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Two volcanic mountain ranges, in the shape of a turtle
Tahiti comprises 2 of the archipelago's 118 islands. Its black sand beaches and forested mountains don't always feature in the holiday brochures – the glossy coverage usually goes to the region's star, Bora Bora. But Tahiti isn't to be written off – its teeny capital, Papeete, is chaotic and colourful, with ocean-going yachts and cruise ships regularly sailing in and out.
But it's the attractions beyond Papeete that tend to woo. If you're feeling energetic, a holiday in Tahiti affords you the chance to climb Mount Aorai, with a peak just beyond 2,000 metres. Or perhaps you'd like to take in the waterfalls and views on a 4-wheel drive mountain safari? A horse ride to the heart of Secret Mountain is also a possibility, in addition to a plethora of water-based sports. (You can also whale-watch from July–October and wander coastlines dotted with wild passionfruit, anytime.)
Tahiti's highlight festival, Heiva, is in July. But whenever you visit, you can of course, do nothing. Nothing at all. Just enjoy your own slice of island time as you watch the world go by.