Tahiti General Information, Pacific Islands

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About Tahiti

General Information About Tahiti

Image Source: bugbog.com Tahiti Island seen from Temae Beach
Tahiti Island seen from Temae Beach
© bugbog.com
www.bugbog.com

Tahiti is French Polynesia's largest and most glamorous tropical island, located in the southern Pacific Ocean with a population of around 240,000 people.

Geographically, Tahiti consists of two round-shaped areas, which are connected by a thin, narrow isthmus called the Plateau of Taravao. The north western area is called Tahiti Nui ('big Tahiti'), while the smaller area to the south east is known as Tahiti Iti ('small Tahiti').

The capital is Papeete, and is situated on the north west coast of the island. Papeete is also home to the only international airport. The coast around Papeete is heavily populated, but the interior of Tahiti Nui is largely unpopulated. Tahiti Iti is rather isolated, and can only be reached by foot or by boat.

The idyllic, isolated islands of Polynesia were among the last places on earth to be settled by humans and, a thousand or so years later, were also some of the last places to be colonised by Europeans.

The population comprises largely of Polynesians with the rest made up of Europeans, Chinese and mixed heritage.

Covered by lush rainforests, the interior areas of Tahiti are home to a wealth of beautiful trees, ferns and flowering plants with gushing waterfalls, flowing rivers and deep valleys. The coastal areas of Tahiti are dotted with tall palm trees and fields of tropical flowers. The main cash crops here are copra, vanilla, sugarcane and tropical fruits.

Popular islands to visit in French Polynesia include:

Language

French is the official language of Tahiti, however Tahitian is also spoken.

Important Dates

The following are a list of holidays observed in Tahiti:

2013

1 Jan – New Year's Day
5 Mar – Gospel Day
1 Apr – Easter Monday
1 May – Labour Day
8 May – Victory Day
9 May – Ascension
20 May – Whit Monday
29 Jun – Anniversary of Internal Autonomy
14 Jul – Fall of the Bastille
15 Aug – Assumption
1 Nov – All Saints Day
11 Nov – Armistice Day
25 Dec – Christmas

Please note that the exact dates of public holidays can vary from year to year.

Flight Times

From Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti the flight time is around five hours. Air New Zealand, Qantas, Air Tahiti Nui, Air France, Air Caledonie International and Air Calin all fly to Tahiti ex New Zealand.

Time Differences

Tahiti is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

Shopping

While most people don't come to Tahiti to shop, there are many interesting boutiques and gift shops on offer, so be sure to pay them a visit. You will be charmed by the local arts and handicrafts, which make great presents for family and friends, or simply souvenirs of your holiday.

With something for everyone, some of the more popular items include handicrafts, clothing, shells, paintings, books and artwork.

The City Market in Papeete is a must see and features many stalls selling fresh produce, seafood and other goods. Located one block inland from the waterfront, Le Marche is the perfect place to find local Tahitian products.

The Tahitian Pearl market is also a must-see. The family owned Tahiti Pearl Market has shops on Tahiti and Bora Bora and sells loose pearls as well as ready made settings.

Flag

The Tahitian flag is the flag of the Pomare family, specifically for King Pomare V of Tahiti. The Pomares are the main royal family in Tahiti. In 1984, French Polynesia was granted self-government status within the French Republic, allowing the small nation the right to freely determine the distinctive signs of its personality. This is how today's flag, bearing the double outrigger canoe, came into being.

Image Source: bugbog.com Papeete, the capital of Tahiti
Papeete, the capital of Tahiti - © bugbog.com (www.bugbog.com)

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