Tahiti is a paradise that feels like it was inspired by your WILDEST dreams. Imagine picture-perfect beaches, huts on the beach and a vibe that oozes with slow, laid-back energy.

The island is a haven for those craving a dose of luxury. However, it’s not all about sipping cocktails and sunbathing in the boujee resorts; it can also be a backpacker’s playground (if you know where to look). 

Tahiti is an island with soul and it’s got layers that run deep. From catching epic waves and marvelling at vibrant coral reefs to exploring the jungles and hitching rides to hidden waterfalls. It is the perfect place to lose the itinerary and flow with wherever the island takes ya!

But Tahiti is quite a small destination and it isn’t easy to get around without a car. Most of the public transport is limited to the larger part of the island and is infrequent outside the main town. Deciding where to stay in Tahiti is an important decision…

But never fear! You’ve come to the perfect place. I’m here to help make this decision a piece of cake. I’ve figured out the best places to stay in Tahiti depending on your travel style and budget.

So let’s dive right in.

Where to Stay in Tahiti

Not looking for anywhere specific? These are our top picks for accommodation in Tahiti.

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Vairao Lagoon | Dreamy Treehouse in Tahiti

Vairao Lagoon Tahiti

Nestled among the treetops in one of the most secluded parts of the island, you’ll get to enjoy unspoiled views of the ocean and magnificent sunsets. The Vaira’o Surf Pass is just outside the property, and the hosts even provide boat trips out on the water.

Moorea Surf Inn | Budget Pension near Tahiti

Moorea Surf Inn tahiti

Pensions are locally owned accommodations with affordable rates and friendly service. This particular pension is popular with travelers from across the world, and is ideal for surfers. Accommodation is simple, and meals can be provided.

Manava Suite Resort | Luxurious Hotel in Tahiti

Manava Suite Resort Tahiti

If you’re coming to Tahiti you might as well splurge! This stunning hotel is among the best-reviewed on the island, and it’s easy to see why. The huge pool deck is right on the coast, offering breathtaking views across the Pacific Ocean. It’s only a ten-minute drive from the airport, with regular shuttles for those that don’t have a car. 

Tahiti Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Tahiti

Tahiti Nui Tahiti

Tahiti Nui

First time in French Polynesia? It’s important to stick to one of the more popular areas to gather your bearings. Tahiti Nui is the biggest and most populous half of the island, and it’s home to the tourism industry.

Moorea Island Tahiti

Moorea Island

In a notoriously expensive territory, Moorea Island stands out as a beacon to budget travellers. It’s only a short ferry ride from Tahiti. And in many ways, it’s just like a cheaper version of its larger cousin.

Tahiti Iti Tahiti

Tahiti Iti

Tahiti Iti is the smaller part of the island, but it’s home to some of the most interesting neighbourhoods. It has been largely untouched by the tourism industry, giving visitors a more authentic insight into local life.

Tahiti is a pretty small destination, and is really easy to get around if you have a car. In that instance, we recommend you take a circular tour around both parts of the island. Haven’t got a car? Buses are pretty infrequent, but you can still figure out some day trips. During the peak tourist season, you’ll also find some great excursions on offer from local guides.

The island is split into two areas – Tahiti Nui (Big Tahiti) and Tahiti Iti (Small Tahiti). Tahiti Nui is home to the majority of the population, and is the best place to stay for first-time visitors. It provides tours or buses to other parts of the island, and is home to some of Tahiti’s top attractions.

Tahiti Iti feels like a completely different experience in many ways. Bar Taiarapu-Est is the town that connects to the two sections. You’ll need a car to get to anywhere on this part of the island. If you can drive, however, it is well worth the visit. This is a less touristy part of the island, where you can learn more about Tahiti and its people.

So what about those on a budget? There’s no escaping how expensive basically everywhere in French Polynesia is! Thankfully, Moorea Island is here to help your bank account. You actually need to get a boat from Tahiti to get there, but it doesn’t take too long. You will find some super affordable accommodation picks across the island, letting you experience paradise for less.

