What to do and see in Papeete, French Polynesia: The Best Places and Tips

November 18, 2017 Jacquiline Delozier

Papeete is a great base for exploring Tahiti’s lagoons, black- and white-sand beaches and volcanoes. You’ll find a lively nightlife scene centered around the ferry dock. For an authentic island experience, visit Mapuru a Paraita market or Musee de la Perle to find local black pearls.
Restaurants in Papeete

1. Aremiti Ferry

Porto di Papeete | Moorea ferry station, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia +689 40 50 57 91
Excellent
54%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 969 reviews

Aremiti Ferry

Fast and confortable ferry crossing between Tahiti and Moorea. Operating 7 days a week, from 05:30am to 05:30pm.

Reviewed By Marlin L - Ocheyedan, Iowa

This is a very cost effective way to travel always on time very clean They handle your luggage with care Very easy

2. TOPDIVE Tahiti

Bp 6014, Faa'a 98702, French Polynesia
Excellent
74%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 214 reviews

TOPDIVE Tahiti

Reviewed By DONALD Z - Westlake Village, California

I did dives in both Moorea and Tahiti. My Moorea dive was a refresher (I hadn't dived in a year). Unfortunately, the dive master assigned to me spoke very limited English and didn't understand many of my questions. He did virtually no brief on the dive (something I'm accustomed to in the States) and the dive site for the refresher was not the greatest and had limited sea life.
I did two additional dives in Bora Bora that were far better. The Dive Master - Alfred - was outstanding. He spoke English fluently and did an excellent job of briefing us before each dive. The dive sites were good with many reef and lemon sharks and even a cave. The boat was full with 12 divers and 3 Dive Masters - so it was a bit more crowded than I would have liked (it was difficult to find a seat out of the sun!) My advice - be sure they give you a Dive Master who is fluent in your language and ask how many will be going on the dive.

3. Paofai Gardens

Boulevard Pomare, Papeete 98714, French Polynesia
Excellent
55%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 241 reviews

Paofai Gardens

Reviewed By Allgoodthyngs - Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

We enjoyed walking along the waterfront in Papeete. The Gardens are well maintained and the pathway is easy to manage and suitable for wheelchairs and strollers too.
Lots of birds - they seem to be used to having humans around so will come quite close.
Locals use it for picnics, as did we! They also use it to practice dance and hook routines often with loud music but all in good humour and really entertaining especially if you try to join in!
Theres lovely breeze coming across the ocean and lovely to see all the yachts on the pontoons. So its a nice safe place to take a stroll or to sit and watch the goings on, however you can not escape the roadside noise and fumes.
This is a public place with no fees,

4. Eleuthera Tahiti Diving Center

Marina Taina, Punaauia 98717, French Polynesia
Excellent
86%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 194 reviews

Eleuthera Tahiti Diving Center

ELEUTHERA PLONGEE : The underwater world await you! Training center and underwater exploration, Eleuthera welcomes you all year round, 7/7, in the heart of Marina Taina located on the west coast of Tahiti. Our reputation is founded since more than 20 years on diving safety, the friendly and relaxed atmosphere and the quality of training courses. Eleuthera supports observation of sharks in their natural behavior without practices of shark-feeding in a protected environment and this in compliance with the regulations in force. Training at all levels (intro diving until to diving instructor) Explorations: fall-down, wrecks, underwater Springs, drift, night dives ... The best of tahiti! Dolphin watching (all year) Whale watching (August, September and October)

Reviewed By suave1311 - Heidelberg, Germany

Really friendly and capable diving instructors. They were super flexible, as I booked my Advanced diver upgrade only one day before. They picked me up and brought me back to the hotel. All in all a great service by extremely friendly people.
Needless to say that the diving sites in Tahiti are really just amazing....

