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Things to do in Papeete, Tahiti

Things to do in  Papeete

Welcome to Papeete

No one comes to French Polynesia looking for big city buzz, but there are at least a day’s worth of distractions to be had in its compact capital Papeete, on the island of Tahiti.

Top 10 attractions in Papeete

#1
Arahoho Blowhole (Trou de Souffleur de Arahoho)

Arahoho Blowhole (Trou de Souffleur de Arahoho)

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Perched along the rocky coast of Tahiti and bordered by a scenic black sand beach, Arahoho Blowhole is one of the island’s most visited natural wonders. As waves crash against the shore, a powerful geyser-like eruption sends spectacular plumes of water into the air, wowing visitors and creating the opportunity for some impressive photos.More
#2
Robert Wan Pearl Museum (Musee de la Perle Robert Wan)

Robert Wan Pearl Museum (Musee de la Perle Robert Wan)

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Established by local entrepreneur Robert Wan, Robert Wan Pearl Museum (Musee de la Perle Robert Wan) explores the role of the pearl in art, history, and literature. Exhibits reveal how pearls get from the sea to the display case and how ocean jewels were associated with religious rites and coveted as status symbols.More
#3
Paofai Gardens (Jardin de Paofai)

Paofai Gardens (Jardin de Paofai)

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Stretching from To'Ata Square to Vaiete Square, Paofai Gardens (Waterfront Esplanade) are ideal for scenic strolling. Watch boats sail by as you enjoy snacks from vendors selling fresh juices, popcorn, and French pastries, who enhance the Parisian feel of the park.More
#4
Papeete Town Hall (Mairie de Papeete)

Papeete Town Hall (Mairie de Papeete)

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This butter-cup yellow building is surrounded by palm trees, a pond, and manicured gardens. The Tahitian flag flies proudly atop Papeete Town Hall, while inside, crystal chandeliers, glass furnishings, historical artifacts, and pink Italian marble give the space an air of grandeur.More
#5
Marché de Pape'ete (Pape'ete Market)

Marché de Pape'ete (Pape'ete Market)

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The sights, sounds and smells of authentic Polynesian life are on offer at Pape'ete’s main market, the Marché de Pape'ete (Pape'ete Market). The indoor market hall is the commercial and social hub of Tahiti’s laid-back capital and the oldest surviving institution on the island.More
#6
Bougainville Park (Parc Bougainville)

Bougainville Park (Parc Bougainville)

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This small park with a tranquil stream, benches, lush vegetation, and an enormous banyan tree providing shade to visitors was named after Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a French explorer who believed he had discovered Tahiti and claimed it for France, unaware that less than a year prior it had been discovered by Samuel Wallis.More
#7
Vaima Shopping Centre

Vaima Shopping Centre

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The Vaima Shopping Centre is the largest shopping mall in Tahiti, French Polynesia's main island. This multilevel mall opened in 1977 and is located in the capital city of Papeete. At the Vaima Shopping Centre, visitors can shop at high end stores for clothing, jewelry, shoes, electronics, art, and much more. Some worldwide brands include Nike, Billabong, and Bose, but there are also many other local stores at the mall. It's a great place to buy souvenirs and island themed clothing. The mall is well known for its French bookstores that sell books in both English and French in many different genres and maps of the French Polynesian islands. A popular item to shop for in Tahiti is the Tahitian black pearl, and there are several shops in the Vaima Shopping Centre that specialize in black pearls.The mall has restaurants and cafes, so you can take a break from shopping to get something to eat. There are also a few travel agents, airline offices, a locksmith and shoe repair shop, salons and a bank.More
#8
Vai'ete Square (Place Vai'ete)

Vai'ete Square (Place Vai'ete)

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Located in downtown Papeete, Vai'ete Square (Place Vai’ete) is a nice place to take a relaxing waterfront stroll during the day. At night, however, the atmosphere becomes much more lively as colorful food wagons (roulottes) offering local cuisine and decadent desserts open to the masses.More
#9
Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame)

Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame)

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Recognizable for its sunny yellow façade, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame) is one of the oldest and largest churches in Papeete. The Gothic structure was originally built between 1844 and 1875 but has been destroyed and restored several times, most recently in 1987.More
#10
To'ata Square (Tahua To'ata)

To'ata Square (Tahua To'ata)

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To'ata Square (Place To'ata) is the main hub for cultural events, performances, rock concerts, and festivals in Papeete, including the annual Heiva Festival, the largest annual cultural festival in Tahiti. Anchoring the square is a 5,000-seat pavilion with an outdoor stage. Onsite snack bars sell light bites and drinks in the evenings.More

Recent reviews from experiences in Papeete

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Inner Tahiti, mountains, waterfalls and plants
Kathryn_L, Jul 2021
Papeete Inner Island Full-Day Jeep Safari
The landscapes are spectacular with thin silver waterfalls descending the cliffs.
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Great
Elka_A, Feb 2020
Papeete Inner Island Full-Day Jeep Safari
Beautiful nature, amazing views of the waterfalls.
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A very accommodating company...
Susan B, Jan 2018
Shared Arrival Transfer: Papeete Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port
A simple and easy way to see and learn about the history of Papeete.
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Again I was the only person not...
Barbara R, May 2016
Tahiti Island Tour Including Venus Point, Taharaa View Point and Vaipahi Gardens
Again I was the only person not speaking French and again the Tour Guide always told me in English what I was looking at.
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A good way to see the high spots of...
lobo012847, Feb 2017
Tahiti Island Tour Including Venus Point, Taharaa View Point and Vaipahi Gardens
A good way to see the high spots of Papeete if you are cruising.
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Land highlights tour of Papeete
Lynne_B, Feb 2020
Half day tour
There didn’t seem an awful lot to see but we went round the whole island about 90 miles I think and stopped off at different places of interest on the way.
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We were instructed by email to meet...
Neville B, Oct 2017
Tahiti Island Tour Including Venus Point, Taharaa View Point and Vaipahi Gardens
The down point was that we were rushed to leave and had very little time to visit the amenities or gift shop.
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This lady Pawa was amazing - we...
anjum, Jul 2018
Tahiti Island Tour Including Venus Point, Taharaa View Point and Vaipahi Gardens
This lady Pawa was amazing - we toured solid for 5 hours and saw everything we were supposed to see - she was native to Papeete, so she shared a lot of history and information that a local would know !!!
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We did this tour the day we arrived...
Jessica O, Apr 2016
Tahiti Island Tour Including Venus Point, Taharaa View Point and Vaipahi Gardens
We did this tour the day we arrived in Papeete so we had the morning to relax then got to see the whole island in 4 hours.
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