Tahiti, French Polynesia

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Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti vacation rentals

Tahiti _ the pearl of French Polynesia

Tahiti _ the very name conjures images of the exotic and the paradisiacal. The real thing doesn't disappoint. Ancient volcanos have whittled the backcountry into a relief of rugged valleys and waterways. Jungles drip from the chiseled gorges there and delve into mirror-like lagoons of translucent water. The coast is a place of black-rock sands and lapping Pacific seas, where the shorelines have sprouted the most coveted Tahiti vacation rentals of all; over-water bungalows with front-row seats atop the reefs. The capital _ Papeete _ is also worth a visit, fusing frantic Polynesian markets with enthralling museums dedicated to Tiki kings.

Pacific adventures in Tahiti

As Tahiti sprouts from the sloshing South Pacific, it gives rise to such a patchwork of coral gardens and reefs that it's hard not to be enticed to the waters. Okay, the beaches might be black-sand and more rugged than other isles in French Polynesia, but that doesn't mean that you can't spot stingrays and sharks, sea turtles and multi-colored fish while on thrilling marine safaris. The season from August to October is high time for whale watching on the ocean, too, while hardy folk will love a trip to the jungle-packed backcountry and its volcanic gorges.

Tiki tales in Tahiti

Tahiti isn't just the largest of the islands of French Polynesia. It's also its cultural epicenter. The capital of Papeete is a great place to seek out Tahiti vacation rentals if you want to trade in glowing lagoons for fascinating Tiki relics and exhibits. The Robert Wan Pearl Museum offers a glimpse of the long tradition of jewelry making on the archipelago, while the Museum of Tahiti and the Islands just around the coast comes replete with mysterious Polynesian trinkets and local Tahitian art pieces.

Tropical changes in Tahiti

Like all the tropical jewels that sit close to the Equator line in the South Pacific, Tahiti oscillates between wet and dry with the changing of the seasons. Strangely, most people come when there's most rain, between May and September _ that's probably because those months coincide with the major summer break period in North America, or have some of the top whale watching. The best times to seek out Tahiti vacation rentals are actually in December, January and February, though. They have dry days, warm temperatures and clear seas for SCUBA diving.

Tahiti _ where volcanos meet the ocean

Tahiti's famed for her brooding backcountry of rugged volcanic domes and misty jungles. That said, the natural wonders here start on the coast, where a tabletop of sandbanks and barrier reefs ring the whole island, offering sightings of sharks and pretty fish schools, dolphins and giant turtles. Beyond that is the Pacific blue, awash with migrating whales between July and October. Back inland, there are craggy gorges and lagoons to swim in, along with soaring mountains that drop down to a shoreline of black-sand bays.