When it comes to beaches in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is where it's at. Or so we've always been told. But beach bums who overlook the low-key appeal of Tahiti in favor of the more obvious charms of its sister island do themselves, and it, a disservice. To those willing to go a little off the beaten path, Tahiti offers big rewards. Its sandy, pristine beaches, aquamarine waters, and breathtaking lagoons deliver in spades, as does its to-die-for French cuisine and its vibrant culture. The island isn't anyone's idea of affordable, but if you're willing to blow a chunk of change on an unforgettable vacation experience, you won't regret it. If you're ready to taste the magic of Tahiti for yourself, be sure to check out our selection of the best beaches in Tahiti before you go.
If you don't want to venture too far off the beaten track, Plage Lafayette is a gorgeous place to while away a few happy hours in the sand. Located just in front of the Pearl Beach Resort in Matavi Bay, the beach is one of the most popular in Tahiti, yet rarely gets so crowded you have to jostle for elbow room. The waves are gentle enough for swimming, while the contrast between the slender strip of black sand and the vibrant green of the overhanging cliffs is worth a thousand photographs.
Plage de Toaroto
Named by tripsavvy.com as one of the best beaches in Tahiti, Plage de Toaroto is a quiet, peaceful little beach far enough away from Tahiti's main resorts to remain blissfully calm, even during the peak tourist season. The white-sand beach is a delight (and something of a rarety in Tahiti, which is known more for its black sand beaches than anything else) but it's the snorkeling opportunities in the crystal clear lagoon that deserve the most attention. Despite being one of the least traversed beaches on the island, it's still well equipped, with a very decent restaurant and a good handful of showers for visitors to enjoy.
As usnews.com explains, Papenoo Beach offers a little reminder of the island's volcanic history. Its ebony sands extend into the crystal-clear waters of the South Pacific, offering a breathtaking vista that'll please even the most jaded traveler. Despite being popular with the island's surfing community, the beach is delightfully quiet in comparison to the more touristy likes of La Plage de Mauil. Amenities are somewhat thin on the ground, but there are plenty of shops and restaurants in the nearby village of Papenoo if you get peckish.
Bain Lot Beach
Papeete’s main beach is Bain Lot Beach, a popular location with both tourists and locals thanks to its excellent swimming and water sports opportunities, not to mention its unusual break, with waves sweeping in both directions. Despite being such a short distance from Papeete, the beach rarely feels overrun. If you're heading to Papeete for a day of shopping and culture, don't miss adding it to your schedule.
Mahana Park Beach
For some top-notch snorkeling, head for Mahana Park Beach. Its crystal clear waters and near-shore reef are home to over 200 varieties of fish, offering deep-sea adventurers plenty of thrills. Set alongside the landscaped grounds of Mahana Park, the white pebble beach is far enough off the main tourist trail to be blissfully quiet. If you want to grab something to eat, the beach restaurant comes highly recommended. For a more informal dining experience, the nearby parkland offers plenty of lovely picking spots. For those who want to venture further out into sea, kayaks are available to hire on weekends.
Plage du Taharuu
Known for its volcanic black sands, deep blue waters, and its fringe of leafy palm trees, Plage du Taharuu is a popular destination with both locals and tourists. The frothy white waves are decent enough for surfing, but swimmers won't go short either. Thanks to its considerable width, the beach never gets uncomfortably crowded, leaving you with plenty of room to spread out, take a stroll, and not worry about losing your spot in the sun. If you get thirsty, there's an on-site snack bar. Parking is readily available and there's no charge for accessing the beach.
As Viator notes, Teahupoo Beach is world-renowned for its giant waves and world-class surf breaks. If you're on the island in August, don't miss heading there to check out the Tahiti Billabong Pro competition. In fairness, the strong currents and rough waves are too much for all but the most experienced surfers to tackle, but if you're happy to sit back and watch a masterclass in the sport, it's unmissable.
La Plage de Maui
If you were asked to draw the picture-perfect tropical beach, there's a very good chance you'd end up with something a little like La Plage de Maui. Its slender stretch off pristine white sand is idyllic, as is its fringe of leafy palm trees. If you need to cool off, the aquamarine waters of the lagoon are deliciously calm and clear. The tropical vegetation of the surrounding rainforest, meanwhile, offers plenty of respite from the midday heat. If hunger attacks, the beach's snack bar does some fabulous seafood dishes. If there was one flipside to the beach, it would be the 40 miles distance from central Papeete. If you're not scared of a little driving, however, you won't want to miss it.
Plage de Maeva
Set just a short walk from the very high-end Sofitel Resort at Papeete is Plage de Maeva. With its white coral sand beach and its crystal clear waters, it's a fabulous spot for swimming, snorkeling, or simply lying back and soaking up the sun. Although it's within walking distance of downtown Papeete, skip the stroll and make the trip aboard one of Tahiti’s famous 'le trucks' instead.
Venus Point Beach
If you'd rather spend your day at the beach swimming than sunbathing, don't miss Venus Point Beach. Its cool, crystal clear waters are perfect for bathing. The snorkeling opportunities are pretty decent, too. If you want to stretch your legs, the grounds of the nearby lighthouse are great for a hike.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson