It is hard to think of a more famous South Pacific destination than Tahiti. With myriad islands, divine accommodation and a reputation for romance, this stunning spot is even more gorgeous than the holiday brochures make out. However, this destination also offers plenty of surprises. Read on to discover five things you probably didn’t know about Tahiti. 

It’s the same size as Western Europe

Tahiti is made up of more than 100 islands and atolls which span five different archipelagos, making it the same size as Western Europe. While Tahiti is justifiably famous for its beaches there are plenty of other things to do as well. Shop for souvenirs at local markets, visit the tomb of a king, or view the works of French artist Paul Gauguin. Feeling brave? Experienced surfers can ride one of the world’s most challenging surf breaks here. 

Tahiti doesn’t have to be expensive

While it’s true that Tahiti is the ideal destination for those who like to live it up in five-star splendour, a stay here doesn’t have to be expensive. If your love of luxury is larger than your wallet, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a wonderful holiday in Tahiti. For the backpacker crowd, there are pensions and guesthouses. Romance on a budget can be found at good value hotels. Roulottes (food trucks) are everywhere and serve quick and affordable food. Most hotels offer a shuttle to town where you can sample traditional dishes at local restaurants. 

Spa treatments in Tahiti offer something more meaningful than a relaxing lie-down

There’s nothing like a little pampering to get a holiday off to a great start but Tahiti’s spas offer something more than a simple massage. Many of the treatments celebrate the local culture and create a sense of place by utilising sweet-smelling local flowers, endemic oils for massages and a spa soundtrack featuring music from the surrounding area. Body wraps are crafted from local banana leaves and deep ocean water treatments connect visitors to the heart and soul of the island. Tahiti’s spas encourage travellers to truly engage with their destination. Even better, it can be done while lying down.

Overwater bungalows were invented here

The accommodation of choice for honeymooners was invented in Tahiti in 1967 and quickly spread throughout the South Pacific. Tahiti’s overwater bungalows have direct access to sparkling aquamarine water and entertainment provided by ‘Tahiti TV’ (a glass panel in the bungalow floor). This accommodation is more expensive than a standard hotel room but travelling during low season can make an overwater bungalow an affordable luxury for travellers who don’t mind shopping around. Keep a lookout for “book 3 nights, stay for 4” or similar deals, particularly at the resorts on Moorea which is closer to the mainland. 

The most popular souvenir is pure class

Tahiti’s black pearls are world-famous for their beauty and you can buy them directly from the pearl farms in Manihi, Rangiroa, Raiatea, and Huahine. Once the jewellery of choice for ‘women of a certain age’, pearls are currently dominating the runways of major fashion houses, inspiring an exciting wave of fresh, new designs. While some pieces remain true to the time-honoured traditions of classic glamour, others are bold, edgy and designed to appeal to rebellious romantics. With geometric Mother of Pearl inlays, avant-garde asymmetrical designs and chunky cuff bracelets, these pieces exude the confidence and beauty of youth.