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How to Spend 3 Days in Papeete

How to Spend 3 Days in Papeete

Many travelers to French Polynesia pass through Papeete because the main international airport is there. The little South Pacific capital is worth more than just a fly-by visit, though. With three days in Papeete, you have time to see the sights, explore the island of Tahiti, and even get out to neighboring Moorea. Here’s how.

Day 1: Get to know Papeete

Papeete is a chilled-out town that combines elements of French and Pasifika culture. In the morning, stop by the lively Municipal Market, the old churches, and the tropical parks and gardens with their French je ne sais quoi. A guided tour is a good way to see the city’s highlights while learning about the culture and history of the islands. After lunch, while away the afternoon on a dolphin-spotting tour, a snorkeling trip, or a sunset cruise. Then at dinnertime, head to the food trucks along the waterfront, and get your fill of fresh seafood or crepes before getting the party started with some local rum punch or Tahitian wine.

Day 2: Explore Tahiti

Tahiti is only one of the French Polynesian islands. It’s the largest, though, so there’s a lot to see beyond Papeete—including miles of black-sand beaches (with a few special white-sand ones), and a mountainous, forest-clad interior. Spend your second day beach hopping on your own or on a guided tour, stopping at waterfalls, blowholes, and a famous lighthouse along the way. At night, sit down to a luxurious dinner at a fine-dining establishment back in Papeete.

Day 3: Take a day trip to Moorea

Just 28 miles (45 kilometers) northwest of Tahiti, Moorea is a major destination in its own right, where the geology and geography are quite different from Tahiti’s. Spend day three on this island paradise, being as active or relaxed as you wish. Go on a boat tour around Moorea’s coastline, stopping to swim and snorkel in sheltered lagoons, or enjoy the thrill of an off-road 4x4 adventure into Moorea’s mountainous interior. Visit pineapple and vanilla plantations inland, or just kick back on a white-sand beach. Joining a guided tour is an easy way to travel between Papeete and Moorea, but ferries are also available to independent visitors.

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6 Tours and Activities

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Tahiti Island Tour Including Venus Point, Taharaa View Point and Vaipahi Gardens

Tahiti Island Tour Including Venus Point, Taharaa View Point and Vaipahi Gardens

star-4
127
Get an overview of Tahiti on a 4-hour sightseeing tour of island highlights with an informative guide. Walk around the black-sand beaches of Matavai Bay at Venus Point and the Arahoho blowhole, marvel at the ancient Polynesian temples of the west coast. Wander tree-lined paths past ponds and waterfalls at the botanical Vaipahi Garden and visit the Taharaa lookout known as One Tree Hill. During your afternoon coach tour, with hotel pickup in Papeete, you’ll learn about the history of French Polynesia while soaking up panoramic island views.
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  • 4 hours
From
$68.14
From
$68.14

6-hour Snorkeling & Lunch Tour - Shared Tour

6-hour Snorkeling & Lunch Tour - Shared Tour

star-5
626
Explore Moorea's lagoon in the traditional way—aboard a Polynesian outrigger canoe—during this full-day excursion. With a small group of 12 travelers or fewer, get plenty of room onboard and attention from the guides. Take in the scenery, go swimming and snorkeling, and arrive at a tiny islet for a cooking lesson (the local dish poisson cru) and a barbecue lunch.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$101.50
From
$101.50
Taking safety measures

Moorea 4WD Tour Including Belvedere Pineapple Farm and Magic Mountain

Moorea 4WD Tour Including Belvedere Pineapple Farm and Magic Mountain

star-5
313
Venture beyond the resorts on this full-day tour of Moorea, which guarantees a first-hand look at all the island’s top sights and fuss-free transport between them. Get off the beaten path and venture to viewpoints such as Magic Mountain and Belvedere Lookout, see marae (Polynesian temples) and pineapple fields, and visit an island distillery. Expert narration is offered throughout.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$56.42
From
$56.42
Taking safety measures

Papeete Inner Island Full-Day Jeep Safari

Papeete Inner Island Full-Day Jeep Safari

star-4.5
124
This full-day Jeep safari takes you through Papeete’s dense rainforest by 4WD to the interior of the French Polynesian island. Go off the beaten path of this Tahitian paradise, visiting Mount Marau, Arahoho Blowhole and the lush Cascades of Faarumai with an informative local guide. You’ll experience the majestic beauty surrounding Papeete, topped by a refreshing waterfall swim! Hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
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  • 8 hours
From
$98.13
From
$98.13

Authentic Moana Lagoon Excursion - Full Day (Motu Lunch included)

Authentic Moana Lagoon Excursion - Full Day (Motu Lunch included)

star-4.5
24
Explore the island paradise of Moorea as you glide between sandy bays and glittering lagoons on this 5.5-hour boat cruise, including hotel pick-up. Dive into the crystalline waters of Cook’s Bay or Opunohu Bay, and swim among friendly stingrays and blacktip reef sharks. Drop anchor on a deserted island to tuck into a delicious Tahitian-style picnic lunch (included), then enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the idyllic Moorea Lagoon. 
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
From
$89.90
From
$89.90

Enjoy Moorea Day Tour

Enjoy Moorea Day Tour

star-5
123
Get an introduction to the best hidden spots in Moorea from a local on this full-day tour. Get access to a private beach, local waterfalls, mountains, and other attractions off the beaten path. Swim in a pristine lagoon and take a hike to a local waterfall that you may not otherwise find if you were simply exploring on your own. Refreshments are included along the way, and you'll have the chance to ask any questions about Moorea to your guide as you travel.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$121.90
From
$121.90
Taking safety measures


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