Tahiti Yacht Charter Guide | South Pacific
Escape to the island oasis of Tahiti, exploring Bora Bora and Moorea on an extraordinary yacht charter vacation in French Polynesia
Tahiti, Bora Bora & Moorea | Tahiti Yacht Charters | Tahiti Honeymoons | The Society Islands & Tuamotu Atolls | Getting There | Tahiti Climate | Tahitian Culture and Cuisine | Testimonials | Our Tahiti Charter Yachts
Tahiti, the most famous island in French Polynesia, is a magical place where coconut palms fringe pristine sand beaches, and flower-laden welcomes are as delightful as the sunsets. Tahiti embodies all of the beauty, romance, and peacefulness of the South Pacific.
A yacht charter in Tahiti delivers all of this and more - you can expect to find tumbling waterfalls, majestic mountains blanketed by verdant rainforest, secluded lagoons, and a relaxed pace of life combined with first-class service, exotic cuisine and as much time enjoying the water as you can imagine.
Whether you want the exclusivity and speed of a crewed motor yacht, the closeness to nature and comfort offered by a crewed catamaran, or the freedom and classic experience of a sailing yacht, exploring Tahiti by yacht is the ultimate South Pacific adventure. Our extensive knowledge at Boatbookings means we can offer all of he best Tahiti charter yachts, one of which will suit you and your family or friends perfectly.
Top Pick Tahiti Charter Yachts
With over 100 islands grouped into 5 volcanic and coral archipelagos to explore, the French Polynesian islands are not surprisingly home to some of our planet's most awe-inspiring and unique marine life. There are thousands of unspoiled anchorages, bays, and lagoons to explore, and good steady winds for those wishing to embark on a Tahiti sailing vacation. If you wish to cover vast distances and experience the overwhelming variety of French Polynesia, take a scroll through our Society Island motor yacht itinerary for a little inspiration.
You will find that the Society Islands are the most inhabited group of islands, encircled by coral reefs and lagoons, these include Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. This archipelago offers a beach club atmosphere where you can tender ashore and mingle with the locals, stimulate the senses with spa treatments and sample a taste of Tahiti with the occasional meal on land.
The beauty of a yacht charter is that it allows you to reach the often inaccessible destinations such as the remote Tuamotu Atolls to the east, and the mysterious Polynesian myths and legends of the Marquesas Islands to the north. Tahitian legend says that this is where spirits of the ancient Maohi still live alongside those who live on Mystic and Hiva Islands. Alternatively, venture south and off-grid to the diving paradise of the Austral and Gambier Islands, for some adventurous on-water exploration.
Why Explore Tahiti by Yacht?
You've seen the inviting pictures of romantic grass and bamboo huts on the water in Tahiti, and they are incredibly enticing. We won't try talking you out of staying in one, in fact we highly recommend one for part of your Tahiti journey. However, there are many reasons why a yacht charter is the ideal way to experience the wonders of Tahiti. Consider the advantages offered by a crewed catamaran charter:
- Discover a different destination every night. Explore a new and amazing mooring every night, many of which you will be the only people for miles.
- Escape the crowds. Your yacht is your private floating hotel where you are the only guests. No need to get up early to reserve a beach chair!
- An incredible array of water sports. Want to go kayaking, just jump in. Paddleboarding? Just ask. Whenever you desire you can be enjoying snorkeling, paddleboarding and even SCUBA diving just by jumping off the boat
- Culinary excellence, tailored to your tastes. Your yacht includes a chef who will prepare amazing International and Polynesian cuisine for you 3 times a day, exactly to your specification, likes and dietary requirements. All you need to do is enjoy it. No ordering or even looking at the prices!
- Sundowners done right. You will always have a front-row seat for every sunset, with the perfect drink in your hands. Cheers! No one's going to ever get in your way, and the bar will not be crowded.
- Expert guides. Your captain will take you on a personal and narrated tour to the wonders of Tahiti, beyond the standard tourist destinations. You will truly understand the culture, landmarks, and people.
