Want to explore the incredible beaches of Tahiti? This is your helpful guide!
The islands of French Polynesia are famous for their stunning beaches, and Tahiti is no different with its black and white tropical beaches.

Tahiti is probably the only island in French Polynesia where you’d see black sand beaches. It’s because Tahiti is of volcanic origin, its shores are enriched with black grains of eroded volcanic rocks and hence beaches are black colored.

There are also a handful of white sand beaches in Tahiti which are great for relaxing and sunbathing. The water at these beaches is calmer than the black beaches, which makes them perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

In this article, I’ve broken down all the best beaches in Tahiti, from black to white and from swimming to snorkeling. Read on and you’ll definitely find your type of beach on the island.

1. Taharuu Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Mild-Moderate
  • Great for: Relaxing, surfing, bodyboarding, long walks, sunsets

Taharuu Beach is a gorgeous black sand beach located in Papara commune, southwest of Tahiti Nui. It’s a bit far from Papeete downtown, so not many people are here.

Sometimes beach does get crowded with locals and even with surfers as it’s one of the few beach breaks in Tahiti. The good thing is that its vast sand stretch allows you to spread out and find your perfect picnic spot.

The waters here are clear but not ideal for swimming, however if you stick to the safer areas, there’s nothing to worry about. Otherwise you can watch others surf while relaxing under the palm trees.

Although this beach isn’t much developed, you’ll still find basic facilities like a toilet and shower area. Plus, there is a small restaurant beyond the sand where you can grab some food.

Overall, it’s a beautiful beach with breathtaking water and sunset views, and great for surfing too. It’s situated close to the main road and has ample parking space.

couple walking at Taharuu Beach

2. Ahonu Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Moderate
  • Great for: Beginner surfing, bodyboarding, family picnics

Ahonu Beach is a small roadside beach located in the north of the island in Mahina commune. Usually it’s not crowded here but it turns into a bustling picnic spot with many locals on weekends.

The water at this beach is shallow with frequent low tides breaking at the shores, which makes it a great spot for activities like bodyboarding, skimboarding, etc. Not the best for swimming though as the waves can get rough.

There are also many surfing schools nearby, and the beach is their go-to spot for surfing lessons. You’ll see many young and adult surfers come here to enjoy the waves.

While there’s a shower to wash off the black sand, there aren’t any other beach facilities. Also, there isn’t a designated parking area, so people park along the side of the road.

3. Vaiava Beach

  • Beach type: White sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Calm
  • Hours: 7 am-7 pm
  • Great for: Swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, families, hangouts, sunsets, watersports

Vaiava is one of the most popular beaches on Tahiti Island situated in Punaauia. It’s also known as Punaauia Beach and PK18 Beach because of the area name and code.

The beach is a hotspot for locals and tourists in Tahiti. It’s great for families with children too as the lagoon area barely gets any waves, and there’s a long sand stretch to play and chill out.

It’s also a great place for snorkeling. The water here is clean and calm with plenty of corals and fish to explore. You can also enjoy kayaking and other water sports activities.

Since the beach is situated on the west coast of Tahiti, it offers breathtaking sunset views over the water and glimpses of Moorea’s mountains.

The beach is super easy to get to as it’s right by the road with a nearby bus stop. After entering the gate, you’ll see a big parking lot which usually fills up quickly. Along with that, there’s a park with lots of trees, and past that is the beach.

Basic amenities such as restrooms, showers, and lockers are available, and there are also food trucks offering snacks and ice cream nearby.

Lots of kids at Vaiava Beach

4. Mahana Park Beach (Plage de Mahana Park)

  • Beach type: White sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Calm
  • Great for: Swimming, snorkeling, picnics, watching sunsets, sports activities

About a 10-minute walk from Vaiava Beach is Mahana Park with its lovely beachfront. It’s a great spot for those looking for a peaceful beach setting and some fantastic swimming and snorkeling right off the shore.

The beach has soft white sand with some mixing of tiny black pebbles. The water looks stunning when the sky’s clear, plus it’s filled with coral reefs and various fish. To get a richer underwater experience, you’ll want to swim a little further from the beach.

In addition to the beach, the park here is a great spot for picnics. It has playgrounds for different activities like tennis, etc.

Amenities such as showers and toilets are also available, and there’s plenty of parking space for visitors.

5. Tautira Beach (Plage de Tautira)

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Gentle
  • Great for: Swimming, relaxing, family outings, beautiful views

Looking for a beach that is beautiful and quiet? Then head to Tautira Beach which is tucked away in Tautira village of Tahiti Iti.

