Papeete

Paofai gardens

Papeete is the largest city in and capital of French Polynesia on the island of Tahiti.

Understand

Papeete is not a tropical paradise. It is a typical government center and industrial port with small doses of French and Polynesian charm. It has shopping, eating, and drinking, but very little sightseeing for a capital city and even fewer top-class hotels. The residents speak French and Tahitian, although English is spoken by many in the tourist trade. The people-watching is superb.

Get in

Papeete International Airport (PPT) is located in the district of Faaa. Air Tahiti is located in the main building and Air Moorea about 100 m away. The following services are available at the airport: bar, self-service and gourmet restaurant, bank, ATM, post office, telephone, boutiques, newspaper stand, car rental agencies, baggage lockers and public restrooms. There is a taxi stand and a truck stop at the airport.

International

Domestic

Minimum connecting times

Please consider the following minimum connecting times for Papeete Ariport:

Get around

Papeete is a walking city. It's really too small to bother with any other form of transport, unless you are going out to the fringes, or would simply like to experience the famous le truck for fun (hop-on, hop-off, anywhere in the city center for about XPF100!) Bring a water bottle: it can be quite hot and humid.

Don't bother with taxis: they're extremely expensive and very hard to find after 6pm, apart from two dedicated taxi stands along the waterfront. Meters are unheard of, so be sure to confirm the fare (in French, if possible) before getting into a taxi, and don't be afraid to protest or refuse to ride if you think the fare too high; as a general rule, you should never have to pay more than XPF 1500 for a journey from one side of the city center to the other. Many drivers distribute calling cards when you disembark; if you'll be relying on taxi transport for whatever reason during your stay, it's definitely worth becoming a repeat customer with a driver you trust and who will give you a good deal.

Le Truck will take you to other parts of the island and around town quite cheaply.

See

Waterfront

Buy

Black pearls abound. There is just about every kind of store here, including some (particularly near the Marché) who have no problem selling you imitation balls of black glass or fiberglass at market prices. Be sure to look for a certificate of authenticity on the wall of the shop, and trust your guidebook for recommendations.

Eat

You can go broke eating in this town. There are some fine restaurants but expect to pay US$30 for a hamburger at a hotel restaurant or other proper sit-down establishment.

There are a lot of midrange places where you can expect to pay US$20-30 for your whole meal. French and Chinese are well represented here. Look for the word "Snack" in the name of the restaurant. There is also a conveyor belt sushi place that's very good, and the chefs are quite friendly there.

The best deal in town is the Roulottes, the food trucks that set up shop every evening in the big square in the waterfront park. Every day they begin setting up around dusk. Chinese, French, and Tahitian cuisine are all well represented. You can get chow mein, poisson cru, crepes, pizza, ice cream, and because this is France, everything comes with bread. Expect to pay about XPF1500 for your whole meal.

Drink

You can expect to pay upwards of US$10 for a pint of beer. A (small) jug of microbrew will run you US$35. Buy pitchers of Hinano to keep the costs down.

Go next

By plane

See #Get in.

By boat

If you have the time, take the ferry over to Moorea.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 02, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.