This is just a short listing of the benefits of chartering a yacht in Tahiti. Below we discuss in more detail the magic of the islands and what a charter is all about and please check out our Tahiti 7 Day Catamaran Charter Itinerary to bring all of this to life!
While Tahitian hospitality and South Pacific charm is famous around the world, a Tahiti yacht charter goes above and beyond to prove this. Superb restaurants, Polynesian spas, traditional dancing shows and honeymoon cruises are just some of what you can experience during your Tahiti sailing holiday.
Tahiti is the main island of French Polynesia, a group of islands located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, south of the equator and halfway between Australia and California. French Polynesia covers over two million square miles of the South Pacific, an area greater than Europe, and is comprised of 118 islands spread over five archipelagos.
The three most visited archipelagos by charterers are in the Society Islands. This archipelago is comprised of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha'a; the Tuamotu Atolls of Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau, and Fakarava; and the mysterious Marquesas to the north. Please see our Tahiti 7-day Crewed Catamaran Charter Itinerary for a detailed understanding of the main charter islands including Bora Bora.
These volcanic islands offer truly unbelievable scenic landscapes from your yacht. The colors are warm with the tropical green mountains, the turquoise lagoon, and the bright red of the flowers. Most of the inhabitants have Polynesian roots, sometimes blended with Chinese or French culture. Tahitians are proud of their islands and praise them by singing, dancing, and wearing flowers as jewels. Life is sweet and the people are always smiling.
Tahiti offers all types of charter yachts. Whether you want to charter a catamaran or a luxury sailboat in Tahiti to sail close to the islands and the reefs or cruise around on a luxury motor yacht, we can find you the perfect boat to suit your needs. We have both bareboat and crewed charter yachts, although if you are looking for a bareboat we normally recommend that you hire a skipper - you will be able to relax and the skipper will teach you a lot about the region and its history.
The beautiful sunsets, deserted beaches, and heavenly scenery make Tahiti the ideal location for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon.
A place that could easily be defined as the center of universal romance, Tahiti is designed for honeymoons and special escapes with your loved one. With beautiful sandy beaches, romantic restaurants, perfect sunsets, a relaxed pace and remote location, Tahiti offers newlyweds and those celebrating a special milestone or missed anniversary, an ideal retreat.
Specializing in Tahiti honeymoon charters, our Charter Advisors can propose a beautiful selection of yachts built to give you the privacy and pampering you need.
The Society Islands have historically been appreciated by charterers, visiting such incredibly iconic places as Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea or Taha'a.
Due to the remoteness of French Polynesia, there are only a limited number of yachts available for charter in Tahiti, so you should try to book at least 6 months ahead. For the peak periods of July and August, we suggest 9 months in advance.
The Society Islands
Tahiti & Moorea
Tahiti and Moorea are known as the Queens of the Pacific and offer some of the most stunning sunsets you can see from a yacht anywhere in the world. These volcanic islands have vast jagged peaks soaring into the sky, and are surrounded by white, sandy beaches and blue lagoons. This mountainous terrain no surprise earns its reputation for dreamy sunsets, expelling a mesh of pastel hues as the sun dips below the surface.
Papeete, the main city on the island of Tahiti, has a really colorful public market (Le Marche), where tropical fruits, flowers and Tahitian-made arts and crafts are sold. You can also go to Papeete to sample fine dining, vibrant nightclubs, and exotic shopping!
Moorea, about 17 km away, is the sister island of Tahiti, and explodes majestically out of the blue ocean into vertical peaks, and is surrounded by a wide, shallow lagoon. This volcanic island is famous for its two wide and deep bays, Opunohu Bay and Cook Bay. The movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” with Marlon Brando was filmed here. Moua Puta (pierced mountain) is one of the peaks on Moorea that is best viewed from sea onboard your yacht.
Moorea is an ideal sailing destination if you are looking to relax and escape the fast pace of life. It offers some of the finest snorkeling and diving in the world, due to the lack of strong currents, and abundant marine life. And if you like to be up close and personal with the marine life, why not swim with the dolphins at the Moorea Dolphin Centre.
