Vaimahutu Falls (Faarumai Waterfall)

Faarumai, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

About Vaimahutu Falls (Faarumai Waterfall)


Hiking Distance: 500m round trip
Suggested Time: 20 minutes

Date first visited: 2002-09-04
Date last visited: 2012-12-15

Waterfall Latitude: -17.5352
Waterfall Longitude: -149.40159

Waterfaller Newsletter

Get over the hump of the mid-week blues! Subscribe and get exclusive curated content delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Vaimahutu Falls is one of three Faarumai Waterfalls in the northeast part of Tahiti Nui.

When we first saw it in September 2002, the falls was impressively tall though a bit thin.

Faarumai_Waterfalls_014_20121215 - Vaimahutu Falls in Wet Season flow
Vaimahutu Falls in Wet Season flow

Having made that visit well into the Dry Season, we knew it had better flew earlier in the year.

Ten years later in mid-December, we showed up again, and the picture you see above was what it looked like.

In addition to the main waterfall, we even noticed smaller temporary waterfalls flanking it!

So given that we’ve seen this falls in both low and high flow, I have to believe this waterfall reliably flows flow year-round.

Faarumai_002_09042002 - Vaimahutu Falls in Dry Season seen as we were walking the access road to the car park
Vaimahutu Falls in Dry Season seen as we were walking the access road to the car park

The Faarumai Waterfalls may also be referred to as Les Trois Cascades de Tefaarumai (as indicated by a sign at the car park here) or simply “Les Trois Cascades” since it’s possible to visit the base of three waterfalls within a short distance here.

However, I’ve also seen TripAdvisor threads referring to these waterfalls as the Fautaua Waterfalls and that is not correct.

To set the record straight, the real Fautaua Waterfalls are in the Fautaua Valley near Papeete.

Accessing the Vaimahutu Falls

Visiting this waterfall was a pretty straightforward affair as we were able to do it by self-driving (see directions below).

Faarumai_Waterfalls_004_20121215 - The car park for the Faarumai Waterfalls
The car park for the Faarumai Waterfalls

We even visited this waterfall after putting Tahiti Island’s public transportation system to the test on our first attempt back in 2002.

Therefore, I have to believe it has to be Tahiti’s most famous and popular waterfall.

It was only about a five-minute or less walk from the car park to the base of the falls.

In fact, it was easy enough for Julie and I to bring our two-year-old daughter here in an Ergobaby.

Faarumai_Waterfalls_011_20121215 - A couple along with a dog following the trail closer to the base of the Vaimahutu Falls, which was one of the Faarumai Waterfalls
A couple along with a dog following the trail closer to the base of the Vaimahutu Falls, which was one of the Faarumai Waterfalls

The waterfall was tall enough for it to be difficult to capture the whole thing in one shot without a wide angle lens when standing at the concrete viewing spot.

I figured out that you have to stand back on the main trail in order to capture the whole thing easily.

I don’t know exactly how tall the falls was, but the main visible tier that the trail leads to had to be at least over 100ft tall or more.

However, it seemed like there were more leaps and tiers unseen from the main viewing area but could be seen from the main road as well as the approach road to the car park.

Faarumai_Waterfalls_043_20121215 - Direct look right at the Vaimahutu Waterfall in Wet Season flow, which was one of the three Faarumai Waterfalls
Direct look right at the Vaimahutu Waterfall in Wet Season flow, which was one of the three Faarumai Waterfalls

It was only by noticing the falls from the approach did we appreciate the full scale of the falls.

Authorities

Vaimahutu Falls is on Tahiti Island near Papeete in Tahiti (or more formally French Polynesia). For information or inquiries about this area as well as current conditions, visit the Tahiti Tourism website or their Facebook page.

Faarumai_Waterfalls_097_20121215 - One of the Faarumai Waterfalls as seen from the main road during our December 2012 visit
Faarumai_Waterfalls_002_20121215 - Looking up at one of the falls from near the car park
Faarumai_Waterfalls_005_20121215 - Bridge near the main car park
Faarumai_Waterfalls_008_20121215 - Bridge crossing over a stream responsible for the other two Faarumai Waterfalls
Faarumai_Waterfalls_045_20121215 - A group of Americans enjoying Vaimahutu Falls while providing a sense of scale during our December 2012 visit
Faarumai_Waterfalls_041_20121215 - Right in front of Vaimahutu Falls as seen in December 2012
Faarumai_Waterfalls_037_20121215 - Julie and Tahia enjoying Vaimahutu Falls
Faarumai_Waterfalls_099_20121215 - The old road before the tunnel was finished
Faarumai_Waterfalls_101_20121215 - Walkway leading to the blowhole
Faarumai_Waterfalls_103_20121215 - Locals boogie-boarding by the familiar black sand beach
Faarumai_001_09042002 - View of one of the Faarumai Waterfalls while walking the road
Faarumai_003_09042002 - Looking over some trees on the way to the Vaimahutu Falls in September 2002
Faarumai_005_09042002 - Et voila!  Vaimahutu Falls in the Dry Season of September 2002
Faarumai_006_09042002 - At the base of Vaimahutu Falls in September 2002

