A Traveler’s Guide to Hiking in Tahiti
While most people tend to travel to Tahiti for the sunny beaches and exotic atmosphere, know that Tahiti also offers miles and miles of tropical trails to enjoy. Hiking in Tahiti is a fabulous way to experience all that this sun drenched vacation spot has to offer. When you hike these trails, you’ll be privy to sights and sounds which are inaccessible by vehicle. You’ll also find yourself reviving your sense of wonder as you immerse yourself in the zig zagging trails of Tahiti.
Basic Prepping for Your Tahiti Hike
When you first consider a hike, whether in Tahiti or elsewhere, know that it’s not a race. Hiking is designed to relax you, center your spirit, to elevate your consciousness. There is no finish line to cross here, no competition to win. That being said, it can be a strenuous activity, so a certain level of preparedness must be considered. Finally, consider checking out trails you might like by viewing a video on Youtube, such as this one which highlights the Fautaua Valley Trail. Viewing videos of select trails will help you choose which one is right for your physical fitness level, as well as the helping you choose the most interesting trek.
Know Your Level of Fitness
Remember that old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Well, nothing truer could be said when it pertains to getting the most out of your Tahiti hiking experience. First things first, know your physical fitness level. When you look for hiking trails, go to a reputable website such as AllTrails and check which trails are labeled easy, medium or hard. If you’ve a while before your hiking vacation, consider building up your endurance and muscle strength.
The Morning of the Hike
Begin your day by having a good breakfast that morning. Next, make sure you’ve packed your supplies for the day. When hiking in Tahiti, preparation should include a pair of strong, comfortable walking shoes, backpack with water, food and snacks. If you’re sun sensitive then bring a hat, sunglasses and apply sunscreen. In case it rains during the trek, be sure to have a light jacket. Finally, please listen to your guide, and follow their instructions to the letter. If you’re hiking without a guide, it’s a good idea to only go on well populated trails that are marked, and don’t wander off the trail. Finally, don’t for get the permit. Some trails in Tahiti do require you get a permit from the Town Hall or elsewhere.
As you’ll be trekking through rainforests, it’s best to be prepared for a possible downpour. This rainfall can make the trails wet, sloppy and muddy. So pack a light raincoat if possible. One suggestion is to pack a portable shower tent. These portable shower tents are made for camping, are water proof, inexpensive and very easy to carry. Should you get into a downpour, simply pop the tent and wait it out. To avoid the rain as much as possible, know that Tahiti’s dry season is from May to October. The driest of these months would be June and July.
Best Trails for Hiking in Tahiti
It’s no secret that Tahiti is strewn with some of the most gorgeous hiking trails in the world. Each trail takes you through a lush world of tropical rainforests. With so many trails from which to choose, we’ve looked at some of the more popular ones, just to get you started.
Mount Aorai Hiking Trail
Mount Aorai is known as one of the classic and most used hiking trails in Tahiti. In fact, it’s so common that you won’t need a tour guide for this one. The trail is marked as you go, and the paths are maintained for tourists. The only thing to be concerned of is the narrow ridge which trekkers will encounter. If you are an inexperienced hiker, it is recommended that you contact a tour guide to assist you. The trek will usually take around 4 to 5 hours to reach the summit. That means the entire trip may take you 8 to 10 hours, so start early. The good news, is that there are comfortable shelters along the trail, with each shelter having the room to house up to 20 hikers, so consider spending the day hiking, and the night sleeping in a shelter.
Mount Rōtui is a moderate to hard trail which begins in Faimano. It’s a 4.2 mile trail, familiar with tourists and locals alike. This trail is often used to provide tourists a tour of the beautiful flora and fauna of Tahiti. Though it’s moderate, parts of the trail are more rigorous than others. Not recommended for beginners.
Fautaua Valley Trail
Located on Tahiti’s east coast, this 2.5 mile trail is rated as easy, so it’s perfect for beginners and families. Sites include the Fachoda, or Tearape Bridge, the Fautaua Waterfall, and the Fautaua Waterfall’s swimming pool. It’s the Fautaua Waterfall which brings tourists to this trail. The waterfall is one of the most beautiful in Tahiti, and easily captures the imagination of locals and tourists alike. Though it’s rated as easy, it does have some steep climbs, so be prepared. Permits are required for this hike.
If you’re into exploring caves while on a hike, then the Lava Tubes of Tahiti are a must for you. Located at Hitiaa, on the east coast of Tahiti, you’ll find these tubes. In actuality, they are nothing more than tunnels created when the hot lava quickly cools. Keep in mind that water runs through these elongated tunnels, and the water is a bit chilly, so prep accordingly. Here, weather is important as it’s unwise to get caught inside these tunnels during a downpour. Guides are necessary if you with to hike the Lava Tubes. Equipment should also include a headlamp. As for clothing, wetsuits are recommended.
Hiking in Tahiti is a positively breathtaking way to take in the sights and sounds of this most magical place. While there are some easy trails in Tahiti, know that even these easy trails can be quite steep in spots, so know your physical fitness level before you go forward. Also, know the importance of preparation when it comes to hiking. If you know in advance, take that time to add strength and endurance training to your exercise routine. Don’t forget to pack for the hike appropriately by wearing comfy walking shoes, toting some water, food, hat, sunglasses and even a lightweight raincoat . Finally, it can’t hurt to become familiar with the trails via online maps and even Youtube videos before you embark.