Looking for a vacation in the South Pacific but confused between Hawaii vs Tahiti? Well, you are not alone facing this tricky situation. While both islands share a lot of similarities, it’s the differences that set them apart.

We help you analyse the differences in travel experiences Hawaii and Tahiti – two of the most beautiful and sought-after beach destinations.

Hawaii Versus Tahiti

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Let us begin with a comparison of the basic attributes of Hawaii and Tahiti:

LOCATION
Hawaii

Unites States of America

Tahiti

French Polynesia

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Hawaii

Mar- Oct

Tahiti

May-Oct

IDEAL LENGTH OF STAY
Hawaii

7-14 Days

Tahiti

 3-4 Days

7-DAY TRIP COST (2 People)
Hawaii

2800-6000 USD

Tahiti

2500-4500 USD

BEACHES
Hawaii

Very Good

Tahiti

Very Good

SIGHTSEEING & ACTIVITIES
Hawaii

Excellent

Tahiti

Very Good

FOOD CULTURE
Hawaii

Hawaiian & Fusion

Tahiti

Tahitian & French

NIGHTLIFE
Hawaii

Excellent

Tahiti

Good

ACCOMMODATION 
Hawaii

Budget-Friendly to Luxurious

Tahiti

Budget-Friendly to Luxurious

CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Hawaii

Good

Tahiti

Very Good

SHOPPING 
Hawaii

Very Good

Tahiti

Good

SAFETY LEVEL
Hawaii

Very Good

Tahiti

Good

FOR FAMILY VACATION
Hawaii

Excellent

Tahiti

Very Good

FOR HONEYMOON 
Hawaii

Excellent

Tahiti

Excellent

While this gave you a quick overview of the differences and similarities between Hawaii & Tahiti let us delve deeper into each of the metrics above and more.

Geographical & Climatic Differences Between Hawaii & Tahiti

Hawaii is the southernmost state of the United States. It has eight main islands which are blessed with immense geographic diversity. From plateaus, coastal areas, active volcanoes, mountain ranges, and tropical rainforests, you will different landscapes across these groups of islands.

Weather-wise, Hawaii experiences usually warm temperatures all year round. However, because of the landscape diversity, you may witness several microclimates, from desert-like areas to snow-clad mountains, which is quite fascinating

Much smaller than Hawaii, Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. The Island is shaped like figure eight and has two main parts- the smaller Tahiti Iti and the bigger Tahiti Nui. Tahiti has a volcanic origin and travellers can enjoy mountains, forests and beaches all in one place.

When it comes to weather, like most tropical destinations, it remains warm throughout the year. Within Tahiti you wouldn’t witness much climatic diversity and unlike in Hawaii, you would have to travel far.

VERDICT:  Hawaii is much bigger and geographically more diverse than Tahiti.

Hawaii vs Puerto Rico Climate

Hawaii has a diverse landscape, and thus witnesses several microclimates within short distances

Best Time to Visit Hawaii Vs Tahiti

 If you are planning to visit Hawaii, we would recommend March to October when the least rains are expected and the temperature is between 23 to 32 degrees Celcius. If you want less crowd, then October to December is the best time to visit Hawaii. 

Tahiti is best visited between the dry season -May and October when the weather is quite pleasant. Avoid April month because it’s quite humid, and has high temperatures and heavy precipitation. 

 Ideal Vacation Time Needed for Hawaii Vs Tahiti

Hawaii is a large group of islands. Therefore,  you can indulge in multiple things during your stay here.  Ideally, a minimum of one week is needed to explore at least some major parts of Hawaii.

Tahiti is way smaller than Hawaii in size. You can completely explore this small island in about three days’ time.

VERDICT:  You need more time to explore Hawaii since it is much bigger and has a more diverse landscape than Tahiti

 Is it Cheaper to go to Hawaii or Tahiti?

