THE NAME “TAHITI” likely evokes images of palm trees, white-sand beaches, and turquoise lagoons — which is totally accurate. But the postcard version of a place is never anywhere near the whole story. Here are 12 things you might not know about these legendary South Pacific islands and atolls.
1. It’s home to the world’s most unique vineyard.
Yes, it’s possible to establish a vineyard on a coral atoll. And The Islands of Tahiti are the only place in the world to have one. Check out
2. Overwater bungalows were invented here.
The Islands of Tahiti are the birthplace of the
3. “Tahiti” is way more than just one island.
The Islands of Tahiti cover a vast area in the South Pacific — about the same size as Western Europe, in fact — and encompass 118 islands and atolls across five different archipelagos. There is so much to explore.
4. And all of them are closer than you think.
Tahiti and all those surrounding islands sit about midway between California and Australia —
5. The tiare is more than just a pretty flower.
The fragrant white tiare flower is the symbol of The Islands of Tahiti and is worn by both men and women as a necklace, head ornament, or behind the ear. Which ear the flower is placed behind is determined by whether one is single or taken: Place the flower on your left ear if you’re attached, or you can always ask a Tahitian where you should wear it if you’re ready to mingle.
6. This is one of the most newly inhabited places on Earth.
The Islands of Tahiti were among the last places on the planet to be settled by humans. No one really knows why early peoples migrated here or even where they originated from, but the first evidence of humans is dated about a thousand years later than anywhere else in the world. The islands were also among the last to be colonized by Europeans.
7. Tahiti was home to food trucks way before they were cool.
Long before the food truck became a staple in the hippest cities around the world, The Islands of Tahiti were ahead of the game with the roulotte. These food trucks can still be found almost everywhere around the main island of Tahiti, especially on the Papeete waterfront, and they serve everything from crepes to waffles, Chinese to burgers and fries.
8. You can experience a “spa-within-a-spa.”
Peaceful lagoon waters, air scented with vanilla and tropical flowers…The Islands of Tahiti are the ultimate in tranquility. In fact, relaxing here can feel a bit like being in a spa. So when you go to one of the islands’ spas — you’ve got it — you’re basically in a “
9. The word “tattoo” originated here.
10. The Tahitian alphabet contains only 13 letters.
It’s made up of the vowels “a,” “e,” “i,” “o,” and “u,” and the consonants “f,” “h,” “m,” “n,” “p,” “r,” “t,” and “v.” There’s no “b” in the Tahitian alphabet, which is why locals pronounce
11. Paul Gauguin spent his final years here.
The famous French painter spent his twilight years on The Islands of Tahiti and is buried in
12. Tahiti’s biggest export is way more interesting than oil or gas.
A country’s biggest exports tend to be practical resources like fossil fuels or minerals. But The Islands of Tahiti harvest something way more beautiful and unique: