Wind/kitesurfing in Tahiti
The Society Islands of French Polynesia are commonly referred to as "Tahiti" by many, but Tahiti is really just one of over 130 different islands that comprise French Polynesia. The island of Tahiti itself just happens to be located in the windward group of the Society Islands archipelago.
In fact, Tahiti is the largest and most famous, and the other Society Islands include Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Maupiti, Tetiaroa, and a few others. Tahiti is the island with the most consistent year-round kiting conditions. Venus Point is a mainstay for the best kiters on the island, but there are many other islands, spots and conditions worthy of knowing.
Similar to the Hawaiian island chain, the French Polynesian islands get a steady flow of South Pacific tradewinds. Depending on their direction and the season, the tradewinds are called either the Toerau or the Mara'amu. The Mara'amu are commonly thought of as being best for kiting but the Toerau can be good too.
Best time of year? The south-easterly Mara'amu is USUALLY most consistent during the Polynesian winter months (dry season) of June through September. When they blow, average winds are between 15 - 25 knots, so it's recommended you bring a quiver of 2 kites or more.
Most of the island's kite spots are in the lagoons, well protected from the deep open waters of the Pacific. The lagoons are a perfect non-intimidating depth of between 3 and 15 feet.
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INFORMATION + MAP (click to open/close)
The local currency is the Central Pacific Franc (CPF), which is divided into 100 centimes. There are five banks on Tahiti, most with branches in the islands: Banque de Polynesie, Banque de Tahiti, Banque Paribas, Banque Socredo and Westpac. The banks are open from 8am to 3:30pm and ATMs are common on larger islands for 24 hour banking. The airport bank is open to service flights. A foreign exchange office in Papeete is open from 7am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday, and 7am-1pm on Sundays and public holidays.Travellers cheques and most credit cards are accepted on the main islands, but the outer islands operate on cash.
No visa is required for stays (travelling on NZ passports) of three months or less for most countries.
The islands have a tropical climate, tempered by trade winds and there is not a great variation in temperatures through out the year. It rarely gets hotter than 27°C and evenings are pleasantly cool. November to March are the warmer, more humid months, while April to October are cooler and drier months. The islands are well outside the usual Pacific cyclone zone.
French and Tahitian are the official languages and English is widely spoken and understood.
Almost half the population is Protestant, with 37% being Catholic and the remaining 16% being different Christian religions and other religions such as Buddhists. Religion plays an important part of daily life, and in rural areas, Sunday is reserved as a day of worship.
There are no poisonous animals or insects, though stonefish are an occasional hazard, which visitors should protect against by wearing reef shoes when in the water. Visitors should take normal precautions against sunburn and insect bites.
Health services are excellent on the main islands, with two major hospitals in Papeete. Private medical practitioners are found in most places and some medical clinics are open 24 hours. There are also dentists and pharmacies readily available.
Tap water in the hotels and restaurants is safe to drink. Elsewhere, it is advisable to drink boiled or bottled water unless the water is known to be treated.