Raiatea, Huahine & Bora Bora
These islands are located just over 200 km northwest of Tahiti and offer the most developed sailing infrastructure and destinations. Almost every island is sheltered by a coral reef barrier, providing large clear lagoons to sail in. Small, uninhabited islands are strewn across the lagoons, creating good anchorages and amazing underwater scenery.
The sailing capital of French Polynesia is Raiatea – The Sacred Island. This is where the main marina is located, and where most sailing charters will depart from. Many charter operators will deliver your yacht to Papeete or Moorea if you want to start your sailing holiday from the island of Tahiti.
Raiatea is about a 45 min flight from Tahiti or 24 hours sailing, and Bora Bora is 5 hours sailing from Raiatea. Taha’a, known as The Vanilla Island, is 5 km away and is the little sister of Raiatea, sharing the same lagoon. Many sailors make this their first day’s sailing destination to settle into their yacht, and you can also visit your first Tahitian black pearl farm here. The coral reef surrounding Taha’a has about 60 tiny, idyllic Motus (small islands) emerging from the deep blue waters.
Huahine, the Secret Island, is one of the most preserved of all the islands where you can still experience the real Polynesian lifestyle from the distant past. Here, the people are amazingly friendly, and life is calm and relaxed.
And finally, Bora Bora. The Pearl of the Pacific and easily one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Bora Bora is famous for its turquoise waters and stunning mountain scenery. There are few more stunning places to enjoy a sailing vacation and celebrate those romantic occasions such as honeymoons and wedding anniversaries from the privacy of your own yacht.
There are also many small islands (called Motus) peppered across the lagoons. In fact, why not choose your own one! Anchor in the sparkling waters, snorkel to the sandy beach, sip coconut juice or have your picnic sitting in the lagoon.
If you can drag yourself away from your pina colada, you can spend the afternoon swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and diving. Or, for a little adventure, try some shark feeding to get the adrenaline going!
One of our clients put together this video that shows many of the exciting experiences of a Tahiti crewed catamaran charter in these islands.
Please see our Tahiti 7-day Crewed Catamaran Charter Itinerary for a detailed understanding of these islands.
The Tuamotu Atolls
Over 200 miles northeast of Tahiti, the Tuamotu Atolls is the largest group of coral islands in the world, with over 75 islands spread over 20,000 square km of ocean.
Far from the modern world, the Tuamotu Atolls offer a taste of paradise - strings of coral reefs encircling the crystal-clear lagoons, coconut palms swaying in the tropical breezes, and smiling Polynesian girls wearing flowers in their black hair. This is without a doubt Robinson Crusoe territory!
These low coral atolls each have their own character. Rangiroa is a diving paradise where you can see splendid manta rays or tiny clownfish. Manihi is the home of the Tahitian Black Pearls. Tikehau and Fakarava have been declared world heritage sites by UNESCO thanks to their rich ecosystems, tropical seabirds, rare plants, and crustaceans.
See our Tuamotu 7-Day Sailing Itinerary!
Approaching and sailing the Tuamotu Atolls is at least a 2-week trip, and requires experienced sailors to navigate the passage and tidal currents.
The Marquesas can be described as a lost paradise at the end of the earth. It is the cradle of Polynesian culture, full of legends and myths, and where you can see sacred ancient temples and giant stone carvings. Also, expect to find some of the best tattoo artists and woodcarvers in the world.
Among the 20 islands, some are still uninhabited. The two main islands, Nukuhiva and Hiva’oa, provide well-sheltered fjord-bays up against the volcanic cliffs. Lush valleys, waterfalls, wild horses, isolated mountainous landscapes are the norm. No coral reefs and lagoons here!
The Marquesas Islands lie 7-10 days sailing northeast of Raiatea.
You will arrive at Faa’a International Airport, just outside the capital Papeete, on the main island of Tahiti. Air Tahiti Nui, the national carrier, Air Tahiti and Air Moorea then operate regular flights between Papeete and over 40 islands of French Polynesia.
Los Angeles is about 8 hours flying time, and New York around 12 hours flying time. Airlines such as Air Tahiti Nui, Air France, Qantas, Japan Airlines and Air New Zealand operate regular international flights.
