagram-worthy snapshots of the stands of tropical fruits. At night, you may want to dine under the stars or watch a traditional Polynesian dance performance. Few islands in the South Pacific offer the same intoxicating mix of culture, adventure, and opportunities for downtime by the sea.
For some travelers, the island of Tahiti is a stepping stone to the archipelago’s other islands—there are 118 to choose from. Bora Bora offers a postcard-perfect scene with its green peak rising above the surrounding lagoon. Author James Michener described it as “the most beautiful island in the world,” and after you check In to your overwater bungalow you may feel he was too restrained in his praise. Just ten miles from Tahiti, the heart-shaped island of Moorea is, appropriately, a favorite of honeymooners—and anyone else who wants to explore the island’s eight dramatic peaks and its lush valleys. The Marquesas are the wild, untamed islands in the archipelago, a favorite of travelers looking to truly escape from the world and experience a South Pacific that can feel lost in time.
United’s seasonal service will launch on October 30, 2018 (and run through March 28, 2019), as winter is looming and the white-sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, and emerald volcanic peaks are that much more tempting. Three weekly flights aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner will depart from San Francisco for Fa'a'ā International Airport (PPT), on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, with return flights scheduled on the same days.