Legendary Tahiti, isle of love, has long been the vision of “la Nouvelle Cythère,” the earthly paradise. Explorers Wallis, Bougainville, and Cook all told of a land of spellbinding beauty and enchantment, where the climate was delightful, hazardous insects and diseases unknown, and the islanders, especially the women, among the handsomest ever seen. Rousseau’s “noble savage” had been found! A few years later, Fletcher Christian and Captain Bligh acted out their drama of sin and retribution here.
The list of famous authors who traveled to Tahiti and wrote about the island reads like a high-school literature course: Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, Pierre Loti, Rupert Brooke, Jack London, W. Somerset Maugham, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall (the Americans who wrote Mutiny on the Bounty), among others. Exotic images of uninhibited dancers, fragrant flowers, and pagan gods fill the pages. Here, at least, life was meant to be enjoyed.
There’s a wonderful geological diversity to these islands midway between Australia and South America–from the dramatic, jagged volcanic outlines of the Society and Marquesas islands, to the 400-meter-high hills of the Australs and Gambiers, to the low coral atolls of the Tuamotus. All of the Marquesas are volcanic islands, while the Tuamotus are all coral islands or atolls. The Societies and Gambiers include both volcanic and coral types.
The hot and humid summer season runs from November to April. The rest of the year the climate is somewhat cooler and drier. The refreshing southeast trade winds blow consistently from May to August, varying to easterlies from September to December. The northeast trades from January to April coincide with the hurricane season. Rainfall is greatest in the mountains and along the windward shores of the high islands. There can be long periods of fine, sunny weather anytime of year and seasonal variations should not be a pivotal factor in deciding when to travel.