Living the Sustainable Life in The Islands of Tahiti


In 2023, travel and sustainability go hand in hand. Many travellers now naturally include practices in their plans to minimise their impact, and this trend is expected to continue in 2024. While environmental protection is a ‘modern’ concept, people in The Islands of Tahiti have been living in harmony with nature for thousands of years and protecting the environment is as easy as breathing to them.

In 2022, Tahiti Tourisme announced a roadmap to further improve its sustainability efforts, which includes strategies to put the destination on the map as a leading destination in the Pacific for inclusive and sustainable tourism. The roadmap is a joint effort by the government, local population, and public and private tourism stakeholders, which has outlined a bold strategy to protect natural resources, benefit the local population and preserve the highest quality visitor experience.

Whether it is the famous Bora Bora, the lesser-known islands Raiatea and Taha’a, or one of the smaller private islands that your heart is set on, there is an array of accommodation options and activities where the locals are doing their part in caring for and preserving the environment around them.

Here below you will find a selection of resorts and activities on a range of islands that will make it easier for you to plan a sustainable holiday in The Islands of Tahiti.

● The Intercontinental Tahiti Resort & Spa: Placing care and respect for the land at the centre of the resort, they have created the onsite Lagoonarium, a protected habitat for marine wildlife. It is home to over 200 species and is supported by the marine research laboratory CRIOBE which offers support to preserve the fragile reefs surrounding the property. The resort’s recycling policies have also led to being able to avoid using approximately 350,000 plastic straws and 3 tons of plastic yearly.
● While in Tahiti, make sure to book an ‘Ariori experience, which is the perfect way to discover the local’s culture and practices. Uncover authentic Polynesia and its fusion of the traditional and modern worlds, while committing to the sustainable environment as 10% of the price is donated to an association for guaranteed access to cultural activities for disadvantaged children.
● Embark on an eco-friendly expedition with Nani Travels that will have you become more than just a visitor but personally involved in taking positive action towards the environment. Become fully immersed in the environment as you discover both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems and reflect on the preservation of the islands, playing a huge part in how their biodiversity is so unique.

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● The overwater bungalow resort Manava Beach Resort & Spa has partnered with the non-profit organisation To’A Nui which works towards preserving a coral reef close to the hotel. Guests will be able to visit a ‘coral nursery’ which has been installed in the hotel to display samples of the coral which can now grow in a protected environment.
● Visit the Te Fare Natura Eco Museum, to completely immerse yourself in the natural beauty of The Islands of Tahiti as you discover the rich Polynesian biodiversity, botanical gardens and culture.
● Visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre located within the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort & Spa, run by Te Mana o Te Moana which has conducted significant work to rescue and rehabilitate threatened species of sea turtles.
● Join in on the ‘The Coral Gardeners’ experience for a truly special sustainable activity, you will follow a guide through the coral gardens, collect and plant your first coral, and have the added opportunity of adopting your very first coral by the end of the eco-tour. The perfect way to commemorate your trip to The Islands of Tahiti.
● Swim with the beloved whales with accredited suppliers to ensure you are taking part in an activity that protects the sensitive species who come to the islands to protect their young. Moorea Ocean Adventures is a great way of seeing marine wildlife up close with minimal impact on disturbing them in their natural habitat.

