The Capital of Papeete on Tahiti

Take Off
Jörgen Wennberg
Mon 25 Apr 2016 09:42
The Capital of Tahiti: with almost 180 000 inhabitants out of a total French Polynesian population of 260 000, Tahiti holds the largest population out of all the islands of French Polynesia. It comes as no surprise then that Tahiti is also the most modern and well equipped island, where you find malls, movie theatres, department stores such as McStore and Nespresso (!). The population in Tahiti is very mixed however they mostly all speak Tahiti, French and English!

We were lying in the marina right in the heart of Papeete: walking distance to everything. We even found sister Mado having her own snack in Papeete... “Snack Mado” haha...


It felt quite nice to have a town where you could find nearly everything. Last time was in Panama nearly 3 months ago. We didn’t know we liked “window-shopping”, however just knowing that the goods in the shops are for sale makes you fell you want to shop….anything! The Marina we stayed in was beautiful.


Our morning walks with a view over Moorea. Beautiful!


Early trainers in the morning 


The Notre-Dame Cathedral: towering over the heart of the city, the Notre Dame Cathedral is the point of reference to the road that encircles the island, i.e. PK 0 as of “Point Kilometrique” or PK (meaning “kilometer point”) system, which is the local system for navigation. The church, which is made out of coral, from Mangareva in the Gambier islands in 1875, and was restored in 2005. Stained-glass windows and woodwork.


The Papeete Market: full of bright colours and with a typically Polynesian ambiance, the market offers all kinds of traditional Polynesian arts & crafts, sarongs (pareu in Tahitian), monoi oil and vanilla beans are beautifully presented alongside a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, fish and crustaceans. 


Flowers, flowers and more flowers… the smell is wonderful!


Vaiete Square “Les Roulottes”
Next to the dock where we were lying, on the Vaiete Square, we enjoyed several cheap and yummy dinners as we watched the chefs cooking our dinners in their tinny roulottes (vans)! There was a choice of everything: pizzas, sushi, crêpes, mouthwatering poisson cru with coconut milk, Chinese food and more. The dining room is in the open-air on the Square. Every evening after the dinner they pack their roulettes and leave the Square. During the morning walk through the square you could not tell there had been over more than 200 people eating dinner on the square the night before. By late afternoon they come back, unload their roulettes and start serving dinner again. This is on every evening… I think we ate dinner there 3 or 4 evenings!

In these tiny roulettes, to the right, they cook the dinners. 


The first evening we had dinner with Heidi and Eric being his last evening. The day after he flew back home to France after being away from his family for nearly 8 months.


This was one of our last nights. We had dinner with 2 other families, Heidi and Kiwi-Beanz: a mix of Swedish, French, Swiss, English and New Zeeland!



Our first visit on Tahiti was to the Tahiti Museum explaining how the South Pacific islands have erected from the sea: some being still active volcanoes (the youngest islands such as the Marquesas), some being passive volcanoes with a coral around (older islands such as Bora Bora) and some being only atolls with a crater lake in the middle (the oldest islands such as the Tuamotus). Very interesting. From the Museum we had a wonderful evening view over to Moorea.