Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia located in Tahiti Island. There, you can shop for tropical treasures like black pearls, take in the carnival-like atmosphere of the waterfront, indulge in local treats from the food trucks in the center square and bask in both French and Polynesian charms. The people-watching is superb, and so are the opportunities for adventure. You can scuba dive, snorkel, swim, windsurf, sail, kite-board and more on the coast, and go hiking, climbing and canyoning on eco-tours in the areas surrounding the urban expanse.
Best Time to Visit
Although the temperatures are balmy year-round, Tahiti’s winter season enjoys less humidity. Tahiti really only experiences two distinct seasons: Winter brings less rain and pleasant temperatures while the summertime – November through April – can be unbearably hot and humid.
Top Places to Visit in Papeete
1. Parc Bougainville
The shady park got its name from the French explorer who discovered the island, and two naval cannons surround his statue. One was from the Seeadler, the infamous German raider run ground in the Cook Islands during the First World War. The other cannon came from the Zélée, a French naval ship.
2. Cathédrale de L’Immaculée
The oldest Catholic church on the island sits nearby. Inside the Cathédrale de L’Immaculée Conception is an impressive series of paintings detailing the crucifixion, and the quiet, cool and comforting place is a great place to contemplate.
3. Centre Vaima
The city’s first shopping mall. The chic shops are a mecca for the city’s European residents, and the streets are lined with designer names and world-class restaurants.