Tahiti Shore Excursions: Blissful Beaches & Cultural Wonders
While your cruise ship is docked in Papeete, there are a number of Tahiti shore excursions in which you can partake.
For history and culture, head away from Papeete to the east side of the island. Youll visit Venus Point, which is the site where European explorers originally came ashore to discover what the island offered. Venus Point is also next to a part of the coastal sea where you can often see locals racing their outrigger boats, which gives you a glimpse into the culture of Tahiti and popular activities to do. Also on the east side of the island is the house of American writer, James Norman Hall, whose Tahiti home showcases lovely island architecture.
To explore the flora of Tahiti, stick to the west side. During one of our west coast shore excursions you can visit the Vaipahi Gardens to see exotic flowers and trees and explore the underwater world of Maraa Grotto. Another west coast site not to miss is Arahurahu Marae, a fully restored temple nestled within the tropical forest of Tahiti.
The west coast is also home to Te Ruta Lagoon, a marvelous stretch of water that will feel like youre swimming in a heated pool full of fish, coral, and possibly even dolphins.
Visiting a beach is one of the top things to do in Tahiti from a cruise ship and its a blissful way to spend the day in port. Thanks to remarkably clear water shimmering in shades of turquoise bordered by white sand, you can easily relax andclear your mind of any stress or worry from back home.
Marina Of Papeete & Paofais Garden
Take the scenic route towards downtown and walk along the stunning Papeete waterfront. The perfect way to stretch your legs after a long flight or get some exercise in the morning.
At the waterfront, you will find the Marina of Papeete and the beautiful Paofais Garden. Numerous sailboats, large pontoons, and gorgeous yachts are all docked along the port. Enjoy a peaceful walk while you take in all of the splendid views.
Arriving By Cruise Ship And Have Day In Papeete
Hi we are arriving on a cruise ship into Papeete at 8.00and will have a day in Papeete. Is it easy to make our own way around the city or island or should we take an excursion organized by the cruise line?
It depends on what you want to do.
The city of Papeete is relatively small and most of the main tourist attractions can be accessed by foot as long as you are OK with some walking.
If you want to see the mountainous interior of the island, you will need to book a tour. You can book excursions privately online before you leave and have the tour pick you up from the port as opposed to going with the cruise line – it will more than likely be cheaper and a better overall experience. We were recently on the Ocean Princess 10 day FP cruise and had friends that did a half day 4×4 safari tour with “Patrick” of Patrick Adventure and they seemed to enjoy the tour.
If you are up for it , you could consider doing the half day 4×4 tour in the morning, then walking around Papeete in the afternoon. Check out the big market when you are walking around Papeete. Personally, unless you are buying pearls, I don’t think you don’t need much time to walk around Papeete UNLESS you are into museums, in which case there are a bunch there. I can’t provide any advice on that as we aren’t really museum people.
Here are some recommendations:
Papeete – 1/2 day 4×4 safari excursion with Patrick Adventures and then walking around the city. Make sure to visit the Marche.
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Top Things To Do In Papeete
Shop at the Papeete Market
The energy of the Papeete Market makes it a must see for visitors looking to buy local food, street eats, or souvenirs to bring back home. Buy a coffee at the Maeva Cafe if youre there early, or enjoy lunch as vendors fire up the barbeque grill. On Sunday, the general market becomes more of a farmers market where locals buy their food for the week ahead.
Take Photos from the Matavai Bay Lookout
Tahitis best view is from the stunning Matavai Bay lookout point, where you can ascend to the summit for a photo op while you breathe in the island air. Its particularly beautiful in the summer, where the lush vegetation contrasts with the deep blue sea below.
Go Scuba Diving or Golfing
No traveler to Tahiti would dream of leaving the island before scuba diving in its warm, shallow waters or enjoying a few rounds of golf at the exclusive Olivier Bréaud Golf Course, which is one of the only courses in all of French Polynesia. Its well publicized that Tahiti has some of the best ecosystems for scuba diving and biodiversity in the world.
Local Currency & Tipping Customs
The official currency of French Polynesia and Tahiti is the Pacific franc, or CFP. ATMs are available if you need to pull out cash. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in larger businesses, restaurants, and attractions, but it doesnt hurt to carry cash, either. There is typically a minimum purchase on each transaction with a credit card when you travel internationally. Tipping isnt common practice in Papeete.
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Museum Of Tahiti And The Islands
If you want to learn more about Tahiti and French Polynesia, in general, the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands in Puna’auia is a good place to do so. Here, concise and easy-to-understand exhibits explore Tahitis geography and natural history, its pre-European culture, the effects of colonization and its natural wonders. There are displays in English, too. Must-sees include its collection of ritual items, canoes, tattooing equipment and statues of wood or stone depicting various divinities called tiki.
After you visit the museum, step outside to observe surfers on the water or Moorea beyond. Or, peruse the gift shop, which other visitors said was excellent.
