Our top attractions, highlights and insider tips
As the capital of Tahiti, Pape'ete is a common stop for many people venturing onward to other idyllic islands. But the city deserves to be viewed as more than just a pit stop. As a melting pot of traditional Tahitian, French, and Chinese culture, the city shares more in common with the bustle of a great metropolis than you’d imagine. Add to that the enchanting quality of the translucent waters, gorgeous parks, and idyllic sunsets, and you have the perfect island city.
Robert Wan Pearl Museum
Marché de Papeete
This unmissable museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to pearls. Owner Robert Wan, one of the biggest collectors and entrepreneurs in the pearl business, opened the eponymous museum in order to share his passion for the sought-out gem. Since its inception, the museum has become a hit in the city, the perfect way to explore the history of pearls throughout the world.
Verdant paths lead you through fragrant flowers and exotic plant life at these majestic Gardens, which are located on the coast as part of the city’s modern waterfront. Wood-covered stone bungalows delineate your path as you explore this slice of wilderness in the city, and don’t forget to have a snack in the shade, the palm trees providing the perfect cover for respite.
This market defines the soul of Pape'ete, a bustling hall that brings together all the flavors of Polynesia. A mix of Tahitian, Chinese, and French flavors fill the hall, as traders sell fish, fruits, and spices all day long. Don’t forget to try the “pua roti”—crispy baked pork—which locals tend to eat in the morning for breakfast.
Under palm trees and overlooking the sea, the Place Vai’ete holds a secret: it’s not only the perfect place to catch the sunset at the end of the day—it’s the perfect place to eat some grub, hear some music, and enjoy the vibes of the bustling city.
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