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Think beautiful black and white sand beaches and tranquil, clear water, with vibrant coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and diving. Think exploring stone temples deep in the heart of luscious jungle heartland, witnessing traditional dance, and tasting authentic French Polynesian cuisine.

Think black pearl and vanilla bean farms, and overwater bungalows above eletric blue water. Think tropical sunshine and coconut-based cocktails. You’re thinking about Tahiti. You’re thinking about Paradise on earth!

And while you probably already know all of the above – the stunning landscapes, friendly locals and postcard worthy views, here are 15 things about the islands you probably didn’t.

Think you do know everything about Tahiti? Here are some fun facts!

15 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Tahiti

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#1

Tahiti is made up of 118 islands and atolls spread out over five archipelagos. The whole archipelago spans 4.000.000 square km, which is the equivalent size of Europe.

#2

The Tahitian alphabet is made up of 13 letters; the vowels a, e, i, o, u and the consonants f, h, m, n, p, r, t and v. Noticed that there is no b? That’s why Bora Bora is actually pronounced “Pora Pora”. It means “first-born”, but early visitors heard it as Bora Bora.

#3

A typical Las Vegas hotel has more rooms than on all 118 islands of French Polynesia.

Vegas

A typical Vegas hotel boats more rooms than on all 118 of the islands. Photo CC by Clesenne.

#4

The shopping and retail on the island is monopolized by the Chinese population. When you hear Tahitians talk about going shopping, they say they are going to “la Chine” or to the Chinese.

#5

In ancient Tahiti, archery was considered to be a sacred sport, and only people of high rank could participate. And while they were expert marksmen, bows and arrows were never used as weapons of war.

#6

There are no poisonous snakes or insects in French Polynesia.

#7

Tahitians are considered to be the most genuinely friendly people in the world.

Tahitians are considered to be the most genuinely friendly people in the world.

Tahitians are considered to be the most genuinely friendly people in the world. Photo CC by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

#8

The official languages of the islands are Tahitian and French, however, English is widely spoken on most of the islands.

#9

The word tattoo originated in French Polynesia.  Tattoos have long been considered signs of beauty in Polynesian culture, and in ancient times were ceremoniously applied to the body when reaching adolescence. The English word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’.

#10

Hawaii receives more tourists in a day than Tahiti does in a year.  Tahiti is therefore one of the most exclusive destinations in the world and you can drive around the island and explore with relative ease.

#11

Tahiti” or “The Islands of Tahiti” is technically an ‘Overseas Country of France’, though it has it’s own government which makes all international decisions on behalf of French Polynesia.

#12

More than half of the population of Tahiti is under the age of 20 years old.

#13

The overwater bungalow was invented in Tahiti in the 1960’s on the island of Moorea.

The overwater b

The overwater bungalow was invented in Tahiti over 45 years ago. Photo CC by Tim Moffatt. 

#14

If you were new to the island, you would think the boxes outside the homes of Tahitian residents were for mail. They are actually for French bread delivery. Residents get a fresh loaf dropped off twice a day.

#15

The Tiare flower is the national symbol of Tahiti. Both men and women wear these flower, either as a necklace, crown or behind the ear. You wear a Tiare flower on your left ear if you’re taken, on your right ear to indicate you’re available.

Popular Tahiti Hotels

Intercontinental Resort Tahiti

Intercontinental Resort Tahiti is located on Tahiti and provides 5-star facilities in addition to free Wi-Fi. It has a gym, as well as porters, a shopping mall and 24-hour room service.

Check availability

Tahiti Airport Motel

Tahiti Airport Motel is located in Faaa and features a rooftop terrace and free Wi-Fi. It is ideally positioned for guests wishing to visit local attractions.

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Le Meridien Tahiti

Le Meridien Tahiti is located on Tahiti and offers 4-star accommodation in addition to free Wi-Fi. The numerous amenities this themed resort has to offer include a coffee bar, 24-hour room service and a BBQ/picnic area.

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Hotel Sarah Nui

Hotel Sarah Nui is located in Papeete and offers free Wi-Fi. It also provides valet parking, an executive floor and a coffee bar.

Check availability

Manava Suite Resort Tahiti

Manava Suite Resort Tahiti is located on Tahiti and provides 4-star accommodation in addition to free Wi-Fi. There is also a gym with an infinity pool.

