Tahiti, located in the southern Pacific Ocean, is one of the biggest islands of French Polynesia. It is in the windward group of the Society Islands. The historical name of Tahiti is Otaheite. The original inhabitants of the island were Polynesians. Samuel Wallis, a Cornish navigator, discovered the island in 1767.
Out of 118 islands, Tahiti is the most populous island and as per the 1992 census, the island has about 169,674 inhabitants. The total land area is 1042 sq. km. It comprises of two islands, namely, Tahiti-Nui (big Tahiti) and Tahiti-Iti (small Tahiti). These two islands are linked by an isthmus, called Plateau of Taravao. The main mountain peaks of the region are Mt. Orohena and Mt. Aorai. Mt. Orohena, the highest, is about 7,352 feet above sea level. Along with French and Tahitian, the citizens also speak English.
Papeete, its capital city, lies in the northwestern coast. It houses government offices, hospitals, banks, airline and travel agencies, and vibrant markets. Principal export items of Tahiti include tropical fruits, copra, vanilla, and sugarcane.
Tahiti is culturally rich and has a long tradition in art and culture. It has always fostered arts, crafts, paintings, dance, and music. Heiva is the most important festival celebrated in the island. Presently, Tahiti has a Univeristy named Université de la Polynésie Française (University of French Polynesia). The university is home to 2,000 students and about 60 researchers.
Tahiti is a popular tourist destination with majestic peaks, deep valleys, clear streams, high waterfalls, cool rivers, coastal land, beaches, ruins, historic monuments, museums, botanical gardens, and many others. The island also offers opportunities for scuba diving, sailing, snorkeling, water-skiing and other recreational activities. Tahiti also boasts luxurious resorts, spas, fine dining restaurants, nightclubs, pearl shops, and boutiques.
Other important destination around the island include Bora Bora, Moorea, Papara, (known for its beaches), and Papeete. Transportation facilities include buses, airplanes, cruises, car rentals, and taxi service.