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. Afaahiti, Pueu, and Tautira

    Town/Village

    Pueu has a good surf break, ideal for beginners and body boarders. Taurita is the most remote of the three towns and has fantastic mountain...Read More

  • 2. Faa'a

    Town/Village

    Pronounced Fa-ah-ah, this town is a commune (municipality area) of greater Pape'ete and houses the international and domestic airport, the...Read More

  • 3. Le Relais de la Maroto

    Town/Village

    Le Relais de la Maroto. Almost miraculously you'll come across the only accommodation in the interior, Le Relais de la Maroto. The pension...Read More

  • 4. Mahina, Papenoo, and Tiarei

    Town/Village

    These three towns stretching from around PK10 to PK25 are more of interest for their black-sand beaches and the natural wonders near them: look...Read More

  • 5. Mataiea

    Town/Village

    Paul Gauguin lived in a bamboo hut (long-since gone) on the banks of the Vaihiria River in Mataiea between 1891 and 1893. A museum in his honor...Read More

  • 6. Papara

    Papara | Town/Village

    This sizeable town produces much of Tahiti's vegetables and has Tahiti's only golf course (the Olivier Breaud International) along with a good...Read More

  • 7. Papeari

    Town/Village

    Tahiti's oldest village is home to the Paul Gauguin Museum and the adjacent Botanic Gardens. There are great views from here to the majestic...Read More

  • 8. Pira'e and Arue

    Town/Village

    Extending from PK2 to PK7, these eastern suburbs of Pape'ete have some very interesting sights. However, signage is seriously inadequate and...Read More

  • 9. Polynesian Adventure

    Town/Village

    Polynesian Adventure. Hiking operator Polynesian Adventure conducts two-day hikes here. 42–25–95 . www.polynesianadventure.fr.st . ...Read More

  • 10. Puna'auia

    Town/Village

    This, another densely populated commune of Pape'ete, is both a town and the general name of the area that stretches for several miles from around...Read More

  • 11. Tahiti Safari Expedition

    Town/Village

    Tahiti Safari Expedition. Travelers with limited time, or no desire to set off on their own, have a choice of several operators who run half...Read More

  • 12. Tahitian Excursion

    Town/Village

    Tahitian Excursion. Travelers with limited time, or no desire to set off on their own, have a choice of several operators who run half-day...Read More

  • 13. Taravao

    Town/Village

    The town's location on the isthmus that connects Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti made it the perfect location for a fort, which the French duly built...Read More

  • 14. Toahotu, Vairao, and Teahupoo

    Town/Village

    Expect to find a little more action in these three south coast villages than in the north coast towns, as they are visited by surfers making...Read More

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