Check availability

Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort

Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort is set on Tahiti, and offers 4-star accommodation as well as an infinity pool. There is also a fitness centre with aerobics classes, an infinity pool and yoga classes.

Check availability

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About Mapping Megan

Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

    60 Comments

  1. Wow, cool and fun facts! Hard to pick one that was most surprising or interesting since most of them are! Thanks for sharing!

    • Glad you enjoyed the piece! Tried to be a bit unique and stay away from the usual boring facts that everyone already knows!

  2. Those are some really interesting facts! I can admit that I don’t know much about Tahiti so much of this was really new to me! Very interesting statistics too!

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Hope you scored well on the quiz :D!

  3. Great facts and pictures!! I never knew any of them 🙂

    • Glad you learned something new!

  4. I literally knew nothing about Tahiti before this post, never mind how many islands it is!

    • I didn’t realize how many islands there were at first either – crazy right!

  5. Interesting post! the most surprising fact was the one about boxes outside homes being for baguettes! I would be sooo tempted to take a bite from one!

    • Lol stealing people’s mail taken to a new level!

  6. Oh wow, Tahiti looks amazing! I had no idea its population is considered to be the friendliest on earth – I’ve always thought that Iranians or Thais owned that title.

    • I think it jumps between French Polynesia and Thailand fairly regularly!

  7. Very interesting facts Megan! I can vouch for the genuine friendliness of the Tahitians. It’s not the ‘hospitality’ kind of friendliness but pure sincerity that is quite rare. And they do make their breads really irresistable too! And yes agree about the Chinese leading the retail/shopping. The name of the main grocery in Bora Bora is “Chin Lee” and when you step inside it, it’s like you are transported out of Bora Bora and into any city’s Chinatown 🙂

    • Thanks Jean for sharing your experiences of the nation! Agreed – genuine sincerity truly is very rare these days – especially when you find a large group of people who are just truly happy to interact with and help another person.

      I love exploring Chinatown of each new city I visit, so love that Tahiti has such a vibrant Chinese culture.

      We should all plan a group trip!

  8. Mmmm, Tahiti sounds amazing. It was the other place I considered last year and ended up opting for Southeast Asia. I feel amazed that they get so few tourists compared to Hawaii. Could explain why some of the room prices are so high … easier to do budget travel in Southeast Asia lol 🙂

    • Very true – much easier on the budget to do travel throughout South East Asia – though I guess you balance the cost of Tahiti with the exclusivity of no tourists!

  9. Funny about the alphabet and how they come to pronounce Bora Bora. Not sure if I’ld fly all around the globe to stay just on a beach but if I’m ever in the “neighborhood” I might consider going here, it does look like paradise after all…

    • Definitely – it can be out of the way depending on where you are in the world, though as you said, if you’re in the neighbourhood – not a bad stop to consider!

  10. Interesting post! Im glad to know the facts #6 and #7. Who wouldn’t want to go to a place that is poisonous snake and insect free and inhabited by the most friendly people in the world. That’s a plus on my travel destination list.

    • It’s a huge plus on mine as well! I HATE bugs and insects when I’m out hiking lol mosquitos are my #1 pet peeve. So this sounds like heaven on earth!

  11. I would love to go to Tahiti one day! And stay in one of those over water bungalows of course 😉

    • The overwater bungalows are a dream of mine!

  12. These really ARE interesting facts. 13 letters in the alphabet? That alone is neat. The islands look so dreamy. Definitely a must see.

    • Definitely much simpler than our own with 26 letters! I’m so fascinated by that as well!

  13. Hi Megan,

    Fun read here and I see some similarities between here in Fiji and Tahiti.

    The people are so genuinely friendly and as you can imagine, Savusavu in particular is a stunningly beautiful place! I’ve been to many tropical paradises and I’ve not seen anything close to it, on earth, purity wise.

    The water on the bay side is ridiculously clear, among the best that I’ve seen, but the ocean side water is a play of crystal clear, aqua, and progressively deeper blues until you reach the barrier reef, then you’ll see a deep blue sea hue which is breath-taking.

    As for night time, when it’s clear, Savusavu is a planetarium. The Milky Way, countless patterns and frankly, constellations I never knew existed or have never seen in person pop up. Stunning.