Both Hawaii and Tahiti are considered expensive travel destinations. The cost of travelling to the Islands is approximately 3900 USD for two people for a week.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs you incur in Hawaii:

Food, travel & sightseeing (Per Day)

150 – 300 USD

Accommodation (Per Night)

30 – 350 USD

Internal Transportation (Per Day)

50-200 USD

If you are planning to go to Tahiti, the travel cost for a week for two people will turn out to be around 3400 USD. This cost is higher than Hawaii since Hawaii offers more choices on accommodation and food, it’s much easier to find a budget deal.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs you incur in Tahiti:

Food, travel & sightseeing (Per Day)

180 – 350 USD

Accommodation (Per Night)

100 – 400 USD

Internal Transportation (Per Day)

20-50 USD

VERDICT:  Tahiti can be a  bit more expensive when compared to Hawaii

Hawaii vs Tahiti beaches

Tahiti has one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the Pacific

Hawaii vs Tahiti- Which One Has Better Beaches?

Hawaii has blissful beaches with turquoise crystal clear waters and coloured sand. There are over 100+ beaches across Hawaii and most of the popular ones offer several water sporting activities.

Best Beaches in Hawaii: Punalu’u, Kahaluu, Keauhou, Waikiki, Ko Olina, Waimea Bay, Kauai, Hanalei Bay, Lanikai, Kaanapali, Waimea Bay, Kumimi, etc.

Tahiti has some of the most beautiful black sand beaches. Apart from black sand, you can also find pink sand and white sand beaches here. The water tends to be warmer in Tahiti when compared to Hawaii, which makes the water sporting activities on these beaches all the more enjoyable. 

Best Beaches in Tahiti: Motu Tiapa, Teahopu, Papeete,  Matira, Tevairoa, Motu Paahi, Lafayette, Papenoo,  Toaroto, Bain Lot, Venus Point, etc.

VERDICT:  Hawaii & Tahiti both have spectacular beaches but the beaches in Tahiti are less crowder and have warmer water. 

Sightseeing in Hawaii Versus Tahiti

Hawaii has a plethora of sightseeing spots for travellers that will surely provide you with a wonderful experience. Apart from the beaches, you can explore museums, historical centres, national parks, aquariums and markets.

Major attractions in Hawaii:

  • Na-Pali Coast
  • Pearl Harbour
  • Waimea Canyon
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Diamond Head
  • Haleakala National Park
  • Honolulu Museum of Art
  • Waikiki Aquarium
  • Nahuku- Thurston Lava Tube
  • Spouting Horn

Tahiti too has its fair share of places to explore. will fascinate you with mesmerizing places for sightseeing such as markets, museums, cultural centres, waterfalls, etc. 

Major attractions in Tahiti:

  • Fautaua Waterfalls
  • Vaipahi Gardens
  • Toaroto beach
  •  La Plage de Maui
  • Blue Lagoon Tour Papeete
  • Gauguin Museum
  • Arahurahu Marae
  • Tomb of King Pomare the Fifth
  • Arahoho blowhole

VERDICT:   Hawaii definitely has much more to explore because since it is much bigger than Tahiti

Hawaii vs Tahiti waterfall

Fautaua Waterfall in Tahiti is beautiful and even more dramatic in the rainy season

Better Suited for Adventure Lovers: Hawaii or Tahiti?

Owing to its diverse landscape, Hawaii offers tremendous opportunities for thrill-seeking travellers. You can choose any sport of your liking including hiking in lush forests, mountain biking, rappelling, etc.

In Hawaii, you can witness the most active volcano in the world –  Kilauea Volcano in action.

Best activities in Hawaii:

  • Enjoy Luau Feasts
  • Visiting National Parks
  • Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Hiking in Kalalau Trail  
  • Waimea Canyon driving tour
  • Horseback Riding Tours
  • Helicopter Tour in Maui

Tahiti also offers some wonderful outdoor experiences. There are several hiking trails on the islands that are perfect for adventure lovers. However, despite being a volcanic island, you won’t find any volcanic activity here since the islands are very old.

Best activities in Tahiti:

  • Hiking Fautaua Waterfall
  • Papenoo Valley visit
  • Hiking Trails 
  • ATV Moorea Tours

VERDICT:   Hawaii has way more opportunities for adventure lovers when compared to Tahiti.  

Best Islands to Indulge in Water-Related Activities: Hawaii or Tahiti?

Water sports are one of the most enthralling experiences for travellers visiting Hawaii. You can indulge in spectacular water activities like deep-sea fishing, parasailing, swimming with manta rays, snorkelling, kayaking and sea diving. 