5. Radisson Spa

7 Lafayette Beach PK | Radisson Plaza Resort, Arue 98701, French Polynesia +689 48 88 88 -
Excellent
53%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 23 reviews

Radisson Spa

Reviewed By Alibaliboo - Christchurch, New Zealand

Beautiful hotel and food! The infinity pool was gorgeous and at times we had it to ourselves. The only thing that spoiled this holiday were the mozzies - we got eaten alive :-)

6. Fluid Tahiti Dive Center

Marina Taina, Punaauia 98713, French Polynesia
Excellent
80%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
2%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 76 reviews

Fluid Tahiti Dive Center

Home to a friendly and relaxed atmosphere Fluid Diving Center is located right on the water in Tahiti’s Marina Taina. Our dive boats are moored just a few steps from the center and your dive equipment is preloaded onto the boat to make sure you enjoy an easy dive. You just have to jump on board, rig and check your equipment before diving into Tahiti’s blue…- The center is open 7 days a week- From 7:30 to 18:00- Plongez a la carte- Choose a time- Choose a type of dive

Reviewed By Staffydog55 - Havelock North, New Zealand

My husband and I joined a group for the afternoon whale spotting trip.I was apprehensive about boarding the boat due to recent foot surgery limiting ability,well no worries due to a most caring and competent team!The lovely lady and gent who were our guides were amazing.Their knowledge of the ocean,whales,snorkelling was top notch.Snacks,juice and water were freely available.Very enjoyable day out.Even saw the whales!

7. Municipal Market

Francois Cardella Colette Streets, Papeete 98714, French Polynesia
Excellent
32%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
20%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 793 reviews

Municipal Market

This large and bustling market hall offers local farm products, handicrafts, souvenirs and a variety of fish and food products.

Reviewed By vikitorisedona - Prescott, Arizona

Nice to get a feel of the local products, but the prices are not what I associate with market prices. I mean $7 for a small bar of soap. Seriously?

8. Musee de la Perle Robert WAN - The Robert WAN Pearl Museum

Boulevard Pomare, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia +689 40 46 15 55
Excellent
26%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 328 reviews

Musee de la Perle Robert WAN - The Robert WAN Pearl Museum

The only museum in the world that is dedicated to pearls presents exhibits depicting the art, history, philosophy and mythology of these beautiful gems.

Reviewed By Kay M - Augusta, GA

It’s not a big exhibit, but it was informative and thorough. We loved the Robert Wan jewelry creations on display here, but they are not cheap. They should not be since the pearls used are of very high quality. If you are looking for the real deal, look no further. The museum is within walking distance from most everywhere downtown if you are a walker. If not, beware. There is a nice walking path directly across the street on the water.

9. Terevau Navette

IV Boulevard de la Reine Pomare | Papeete Ferry Terminal, Terminal 1, Papeete 98714, French Polynesia +689 40 50 03 50
Excellent
55%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 73 reviews

Terevau Navette

Reviewed By Marcel T

It is fast when it moves, cuts throughout the Pacific Ocean with ease. This catamaran has a cafe for you to buy snacks and drinks. Travels between Papeete and Moorea it is about NZ$19 for an adult return ticket. It has comfortable seats inside and it is also great to stand on the upper deck or more like side deck. Ensure you hold firmly on the railings because as the catamaran travels fast it is also windy at the same time.

10. Notre Dame Cathedral

Place Notre Dame, Papeete 98714, French Polynesia
Excellent
29%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
27%
Poor
5%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 237 reviews

Notre Dame Cathedral

Reviewed By Allgoodthyngs - Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

Whilst in Papeete its hard not to notice the Cathedral which is visible form several areas of the town. Its a central focal point with its high tower. Impressive structure on the outside and pleasingly simple on the inside. The highlight for me was the style of the stained glass. Polynesian symbols of culture and heritage remain behind the countries Christianisation.
Inside the Cathedral several homeless people were sleeping and paid no attention to us. The Cathedral appreciates donations, photography is allowed

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