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Outdoor Activities in Papeete

By Viator, February 2013

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Papeete is full of options for those wanting to explore the outdoors.

Start your day walking along the Waterfront Esplande and taking in views of the volcanic island of Moorea and its rugged peaks and lush green landscape. There are often live performances and events going on in this area, as well as delicious food, popcorn and pastries sold by food vendors.

At night, the atmosphere gets even livelier as the food trucks of Vai’ete Square open from 6pm to 3am, selling everything from Chinese food to Tahitian pizza.

With its beautiful beaches and warm crystal waters, water sports are a popular activity in Papeete. Kite-boarding, windsurfing and water skiing are popular, as is surfing, a sport Tahiti is world-renowned for. You'll find the best breaks at Arue Beach and Point Venus.

If you're looking to learn how to surf, Toa Moana Surf School is a reputable Papeete surf school located in the Fare Tony Center on Boulevard Pomare. If you want to snorkel, popular beaches include the capital's main beach, Bain Lot Beach, and the family-friendly Mahana Park Beach. Scuba diving is also popular, as Papeete's harbor is sheltered by colorful reefs of hard and soft coral that provide a home to a whole world of vibrant marine fauna.

Underwater walls plunge down to vast depths, while Black Tip Reef sharks, Moray eels, dolphins, turtles, wrasses, tropical fish -- and even sometimes humpback whales if diving between July and October -- swim around you.

For those wanting to explore the land, the opportunity to complete a three-hour hike through ginger flowers, fruit trees and lush jungle to the Fautaua Valley Waterfall is worthwhile. This 985-foot (300m) waterfall cascades down volcanic cliffs and plunges into a large pool. Keep in mind the rainier the weather, the stronger the falls will be.

You can access the trail near the downtown Papeete tourist office where you can also ask them for specific directions. Because the trek can be challenging at times, it is best done with a guide. However, if you do go on your own remember you'll need to procure a permit from Town Hall for $7.

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