Things to do in Papeete, Tahiti

Itineraries for Your Trip to Papeete

Papeete locals share their perfect days.
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2 Days in Papeete for First Timers

Curated by Elen TurnerElen is a writer and editor based in the small city of Nelson, on New Zealand's South Island. Her work focuses on travel, arts, culture, and the humanities. When not working, she likes to explore one of the three national parks on her doorstep.

Papeete is a good jumping-off point for exploring Tahiti and the other islands of French Polynesia. With a hybrid culture, delicious food, and beautiful nature, the city and environs have plenty to see and do. Read on for our top suggestions for a 2-day itinerary.

Day 1: Morning

Get an overview of the city on a guided walking, cycling, or Segway tour. You’ll stop by churches, gardens, museums, and hidden places you might otherwise overlook. Afterward, experience local culture and pick up a light lunch or some tropical fruit at the bustling Municipal Market.

Day 1: Afternoon

Take a boat ride around the coast of Tahiti. Dolphin-watching cruises are fun for travelers of all ages, and you also typically get to swim or snorkel in a lagoon. Alternatively, relax over a long, leisurely lunch, then join a sunset cruise to take you into the evening.

Day 1: Night

Every evening, Papeete’s waterfront comes alive with food trucks and, sometimes, live music. Sample delicacies that combine the best of Polynesian and French cuisine. If you want to get the party started, seek out some local punch made with Tahitian rum.

Day 2: Morning

Tahiti is more than just Papeete, so head out to see the island. Guided tours lead you to more remote places, such as traditional meeting houses (marae), caves, waterfalls, and an iconic lighthouse.

Day 2: Afternoon

After an active morning, spend the afternoon chilling out on one of Tahiti’s black-sand beaches. The one closest to Papeete, Bain Lot Beach, is within walking distance of the center of town.

Day 2: Night

On your last night in Papeete, try some first-rate cuisine combining French and Tahitian ingredients and flavors. Freshly caught seafood features prominently on most menus, as does French wine. Or taste Tahitian wine, produced from grapes grown on neighboring Rangiroa Atoll.

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