    Tahiti sounds so similar but with fewer people. So remote. DEFINITELY on my travel list.

    Thanks for the fascinating read Megan!

    Tweeting soon.

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan! Savusavu sounds like heaven on earth! Having grown up in Australia so close to Fiji I still can’t believe I’ve hardly spent any time there.

      Thinking I need to rectify this very soon! I love looking up at the night sky and viewing the Milky Way – one thing Ive missed since Ive moved to the States!

      So glad you enjoyed the article! Thanks for stopping by!

  14. since I can not e mail your pictures
    I guess I need to give you my e mail address
    so you can send me your new posts

    • Hi Helen, underneath the button to “submit comment” is a box you can click to sign up to receive email notifications of new posts. Would love to have you subscribe 🙂

  15. Mauruuru for this post about our beautiful islands 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  16. nice, i want to spend my life in tahiti

  17. Hi, thank you,all informatian about Tahiti.i love it.
    but Ta Tau is a Samoan word with origin in the Samoan language.
    I will be in Thaiti in 10 days with my 2 kids,5 and 11 years old.any advice for me ?
    thank you

    • Thanks for the correction Serpil – have a wonderful trip to Tahiti with your family! If you have time, consider jumping on a ferry to Moorea – such a beautiful spot!

  18. This is an amazing place. Back in 2014 I almost booked myself a ticket to Tahiti, but ended up going to somewhere else. Great list of things I didn’t know about this beautiful region. Thanks – greetings all the way from Poland.

    • Maybe 2017 was meant to be your year! Hope you have the chance to visit Tahiti … truly is a beautiful place!

  19. Great facts and pictures!I didn’t know anything about them.

    • Thanks Zoya – glad we could teach you a little about Tahiti! Hope you have the chance to visit soon 🙂

  20. Lol I laughed at this because of how true this article was. But now, we don’t have those boxes anymore, we have to ride our bikes to the store if we want baguettes. And I don’t think we’re the nicest people in the world here, it’s gotten bad. But all in all, the beaches are beautiful and it’s just a chill place to be in. I loved this article so much! It was spot on

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Ava! Thanks for the heads up on the boxes for baguettes – and sad to hear that the community has become a bit less friendly 🙁 – hopefully that gets weeded out naturally!

  21. Awesome Place where everyone get peace of time for better health

    • Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  22. Awesome Pictures. This is an amazing place. I don’t know about beautiful places. Thanks For Sharing The most beautiful places.

    • Thanks Amanda 🙂 Glad we could introduce you to the beauty of Tahiti 🙂

  23. Great Pictures. That’s amazing place. Thanks For Sharing The most beautiful places.

    • Thanks Meenakshi – glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  24. Really Tahiti is a great & joyful place. I want to spend a lot of time in Tahiti.
    Thanks for sharing these amazing Pics.

    • Hope you have the chance to plan an extended trip soon! Happy travels 🙂

  25. Amazing Place Tahiti, I want to spend mine life in tihati.

    • A beautiful place to settle down indeed 🙂

  26. That’s dope…using some of these facts for my project
    🙂 Thanks!

    • Glad we could help – best of luck with your project 🙂

  27. Wow, cool and fun facts! You are doing awesome guys. Thanks for sharing and keep it up.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Jitender 🙂

  28. I have a great desire to one day be meeting Tahiti and for the photos I was still more willing. And these houses on the water is amazing and wonderful. Beautiful photos Megan. You’re getting good at photos 🙂

    • I hope you do have the chance to visit Tahiti at some stage Rick, it’s such a beautiful destination. Glad we could inspire you with the photos!

  29. Tahiti is definitely on our travel wish list for scuba diving and snorkelling. I learned several things from your post. I did not know the real pronunciation for “Bora Bora”. It was interesting to hear shopping referred to as going to the Chinese. In many countries we have visited, the Chinese stores are the equivalent of dollar stores (or places to buy cheap goods). I was definitely glad to hear I didn’t need to worry about poisonous snakes! I was very happy to hear the low tourist numbers for Tahiti. Maybe we need to plan to go there before Hawaii! Thanks for sharing these Tahiti facts.

    • Some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world – the waters are just so clear! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and that we could give you some tidbits of info before your trip – it’s a lot less commercialized than Hawaii, so you might find you enjoy Tahiti more if you’re not a fan of mass tourism 🙂

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