Holders of US, EU or most North and South American passports do not need to apply for a visa for stays of up to 1 month. French nationals only need a French identity card. All visitors to Tahiti must have a return airline ticket, and a passport that is valid for six months beyond their date of return.
The island of Raiatea is the sailing capital of French Polynesia and is a beautiful 45-minute flight from Faa’a International airport. Most charter yachts have their bases here, and this is where you start sailing trips to Bora Bora and beyond. See our 7-Day Crewed catamaran itinerary for detailed information.
French and Tahitian are the official languages, but English is widely spoken in all the main tourist areas. The local currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF or CFP). International banks and ATM machines can be found at Faa’a International Airport as well as in the main islands. On the other islands, VISA and MasterCard are commonly accepted in most hotels, restaurants and boutiques.
Tahiti and her islands are located south of the equator, halfway between California and Australia. The climate is moderate tropical, warm and humid with two distinct seasons. The average temperature is around 27°C/80°F. The waters in the lagoon average 26°C/78°F in the winter and 29°C/84°F in summer.
Summer is from November through April, with a warmer and more humid climate. It is called the rainy season, but normally these rains are tropical and you still will have long stretches of sun every day. Winter is from May through October when the climate is slightly cooler and drier.
The dry and windy season lasts from March to November when the temperatures are cooled by the regular southeast trade winds called Mara’amu. April, June, and September are very good months, with July and August being the tourist peak months. The wetter months are January and February, with brief heavy rains but still warm temperatures.
The first thing you'll notice when you arrive in Tahiti (besides the Palm Trees) is that the culture is distinctly French. Signs are in French, and that is the go-to language in all of the resorts. But beyond the language, the way of life is a combination of Tahitian charm with French customs. You can find "pain au chocolates" everywhere, French products (including Champagne and Wine) fill the stores, which are French brands such as Champion. If you love the French culture, you will love Tahiti!
Of course, Tahitian culture existed long before the French set foot on these islands. The fundamental Tahitian culture of today emanated from the Mā’ohi culture of gods, warriors, and legends, and where daily life was filled with music, dance and art. Tahiti is where javelin throwing began, kings rode surfboards and men competed in outrigger canoe races and stone lifting. These traditions remain today and add a depth of experience to your charter holiday.
Tahitian Cuisine is based on the bountiful seafood, vegetables, fruit, and spices of these islands. You will find amazing varieties of fresh fish, such as Meka, which is a tender and tasty local swordfish that is caught only on full moon nights. Vanilla, although not endemic to the islands, is now suffused into many of the meat and fish dishes. Beef and pork are farmed on the islands and available on most menus. And of course, coconut and pineapple are omnipresent in the food and drinks on the islands.
Restaurants normally offer a starter, main, and dessert, and it is common to walk over to the fresh fish display to choose exactly the fish you want and how you want it prepared.
Each of the resort and hotel restaurants around the region offers world-class dining with magnificent lagoon views, while regular after-dinner Polynesian shows feature the island's best musicians and dancers. Many dishes are influenced by French taste. Seafood and fishes are delicious, usually cooked with vanilla or pineapple.
Here are just two of the many testimonials we've received from Charterers in Tahiti:
My husband, Daniel and I spent our 13th Honeymoon aboard ITI ITI. It was a bit touch and go with my passport dilemma, but I got there. I just want to say the crew was exceptional. Vincent, the Skipper was an excellent guide and Antonella`s food was beyond our imagination. Everything was professional. Thank you all for making it so wonderful!
I wanted to write to express what a great trip we had and specifically our enjoyment of your charter services. The boat was clean and in great shape and everyone we dealt with was professional and nice. In particular, I want to share that our captain (Eric) and our cook (Xionara) were superb. The best crew we’ve ever dealt with on any charter anywhere in the world. I highly recommend them and wanted you to know how much we appreciated them during our trip. Three cheers to all!
Tahiti is one of the world's most popular yacht charter destinations, for all the reasons listed above. Boatbookings knows the region and boats, and can find you the ideal charter yacht, be it bareboat, crewed, sail, motor or catamaran.