Tahiti is the beating heart of French Polynesia. It is both the gate to the country with Tahiti Faa'a airport and the administrative center of Papeete, the capital and economic lung of the country with its harbor, its businesses and shops.
Downtown, Papeete's market is a must see for anyone visiting the capital island. It features a wide range of the archipelago's production, from local fish to a rich selection of handicrafts. Yet Tahiti is so much more than Papeete: majestic valleys falling into the arms of the lagoon, rich, restored archeological sites, the Aorai and Orohena, two sharp-peaked volcanic mountains. It also is a big island with an infinite choice of activities.
The city offers many diversions and some of the great hotels organize magnificent traditional dance shows that should not be missed. Tahiti iti, the peninsula, holds some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Polynesia; particularly the hike to the Te Pari, a splendid and totally untouched site, and of course Teahupoo, one of the best surf spots in the world. Varied culinary styles: taste the local flavor of the traditional Tahitian oven at the generous buffets organized by the great hotels. Beyond this famous "ahima'a", the country's cuisine mirrors Tahiti: colorful and mixed, with Chinese, Italian, French influences, fast food of food vans, those very welcoming and convenient mobile restaurants.