When visitors come to Tahiti there is a lot to do, not all of which costs money.
Beaches: All beaches are public, it is the access you need to find. There are some parking lots where access is direct and other ones where you park on the street and walk in.
From Papette towards Arue towards Taravao
PK 5 Viapo beach with small parking lot and volleyball court.
PK 6 Before you get to the Radisson is a beach that usually has good body board surfing and lots of kids. There are roadside showers but no bathrooms.
PK 7 To the left of the Radisson in Arue there is an access point to the black sand beach which has waves that pound on the beach (not very good for kids).
PK 10 Point Venus has a nice beach for children and a small artisan boutique with good prices. The weekends often have canoe races and now there is a fort there for kids to explore. The light house is also nice. The bathrooms are open (which at many beaches they are not).
PK 13 Papenoo beach You can park along the road on either side. There are no bathrooms or other amenities. There are always plenty of people body boarding and surfing here. This is where beginners learn to surf. The waves are gentle and break on water. There is a small amount of shade under the trees along the road. For beginners, the waves are best towards in the middle of the beach and there is a small spring under a tree locals use to rinse off the sea water. This is our favorite wave riding beach and we usually go here every weekend.
PK 22 BLow hole- After exiting the tunnel, you need to turn around on the road with the three waterfalls (also a nice easy hike) and go back to the blow hole where there is parking a very pretty black sand beach. There are picnic tables here and working bathrooms.
There are other beaches the whole way around the coast but none have working bathrooms. When you go to Tahiti Iti along the south coast, (left side as you face Tahiti Iti) there is a beach at the end of the road with a tiki statue. Here locals have fishing parties and start canoe races. Along the side of Tahiti Iti towards Teahupoo, there is a white sand beach along the road (no parking lot or amenities) where the cruise liners used to dock (the large cement moorings are still there and ugly). The water is pretty. At the end of the road in Teahupoo there is a surfboard sign which has some surf champions names on it and a beach with a fresh water river emptying in to the sea. There are working bathrooms here and usually plenty of parking. You can’t get near the big wave but need to get a boat, which we have not done. It is around 50 USD per person.
On the way back to Papette, there are several beaches with parking lots that are well marked. Of note is that locals park at the Gauguin Museum, which is free, and walk down to the point to swim. Walk to the left of the gift shop with the museum at your back. There are no waves as this is within the lagoon. There is a pavilion for shade here.
Along this side of the island there is also a spring which always has lots of local people swimming in the fresh water. It is before Papeari.
PK 17 (from Papette towards Taravao) is a white sand beach with intermittent coral where one can go snorkeling. It is busy on weekends. There is a stand that rents stand up paddles as you walk along the beach back towards Papette. You have to look up the side of the beach for the sign. There are a couple of parking lots. We park at the one near a small bridge. The bathrooms work here as do the showers.
Of note is that generally it is ok to use the beach at the hotel on Sundays, when the hotels have lots of locals there. I don’t know the why or protocol for this. The hotels seem to guard their towels but not much else and I often see people at the pools with their own towels.
The Intercontinental had a beach club that locals can join. It is rather expensive but does give you access to the pools, tennis courts and a discount on diving and food. Of note that if you tell the diving center you are local you get a discount and probably don’t have to join the Intercontinental Beachcomber Club. The expats who belong here are, as everywhere in Tahiti, French and smoke a lot. The hotel has a lagoon where they feed the fish and it is fun to snorkel there.