Forging meaningful relationships with locals can create holiday memories so precious they stay with you long after you return home. One of the easiest and most authentic ways to do this in Tahiti is by booking a stay at a Tahitian guesthouse. These family-operated lodgings are known locally as pensions and there are hundreds of them throughout the beautiful Islands of Tahiti.

This style of accommodation offers a laid-back, genuine holiday experience that connects visitors to the culture and genuine hospitality that makes this South Pacific destination so special. Like Tahiti’s famous pearls, each pension is beautiful in its own way and completely unique. Whichever island you’re heading to for your Tahiti holiday, you’re sure to find a charming local guesthouse that suits your travel style and makes all of your holiday dreams come true.

Some pensions are simple bed and breakfasts with modest rooms or a few bungalows located near the family home. Facilities can be private or shared depending on where you choose to stay and/or which room category you book. This type of pension makes your holiday dollar go further as breakfast is always included, even if you’re staying in one of the cheapest rooms. Breakfast is typically served in a guest dining room or at a table in the family home. If your guesthouse is in a remote location with limited surrounding restaurants, a meal plan covering two or three meals a day is usually available as well.

If you would prefer a Tahitian guesthouse that has more in common with a typical hotel, this is available too. Farés or “family residences” offer a boutique accommodation experience with up to nine individual bungalows located near the family home. Each room comes with a private bathroom and its own cooking facilities. There is usually a small front desk and a shared guest relaxation lounge so you can mix and mingle with other travellers as well as your friendly hosts. Housekeeping service is often available as well for those who request it. 

It’s possible to do as much or as little as you like when you stay at a pension. Many owners love nothing more than chatting with guests and sharing stories about the tropical island paradise they call home. If you’re after inside information about the best things to see and do or where to eat, your host has all the answers and more. Want to find the best fishing spot to catch dinner? Just ask your host. Don’t be surprised if they step in as a guide and take you there on an excursion in their motorboat. Or offer to cook your catch at an impromptu traditional beach barbeque with ingredients from the family’s garden. 

One of the best things about staying in a Tahitian guesthouse is they are often in locations that are not that well known and also extremely very scenic. This gives you the chance to explore beyond the tourist trail and experience authentic Tahitian hospitality. It’s easy to find your own piece of paradise when you stay with the locals in Tahiti.

The faster we live life, the more we lose the connection to its most important and rewarding aspects: the people, places, learning, sharing and sense of community which make life great. Staying at a Tahitian guesthouse offers visitors so much more than an island holiday in breathtaking surrounds. You’ll take home memories more precious than any Instagram photo.