How to get around Tahiti

Tahiti is the largest island of the Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It comprises two parts, Tahiti Nui (the larger, northwestern part) and Tahiti Iti (the smaller, southeastern part).

Hiring a car is the best way of seeing the sights and getting around Tahiti.

Buses, scooters and taxis (very expensive) are available. Some resorts offer bicycles for free or to rent. Traffic drives on the right.

Most islands in the Society group have one road that hugs the coast all the way around. Tahiti, Mo’orea, Bora Bora, Ra’iatea, Taha’a and Huahine have paved and reasonably well-maintained roads, as well as minor roads leading inland that are often rough, and almost always require a 4WD.

Transport options in Tahiti

Car hire: All car rental companies, international or national, charge the same daily rate with unlimited kilometers. A national driving license is the only requirement to hire vehicles in Tahiti.

Taxi: Taxis are available throughout Tahiti, especially in Papeete. Centre Vaima and Pomare Boulevard are Papeete’s biggest taxi stands, but visitors can also flag down taxis across the city.

Few taxis have meters as the government sets taxi fares, but visitors should nonetheless agree with drivers on fares prior to entering vehicles. Nighttime fares are at least 20 percent more expensive than daytime fares.

Bicycle: Cycling around the smaller islands of French Polynesia is a lot of fun. Coastal roads are usually flat and the traffic is rarely heavy (except on Tahiti Island).

Bikes can be hired on many of the islands. Helmets are not provided.

Bus: The colourful and famous ‘Le Truk’ open-air buses have now vanished, replaced by modern, air-conditioned buses that follow the same routes on a regular timetable roughly every 15 minutes.

Buses stop at designated spots – marked with a blue sign –  and will generally stop anywhere when hailed.

In Tahiti, there are three main routes: around Pape'ete (catch this along Rue du Général de Gaulle), the east coast and Tahiti Iti (catch this along Blvd Pomare) and the west coast (catch this along Rue du Maréchal Foch and Rue du Général de Gaulle).

You pay at the end of your trip and that for many routes there is a set fare, irrespective of distance.

Transport options between islands

Air: Air Tahiti offer daily flights from Tahiti to the neighbouring Society Islands of Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti, Moorea and Raiatea as well as the remote archipelagos, including Tuamotu East and North with Manihi, Rangiroa, Takapoto and Tikehau; Austral Islands of Rurutu and Tubuai; Marquesas Islands of Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva.

The best (and least expensive) way to visit a number of islands by air is to buy an Air Tahiti air passes, which allows you to link up various islands within French Polynesia for less than you'd pay booking flights individually.

Travel must start in Pape’ete and you cannot connect back to Pape’ete until the end of the pass. The pass entitles you to one stopover on each island. If you stop at an island to change flights, it counts as a stopover.

Passes are valid for a maximum of 28 days and all flights must be booked when you buy your pass. There is more than one type of pass. For example, the Bora Bora Pass allows you to visit the six main islands in the Society group: Tahiti, Mo’orea, Huahine, Ra’iatea, Bora Bora and Maupiti.

Air Tahiti passes are can be purchased online or at the Air Tahiti office in Pape'ete.

Sea: Fast inter-island catamarans and regular ferries exist between Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Papeete and Raiatea. The port of Papeete is the ferry link between the main island of Tahiti and the rest of French Polynesia.

Aremiti ( operates a frequent ferry shuttle service daily between Tahiti and Moorea using two high-speed vessels: the Aremiti 5 and Aremiti 2 ferries. One-way fares are FCFP1500 for adults and FCFP950 for children.

Latest update: How to get around Tahiti: 20 April, 2022