It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Tahiti surrounded by both the sea and the mountains of Tuatara Valley, creating a breathtaking panorama.

The beach is an excellent destination for a long drive on the island. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get here from Papeete. Once there, you’ll find a park with picnic tables and a play area, perfect for families to enjoy a day out.

The water is warm and calm which makes it ideal for swimming. However, it’s not great for snorkeling because there aren’t many corals and fish to see.

Additionally, the beach is equipped with all the basic facilities including showers, toilets, and a nearby food truck for meals.

Scenic view of mountains at Tautira Beach

6. Papenoo Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Moderate-Strong
  • Great for: Weekend outings, surfing

Papenoo beach is a narrow black beach with lots of rocks and small waves, making it ideal for surfers. It’s located in Papenoo commune in the north of Tahiti.

If surfing isn’t your thing, no worries! You can chill on the beach, soak up the sun, or even count some of the pebbles scattered around.

The good thing is it’s usually not crowded, and there are many nearby tourist attractions like Arahoho Blowhole to check out while you’re here. You’ll also come across a beachside snack shack, which makes this beach a perfect pit stop during your Papenoo adventure.

7. Point Venus Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Gentle
  • For: Hangouts, sunsets, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, bodysurfing, family fun, people-watching

It’s a soft black sand beach that sits on the north of Tahiti next to Point Venus, hence known as Point Venus Beach (Plage de la Pointe Venus). It’s a popular hangout spot for locals and gets busy on weekends.

The good thing is that the beach is long enough to not get too crowded. For a quieter experience, walk south along the beach and soak in the relaxed vibes.

The water here is shallow with gentle waves, great for beginner surfers. If that doesn’t interest you, then you can do swimming, snorkeling and many other water activities by the seaside where the water is calmer and has lots of corals & fish underneath.

There are showers, bathrooms, and a nearby park which brings families and children to the beach. With its amenities, natural beauty and easy access, Point Venus Beach stands out as one of the best beaches on Tahiti to visit.

Drone view of Point Venus beach

8. Maui Beach (La Plage de Maui)

  • Beach type: White sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Calm
  • Hours: 11 am-3 pm
  • Great for: Swimming, outings, beachside dining

On the way to Teahupoo is Maui Beach, situated in the south of the island in Tahiti Iti. It is known for its soft white sand and beachside restaurant.

The water in the lagoon is clear blue and calm, so great for swimming. Across the beach, there’s a park where you can find plenty of shade to sit and unwind.

Before you head to the beach, you should know that it’s not the main attraction here. In fact, the beach itself is small and lacks facilities. It’s the restaurant that is quite popular for its food and attracts many visitors.

So if you’re up for some delicious food on Tahiti Island along with nice beach vibes, definitely give this place a try!

9. Taaone Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Gentle
  • Great for: Chilling out, body surfing, boating, late afternoon fun

If you’re looking for a beach in Papeete, then you should head to Taaone Beach. It’s the perfect place for anyone living in Papeete and craving some beach time. It’s right next to Papeete City in Pirae commune, making it a perfect escape from the urban bustle.

Adjacent to the beach is Aorai Tini Hau Park, which not only has restrooms but also playing areas for beach soccer, tennis, and more.

Keep in mind that there were certain areas on the beach where it was banned to swim due to water quality issues. However, it’s improved now, but still wise to check before taking a dip.

If not sure about swimming, you can take a boat ride or paddle canoe in the waters. Moreover, there’s a food place nearby to sate your hunger. In short, the beach has everything you’d want to make your time here worthwhile.

10. Lafayette Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Gentle
  • Great for: Relaxing, catching sunsets, long walks, swimming, body surfing

Lafayette Beach is conveniently located off the main road in Arue commune, about 15 minutes from Papeete. The beach has a long and wide shoreline with soft black sand.

The scenery at the beach is beautiful and gets even prettier during the sunset, so if you visit during this time you can capture some stunning photos. Plus the lush green trees especially on the west side provide shade and add to the beach’s beauty.

The water here is clear with occasional waves. So when it’s calm here, this beach becomes an amazing spot for swimming in Tahiti.

Usually, there are not many people here, and if they do, they are often spread out. Parking here is limited, there’s a shower for you to rinse off but no bathrooms whatsoever.

sunset at Lafayette Beach in Tahiti

11. Hitimahana Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Moderate
  • Great for: Kiteboarding, paddleboarding, surfing, relaxing

If you want to do some unique activities like kiteboarding in Tahiti, then head to Hitimahana Beach. It’s located in Mahina commune in the north of Tahiti, just a 20-minute drive from Papeete.

