The islands are surrounded by black volcanic sand beaches. Given their remoteness, it’s no surprise that Hawaii has more visitors in two weeks than Tahiti sees in a whole year. The majority of the 280,000 population are Polynesian, along with people of mixed heritage, Europeans and Chinese. It is a youthful nation, with more than half of the population under 20 years of age. The Tahitians are generous, respectful and friendly, living by the motto ‘aita pea pea’ or ‘not to worry’. The climate is tropical (as you would expect) and the interior boasts lush valleys and high volcanic peaks up to 2,200m and breath-taking waterfalls. It is rich in archaeological sites, with lots of great hiking to enjoy. The word tattoo comes from Tahiti – ‘tatou’ – and pretty much everyone you meet of working age sports tattoos that carry great social or religious significance.