The lush landscape of the Paofai Gardens in Papeete, Tahiti
Escape the city heat at the botanical gardens of the French Polynesia Assembly Complex. Stroll past an herb garden, tiki statues and a tranquil moss-covered pond, where Queen Pomare of Tahiti used to bathe every morning. Or head to the beautiful Paofai Gardens, where the trails take you past the bay and through ornamental fish ponds.
Up close view of a fish swimming while snorkeling in Papeete, Tahiti
Papeete is lined with picture-perfect beaches for every hobby. Go surfing at black-sand Papenoo Beach. Play a game of beach volleyball at Plage du Mahana Park. Or go snorkeling alongside tropical reef fish at Plage de Toaroto.
Head to the Robert Wan Pearl Museum to learn all about striking black pearls. The museum takes you through how black pearls were first created and what makes them so special. After learning about the process, you'll have the opportunity to take one of these Tahitian beauties home.
Lining the waterfront, you'll find an array of restaurants serving a mixture of Tahitian and French cuisine. Cruise to French Polynesia and taste the national dish of poisson cru — chunks of raw fish marinated in coconut milk. Make sure you also try coconut crab, a rich dish of salty seafood and sweet coconut.
There is only one place you should be going to shop in Papeete: The Marche de Papeete is the hub of the city and the best place to buy delicacies and souvenirs during your Tahiti cruise. In over two stories, you'll find vendors selling exotic fruits and vegetables, intricate wood carvings, shark tooth pendants or pareos, the colorful sarongs unique to Tahiti.
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