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12 Reasons We Love Tahiti

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The main island of Tahiti is often overlooked on tourist itineraries, but it's really a destination in its own right. Home to amazing surfing on some monster waves (the Billabong Pro is held here), romantic black-sand beaches, dance festivals, vibrant markets, lush tropical waterfall hiking, and even opportunities to sleep in the overwater bungalow style lodging invented in the region. Here are 12 reasons we love this lush green island, just eight hours from Los Angeles.
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Teahupo'o, French Polynesia
Tahiti is the birthplace of surfing, and the island offers a few excellent beginner breaks as well as one of the world's most powerful waves, Teahupo'o. To hone your surfing skills, visit the Tura'I Mataare Surf School in Paea, which offers both...
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Manapouri 9679, New Zealand
The small “motu” islets surrounding many of the islands are the perfect spots to enjoy an al fresco island feast. These miniature, palm-covered paradises offer a get-away from the big island and you'll get a taste for paradise in the buff. You...
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PK7, Fa'a'ā 98702, French Polynesia
Tahiti invented the concept of the overwater bungalow so, when visiting, you’re almost compelled to stay in one. The island’s top luxury resort, the InterContinental, offers 32 surprisingly affordable options, plus a few hundred rooms...
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Pape'ete, French Polynesia
The perfect place to shop for anything and everything from all the islands is the 155-year-old public market called Le Marché. Located two blocks from the waterfront in the heart of Papeete, the market covers two stories. The lower level is...
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InterContinental Tahiti Resort, BP42692, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia
With shallow waters, oceanic drop-offs, sunken ships, bright coral walls and diverse marine life, Tahiti is perfect for both beginning and advanced divers, and if you've never dived before, but want to experience the underwater world, you can do...
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Ha'apūpuni, French Polynesia
Tahiti is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Polynesia. Stops can include spectacular waterfalls and natural pools, panoramic views, grottos, archeological sites and lava tubes. A favorite hike is to the three Faarumai waterfalls....
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PK7, Fa'a'ā 98702, French Polynesia
Tahitian dancers, known the world over for their passion and energy, are mesmerizing to watch whether the dance is slow and graceful or fast and rhythmic. Though dancing is a national pastime in Tahiti, the many dance...
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The islands of Tahiti have given the world a lot of popular ideas: This is the birthplace of the overwater bungalow, of surfing, the tattoo, and also . . . the food truck? Yep! Well, maybe not officially, but dozens of years before food trucks...
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Teahupo'o, French Polynesia
Tahiti Iti, Tahiti's smaller sister island that's connected to the main island at the southeast coast, is home to one of the most famous surfing waves in the Pacific, Teahupoo. This powerful reef break most certainly should not be attempted...
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Rue Albert Leboucher, Papeete 98714, French Polynesia
The tattoo art form was invented in the Islands of Tahiti, and today many Polynesians sport beautiful work of art tattoos as symbols of their personal identities. If you'd like to remember your trip with a tattoo of your own, there are many...
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Pīra'e, French Polynesia
Set on a hill some 2,000 feet above Papeete, with impossible views of the sea and Moorea beyond, O Belvédère is the place locals take visitors for thrilling sunsets and good food. The restaurant and bar have the air of a tree...