Tetiaroa Day Trip: How to Make it Unforgettable

By Tiare Tuuhia ∘ Posted 14th May, 2024 ∘

Tetiaroa atoll is everything you ever dreamed an isolated tropical paradise would be:  Swaying coconut palms, white sand beaches, water in a hundred different shades of blue. 

It’s a private island, leased by Marlon Brando and known for its pristine environment, wildlife and an uber expensive luxury resort called ‘The Brando.’ 

Because the atoll is privately owned, the only way you can visit is by going on an organised tour (excursion) OR by staying at the Brando.

Day tours are the most popular (read: affordable) way to see the atoll, and I did one just last month. 

Here’s everything I wish I knew about the Tetiaroa Day Trip tour before I went:  

How to get to Tetiaroa

Tetiaroa day tour catamaran
Our catamaran for the Tetiaroa day tour

There are two ways to travel to Tetiaroa: by sea or by air.

By sea:

By air:

  • 15 minute plane trip with Air Tetiaroa or by helicopter with Tahiti Nui helicopters.  NOTE¤ These options are only possible if you stay at The Brando Resort, located on Tetiaroa.  (This resort is where people like Oprah and Obama go for holidays. Yeah.)  

When is the best time to visit Tetiaroa?

Your best bet is to go during the dry season, between May and October.  Keep an eye on the weather and try to pick a day when the skies are clear and the sea is calm, if possible.  

Can you visit The Brando on a day tour?

No you cannot.  It’s private and hidden away on the other side of the atoll- you won’t see it on a day tour.

What tour companies are there?  

Here’s an overview of three different options and price points for day tours to Tetiaroa with Poe Charter, Herevai Charter & Tahiti Voile & Lagon.  There may be more companies, but these seem to be the most popular ones.  They all have the same basic itinerary:  Boat to Tetiaroa, guided tour of the bird island, lunch, snorkelling, then back to Tahiti.

Day trip to Tetiaroa: Tour comparison table (prices 2024)

Can you take a Tetiaroa Day tour from Moorea?

All the tours I’ve seen online depart from Tahiti.  However, I imagine that if you charter the entire boat, they’ll pick you up in Moorea.  Call or email the tour companies to find out more.

My Review of the Tetiaroa Day Trip tour with Poe Charter

We did the Tetiaroa Day Tour with Poe Charter.  We chose them because a friend got us discounted tickets, otherwise I probably would’ve gone with Herevai Charter, just because I’m cheap.  

What was included in the tour:

  • Light breakfast:   French viennoiseries (pain au chocolat, croissants and coconut bread), local fruit (bananas, mango, pineapple, papaya).  Drinks:  Coffe, juice, water. Self service. 
  • Guided tour of ‘bird island’
  • Lunch:  Raw fish marinated in coconut milk, grilled tuna, rice, bread 
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Afternoon tea:  Fruit salad with optional rum

What I loved:

Tetiaroa itself was stunning.  The best part for me was actually all the wildlife we got to see.  The island is full of hermit crabs and baby coconut crabs, and my 5 year old son could have spent all day on the shore just playing with the crabs.  There were also all kinds of seabirds, and we got to snorkel with some black tip sharks and lemon sharks.

Baby coconut crab

What I didn’t like:

Our catamaran was SLOW.  The trip took a lot longer than I was expecting, about 4 hours to get there and 4 hours to get back.  We were on that catamaran for 8 hours and it felt like 8 long hours.   

On the day we went, there were two catamarans from Poe charter doing day trips to Tetiaroa.  The other catamaran actually left the marina later than us and sailed right past us.  It sailed so far ahead of us we couldn’t even see it on the horizon anymore.  Same thing happened on the way back.  

It might not have been that bad but I also got seasick.  I’ve never been seasick before, so this was the first time.  It was a windy day so there were some bigger swells, and that combined with being on the boat for so long just made for a miserable time.  

There were quite a few of us that got sick.  Also they had the same music playlist playing over and over on the way there and back.  I’m getting petty here but this really irritated me on the way back when I was throwing up into my bucket.

Is the Tetiaroa day trip worth it?

I think that if you’ve never been to an atoll before, it’s definitely worth taking the day trip to Tetiaroa.  French Polynesia’s atolls are incredible, and Tetiaroa is particularly well looked after.  The scenery is a dream, the wildlife is plentiful and there are endless photo ops. 

It’s magic to be in such a remote, beautiful place and something I’m sure you’ll remember forever.

Tetiaroa Day Trip Taimana standing in clear water

Reasons not to go on a Tetiaroa Day Trip tour:

I wouldn’t recommend going on this tour if you get badly seasick or if you have children under 5 years old.  It’s a pretty long day for them and there’s not a lot to do on the boat there and back. 

If you have the time and the budget, I’d recommend spending a few days on one of French Polynesia’s other atolls like Fakarava or Rangiroa. It’ll give you a similar experience, but you’ll also be able to see what local life is like for French Polynesian people that actually live in these remote islands.


  • Consider sitting in the middle section of the catamaran rather than the sides.  It’ll provide better shade from the sun and less chances of getting soaked with water when going through waves.
  • Bring medication for seasickness, just in case
  • Consider bringing reef shoes.  To get to the beach in Tetiaroa you’ll need to take a zodiac from the catamaran that drops you directly onto the reef/rocks offshore.  Then it’s a quick walk to the beach.
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • If you go during whale season (July to November), chances are you’ll encounter one migrating south on your way to Tetiaroa

Bonus: Keep an eye on this page as I’ll be interviewing someone who stayed at the Brando soon and posting their experience here!

Also, if you’re staying in Papeete before heading out to Tetiaroa and want to know what the best things to do are, check out this post I wrote:

7 Best Things to do in Papeete


Tiare is a successful freelance writer and travel blogger, focusing on French Polynesia. Her work has been featured in National Geographic and The Guardian.

This travel blog is is her newest project with her twin sister. Their mission is to give everyone the confidence to explore the beautiful islands of French Polynesia.

Tiare has been living in Tahiti for over six years now.