Eat A Traditional Polynesian Meal
Another one of the best things to do in Papeete is to eat and taste all of the delicious Polynesian food! There was one restaurant in particular that really blew us away and that would be Zen Cafe.
A hidden gem off of the beaten path is where you can find Zen Cafe. We cannot take all of the credit for this find, it came highly recommended by our host Thérèse. The cafe was recently bought by an up-and-coming chef who updated the menu.
Zen Café serves traditional Polynesian food with a French flair. The outside of the café doesnt look like a restaurant at all. However, we trusted Thérèses advice and went in with an open mind.
Holy moly! We were impressed! My entree was a beautiful presentation of perfectly cooked cod, placed in a bed of risotto and topped with white coconut foam. Our entire meal was fantastic! There were so many layers of unique and delicious flavors.
Maybe it was the Hinano beer, but I definitely believed that it was one of my favorite meals the entire trip.
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Culture & History Of The Papeete Cruise Port
The first European to explore Tahiti and many other South Pacific islands was Captain James Cook in the mid-18th century. However, native populations have lived on the island of Tahiti for centuries prior to any European presence. The harbor of Papeete wasnt built until the 1960s, and by that time the island had become a French overseas territory, which we now know as French Polynesia. The culture of the native Polynesian groups influenced the arts, including handicrafts and tattooing, that remain prevalent in the area today. Tahiti is now known as one of the worlds most beautiful travel destinations.
Papeete Port Facilities & Location
The port accommodates an ever-increasing amount of traffic from Papeete cruises each year. A new terminal is in progress to make the process more seamless for cruise passengers while theyre docking on cruises to Papeete. In terms of amenities, theres a tourism information office located right next to the terminal.
Places To Go In Papeete
Welcome, traveler, to Papeete. Your journey has landed you here, and new adventures are calling your name. Now that youve arrived, you can stay in the safety and comfort of your hotel and watch the world spin pastor you can embrace this new place youve come to. Learn its streets. Meet its people. Learn its history. Your hand is already on the doorknob, isnt it?
Things to Do in Papeete
Youll not be wanting for things to do in Papeete. Explore the downtown area in search of museums and boutiquesor that next delicious meal. What tickles your fancy? A delectable five-course supper at the restaurant youve been hearing about? Or perhaps youd rather read the paper while sipping hot coffee at one of the cafes scattered throughout town. Take in a show at the theatre, or just walk along down the main thoroughfare, watching people wander past.
Why spend hours ruminating over what to do in Papeete? Let the possibilities wash over you as you explore this new region. Move out on foot and get to know the area on a more personal level. Find that perfect souvenir at one of the smaller shops, or reinvent your entire artistic aesthetic at your new favorite gallery.
The Capital City Of Tahiti
If exotic Tahitian meets French cuisine, jaunts off the beaten path, black sandy shores and untouched natural beauty are your idea of a dream destination, look no further than Papeete, Tahiti.
Located in Tahiti Nui , the busy port city is undergoing a Renaissance of sorts and is the perfect place to disconnect or explore. Filled with scenic vistas, majestic waterfalls, secluded lagoons, colorful people and bustling food markets, there is plenty to do before you hop back on your cruise and depart to one of its more famous counterparts .
Spend a few days in Papeete and experience all the city has to offer:
Top 10 Things To Do In Papeete: Your Layover Plans In Tahiti
There are so many amazing and adventurous things to do in Papeete, Tahiti! If you are planning a getaway to one of French Polynesias breathtaking islands, such as Bora Bora. At some point in your journey, you will have a layover in Papeete, Tahiti.
Why not make the most out of your day in Tahiti and make an adventure out of it. Find out the top things to do in Papeete, Tahiti, and how to plan an unforgettable layover in Papeete.
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Walk Along One Of The Many Black Sand Beaches
Tahiti is famously known for its beautiful black sand beaches. Some of the popular ones close to Papeete include:
- Lafayette Beach: Approximately 15 to 20 minute drive from Papeete
- Point Venus Black Sand Beach: Approximately 20 minute drive from Papeete
- Plage de Vaiava: Approximately 20 to 30-minute drive from Papeete
- Taharuu: Approximately 1-hour drive from Papeete
Lafayette Beach at Le Tahiti Pearl Resorts
You can access Lafayette Beach by Le Tahiti Pearl Resort. We could not visit Tahiti without sticking our toes in the refreshing ocean waters and walking along the volcanic ash coastline. We were so fortunate to have chosen Pearl Beach Resort to spend the rest of our day in Tahiti.
Lafayette Beach is about a 15 to 20-minute taxi ride from downtown Papeete. Have lunch outside by their pool that overlooks the ocean and stunning black sand beach. Afterward, take a stroll down to the gorgeous black beach that stretches along the coastline for miles.
A visit to Lafayette Beach is the perfect opportunity to get away from the city and relax in front of some incredible views!
