Tahiti

The coastal road that circles the exterior of both Tahiti Nui and Iti is measured in pointe kilometrique markers, known as PKs. PK0 begins in Pape'ete and markers go in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, meeting in Taravao, which is PK60 counterclockwise and PK54 clockwise.

The west coast has the most sights and the most traffic; it's wise to set out early on a driving tour to avoid peak-hour traffic. Grab a map so you know whether a sight is at PK10 clockwise or counterclockwise. While the distances are not far, there is quite a lot to see on the west coast—beaches, surf breaks, museums, gardens and an excellent golf course—and it may take much longer than you think.

Tahiti Nui also has a handful of short interior roads. While a standard car can access the roads to the Belvedere lookout, the Three Waterfalls, and the start of the walking and 4WD trails in the Papenoo Valley, it's not possible to cross the island from north to south, or south to north, without a 4WD.

The PK marker system also operates in Tahiti Iti, beginning in Taravao, the town at the isthmus. There are two roads: the north road of 18 km (11 mi) from Taravao to Tautira and the south road, also measuring 18 km (11 mi) from Taravao to Teahupoo. The southeast and east coasts of Tahiti Iti can only be accessed by boat, bicycle, or foot. There is one inland road, leading from near Taravao up onto the Taravao Plateau and Taravao's lookout, also called the Belvedere.

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  • 1. Lafayette Beach

    Arue | Beach

    There's plenty of room for everyone at this black-sand beach at Arue, stretching for a whopping 2,624 feet (800 meters). It's on the edge of...Read More

  • 2. Maeva Beach

    Beach

    This picturesque stretch of white sand lies just west of the Sofitel Tahiti Maeva Beach Resort. To get there take L'Truck from Pape'ete and...Read More

  • 3. Mahana Park

    Paea | Beach

    A mile or so west of Toaroto Beach is this family-friendly beachside park complete with a little restaurant. The stretch of white sand is lovely...Read More

  • 4. Maui Beach

    Beach

    This picturesque beach, complete with popular café is located around PK6 along the south coast road. The Maui Cave is a short walk inland. ...Read More

  • 5. Papenoo

    Beach

    This black-sand surfing beach stretches for a few hundred yards and is highly rated among the world's surfing fraternity. The waves get a little...Read More

  • 6. Plage de Toaroto

    Beach

    This is the official name for the lovely stretch of white sand just west of the Le Méridien Resort in the Puna'auia area. It has good snorkeling...Read More

  • 7. Taharuu

    Taunoa | Beach

    This black-sand beach, not far from the Gauguin Museum, is popular with surfers, but it's also a good place for a refreshing dip. ...Read More

  • 8. Teahupoo

    Beach

    Pronounced Cho-Poo, this is the big draw of the region, though people aren't coming for just the beach. Teahupoo is home to the huge left-hander...Read More

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