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Papeete
Travel Guide

Papeete

The spiritual capital city of French Polynesia is full of surprises, from exotic fruit and tropical vegetation to its famous black pearls.

Papeete is a port city on the west coast of the island of Tahiti known for its rare black pearls. These exceptional gems are sold in market stalls around the city and at the Black Pearl Museum. Visit the charming waterfront to experience the highlights of French Polynesia’s capital city, including a market and the impressive town hall.

The Black Pearl Museum is the ideal place to see the city’s most famous export. Learn about the science and nature behind the pearls. See exhibits of pearls in vibrant hues of gold, silver, blue and green. You can purchase your own in the museum shop or from a vendor.

French Polynesia is also renowned for exotic fruit, such as nono, breadfruit, carambolas and soursops. Try these tasty and healthy treats at Papeete Market. Examine handmade items across two floors of the large indoor market. Haggle with vendors over hats, handicrafts and fragrant oils.

Relax under the shelter of a banyan tree in Parc Bougainville. Enjoy a traditional Tahitian picnic of tropical fruit and native fish. Kids can play on the swings in the playground.

The majestic Papeete Town Hall is the city’s architectural highlight and a fine example of French colonial design. See its brightly colored façade and admire the clock tower that seems to hover over the city. Relax in the site’s well-kept gardens. Visit Tahiti’s oldest Catholic church, the Cathédrale de l’Immaculée Conception. The church, which blends Gothic and Colonial styles, represents France’s presence on the island in the 1800s.

Learn about French Polynesia’s turbulent nuclear history at the Place du 2 Juillet, 1966. The tranquil park memorializes 30 years of nuclear tests in the area.

Fly into Papeete via Faa’a International Airport, just a 15-minute drive from the city centre. Papeete enjoys a mild, tropical climate year-around but it is best to avoid visiting during December and January, the wettest months. The landmarks around Papeete’s waterfront present a carnival of bright colors and enchanting aromas.

Hotel Sarah Nui
Hotel Sarah Nui
3 out of 5
BP 1635, Papeete, Tahiti
The price is NZ$194 per night from 1 Jun. to 1 Jun.
Located in the heart of Papeete, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Port de Pape'ete and Papeete Town Hall. Papeete Market and Black Pearl Museum are also ...
3.4/5 (968 reviews)
"A good hotel for access to the ferry to the Moorea. It’s within easy walking distance. The hotel staff let us store our luggage behind the counter before we checked in so we didn’t have to lug it around Papeete. I would recommend this hotel if you need a place to crash in Papeete before moving on ..."

Reviewed on 20 Dec. 2020

Hotel Sarah Nui
Mahana Lodge Hostel & Backpacker
Mahana Lodge Hostel & Backpacker
2 out of 5
BP 44983, Papeete, Tahiti
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is NZ$112 per night from 13 May to 13 May
Located in the heart of Papeete, this hostel is steps away from Papeete Town Hall and Papeete Market. Black Pearl Museum and Cathedrale de L'lmmaculee Conception ...
4.3/5Excellent! (110 reviews)
"They promised breakfast. There was none. Just a hunk of hard bread."

Reviewed on 12 Feb. 2020

Mahana Lodge Hostel & Backpacker
Studio Vaiana - Tahiti
Studio Vaiana - Tahiti
3.5 out of 5
Ave du Commandant Destremau, Papeete
Get Rates
Situated by the ocean, this apartment building is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) from Place Jacques Chirac and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Papeete Market. Parc Bougainville and Cathedrale ...
5/5Exceptional! (1 review)
Beautiful place!
"Amazing! Beautiful bright and clean studio with fantastic amenities and Alexandra went above and beyond to accommodate us when our rental car was not ready. View from the balcony and pool are amazing to wake up to and have dinner and a drink on."

Reviewed on 1 Jul. 2019

Studio Vaiana - Tahiti
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Studio Vaiana - Tahiti
Studio Vaiana - Tahiti
3.5 out of 5
Ave du Commandant Destremau, Papeete
Situated by the ocean, this apartment building is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) from Place Jacques Chirac and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Papeete Market. Parc Bougainville and Cathedrale ...
5/5Exceptional! (1 review)
Beautiful place!
"Amazing! Beautiful bright and clean studio with fantastic amenities and Alexandra went above and beyond to accommodate us when our rental car was not ready. View from the balcony and pool are amazing to wake up to and have dinner and a drink on."

Reviewed on 1 Jul. 2019

Studio Vaiana - Tahiti
Chez Vous à Papeete
Chez Vous à Papeete
3 out of 5
Rue Cook, Residence Cook, Papeete, Tahiti
Located in the heart of Papeete, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Place Jacques Chirac, Parc Bougainville and Black Pearl Museum. Papeete ...
3.9/5Very Good! (31 reviews)
"It was handy to everything we wished to do. Host communication was faultless. Only drawback would be the entry facade."

Reviewed on 10 Mar. 2020

Chez Vous à Papeete
J & D Lodge Papeete Center
J & D Lodge Papeete Center
Located in the heart of Papeete, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Papeete Town Hall and Papeete Market. Black Pearl Museum and Cathedrale de L'lmmaculee ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (3 reviews)
Clean, well-prepared property close to shopping, Papeete Market, and the ferries to Moorea.
"The owners were kind to meet me at the airport and transport me to the apartment. On day of departure easily walked the few blocks to the ferry, for transfer to Moorea. The property was well-priced for this single-room apartment downtown close to shopping/ferries."

Reviewed on 22 Sep. 2020

J & D Lodge Papeete Center
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Papeete

Top activities in Papeete

Reviews of Papeete

3.7

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
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3 - Okay
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1/5 - Terrible

Verified traveller

5 Jan. 2020

We went at New Year and the place closes in 1 January and many businesses not back until 4th. Not much for tourists to do in Papeete.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

18 Nov. 2019

A bit pricey as expected.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

18 Nov. 2019

French Polynesia is exotic, culture, park, markets, dining cafes, and black pearls and shopping.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

5 May 2019

Warm friendly people in a beautiful setting very relaxing and loved the music and cultural events.Also the tourist centre by the water was ver helpful on directions about the island.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

2 Mar. 2019

Papeete was a bit disgusting to say the least. Not much to do or see nothing is ever open unless a cruise ship is in port and then only for a few hours. So hard to find good food options and the place lacks hospitality. Moorea was amazing

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