This itinerary outlines how you can spend your time on one of the low-end, 1-week package tours, most of which offer discounted prices for airfare and a week on Tahiti and nearby Moorea. Even if you don't buy a package, this is still the least expensive way to sample the islands, since you won't be forking out a few hundred dollars for interisland airfares and paying the relatively high prices on Bora Bora. You'll get to visit fabled Tahiti and spend a few days frolicking on Moorea. You can pick and choose from this itinerary if you have a 1- or 2-day layover on Tahiti while crossing the Pacific.
Day 1: Exploring Papeete
Get over your flight by taking it easy on the beach or around the pool this morning. Head into downtown Papeete in time for a long French lunch; then take a walking tour of this busy but fascinating city. Head back to your hotel for some relaxation before watching the sunset over Moorea.
Day 2: Circling Tahiti
You can either rent a vehicle or take a guided tour around Tahiti's coastal road. Either way, stop at James Norman's Home, the Gauguin Museum, and the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, all of which will inform you about Tahiti's interesting history. If you drive yourself, take along a swimsuit and beach towel for a visit to Maui Beach, Tahiti's top sands. At night, watch one of the dance shows at the hotels.
Day 3: Taking a Safari Expedition into Tahiti's Interior
You may think you've seen all of Tahiti after your round-island tour, but not so. A safari expedition by four-wheel-drive vehicle will take you into the mountainous interior, which is a very different world from the coastal road. If the weather permits, these trips follow the Papenoo Valley into Tahiti's extinct volcanic crater. Have dinner at les roulottes, the carnival-like meal wagons on the Papeete waterfront.
Days 4: Sightseeing on Moorea
An early morning ferry or plane ride will get to Moorea in time to take a tour of this gorgeous island's north shore, home of the picturesque Cook's and Opunohu bays and the awesome view over them from Le Belvédère lookout. My favorite trip is a four-wheel-drive safari excursion, which will take you to the sights, along with a ride into the interior and a dip under a waterfall. After dark, take in the extraordinary dance show at Tiki Theatre Village.
Day 5: Getting Wet in the Moorea Lagoon
Spending a day out on the water is a must on Moorea, and every hotel offers a half- or full-day lagoon excursion. The usual route takes you across the water to a motu (small islet) out on the reef for some swimming, snorkeling, and a barbecue lunch that may consist of fish your crew caught on the way out.
Day 6: Dolphin-Watching on Moorea
You may have spotted dolphins playing on your Moorea lagoon excursion, but you'll learn a lot more about these friendly mammals on a trip with American marine biologist Dr. Michael Poole, who has identified some 150 of them as Moorea residents.
Day 7: Finishing Up
You will need to return to Tahiti this afternoon to await your flight home, since most planes leave after dark or in the early morning hours. Enjoy your last supper while taking in the glorious view down over Papeete from Le Belvédère.