Tahiti has an even more exciting and a plethora of water sports activities like surfing, paddle boarding, jet ski ride, aqua blue helmet dive, snorkelling, scuba diving, dolphin and whale watching tours. 

VERDICT:   You can get some incredible underwater and overwater action in both Hawaii and Tahiti. However, if you prefer warmer waters, Tahiti is better. 

Hawaii vs Tahiti food

Poke bowl is one of the must-try traditional dishes of Hawaii originally made using small Hawaiian reef fish.

 Exotic Food Culture in Hawaii Vs Tahiti 

Hawaii is famous for its food culture that is a blend of local and international cuisines.  There are plenty of choices to choose from which makes Hawaii an ideal destination for food lovers. 

Food to Try in Hawaii:

  • Plate Lunch
  • Sea Food Tacos
  • Poke Bowl
  • Fresh tropical fruits
  • Manapua
  • Huli Huli Chicken
  • Spam Musubi
  • Saimin

The food culture in Tahiti is a unique blend of Polynesian and French cuisine. However, it has fewer options when it comes to food. 

Food to Try in Tahiti:

  • Tahitian donuts
  • Tahitian fish
  • Banana crepes
  • Bouchon
  • Chao pao
  • Poisson cru
  • Fafaru

VERDICT:  Hawaii offers a much more diverse food scene in comparison to Tahiti 

Party Culture in Hawaii VsTahiti – Which is the best?

Hawaii will offer you a rocking nightlife experience with something to do on every island. While Oahu is one of the best places, you can also visit Waikiki, Honolulu and Chinatown for lively nightclubs, lounges and bars. 

Tahiti is the only place in French Polynesia that comes close to having a nightlife.  Papeete is the best place for nightlife with a few bars and clubs. Other places like Moorea, Raiatea, and Huahine, are decent as well. However, if you are expecting all-night parties and similar experiences, Tahiti will disappoint you 

VERDICT:  Hawaii is a much better option for having an amazing nightlife experience. 

Comparing the Accommodation Options in Hawaii Vs Tahiti 

In Hawaii, there are plenty of accommodation options depending on your budget and preference. You can choose to stay in hostels, hostels, lodges, guest houses, bungalows, or resorts, depending on your needs.

The most affordable islands to stay in Hawaii are Oahu, Honolulu, and Waikiki which offer excellent accommodation on a budget such as Royal Grove Waikiki, Prince Waikiki, Aqua Oasis, Paniolo at the Equs, Coconut Waikiki Hotel,  Aqua Palms Waikiki, Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, etc.

Tahiti has not only affordable places to stay but also has less crowded and tranquil islands. However, when it comes to the range of options, they might seem limited in comparison to Hawaii. If you want a hotel in a remote area, away from the city noise, less crowded then Molokai is the perfect place for you.

Top budgeted hotels in Tahiti are Hotel Sarah Nui, Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, Intercontinental resort Tahiti, Tahiti la Bora beach resort, Hotel Hibiscus, Hotel Kaveka, Manaeva Lodge, VHotel Les Tipaniers, Pension de la Pledge Tahiti, Hiti Moana Villa, Punatea Village, Villa Ninamu Pearl etc.

VERDICT:  Hawaii offers a wier range of accommodation options.

Hawaii vs Tahiti art

You can find the glimpses of Polynesian culture almost everywhere in Tahiti like in such Tahiti art

Comparing the Cultural Experience in Hawaii & Tahiti 

Hawaii has Polynesian roots but is strongly influenced by American culture. The native population is less than 10%, so if you are looking for a completely exotic experience, you will be disappointed. Oahu’s cultural centre is one of the few places where you can learn about their Polynesian ancestry.

Having said that, we’d like to point out Hawaii is one of the most welcoming travel destinations. People in Hawaii completely embody the “Aloha Spirit” of love compassion, peace and joy. 

A little over 50% of Tahiti’s population is native Polynesian. So, the chances of you meeting the actual Tahitians is quite bright and you can hear people speaking the native Tahitians. You can witness the local culture in Marae Temples, Tiki art, dance shows and festivals.

