Tahiti is the largest in a chain of islands that make up French Polynesia, a collection of 118 islands and atolls scattered across an area the size of Western Europe. Located halfway between Los Angeles and Syndey, French Polynesia is in the same time zone as Hawaii and as far below the equator as Hawaii is north. To get there, our flight from San Francisco proceeds almost to Hawaii, then turns left and heads south about 2,600 miles (4,180 km).
Pape'ete is the capital of the island of Tahiti, which is divided into two parts. Tahiti Nui, to the northwest, is the larger and is dominated by three extinct volcanos. Tahiti Iti is a small peninsula to the southeast. We arrive in Faa'a International Airport in Pape'ete late in the evening and head over to the Manava Suite Resort Tahiti for two nights prior to getting on a cruise around the islands. The resort is unassuming from the street, but with an incredible seaside presence in the rear, which we discover the next morning. We arrive just before midnight and get a taxi with a cheerful woman driving with her son playing a ukulele in the front passenger seat. We feel greatly welcomed!
Manava Suite Resort Entrance and Lobby
We spend the morning at the hotel, swimming in the pool and swimming in the sea, where the water temperature is around 82°F (28°C).
Swimming around the hotel pools and beaches
We enjoy the lush tropical vegetation, inside and outside, with everything open to the incredible air and sea.
More views of the sea, Moorea in the distance
We're about to embark on a week-long cruise around French Polynesia, staring from Tahiti and stopping in Moorea, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Huahine, exploring the islands and swimming in the sea every day. We can't wait!