You’ll arrive at Faa’a International Airport near Papeete on the island of Tahiti after flying 7.5 hours from Los Angeles, five hours from Auckland, or seven hours from Sydney. If your time is limited, you should consider catching a connecting flight or fast ferry to one of the Leeward Islands right away. Flights to Huahine, Raiatea, and Bora Bora are frequent, and the Air Tahiti office at the airport can sell you a ticket if you haven’t booked in advance.
With two weeks at your disposal, you could visit two or three of the Leeward Islands and see Tahiti and Moorea on your return. With only one week, you could visit one of the Leewards plus Tahiti and Moorea. Your travel budget may be the deciding factor, as flying to Bora Bora for a few days isn’t cheap. To cut costs, simply focus on Tahiti and Moorea alone. Visitors with three weeks and sufficient funds can do all of the above, plus the Tuamotus or Marquesas. Those with one month in French Polynesia could visit all five archipelagoes with the help of an Air Tahiti air pass.
Budget travelers with three weeks in French Polynesia could consider flying to Bora Bora immediately upon arrival, then working their way back to Tahiti by ferry with stops on Raiatea and Huahine. Whatever time is left at the end of the trip could be spent on Moorea and Tahiti.
Many visitors fly to Tahiti to join a prearranged cruise to the Leeward or Marquesas Islands. If that’s the case, two days are enough to see Tahiti’s highlights, with one day spent in Papeete and another on a trip around the island. A third and fourth day on Moorea are highly recommended if Moorea isn’t included in your cruise. In short, how you plan your trip will depend on who you are. If your main aim is a beach holiday or some focused scuba diving, you should seriously consider booking a package tour to control your costs and avoid wasting time. It’s not hard to tour French Polynesia independently, but this is an expensive destination, and to save money you’ve got to be prepared to cut corners at times.