Tahitians are a very respectful and generous lot. Tahitians’ friendly, and hospitable nature makes your entire travel experience memorable. People laugh and express their culture, thoughts, and emotions in the form of music, dance, polyphonic group singing, guitars, etc. 

VERDICT:  Tahiti is a better destination for lovers of authentic cultural experiences. 

Shopping Experience in Hawaii Vs Tahiti 

Hawaii is loved by shopaholics. From free markets to malls and local boutiques, you will find something that suits every budget type in Hawaii. Honolulu’s outdoor shopping centre, Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and the Maui Crafts Guild are a must-visit.

Bring home wonderful souvenirs of Hawaii for your family which include Macadamia nuts, Hawaiian quilts, special Hawaiian fruits, Aloha shirts, Kona coffee, Music, and Tropical fruit jams.

Tahiti, does not have big shopping malls or retail stores as such but there are local shops and boutiques that give you a more exotic shopping experience. Shops located near the Notre Dame Cathedral will offer some unique buys. 

When in Tahiti carry home some lovely souvenirs such as Stone carvings, Tahitian vanilla beans, Monoi oil, Tifaifai, Wood carvings, Woven items, and Tahitian Black Pearls.

VERDICT:  Hawaii offers a more diverse shopping experience in comparison to Tahiti. 

Hawaii vs Bahamas Safety

Hawaii is quite safe, but as is with all destinations, we must always be careful

Safety & Cleanliness in Hawaii Versus Tahiti

Let’s talk about safety first, Hawaii is considered safe with beautiful serene beaches, crystal clear waters, and good amenities but the only concern is car theft.

If you are visiting Tahiti, beware of pickpockets otherwise it is an absolutely safe and beautiful place to enjoy your trip. 

Both Hawaii and Tahiti are clean and hygienic places to visit. If we talk about Hawaii, Honululu and Kahului Wailuku Lahaina are the cleanest areas.

In Tahiti, Plag di Tahiti is the cleanest place, and travellers who had a visit loved the sloping beach and glittering rocks and stones. 

Best For a Family Vacation: Hawaii or Tahiti?

Hawaii is a big island and has a lot more to offer than Tahiti. While in Hawaii, you can explore serene beaches, cruises, exciting outdoor activities, shopping, and water sport activities like snorkelling and swimming with manta rays, turtles and much more. 

Tahiti is also well suited for a family vacation. You can enjoy overwater villas, suites, kids club, waterfalls, ziplining and many other activities. However, the main focus in French Polynesia is providing nature and relaxation experiences rather than action-packed adventures.

VERDICT: For a memorable family vacation, Hawaii offers a wider range of activities and experiences.

Choosing a Tahiti vs Hawaii Honeymoon

Well both Hawaii and Tahiti are outstanding places for newlyweds and it’s quite a daunting task to choose the best. Hawaii is the most popular and dream destination for honeymoon couples right that offers plenty of beautiful beaches, resorts, seaside villas, and amazing restaurants to dine in. If you are an adventurous couple, Hawai’s got your back.

On the other side, if you are looking for a more secluded, enjoy serene beaches to unwind then Tahiti is your best bet. It is an idyllic place for honeymoon couples and certainly gives you an unforgettable romantic experience. 

Verdict: The choice of honeymoon destination depends on the kind of couple you are. If you want to just relax, pick Tahiti, otherwise visit Hawaii for some adventure and romance.

COVID Quarantine Conditions & Travel Restrictions

Hawaii has eased travel restrictions owing to the global dip in COVID 19 cases. However, it is highly recommended that you follow all precautions. While for domestic travellers, there are no restrictions, international travellers must comply with US requirements.

Tahiti has also relaxed its travel restrictions. However, they do require unvaccinated travellers over 12 to bring a negative RT-PCR test.

So, coming back to the question is Hawaii or Tahiti better? If you are looking for gorgeous beaches, adventurous hikes, enjoying water sports, and a range of cuisines then Hawaii is surely your best bet. However, if you are looking for a quiet, more exotic remote island getaway providing an exclusive experience,  choose Tahiti.

We hope you now have better clarity regarding choosing between these gorgeous paradises Tell us in the comment section which one are you gonna pick – Hawaii or Tahiti.

Happy Wayfaring!

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