About Papeete

Although this gorgeous South Pacific island of Tahiti has its share of beautiful coves, black sand, and lush, unspoilt mountainous landscapes full of cascading waterfalls and dramatic coastal blowholes, do not expect some kind of laid-back desert(ed) island settlement when you cruise into the main port and capital, Papeete.

One stroll around its harbour-full of private yachts, across roads packed with expensive cars, or past its streets-full of chic boutiques, designer label stores and pulsating bars and nightclubs, and you could believe yourself to be in the French Caribbean or even the French Riviera.

It is a lot of fun, though.  Especially around the cosmopolitan city market which is permanently busy with Tahitian, French, Indian, and Chinese furiously trading their wares. As it was his enthusiastic portrayal of Polynesian beauty that contributed so much to our knowledge and appreciation of Tahiti, a visit to the Paul Gauguin museum (and botanical garden) in Port Phaeton is always popular.


Shore excursions in Papeete

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Mountain Safari

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Take in the delights of Tahiti and enjoy the island’s magnificent interior discovering its hidden gems, many off road.

Your adventure begins with a drive through the vibrant capital. From the bustling downtown area, turn off the main road to begin your amazing 4x4 adventure. Travel along the beautiful east coast to the abundant hilly interior of this mystical Island.

Papenoo Valley is the largest in Tahiti, with a dramatic bridge which spans the island’s longest river. Passing through the Papenoo Valley is as exciting as it is exotic. You’ll traverse the interior of the island following the line of the cascading valley, rich in archaeological sites, spectacular views of impressive waterfalls. See the cooling mountain streams and vertical cliff faces, laced with green vines and tropical vegetation.

Hear about Tahiti's large native population, who used to live within the valley walls, and see where these inhabitants grew their crops.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by 4x4 vehicle. This is an off-road experience and the itinerary may be modified due to local weather conditions and accessibility. The trails can be muddy and slippery, so you may get dirty. Please take bottled water with you and insect repellent. Before you book this excursion, you must refer to the ‘Activity Excursion’ paragraph under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure. This tour is not suitable for those with injuries or conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride. Pregnant women and children under 6 may not participate.

Papeete Segway Tour

Activity medium

Duration: 1½ hours

Swap 2 feet for 2 wheels and hit the road on a Segway tour of Papeete.

A perfect way to explore Papeete and its idyllic surrounding on 2 wheels with an upright handle-bar, with you controlling how fast you’d like to go.

After a safety briefing, you’ll set off in your group, whizzing along at your own pace. It’s the ideal way to get up close and personal with the history, culture and lush vegetation of the area. You’ll make various stops along the way between Place Vaiete and Place Toata, so have your cameras ready to capture the sights.

Along the route, you’ll discover an abundance of plant life, unique to the area, such as coconut trees, purau (the wild hibiscus). You’ll also see pandanus, a palm-like tree which is used to make the roofs of bungalows, or woven by the locals to make bags.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by segway. Please wear comfortable appropriate attire including sturdy closed toe shoes, sun protection, insect repellent and bring a bottle of water. Passengers under 16 may not participate. Before you book this excursion, please refer to the ‘Activity Excursion’ paragraph under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure.

Scenic Helicopter Ride over Tahiti

Activity low

Duration: 1½ hours

Take a breath-taking helicopter flight soaring over Tahiti.

Your experience will begin with a short minibus drive to the helipad, where you’ll be briefed on your flight before you take to the skies.

Capture the stunning lagoon of Tahiti from the sky. Skim over the crystal clear waters, catch sight of coral reefs and take in the views of the white sandy beaches, the lush green valleys and mountains. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by minibus and helicopter. All passengers are required to take their passports. Total flight time is around 15 minutes. Tour routes and sights visited may vary according to wind and weather conditions. A minimum of 4 passengers per flight is required. Children under 8 may not participate.

Snapshot of Tahiti

Activity high

Duration: 3½ hours

This delightful tour along the east coast takes you through downtown Papeete and on to some of the island’s most noted sites.

With your guide, you’ll visit the beautiful James Norman Hall Museum, dedicated to the American writer and author of the legendary best seller, ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’. This charming colonial-style home is sure to captivate your imagination.

Have your camera ready, for a stop at Pointe Venus, named after the famous Captain James Cook’s scientific observation mission of the Planet Venus. The beautiful black sand beach was the landing place of the first European discoverers and where the only lighthouse in Tahiti can be found. You’ll stop to take in the historic sights and special island atmosphere of this location.

You’ll then continue to the district of Tiarei to see the splendid blowhole of Arahoho. This geological phenomenon has been fascinating visitors for centuries. Feel the power of the sea as it is pressed into an ancient lava tube, before exploding in a thunderous spray.

Your final stop is at Taharaa View point, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views reaching across the east coast all the way to Papeete, as well as the impressive silhouette of Moorea.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Please note that there is approximately 1 hour of walking on this tour over paved ground, with some sand and gravel. The order of the visits may vary to avoid congestion at any one site. In the event of bad weather, it may be necessary to amend the itinerary. Please take bottled water, hat and insect repellent.

Tahiti Highlights

Activity low

Duration: 4 hours

Learn about the history and culture of the island.

Occupying the site of a former Tahitian temple on Fisherman’s Point, the historic Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands contains many fascinating archaeological and ethnological artefacts, as well as a display on the area’s beautiful flora and fauna.

Enjoy colourful exhibits of Polynesian culture, traditional costumes, religion, dancing and music. The island boasts so much history to be discovered at the museum, including the exploratory and missionary periods of the adventurers Captain James Cook, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville and Samuel Wallis.

Afterwards, visit the restored religious site of Marae Arahurahu, dedicated to the ancient gods and site of many important ceremonies.

A short stop will be made at Vaipahi Garden where you can view tropical plants, refreshing springs and waterfalls.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. Please note that there is approximately 1½ hours of walking in total on this tour over paved ground, with some sand and gravel. The order of the visits can be amended by the guide in order to avoid congestion at any one site. In the event of bad weather, it may be necessary to amend the itinerary.