Tahiti is the largest and most populous island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. The capital, Papeete, is located on the northwest coast. Papeete, meaning the "water basket", was once a gathering place where Tahitians came to fill their calabashes with fresh water.
The island is split in two, connected by a short isthmus. The northwestern portion is known as "Big Tahiti", while the much smaller southeastern portion is known as "Small Tahiti" and it is largely accessible only to those travelling by boat or on foot.
There is a rendezvous with the World ARC fleet in Papeete on the afternoon of Wednesday 25 April. Until then, participants have the opportunity to visit the very colourful market (open everyday except holidays, the market is especially lively on Sunday mornings) and a number of museums. On Thursday 26 April, the crews will make a tour of the island with stops including the popular Museum of Tahiti & Other Islands, with its comprehensive collection of cultural artifacts, and the Gauguin Museum which traces the life and works of the French painter who made French Polynesia home.
The Harrison Smith Botanical Gardens reflect the variety of plants Smith brought to Tahiti and propagated to diversify the local vegetation and diet of the local people. The Mataoa Garden is also well worth visiting.