Regardless Of Which Tour You Choose Our Top Tips If You Purchase Your Tour In Town:
- Be aware that the person in town selling tours is not the same person who will take you on your tour.
- Verify that your driver will speak English, that the van is air-conditioned, and that it is non-smoking before you purchase, and then again before you get in the van. Ask for a different van or driver if the one provided doesnt meet the terms you agreed upon.
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Top 10 Things To Do On The Island Of Tahiti
You’ve promised yourself a long-overdue break.
Imagine somewhere close , it’s warm , gives you a chance to practice another language , taste some exceptional unique cuisine, where you can chill out or explore a unique lagoon lifestyle, people and culture. Somewhere you can swim in clear ocean waters, you wont be overrun with tourists, and where the people exude a quiet graciousness. If you’re an adventurer at heart but want a holiday that is relaxing, rewarding and fun, then this is the place for you!
1. James Norman Hall House
We love this hidden Pacific gem, which celebrates the life of the colourful character, James Norman Hall. A famous American writer, adventurer, soldier, pilot and poet, he is best known for co-penning The Mutiny on the Bounty. James Michener described Hall as the most beloved American that ever came to the tropics. Hall lived in the colonial homestead situated near the edge of Matavai Bay from 1920 until his death in 1951.Inside, it is a treasure trove of original artefacts. Highlights include Halls typewriter, desk and hundreds of photos and mementos. The home is set in a delightful tropical garden, resplendent with a breadfruit tree the initiator of the bounty saga!
Getting ThereLocated on the coastal highway at Arue, 5.5km east of Papeete town and a short distance before you get to the Tahiti Pearl Hotel. Parking is a little tricky best park in the back of the bus stop in front of the house, leaving space for tour buses.
Languages Spoken In Tahiti
The main languages spoken by the locals are French and Tahitian. However, a lot of the resort employees and people in the tourist industry speak English as well. Familiarize yourself with a couple of easy words. Its something very simple, but makes a huge difference!
Hello: Ia ora na Thank you: Mauruuru Welcome: Maeva Good Bye: Nana
Merci: Thank you Hello: Bonjour Goodbye: Au revoir
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Complete Guide To Sailing From Papeete Tahiti French Polynesia
Admit it. You’ve dreamed of jetting off to Tahiti to trade in everyday life for a luxury cruise around French Polynesia. You’ve dreamed of visiting Bora Bora, the home of the overwater bungalow, and you’ve heard tales of the wonderful food trucks in and around Papeete that serve incredible local delicacies. You want to go pearl shopping in Taha’a and climb Belvedere Lookoutin Moorea. A variety of cruise lines can help you achieve all of those dreams from the Tahiti cruise terminal.
Being the only international commercial port in French Polynesia, Port Autonome de Papeete on Tahiti accommodates a wide range of vessels, from cruise ships to cargo freighters to luxury yachts. Its also the largest cruise port in the French overseas territory and serves about 2 million cruisers annually .
In addition to multi-night cruises, Papeete port is also the embarkation point for regular ferries to Moorea and Bora Bora.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the region is welcoming international visitors. Here’s everything you need to know about French Polynesia’s reopening.
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Papeete, Tahiti 98714French Polynesia
Tahiti Cruise Port Facilities
Cruise ships dock in the heart of Papeete, Tahiti’s capital city, alongside a waterfront esplanade. A new, two-storey cruise terminal is planned, and completion is expected sometime in 2020. The building will streamline the entry from the ship to the port along Boulevard Pomare, which incidentally was the family name of the island’s kings and queens, when it was ruled by a royal family until the late 19th century.
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Tahiti Cruises Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Tahiti Ocean Cruise?
A Tahiti ocean cruise in French Polynesia is typically a momentary stopover on a longer cruise. Most cruises will stop on the island for a few days before moving onto a nearby destination such as Moorea or other French Polynesian islands.
- What is included on a Tahiti Ocean Cruise?
Typically cruise packages will include room, board, entertainment, WiFi, an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages package, and other amenities that vary based on the package that you pick.
- Whats the Best Cruise for a Tahiti Ocean Cruise?
There are typically several options, you will usually find a multiple destination cruise to Tahiti that will take you to other locations throughout the world. The best option will depend on your goals, if you want to stay in Tahiti longer, consider a cruise that will stopover for more than a few days. If you don’t mind a quick visit which is typically all you need to see most of the top attractions, most cruises to Tahiti will work.
- How Much Does a Tahiti Ocean Cruise Cost?
A Tahiti ocean cruise will vary significantly depending on the package that you purchase and other factors, the cost can range around $3,000 to $5,000 USD for a shorter cruise with multiple amenities up to $15,000 to $40,000 or more for a worldwide or multiple destination cruise with luxury amenities from a cruise provider like Princess or Viking.
Learn More About Tahiti Cruises