Still undecided? We’ve got a more information about each place below. We’ve also included our favourite accommodation and activity picks for each, to get you started on planning an itinerary.

Tahiti’s Top 3 Places to Stay in

1. Tahiti Nui – Where to Stay in Tahiti for your First Time

Tahiti Nui Tahiti

First time in French Polynesia? We recommend sticking to one of the more popular areas to gather your bearings. Tahiti Nui is the biggest and most populous half of the island, and it’s home to the tourism industry. The Northern side in particular is a great spot to find tour guides, vibrant culinary attractions, and incredible scenery.

If you want to dip your toe in the local culture, we also recommend heading to Tahiti Iti. This is still reasonably accessible by bus (and only an hour away by car), but it gives you a little taster of local life away from the main tourist areas. 

Studio Painapo | Spacious Studio in Tahiti Nui

Studio Painapo Tahiti

This modern studio is located right in the heart of Pape’ete. It’s only a short walk from the main shops, market and harbour. Inside, you will find contemporary design and gorgeous views from the front window. Sleeping up to six guests, this is great for families and groups on a budget.

Punaauia | Secluded Bungalow in Tahiti Nui

Punaauia Tahiti

Looking for a little more privacy? This bungalow is a little more inland, giving you gorgeous views of the mountainous landscape. It’s still within walking distance of Puna’auia, so you’re not too far from important amenities. This two-bedroom apartment comes with its own private pool overlooking the forest, making it a really popular choice with couples planning a romantic getaway.

Manava Suite Resort | Stunning Hotel in Tahiti Nui

Manava Suite Resort Tahiti 2

Feel like royalty at this gorgeous resort right on the coast! The on-site spa offers a huge selection of holistic therapies and treatments, and there’s a stunning restaurant/bar. If you want to explore outside the hotel, they also offer regular shuttles between the main town and the airport. It’s a bit of a splurge, but it’s worth every penny.

Things to See and Do in Tahiti Nui:

Tahiti Nui 2
  1. Le Marché is a two-story marketplace in the heart of Pape’ete (the largest town in Tahiti) where you can grab a bite to eat and some unique souvenirs.
  2. Put on your hiking boots and head deep into the heart of the island for epic trails and unspoiled scenery. The Les Trois Cascades waterfalls are especially popular.
  3. Visit the Gauguin Museum, dedicated to the work of the famous French artist. It also has a beautiful botanic garden.
  4. Street food is super popular on the island (especially in the market). Poisson cru (raw fish) is a must-try delicacy (we love the pineapple version).
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2. Moorea Island – Where to Stay near Tahiti on a Budget

Moorea Island Tahiti
Tahiti isn’t exactly budget-friendly…

In a notoriously expensive territory, Moorea Island stands out as a beacon of hope to budget travellers. But it remains one of the most beautiful islands in French Polynesia.

It’s only a short ferry ride from Tahiti, and in many ways is just like a cheaper version of its larger cousin. The hotels offer the same gorgeous views, and there are some great hikes right into the center.

Moorea Island is also a must-visit for surfers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts; Haapiti is an especially popular hotspot in the north of the island. You’ll need to have some experience to catch these waves, however.

If you want to visit French Polynesia but are unsure of where to stay, this would be my top choice.

Cocoon Vanh | Peaceful Bungalow in Moorea Island

Cocoon Vanh

Cooks Bay is often regarded as one of the most beautiful bays in the world! It’s lined with pineapple trees, locally-owned restaurants, and mesmerizing viewpoints. This bungalow is right on the edge of the bay, giving you a little extra privacy. Car hire and transfers are also included, saving you even more money on your trip to Moorea Island.

Moorea Surf Inn | Affordable Escape in Moorea Island

Moorea Surf Inn Tahiti 2

Sticking to a strict budget? This charming little pension not only saves you money, but also lets you discover the island through the eyes of a local. It’s run by a local family who can help you get acquainted with Moorea. The beach is right on your doorstep, and Haapiti is about five minutes away on foot.

