Postcard of the Week: Matavai Bay, Tahiti

The Radisson Hotel Plaza Resort overlooks the beautiful Lafayette beach in Matavai Bay, Tahiti, where James Cook observed the Transit of Venus in 1769 and where the Bounty anchored in 1789, shortly before the Mutiny on the Bounty.

When you think of Tahiti, you think of white sandy beaches and overwater bungalows, right? Well, let me tell you, you have to go to Bora Bora for that. On the island of Tahiti, where the capital Papeete is located, this is what the beach is like … black. The Radisson Plaza Resort overlooks beautiful Lafayette beach in Matavai Bay and every room has a view. On one glorious afternoon in the hotel spa, I had a body scrub of black sand mixed with papaya oil, before watching the sun go down on the beach. Two boys strummed guitars as I walked in the soft sand. This place has seen a lot of history: British navigator James Cook observed the Transit of Venus here in 1769 (that’s Point Venus at the far end). The Bounty anchored here in 1789, shortly before a certain mutiny when some of the sailors decided they didn’t want to go home. All these years later, it’s still hard to tear yourself away.

Photo & text © Christine Salins

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  • Hi Christine, yes I’m one of the many people who think of white sand and overwater bungalows when I think of Tahiti! How interesting to discover that’s only in Bora Bora. Other parts of Tahiti still looks like paradise though, even with black sand. Your visit there sounds bliss!!!

    • Hi Catherine, the black sandy beach is equally beautiful in its own way. And look how blue the sky is. Definitely bliss!

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