Saturday, December 31, 2016



Papeete is a very small coastal town on the Island of Tahiti.  It is very simple, hot and a nice place to spend some time strolling the streets and enjoying lunch in one of their great French bistros.  The people are warm, friendly and speak mostly French.  English is not spoken at most restaurants and business establishments so brush up on some French before you come here.  Also exchange your dollars for Polynesian Francs.  The place is quite expensive so bring lots of cash as a lot of places do not accept credit cards.  I loved walking the streets of Papeete and just observing the local culture and people.  Such warmth and Aloha here with everyone seeming just wanting to eat and enjoy family. When visiting Tahiti leave your fancy handbags, watches, suits, long sleeved shirts, pants and valuables at home.  All you need here are shorts and very light tops.  It is very hot and many places are not air conditioned our very under air conditioned.  I packed long pants and long sleeved shirts and never wore them during a two week period.  Never.  All you want here is a good pair of Reef Shoes, Board Shorts and DriFit tee shirts.  I did not even want to wear golf shirts here because it was just too hot.  We spent a lot of time in the water in Tahiti so it was good that I brought two bathing suits.  Reef Shoes are a must here if you are going to enjoy snorkeling.  Bring sunscreen, hats (I lost one on a Jet Ski), snorkel gear and the lightest clothes you can find.  Bring lots of cash and a credit card.  While mostly places take Polynesian Francs, there are some vendors that will accept US Dollars and credit cards.  There are bank machines on the Islands and major hotels allow you to change up to $200 US at the front desk each day.  Tipping here is by choice.  While the French and Australians do not tip much, Americans seem to tip as if at home.  We always gave around 10%- 20% tips depending on service and always tipped our tour guides and drivers.  Dining in Papeete can be a really nice culinary adventure.  We hit some of the best French Bistro's on the Island and loved them.
Never have eaten so much Fois Gras in my life.  We enjoyed Foie Gras almost daily during our visit.  Again the restaurants can be expensive with dishes ranging from $20 to $40.  A cheeseburger at the Intercontinental Resort will run you $20 and a glass of wine $18.  Dinner at a fine French restaurant like Le Coco's can run $100 - $150 per person.  There is a food truck scene near the ferry terminal in downtown Papeete.  We found excellent food and huge portions there for around $20 per plate and each plate was more than enough to eat for one person.  Downtown Papeete has many food vendors serving local dishes, sandwiches and even pizza.  Prices are not too high.  We found a small grocery type store that served incredible sashimi plates for around $10 plus large plates of beef and fish.  One thing people like to do in Tahiti is buy Pearls and Pearls are everywhere.  Prices vary dramatically so do your homework.  We found a very nice Pearl dealer in Papeete (photo of card below).  The owner of the store has family that raises the Pearls and he sells them in his two shops where he has a staff that can mount and design jewelry for you.  Prices seemed to be in line with what we saw in some of the nicer Pearl shops and were lower than the shops in Moorea and Bora Bora.  We took taxi's most everywhere in Papeete.  Make sure you negotiate a rate prior to booking your travel.  We were charged $49 from the airport to our hotel upon arrival and the fare going back was $20.  The taxi's do not have meters from what we could see.  Everything was negotiated.  Cabs were clean and the drivers were very nice.  Most speak only French so always good to have your destination written down for them in French if possible.  The Concierge at our hotel was very helpful arranging for transportation.

Click links below for additional posts and my favorite restaurants on the Island of Tahiti;

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