Papeete, the capital port city of French Polynesia, offers some of the most stunning shorefronts with lush mountain terrain, white-sand beaches, a blend of delightful cultures, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere embedded with the island's natural beauty. This island is famous as the "Queen of the Pacific." In ancient times, this place was a gathering spot for Tahitians who came to fill their calabashes with fresh water. And in today's time, it is a gateway to the country's most romantic resorts, vibrant markets, pearl shops, fine dining, and international and local boutiques.
Papeete is not like other French Polynesia ports. Visitors can enjoy an array of tropical activities from beach tanning to swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing. Apart from waterfront activities, a few highlights are listed below.
In Papeete, you might also like the local cuisine: Try the roulette or food trucks at Place Vaiete along the coast. In terms of food, the city is well-represented by Italian, French, and Chinese cuisines. Plan your dining budget accordingly if you don't want to be overcharged in Papeete. Most of the area's shopping is done in Papeete's downtown area, although there are a few markets and supermarkets near the cruise port. A lot of high-end or luxury shopping isn't available in Papeete.
Capt. James Cook was the first European to explore Tahiti and other South Pacific islands in the mid-18th century. However, Tahiti had been inhabited by native populations for centuries before any Europeans arrived. French Polynesia (French Polynesia) did not become an overseas territory until the 1960s, so the harbor of Papeete was built then. Handicrafts and tattoos, which remain prevalent in the area today, were influenced by the Polynesian culture of the island. Tahiti has become a popular travel destination for tourists.
In Papeete, visitors can experience the delicate process of harvesting and processing pearls at every step. Locals love to explain, and tourist loves to learn different facts and things about beautiful jewels. An exhibition in the Pearl Museum provides an overview of the history and legends surrounding pearls, spanning many different cultures and civilizations. Papeete is famous for its market, and if you cruise there, you will have the chance to experience its pulsating center.
However, before returning to the cruise, take advantage of your onshore time and explore some of the most exciting spots of Papeete, Tahiti's best sights, and some waterfront activities on this French Polynesia Island. The reefs are perfect for surfing, and the picture-perfect town will keep you yearning for more adventure and local culture.
Notre Dame Cathedral is hard to miss landmark in Papeete. This buttercup yellow cathedral is a brightly colored façade that sets a rare example of early colonial architecture in Papeete. It is a notable unique mix of Polynesian and European designs that adorn the interior. It was opened in 1875 and is located close to the waterfront esplanade of the capital city on the run du General de Gaulle.
Marche de Papeete is the largest market in Papeete, with vendors selling colorful island jewelry, Tahitian oils, black pearls, handicrafts, souvenir items,and more. Even you will find some fishermen offering to catch some fresh from the lagoons. Vendors on this street sell local textiles and handcrafted items, including shell necklaces. This marketplace is around a 155-years-old public market in Tahiti.
To experience the beautiful stretching out on the sand and embrace the sunny tropical lifestyle of Tahiti, visit the Bain Lot Beach. It is known for its unique wave patterns called the ins and outs. One can consider this beach for swimming and snorkeling activities. This beach is regarded as the main and famous among locals and tourists. If you're visiting Papeete for a day, don't miss a chance to see this beach.
The Faarumai Waterfalls sit close to Tahiti's north coast, about a 30-minutes drive from the Papeete via the island's main road. One of the most scenic attractions in Papeete is the valley of Faarumai Waterfalls. It is one of the most breathtaking and photographed waterfalls in Tahiti. The destination has three large waterfalls in a natural, secluded setting. The first waterfall isthe Vaimahutu waterfall, the second is Haamarere Iti, and the third is Haamarere Rahi. The second and third waterfall is around 20 minutes' walking distance.