Many of our clients chose to combine a couple of weeks adventure and exploring in New Zealand or Australia with a week of relaxing on a Pacific island. With Fiji or Tahiti being firm favorites! A question that we are often asked is “Fiji or Tahiti for your South Pacific Honeymoon?” Remember Fiji & Tahiti aren’t just about honeymooners! They make a great destination for couples, small groups and families especially when you combine them with with New Zealand or Australia, making it an ideal combination for a luxury South Pacific vacation.
Which destination should you choose?
Fiji vs Tahiti? That’s a tough one. They are both stunning South Pacific locations offering world class accommodation, overwater bungalows, crystal clear water and white sands. More often than not it comes down to personal preference, where you are originating from (flight route) and budget. But let’s looks at a few of the similarities and differences in more detail below.
The differences between Fiji & Tahiti
Fiji consists of 330 mostly unspoiled islands, English is spoken throughout the islands. The currency in Fiji is the Fijian dollar.
In Tahiti the language most widely spoken is French, though English is spoken at the main resorts and hotels. Tahiti is made up of 118 islands, the main ones being the Island of Tahiti, Moorea, Le Tahaa, Rangiroa, Huahine, Manihi, and Bora Bora. Bora Bora is the most famous of these islands. The currency of Tahiti is the French Pacific Franc. Fiji is on the same time zones New Zealand and three hours ahead of Australia’s east coast. Whereas Tahiti is on the same time zone as Hawaii. It’s on the other side of the date line and around 22 hours (dependent on daylight savings) behind New Zealand time.
The similarities between Fiji & Tahiti
There are lots of similarities between Fiji & Tahiti. You’ll will find stunning white sand beaches in both Fiji and Tahiti. Both have mountain ranges, valleys and lush green landscape. They are absolutely beautiful, and perfect South Pacific honeymoon or vacation locations! Fiji and Tahiti have equally excellent accommodation and resorts choices. But Tahiti has a clear advantage in numbers with big 5 star chain resorts such as St Regis & Four Seasons, and overwater bungalows, if that’s where you prefer to stay.
Getting to Fiji or Tahiti
Flight time from Auckland to Nadi, Fiji is 3 hours, and 10 hours non stop from Los Angeles. Whilst Auckland to Papeete, Tahiti is 5 hours. Tahiti to Los Angeles is 9 hours. There are more frequent flights to Fiji than to Tahiti. It’s usually possible to transfer to the island resorts in Fiji fairly quickly after arrival in Fiji, either by seaplane, helicopter, speedboat or catamaran. To reach Bora Bora from Papeete is 260 km (161 mi) and requires a 45 min domestic flight. Moorea is a 10 minute flight or 30 minute ferry ride. More often than not it’s necessary to spend the first night in Papeete before transferring to the island resorts. Due to the late arrival times of flights from Auckland into Tahiti.
Accommodation choices in Fiji & Tahiti
If its overwater bungalows you are looking for then there are more options in Tahiti. Fiji currently has only three luxury resorts with overwater bure options (Likuliku, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay & Koro Sun Resort), whilst there are many options in Tahiti. However they do have a high ticket price so that’s something to take into consideration if your luxury travel budget is an overriding factor.
Independent resorts or chain style brands
Fiji is a more relaxed style with generally individual bure type accommodation. Many resorts are located on their own “island” with hideaway bure’s. As previously mentioned above mentioned above Tahiti has the premium chain style resorts and hotels such as Four Seasons, Sheraton, St Regis etc. The Fijian style is more low key and friendly, in Tahiti you have full service resorts with concierge and guest service facilities, hotels gyms, and other facilities you associate with larger chain style resorts.
Most Fijian resorts are either all-inclusive or offer meal plans that can be prepaid. In Tahiti the tariffs generally only include breakfasts and meal plans are additional.
What’s the best time to travel to Fiji & Tahiti?
The climate in both Fiji and Tahiti is tropical and fairly pleasant and warm all year around.
Fiji’s wet season is November to March, with temperatures of 30 degrees celsius (86 F) and only dropping to a balmy 27 degrees celsius (80 F). But you could experience tropical rain at this time. The dry season is May to September when temperatures remain warm enough to enjoy swimming, sunbathing. Peak season in Fiji is June, July and August. Overall the best time to visit Fiji is October to early November when the cost of getting and staying there has not yet reached its peak. The weather is dry, settled and warm with the beaches and resorts being less crowded.
The seasons in Tahiti follow very closely to Fiji. The high season, which is better weather but also the most expensive time, extends from April to October. The humid or wet season from November to March brings humid sticky weather and frequent heavy rains. Again June, July and August are the busier and more expensive times to visit Tahiti, but on the flip side the weather is ideal at that time.
Price comparisons of general items in Fiji & Tahiti
Cost of a meal in a inexpensive restaurant (NZ$) Fiji $10 Tahiti $30
Cost of a meal in a mid range restaurant (NZ$) Fiji $40 Tahiti $120
Domestic Beer (NZ$) Fiji $5.50 Tahiti $9.50
Water (NZ$) Fiji $2.25 Tahiti $3.00
Coffee (NZ$) Fiji $3.50 Tahiti $5.50
Taxi 1km (NZ$) Fiji $0.80 Tahiti $1.90
Whats on offer? Experiences and activities in Fiji & Tahiti
Both Fiji and Tahiti offer amazing snorkeling and diving in pristine waters with superb visibility, and hundreds of fish species. Most resorts have onsite dive shops or work closely with dive operators. Fiji, however possibly has an edge in one respect, its colorful underwater panoramas are world-renowned.
Both offer cultural experiences, showcasing their individual cultures. Many of the larger resorts in both locations offer cultural nights with Kava nights in Fiji and Polynesian dancers in Tahiti.
Most of the resorts in both Fiji and Tahiti offer spa treatments, though the cost in Fiji is less expensive.
Waters sports, such as kayaking, paddle boarding are offered in both locations.
In summary, if you’re looking for a tropical island paradise vacation with turquoise lagoons, white sands, great snorkeling & diving, along with a place to relax, then both Fiji and Tahiti are ideal choices. Both destinations are recommended for honeymooners, couples and families. If you’re still unsure which is the best choice for you, contact us and we can talk more about your specific requirements.
Luxury Adventures – Planning unique places to stay in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands since 1999.
Editor’s note: This blog has been updated for accuracy, and currency.