1. The overwater bungalow was created in Tahiti
The sky looms huge and blue over Tahiti. In addition to the endless sunshine, the island in the central South Pacific has crystal-clear lagoons and white-sand beaches shaded by a sentry line of swaying palms. Synonymous with a luxury, tropical paradise, the overwater bungalow originated in The Islands of Tahiti – on the island of Raiatea, in fact. The brainchild of a trio of American expats who were running one of the country’s first hotels, the overwater rooms were a solution to a hotel with no beach. Instead, guests could snorkel directly from their rooms. So popular were the rooms, they were quickly cloned throughout the islands – and now feature around the world.
2. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg
Tahiti is not just the domain of five-star resorts. In fact, staying in a local Tahitian guesthouse is the most perfect embodiment of local hospitality you could ask for. Guesthouses are usually traditional Polynesian fare in locations that are not yet too well known and are very scenic. Staying in this style of accommodation not only opens the door to authentic Tahitian hospitality but also parts of the islands that you may not otherwise venture to. Home rentals are also available throughout the islands, which is a great way to accommodate groups or families.
3. You can order French bread to be home delivered
There are boxes outside the homes of Tahitian residents that are often mistaken for mailboxes. But what these mysterious delivery boxes actually contain is French bread for local fanatics. Like we needed another reason to want to move there. While there are reports the baguette delivery system is all but kaput, we are happy to inform you it’s still something that locals retrieve from their mailbox each day. This is a core part of Polynesian cuisine so forget about your carb ban and embrace it.
4. The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word tatau
Tattoos are considered a sign of beauty among Polynesians, and they are ceremoniously applied to the body when reaching adolescence. The practice of inking on tattoos had been ignored by Europeans until Captain Cook discovered it during his trip to the Marquesas Islands, where he wrote in his diary: “They print signs on people’s bodies and call this tatau.” Today, an entire festival to celebrate tattoos takes place on the Islands of Tahiti.
5. There are no poisonous snakes or insects in French Polynesia
As if Tahiti isn’t paradise enough already: this is one destination where dangerous creatures don’t need to be added to your list of things to worry about. The Islands’ remote and water-bound location means there is no easy way for animals to migrate there. This has led to a much lower animal population than most other places on the planet, although there are wild horses galloping through the mountains of the Marquesas. As far as other dangers are concerned, you’re biggest worries should be sunburn and too many cocktails.