Dining on Tahiti
Supplied by a daily bounty of fresh fish and fruits, Tahiti is replete with many fine restaurants in and around Papeete. Several resorts regularly host Tahitian feasts with spectacular music and dance shows. These events can be reserved in advance by your preferred travel professional or at your resort on arrival.
Resort restaurants include:
The elegant Le Lotus at InterContinental Resort Tahiti; La Plantation at Le Meridien Tahiti; Moevai and the famous Quinn's Bar at Sheraton Hotel Tahiti; Hiti Mahana at Radisson Plaza; and Le Bougainville and Le Sakura at Sofitel Tahiti Resort.
A sampling of popular local restaurants includes:
Casablanca with a blending of French and Tahitian cooking styles; Lou Pescadou with the best of Italian pizzas and pasta; The Mango Cafe specializes in Polynesian-French fusion offered in a chic, art nouveau atmosphere. Don't forget dessert! Auberge du Pacific alongside the lagoon and Captain Bligh near the Lagoonarium. Other popular choices among locals and visitors alike include alike include Coco's, Lion d'Or, Vaitiare, Morrison's Café, Moana Iti, Le Cigalon, L'O a la Bouche, L'Apizzeria, La Romana, Jack Lobster and Le Belvèdere with views of the city.
Papeete evening highlight with Les Roulottes:
Enjoy a unique and informal dinner or a memorable post-dinner dessert at Vai'ete Square. Here, dozens of colorful roulottes. Les Roulottes are mobile diners that set up shop around 6 pm each afternoon along the boat dock and serve hot meals until the wee hours of the morning. The boardwalk atmosphere is an informal and lively destination not to be missed. These two dozen licensed, colorful food-vans provide a variety of inexpensive but fresh and well prepared dishes, as well as a bar stool to sit and watch the waterfront scene of Papeete-by-night. The sights are almost as good as the food. Here you can order barbecue steaks, chicken and shish-kabob, served with French fries, Poisson cru and Russian potato salad. Specialty diners serve pizza cooked in a wood-burning stove, couscous, fish and chips, Tahitian food, barbecue veal and freshly worked hot delicacies from the provinces of China. Your dinner can be a veritable movable feast, with a tempting choice of crepes for dessert. No alcohol is served here, but the bars and nightclubs are just across the street.
For the visitor, Tahiti means unlimited possibilities:
- Dining at one of the surprising number of restaurants around Papeete or at the relaxed roulottes along the waterfront in Vai'ete Square.
- Shopping along the waterfront and in the Public Market of Papeete for Tahitian collectibles such as pareu, monoi oil, artwork, precious native wood carvings, and beautiful Tahitian Pearls.
- Exploration of the pristine interior and beautiful coastline by 4x4 excursion, guided nature hikes, escorted tours, or rental car.
- Discovery of the lagoon waters by diving, snorkeling, sailing, surfing, deep-sea fishing, outrigger canoeing, or guided catamaran tours.
- Enjoyment of the beachside resorts featuring luxurious spas, spectacular shows, fine restaurants, and the full range of rooms, suites, and bungalows.
Public Market Shopping
Discover the true heart of Papeete - 155 year old public market - called Le Marché. Shop from hundreds of stands filled with Tahitian-made crafts, oils, vanilla, fruits, and flowers. The perfect place to find everything imaginable from all the islands. Open everyday except holidays, the market is especially colorful and lively on Sunday mornings when locals stock up for a day of family gatherings. Located two blocks from the waterfront and easily reached by Le Truck or by taxi from the resort.
Evenings at Vai'ete Square
Enjoy a unique and informal dinner or a memorable post-dinner dessert at Vai'ete Square. Here, dozens of colorful roulottes, or food wagons, host a great variety of island cuisine and desserts. The boardwalk atmosphere is an informal and lively setting not to be missed.
A favorite among visitors for over 100 years! The route takes in more than 71 miles of dramatic coastline scenery with wave-pounded cliffs, peaceful beaches, and brightly colored churches. Popular stops include many overlooks, waterfalls, and ancient sites. An extended tour takes you to the peninsula of Tahiti-Iti.