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


First we’ll tell you how to get here by self-driving since that would be the most straightforward option (though by no means the cheapest).

Then, we’ll summarize how we managed to get here the cheapest way you can in a reasonable amount of time, which was by public transport.

Driving to the Faarumai Waterfalls from Papeete

We basically followed the main road from Punaauia (where we were staying) through Papeete.

We made sure to follow the RDO (a small freeway or autoroute) leading right onto Boulevard Pomare V (the main road on the waterfront) as it approached a large roundabout with Avenue du Prince Hinoi.

Note that I suspect the source of the city’s congestion is that roundabout in addition to volume.

Taking the first exit of that roundabout (right) onto Avenue du Prince Hinoi, we then followed this road past more traffic lights and other roundabouts heading in the direction of Mahina.

Faarumai_Waterfalls_098_20121215 - The upper sections of one of the Faarumai Waterfalls as seen from the main road
The upper sections of one of the Faarumai Waterfalls as seen from the main road

It took us time (on the order of 20-30 minutes) to leave Papeete due to traffic and length.

However, once we were out of the city, the driving became much less stressful (though following slow moving vehicles, scooters, or folks on bicycles with limited space and/or opportunities to pass would be the next thing to worry about).

From there, we followed the main road circling Tahiti Nui passing by the turnoff for Papenoo Valley (just before PK18) and continuing through a tunnel near PK22.

On the other side of the tunnel, we had to look out for a well-signposted turnoff for Les Trois Cascades (I recalled the signage and tunnel weren’t there in 2002).

We even noticed the falls in the valley to our right just before the turnoff.

Taking the turnoff, we then drove the last 1.3km past some residences to the road’s dead-end at the car park for the falls.

All told, it took us roughly 45 minutes or more to drive from central Papeete to the falls.

Taking Public Transport from Papeete to the Faarumai Waterfalls

Faarumai_Waterfalls_001_20121215 - Approaching the car park for the Faarumai Waterfalls
Approaching the car park for the Faarumai Waterfalls

As for visiting the falls by public transport, we managed to do it back in 2002 (at a time when neither of us spoke French, which really made this an adventure).

First, we had to catch one of the hourly buses to Taravao (which is a town on the isthmus connecting Tahiti Nui with Tahiti Iti).

Then, we took the bus towards a stop next to the Arohoho Blowhole (the bus driver was kind enough to tell us when to get off).

From there, we then walked towards the turnoff leading to the Tefa’arumai Waterfalls, and then walked the 1.3km road for I think around 20 minutes to the car park.

We then had to go back to the same area where the bus dropped us off in order to catch the hourly bus back to Papeete.

In our case, it happened to be the same driver that dropped us off two hours earlier.

When you’re done visiting the falls, it might be worth your while to check out the neighboring Arohoho Blowhole and the neighboring black sand beach near the PK22 post.

Faarumai_Waterfalls_094_20121215 - The tunnel next to the Arohoho Blowhole car park
The tunnel next to the Arohoho Blowhole car park

To get there from the falls, turn left back onto the main road (heading towards the tunnel).

The car park for the blowhole is directly to the right of the eastern entrance of the tunnel (or left of the eastern exit of the tunnel if you’re headed east).

You can only access its car park going in a westerly direction and you can only exit that car park by going into the tunnel.

Should you wish to continue going east after visiting the blowhole, you’ll have to find a way to safely U-turn on the other side of the tunnel.

Bottom up left to right sweep of the Vaimahutu Falls in high flow with some smaller falls flanking it


Top down sweep of the falls


Nearly 360 degree sweep from right to left as seen from the paved viewing area


Closeup bottom up sweep of the falls from the paved viewing spot


L-shaped bottom up sweep of the falls showing the viewing platform then panning to the top of the falls


Old school video of the Arahoho Blowhole doing its thing

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations




Tagged with: faarumai, tahiti, french polynesia, tahiti nui, papeete, tefaarumai, papenoo, taravao, south pacific, waterfall, mahina



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls
Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.