Waterfalls of Tahiti (French Polynesia)

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Of all the tropical island getaways that Julie and I have been to, none can compare to Tahiti (more formally French Polynesia). Overwater bungalows, colored lagoons, beaches with shallow sandbars and lagoons that stretch far from islets or motus, sharp peaks rising from each island's interior... It's no wonder why Tahiti is practically synonymous with one's idea of what a South Pacific paradise is like.

To add icing on the cake, we've found waterfalls to appease the adventurous as well as the eco-tourists. And while most visitors spend their time living it up in paradise, seeing waterfalls gave us the opportunity to experience paradise on a much deeper level.

The French Polynesian waterfalls that we have been to so far are on the larger islands of Tahiti and Moorea (part of the Society Islands group, which also includes the Leeward Island of Bora Bora). These larger islands tend to have the high mountains and deep gulches and valleys that seem to receive a large portion of the rains - most of which fall in the Wet Season (typically November through April). So tall waterfalls like Cascade de Fachoda as well as the Faarumai Waterfalls are among the more dramatic examples of what Tahiti has to offer.

Then, there are also more intimate types of waterfalls like the Vaipahi Falls as well as those that require a bit of an adventure like the Afareaitu Waterfalls in Moorea.

So far, we haven't found any on Bora Bora though it's entirely possible that there are some watercourses on the main part of the island since Mt Otemanu and some of its neighboring mountains scrape the sky enough to get moisture from some of the low tropical clouds. However, as of our latest visit in 2012, self-driving no longer seemed to be a feasible option so riding bicycles might be the way to go.

And finally, we have yet to go to the Marquesas Islands, which was made famous by the very first season of the TV show "Survivor." However, we know there are a few giant waterfalls over there and it's definitely on my wish list as its remoteness, ruggedness, and sense of mystery beckons.

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Click on the waterfalls below to read more about them.

Cascade de Fachoda or Fautaua Waterfall

4 Cascade de Fachoda (Fautaua Waterfall)

Fautaua, Tahiti Island
Vaimahutu Falls (one of the Faarumai Waterfalls)

3.5 Vaimahutu Falls (Faarumai Waterfalls)

Faarumai, Tahiti Island
Haamaremare Iti and Haamaremare Rahi

3 Haamaremare Iti and Haamaremare Rahi (Faarumai Waterfalls)

Faarumai, Tahiti Island
Vaiharuru Falls

2.5 Vaiharuru Falls

Hitiaa District, Tahiti Island
Vaipahi Falls

1 Vaipahi Falls

Papeari District, Tahiti Island
Vaiharuru Falls in Papenoo Valley

2.5 Papenoo Valley Waterfalls

Papenoo and Vaihiria Valleys, Tahiti Island
Putoa Falls

3 "Putoa Falls" (Afareaitu Waterfalls)

Afareaitu, Moorea Island
Vaioro Falls

2.5 "Vaioro Falls" (Afareaitu Waterfalls)

Afareaitu, Moorea Island
One of the unnamed falls seen in Moorea

1 Other Moorea Waterfalls

Moorea Island
One of the more impressive falls in Tahiti Iti

1.5 Tahiti Iti Waterfalls

Tahiti Iti, Tahiti Island
A surprise waterfall behind Papeete

1 Tahiti Nui Waterfalls

Tahiti Nui, Tahiti Island

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