Bora Bora & Taha’a
● Le Bora Bora and Le Taha’a by Pearl Resorts: The only fully Polynesian-owned hotel collection implemented a program across their properties, named P.R.O.T.E.C.T. (Pearl Resorts of Tahiti: Eco-Caring Together). The practices that have been implemented include launching the Okeanos Pearl which was the first fully solar-powered deluxe catamaran in French Polynesia, coral nurseries at the resorts and offering cultural experiences to learn about the locals.
● The Conrad Bora Bora Nui: The resort’s principal action is its partnership with Manta Trust which involves the protection of manta rays in French Polynesia. Additionally, the resort has installed solar panels on all of its 114 villas and suites and 17 Biorock coral frames to help fight coral mortality. The resort keeps environmental considerations and sustainable development at the core of its practices.
● Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora: One of the first Tahitian hotels to enrol in the environment and social control check program, EarthCheck. A program that focuses on preserving the environment, the Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora has obtained a platinum label for their efforts. Their practices include an optimal energy management system and selective waste sorting.
● The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora: The resort’s Lagoon Sanctuary led by their resident marine biologist offers activities for all guests, which includes marine tours, coral grafting, lessons on Polynesian ecology and more. To also promote the production of reusable water across the resort, the seawater flows through an osmosis machine which is desalinated and consumed by the resort.
● ELYT Charter Tahiti: The soon-to-launch floating villa is the first of its kind in the region and was designed with the environment of Tahiti in mind, as it has been inspired by ‘ancient Polynesian voyaging canoes’ and is eco-friendly by running on solar power. The absence of a diesel engine makes it silent and helps to keep coral and other marine life calm and comfortable. It has its own water treatment facility to reuse water and only has a thermal generator for emergencies. It was also designed and built in a local shipyard, which ensures that the carbon footprint is next to nil.

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Tetiaroa – private island resort The Brando
The luxury resort previously visited by celebrities such as the Kardashians and Leonardo DiCaprio is located on its private island and was discovered by the late Marlon Brando. The actor sought to preserve this little slice of paradise by not only protecting the land but also creating a research station and an eco-resort.

The Brando is nearing its goal of becoming fully carbon-neutral and self-sustainable. The villas are part of a pioneering scientific experiment involving a complex seawater air-conditioning system (SWAC) and are powered by solar energy. The eco station at the resort consists of research laboratories where scientists conduct short- and long-term studies in ecology, marine biology and conservation. Guests staying at the resort can participate in tours and excursions with the naturalists working at the station. It’s safe to say that Marlon Brando would have been very proud.

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The award-winning SWAC system was the first of its kind to be implemented at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa and was then installed at The Brando when it opened in 2014.

Raiatea & Tikehau
● Motu Nao Nao: On a private island or otherwise known as a motu close to the island of Raiatea, lies this luxury resort offering the ultimate pristine Pacific holiday experience on a deserted island à la Robinson Crusoe-style. The resort features handcrafted bungalows, a menu that is sourced only with locally and ethically sourced ingredients, a farm on the island, and is run solar energy (between 83-100%).
● Ninamu Resort: Hidden away on a private island in the southwest corner of the Tikehau Atoll lies this private island resort which was originally founded by an Australian carpenter and gives travellers that true feeling of being on a castaway island. The luxury resort is completely off the grid and features just ten handcrafted bungalows meaning that there are not many others to disturb you on this tiny island. Each bungalow is built with natural, locally sourced materials and the food served at the resort is made with fresh, local and organic ingredients. Guests can even participate in catching fish for dinner themselves.
● For a cultural immersion, make sure to check out Taputapuatea, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is estimated to be over 1000 years old as an ancient, sacred site where religious and social ceremonies were once performed. There are several tours to take you to the most important and sacred archaeological site in French Polynesia.

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Some general suggestions on how to minimise your impact
● Bring or purchase your own bag – with single-use plastic bags banned on The Islands of Tahiti it is vital you bring your own. An even better idea is purchasing one of the locally-crafted bags as a special and sustainable memento for your travels.
● Wear only mineral-based, coral-friendly sunscreen when in the water. Toxic sunscreens made with chemical ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate can bleach corals. A good indicator of a reef-safe sunscreen is that the top ingredients are zinc oxide or titanium oxide.
● Purchase “Made in Fenua” products as souvenirs. The Islands of Tahiti are home to many wonderful artisans and craftspeople. You can preserve vital cultural production by purchasing only local products as souvenirs.
● Speak Tahitian! Tahitian is spoken throughout The Islands of Tahiti, and you can help preserve this beautiful language by learning a few words. Learn Tahitian.
● Don’t touch or take any corals. The reefs are a sensitive environment and provide a habitat for marine life.
● Offset your flights: The national carrier Air Tahiti Nui offers a carbon offset program for travellers flying with them.

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