Hotel Les Tipaniers | Serene Hotel in Moorea Island

Hotel Les Tipaniers

This might be a two-star hotel, but it still offers some luxury extras. It’s located right on the beachfront, giving you immediate access to the sparkling ocean and golden sands. Each room also comes with its own private terrace where you can admire the sunset with a glass of wine (or two).

Things to See and Do in Moorea Island:

Moorea Island 2
Tahiti is easily accessible from Moorea Island
  1. Take a trip up to Haapiti with your surfboard, or simply admire the view if you’re inexperienced.
  2. Belvedere Lookout is a great spot for viewing all of the island’s best-known attractions – from sacred mountains to ancient ruins.
  3. Many hotels across French Polynesia offer local performances. If you’re in Moorea, skip them for a more authentic (and affordable) display at Tiki Village.

3. Tahiti Iti – Best Area in Tahiti Off The Beaten Path

Tahiti Iti
Discover a more authentic side to the island

Tahiti Iti is the smaller part of the island, but it’s home to some of the most interesting neighborhoods. It’s been largely untouched by the tourism industry, giving visitors an unspoilt insight into local life.

You’ll need a car to get around, but it’s totally worth the extra expense. There are a number of local restaurants dotted around the area offering delicacies you won’t taste anywhere else in the world. A lot of the scenery here is also completely untouched, so you’ll definitely want to bring a good camera.

Vairao Lagoon | Cute Treehouse in Tahiti Iti

Vairao Lagoon Tahiti 2

Nestled among the trees just outside Vaira’o, this treehouse is the perfect spot for a peaceful retreat. We love the local area as it isn’t visited by many tourists, meaning you’ll get to mingle with locals and discover a more authentic way of life. The bungalow itself is made out of bamboo, giving it a rustic charm. The host also runs excursions for those interested in whale watching and scenery.

A Pueu Village | Secluded Resort in Tahiti Iti

A Pueu Village Tahiti

Kick back and relax on this exclusive resort on the Tahitian coast. It’s not surrounded by any towns, so you’ll get to enjoy some true peace and quiet away from the rest of the world. Don’t worry too much about feeling lonely, though. It’s actually a small village in its own right, with plenty of opportunities to mingle with other guests. 

Makai Bungalow Iti | Rustic Bungalow in Tahiti Iti

Makai Bungalow Iti

This bungalow is within walking distance of Taravao, the town connecting Tahiti Iti with Tahiti Nui. This makes it a fantastic choice for those that want to travel around the island, as it has the best transport options departing from Tahiti Iti. The inside of this A-Frame bungalow is pretty basic, but that’s part of its charm. You’ll really get to connect with the land and basque in your own private paradise.

Makai Bungalow Iti is one of our favourites in Tahiti but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Things to See and Do in Tahiti Iti:

Things to do Tahiti Iti 2
  1. Take a self-guided food tour around the area. Each town has at least one restaurant, café or patisserie offering something unique.
  2. Grotte Vaipori is pretty hard to get to (there aren’t any tarmacked roads, though there is a hotel nearby), but it’s well worth the trip for stunning photos.
  3. Visit Tautira – a small town offering unique insight into local life as well as some attractions about ecological measures on the island.
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FAQs About Finding a Place to Stay in Tahiti

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Tahiti and where to stay.

What To Pack For Tahiti

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Tahiti

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Tahiti

Tahiti is a gorgeous destination in one of the most secluded parts of the world. With luscious forests, idyllic beaches and epic hikes, it’s no wonder this tiny little island attracts so many visitors each year. Scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll also discover some fascinating cultural highlights and epic surfing destinations.

So what is our favorite place to stay in Tahiti? Well, we really can’t decide on this one! If you can, we recommend hiring a car and taking a road trip around the entire island. The ferry to Moorea is also super quick and can easily be completed as a day trip.

Of course, the best place to stay really depends on what you want. If it’s your first time, stick to Tahiti Nui. That being said, Tahiti Iti is a great option for those more interested in the local culture. Moorea is one of the most budget-friendly destinations in the whole of French Polynesia, and it’s only a short ferry from Tahiti.

We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Tahiti and French Polynesia?

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!