It’s a long black sand stretch with a bit of rough waters. The beach may not have the most stunning views, but you’ll find many things to do here that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere.

One of the popular activities here is kitesurfing/kiteboarding, and you’d find many people giving it a try. While others are there just to watch kite surfers in action.

Aside from that, you can go for swimming or snorkeling as the water here is fairly clear and teeming with vibrant marine life.

Parking here is plenty, but no showers or restrooms available.

12. Tiarei Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Moderate-Strong
  • Great for: Some quiet time, picnics, surfing

Tiarie Beach is a fine black sandy beach on the northeast of Tahiti Nui. It’s close to the houses in Tiarei town and the locals often use this beach as their picnic spot.

The ocean here can get pretty rough with some strong waves, making it unsuitable for swimming. However, if you’re up for sunbathing, picnicking, or surfing, this is the beach to go.

Despite its ample size, it’s usually quiet here with only a handful of visitors on weekdays.

Greenery and overcast weather at Tiarie Beach in Tahiti

13. Rohotu Beach

  • Beach type: White sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Calm
  • Great for: Relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, sunsets, families

Rohotu Beach (Plage publique de Rohotu) is a pretty white sand beach in Tahiti, located on the west coast of the island in the Paea commune.

The water here is super clean and looks stunningly blue in broad daylight. The beach’s lagoon area is perfect for swimming and even snorkeling if you have that in mind.

Compared to the nearby Vaiva Beach, which tends to be small and crowded, Rohotu Beach is wider & never too busy. Therefore, this beach is the perfect alternative if you’re seeking some quiet time or just want to go off the beaten path.

There is also a park along the beach with many trees and picnic tables. Next to the park is the small parking area.

The beach has showers and bathrooms well maintained and you can tell by the look of it.

14. Toaroto Beach

  • Beach type: White sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Calm
  • Great for: Swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, relaxing, sunbathing

On Tahiti’s east coast, close to the main lies Toaroto Beach. It’s a two-colored (white sand & black volcanic stoned) beach that offers tranquility and beautiful blue waters.

The crystal-clear lagoon here is teeming with various fish and vibrant corals, making it perfect for snorkeling. Besides snorkeling & swimming, you can also try paddle boarding here, with rental available at a nearby shop.

The beach has showers and bathrooms for convenience. Parking is limited here but no problem as you can park on the roadside.

While the entire beach is great, I’d suggest strolling towards the Tahiti Ia Ora Beach Resort side, not only does the beach get nicer, but you can have the beach all to yourself as the resort was closed in COVID-19 and hasn’t reopened yet.

15. Teahupoo Beach

  • Beach type: Black sand beach
  • Access: Public
  • Waves: Strong
  • Great for: Pro surfing, swimming, picnics, boating

You’ve probably heard of Tahiti’s famous Teahupoo surf spot, the beach here is a fantastic place to spend a day in Tahiti even if you’re not into surfing. It’s one of the best beaches if visited in season.

Although the beach here is mostly rocky, the breathtaking views and giant waves you get to see are totally worth the trip. Every August, there’s an international surfing competition held here, and it’s a must-see if you’re visiting Tahiti during this time.

This place isn’t ideal for beginner surfers or kids, but there are safer spots around the beach where you cannot only surf but also swim if you want.

There’s plenty of parking and all the necessary beach amenities are available. You’ll also find food and drink options in the area as well.

Drone view of beach at Teahupoo

How are the Beaches in Tahiti?

Tahiti has a mix of white and black beaches with fine sand and warm waters. The black beaches are widespread and can be found almost everywhere on the island, while white beaches are mostly on the west coast of the island.

The beaches in Tahiti are perfect for catching beautiful sunsets, sunbathing, or relaxing while soaking up the island’s beauty. You can also go swimming, snorkeling, or ride the waves with surfing.

Most of the beaches on the island are open to the public. You can visit them anytime without any restrictions. However, some beaches are private and do require a reservation to access them.

Another good part is that most of Tahiti’s beaches are close to the road, therefore easily accessible. Usually, beaches are not crowded but they can get busy on weekends as many locals come to enjoy their holidays.

Best Beaches To Swim in Tahiti

Following are the best beaches for great swimming in Tahiti:

  • Vaiava Beach
  • Mahana Park Beach
  • Tautira Beach
  • Point Venus Beach
  • Rohotu Beach
  • Toaroto Beach
  • Lafayette Beach

Best Snorkeling Beaches in Tahiti

The best beaches to snorkel in Tahiti are listed below:

  • Vaiava Beach
  • Rohotu Beach
  • Toaroto Beach
  • Point Venus Beach
  • Mahana Park Beach

Where to go? Black Beaches or White Beaches

Black Beaches of Tahiti

Black beaches are the highlight of Tahiti Island. They are beautifully different and usually great places for surfing as the water here is generally choppy with mild to strong waves.

