You've caught the flight to Tahiti, passed through customs, made your way to the hotel… now what?
If you're like me, you haven't really made plans on what to do during your stay. There's the siren song of the sea, calling out to you with its famous black sands and temperate waters, but that can only hold your interest for so long. Cocktails by the pool maybe? Been there done that.
If you want to make your holiday truly memorable, here are some suggestions to get your brain firing and inspire you to get out of your comfort zone.
First off, let's start with something extreme. Shark feeding. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but its one of the most thrilling activities in Tahiti. You don't actually feed the sharks yourself (that would be too dangerous), but after a short boat ride you'll stop in four to seven feet of water and gaze on with amazement as the docile sharks surrounding your boat are hand-fed by an experienced guide.
Once that has shocked your system, it might be a good idea to slow things down a little. Don't want to burn yourself out too early. Next on your itinerary should an island tour. There's no better way to get a sense of everyday life in Tahiti than passing through the smaller villages. You can join a 4WD safari, take a guided nature hike, or skim across the lagoons on a motorised canoe.
RELATED LINK: Tahiti Travel Guide
When the call of the sea is too strong, it's time for a dive. Tahiti is known for its awesome snorkelling and scuba, with sites for beginners and the experienced. If you feel the urge to explore beneath the waves, and don't mind parting with a bit of money, be sure to choose a reputable dive company. Common sense and a PADI or SSI logo will usually steer you in the right direction. Don't be afraid to spend a bit more on your dive because, as with most things, you get what you pay for.
For a bit of culture, check out Arahurahu Marae in Paea - the only temple in French Polynesia that has been fully restored to its original condition. During Heiva I Tahiti festival in July, it’s used as the setting for historic reconstructions. If you only have time to see one cultural site on Tahiti, this should be it.
RELATED LINK: Discover the Pacific Islands
Those who can't help but do a bit of shopping when on holiday, this section is for you. If you want to buy some of Tahiti's famous black pearls, visit the Pearl Market in Papeete. The pearls here are by no means cheap, but take a walk around and window shop, get a feel for what is on offer and compare prices. Something to note, the pearls are rarely black but commonly grey, silver and greenish black.
After you've done all the above, a bit of relaxing by the pool may be just what you need. Tahiti has some of the finest islands resorts in French Polynesia, ranging from mid priced to luxury.
No matter when you choose to stay though, with a cocktail in hand, the pool glistening in the torch light and the sight of the sun setting over the endless ocean, Tahiti will leave a long-lasting impression.RELATED LINK: Visa's Guide to Buying Black Pearls