Archive for June, 2014

Papeete, Tahiti By Frank Lazzaro

June 15, 2014

Papeete is the capital city of Tahiti, in French Polynesia. Relatively easy to reach form the west coast, it is an 8 hour non stop flight from LAX. Upon arrival into Tahiti’s Faaa Airport, we were greeted by Tahitian vahines (women) who gave the traditional tiare flower to place behind our ears. The flower goes to the left ear if you are taken, or right ear if you are available (or behind both if you are undecided). Also present in the arrivals area were Tahitian musicians and a dancer, creating a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle we left behind in LA.
Papeete is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a blend of South Pacific and European influences. Being a French Territory, it is common to find sidewalk cafes, upscale boutiques, pearl shops, and fine French cuisine. Papeete’s picturesque waterfront is home to its cultural centers, cruise ship piers, and ferry docks to its sister Island Moorea. Just a few blocks form the pier is Papeete’s colorful 2 story open air public market, “La Marche” the where locals and visitors come to shop. Here you will find everything from fresh seafood and produce, to local handicrafts, clothing and various souvenirs. It is best to visit in the early morning when it is bustling with activity.
We opted to stay just outside of Papeete at the Le Meridien hotel, which has a nice little beach and a lovely sand bottom swimming pool. We splurged for one of the overwater bungalows, perched over the lagoon with crystal clear waters and a stunning view of Moorea. From our outdoor deck we could feed the tropical fish teeming over the coral reef just outside of our bungalow. It was quite idyllic and the soothing sound of the waves crashing on the outer reef made for a good nights sleep. We did venture out to the main restaurant and bar where an amazing Polynesian Drum and dance troupe was performing for the guests. The speed and agility of the beautiful Tahitian women as they gyrated their hips to the pulsating beats was incredible to watch.
Once the sun sets, downtown Papeete really comes to life. One of the best features is the Roulottes or food trucks that set up every night at the waterfront promenade. Between 10 and 20 food trucks offer everything from Chinese food, to crepes, pizzas, poisson cru (Tahiti national dish- raw tuna in coconut milk), and a variety of other specialties. In addition to being a great place to mix with the locals, it also offers a great value for dinner, as Tahiti can be quote pricey at most nice restaurants. As the night wears on into the late hours, Papeete’s denizens of the night can be found hanging in and around vibrant nightclubs and bars. Papeete is the only part of French Polynesia to have any nightlife, and it is not unusual to see local entertainment in the form of drag queen shows and other colorful characters.
We rented a car to explore the main island outside of the city, and it was well worth doing. The circle island road passes some stunning black sand beaches, historical land marks related to Captain Cook and the crew of the Bounty, natural blowholes, majestic waterfalls, and small roadside eateries. We ventured further out to Tahiti Iti ( the smaller part of the island), all the way to the road’s end at the famous surf spot Teahupoo. Unfortunately the waves were flat, but we enjoyed the beach for awhile and the beautiful scenery in that undeveloped part of the island.
To inquire more and plan your Tahiti vacation or Tahiti honeymoon please visit or call 1-866-435-0844.Tahiti roulottes