The beautiful island of Tahiti sits tranquil and serene almost literally in the middle of the Southern Pacific Ocean. Her white sand and black sand beaches, verdant landscape and population of gentle, friendly people are her world-famous calling cards.
The setting is ideal for romance and Tahiti has unsurprisingly long been a favorite of honeymooning and vacationing couples. Although you would be hard-pressed to find many places not teeming with amorous heterosexual pairs, the island is historically welcoming of individuals whose sexual identity does not fit society’s view of the norm.
No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in French Polynesia. As Tahiti is part of French Polynesia, French anti-discrimination laws apply here. Following adoption of legislation in the French parliament in May of 2013, Tahitian same-sex couples enjoy the same unions, marriage and adoption rights as their heterosexual counterparts.
All forms of anti-gay discrimination are banned by law.
Even before these laws came into effect, Tahitians who exhibit both male and female qualities have had a special place in Tahitian society. Called ‘mahu’ or ‘rae rae’, you can find them working and being themselves in many jobs in the hospitality and entertainment industry.
The island itself does not have any exclusively gay hotels or resorts. However, LGBT vacationers will never feel alienated – most establishments are extremely happy to embrace a diverse clientele.
Nightlife is not very big anywhere in the island but Papeete, the capital, is the best place to be if you crave some thumping music or drinks at the bar when the sun goes down. Of the options here, the massive Le Piano Bar in the center of town is Tahiti’s longstanding gay mecca.
Mana Rock Cafe nearby is also worth visiting, as is the Scorpio disco which also caters to heterosexual men and women.
Nature is the true star of Tahiti and you would be remiss to not enjoy as much of it as possible if you make the long trip here.
The green of the mountain forests seems almost unreal for its, well, green-ness. Towering waterfalls cascade cool, fresh water into clear pools inviting you to indulge. The water off the coast is teeming with gorgeous marine life. Swim, snorkel, scuba dive or just glide above it all in a catamaran.
Tahiti is best explored with a partner, and no matter who yours is and how you identify, the island and its people welcome you with open arms.