You’ll also find the black sand to be hotter than the white sand. On a scorching sunny day, it can be challenging to walk on it barefoot. So, make sure to wear something to protect your feet when you’re heading to a black sand beach.

Black sand beaches may look stunning on a sunny day, but they are at their best when the sun is not out there.

Following are the best black sand beaches on the island:

  • Taharuu Beach
  • Point Venus Beach
  • Tautira Beach
  • Lafayette Beach

White Beaches of Tahiti

White beaches are uncommon in Tahiti, so you’ll often find them crowded. They are also not so big compared to black beaches, but here you can get an authentic beach experience.

Additionally, these beaches have soft white sand that doesn’t get as hot as black sand. The water at the beaches is clear and calm with plenty of fish and corals, which makes them great places for swimming and snorkeling.

Following are the best white sand beaches on the island:

  • Vaiava Beach
  • Rohotu Beach
  • Maui Beach

Although the above white beaches are beautiful enough to make your beach experience memorable in Tahiti, if you still want more, then consider visiting Moorea for its beaches as it has more beautiful white sand beaches.

Picture of Rohotu Beach and view of Moorea Island
Rohotu Beach

Beach Hotels in Tahiti

If you plan to stay by the beach, let me tell you that there are not many options on the island. Following are some of the top accommodations near the beaches.

Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts

Le Tahiti by Pear Resrots is the top recommendation for beach resorts in Tahiti. They have a private fine black sand beach where waves come and crash. You can swim, bodyboard, take a long beach walk, or relax and watch the beautiful sunset.

It’s located north of Tahiti in Papava commune which is about 20 minute drive away from Tahiti airport.

InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa

This is a luxury resort with a variety of accommodation options to choose from. The resort is settled right on the ocean with amazing blue water to look at. It has small beach areas but no proper beach. You can swim, snorkel and do many other activities offered by the hotel.

The resort is approximately 5 minutes away from Fa’aa International Airport.

Residence Sunset Beach

It’s a nice beachfront property that has all the amenities you’d want in an accommodation. The apartment is well furnished and has a beautiful view of the ocean and black sand beach. There are not many waves in the water at the beach, so you can easily swim and body surf here.

The property is situated at an excellent location on the west of Tahiti, about 8 miles from Papeete.

Manomano Lodge

Manomano Lodge is a great option for those who are on a budget and want a stay on the beach. The property is well maintained and has everything you need. It has plenty of outdoor space to sit and relax. Besides surfing, the beach here is a great place for snorkeling when currents are low.

The property is located in Papa commune in the south of the island. A bit far from downtown Papeete but there are some shops and places to eat nearby.

What to bring to the beaches in Tahiti?

Following are some beach essentials that you may need:

  • Beach bag
  • Beach towel
  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • Sunglasses & Sunhat because the sun can be fierce in Tahiti
  • Snacks as some beaches don’t have food places nearby
  • Dry bag
  • Beach shoes like flip-flops are a must at black sand beaches.
  • Swimsuit if you plan to swim
  • Snorkeling gear if you plan to snorkel

What’s the dress code?

You can wear anything casual or any beach dress at the Tahiti beaches. However, going topless is considered inappropriate and is uncommon. It’s mainly foreigners who do it.
Not to mention that Tahitians are cultural and have a laid-back lifestyle. So be mindful of their customs and manners while you’re there.

Is it safe to swim in Tahiti?

Of course, you can swim in Tahiti but only on the white sand beaches. The wateer You cannot safely swim elsewhere on the island except for a few also swim at some black sand beaches where the water isn’t too rough.

Speaking of safety, about 42% of beaches in Tahiti are unsuitable for swimming due to water quality issues. Beaches near urban areas are particularly affected. So it’s advised to swim farther from Papeete for safer and cleaner waters.

Moreover, most of the island’s public beaches don’t have lifeguards. So try to avoid swimming alone in areas where it could be dangerous.

Answers to the questions you might have

Are all beaches in Tahiti black sand?

No, not all the beaches are black sand in Tahiti, you can find both black and white sand beaches on the island.

What part of Tahiti has the best beaches?

The western side of Tahiti is considered the best due to its many white sand beaches, and it’s also great for swimming and catching epic sunsets right from the shore.

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