Safari Into the Island's Interior
Within the unpopulated and lush jungle-like interior of Tahiti Nui is an unspoiled world of towering waterfalls, deep flower-filled valleys, large lakes, and colossal green peaks rising over one mile above the valley floor. This hidden treasure of Tahiti is best explored by a guided 4X4 safari, breathtaking helicopter tour, or on a hiking trip led by a naturalist.
Adventurous travelers will love the exciting guided tours that lead into rugged interior. Stops can include spectacular waterfalls and natural pools (some in which you can swim), mountain peaks with panoramic views, archeological sites , grottos, and lava tubes.
The island of Tahiti is perfect for both beginning and advanced divers. Highlights include shallow waters, oceanic drop-offs, sunken ships and planes, bright coral walls, and schools of smaller species.
Organized Excursions On Tahiti
Yamaha Rhino 4x4 Guided Tours *TOP PICK
Explore Tahiti and its valleys on board your own Rhino (a type of 4x4 that you drive and follow your guide). This is a great way to see Tahiti’s natural beauty: lush flora, giants ferns, waterfalls, etc. You and your guide will make pit stops for great views of mountains, valleys and the lagoon. The Rhino is a fun and unique way to discover another side of Tahiti whether you’re driving on the road or on dirt tracks. (available every day. Must have drivers license. Manual/Stick shift only) 2 Hours - 1 or 2 people. (request your preferred time) 4 Hours - 1 or 2 people. (request your preferred time) Full Day (picnic included) - 1 or 2 people. (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Tahiti and Her Tropical Treasures Circle Island Tour (5 hours)
Discover the tropical ambiance of Tahiti on a complete tour around the island: Visit the Tahara’a view point, Venus Point, the Arahoho Blow Hole, the Waterfalls, the Paul Gauguin Museum, the Vaipahi Garden and the Mara’a Fern Grottos. (Available every day from 12:45-5:45pm)
Mountain 4x4 Safari (4 hours)
Enjoy a 4 wheel drive experience at the Papenoo Valley with magnificent views of the surrounding green hills. (Available every day. 8:30-12:30 & 1:30-5:30)
Inner Island 4x4 Safari (7 ½ hours)
A whole day of exciting adventure in the inner island of Tahiti with its waterfalls, rivers and archeological sites. Lunch not included. (Available every day. 9:30-5:00)
Hiking in Fautaua Valley (Half Day)
A moderately difficult hiking trail. Explore the incredible Fautaua Valley with its vast pools set in column-like basalt, see archaeological sites and the 450 foot Loti waterfall. (Available every day. Preferred time may be requested)
Museum of Tahiti
The Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands is considered to be one of the best and most beautiful museums in the South Pacific. Polynesian history is carefully recorded and presented. Highlights include rare collections of art carvings and historical artifacts. European arrival is also presented and put into context.
The Pearl Museum is the only museum in the world devoted entirely to pearls. The unique presentations describe and demonstrate the history and practice of cultivating pearls as well as their place in art, history, mythology, and religion.
In the heart of the waterfront area, visitors find a newly renovated and peaceful oasis. Crowned by a massive banyan tree, the park is named in honor of the French explorer and navigator, Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) and features running streams and lush vegetation.
Adjacent to the Gauguin Museum, this lush and manicured garden features hundreds of varieties of tropical trees, plants, and flowers including bamboo, bananas, palms, and hibiscus. The garden was originally planted by American botanist Harrison Smith who moved to Tahiti in 1919.
The Pa'ofa'i Gardens
Located on the waterfront near downtown Papeete, the Pa'ofai Gardens once welcomed large double-hulled canoes or ships that carried great leaders, high priests and brave warriors from the three corners of the Polynesian Triangle: Easter Island, New Zealand, and Hawaii. This site has been transformed into a beautiful landscaped park with walking paths and children playgrounds.
At the tip of a beautiful peninsula lined with black-sand beaches, this area was the historic landing site of many of the early explorers including Captain Cook and Captain William Bligh. Tahiti's only lighthouse, built in 1867, stands within a park popular with locals for community events and festivals.