Cruise Diva Goes
Ashore in Tahiti
to see & things to do
& the Island of Tahiti
night, Tahiti’s largest city appears charming and exotic. Daytime
views reveal a bustling business and commercial center.
Leave Papeete behind in a 4X4 to climb a rugged road and
explore the mountainous central portion of the island, following
a stream through lush valleys punctuated with dozens of waterfalls.
The "back side" of the island is a huge contrast to
both the city and the island's interior—the less populous
coastal areas are prettier and the view across to "little"
Tahiti Iti proves its beauty exceeds that of the larger Tahiti Nui.
ships dock immediately across the street from Boulevard Pomare in
the heart of Papeete. Stop at
the Tahiti Tourist Board right at the pier for maps and information.
Getting around is easy, either by tour, rental car, or Le
Truck—the public bus service. The
only way to see the island’s interior is by touring in a
4X4—vehicles similar to Range Rovers with two bench seats in the
back, each seating six to eight passengers, four to a side facing
each other. Leave the driving to locals, as they know the rugged
road up the mountainous central portion of the island.
Following a stream through lush valleys punctuated with
dozens of waterfalls, 4X4s make stops to examine the wide variety of
plant species and for a swim in the cool, clear stream.
car or a comfortable air-conditioned bus, set off for a “circle
island” tour of Tahiti—roads generally run along the coast and
the sea is almost always within view.
Plot your way to historic and scenic sites; Point Venus, the
spot where Captain Cook first landed, the impressive Arahoho
Blowhole, black sand beaches, across a narrow isthmus to the smaller
Tahiti Iti where Fort Taravao stands guard, the lovely gardens
of Vaipahi with its cascading waterfall, and Maraa Grotto, caverns
overhung with cool ferns.
museums that highlight the heritage of Polynesia, including the Paul
Gauguin Museum, the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, and the Marae
of Atahurahu. Be aware that
the "works" of Gauguin are reproductions. For the
adventurous, helicopter tours are also available.
Lagoonarium de Tahiti consists of four fish parks, exhibits
of tropical fish, and a shark pen. The
Grands Ballet de Tahiti is an evening show of authentic dances and
Lafayette Beach, about
three miles northeast of Papeete has black sand and limited
facilities. Further along the
coastal road is Tahara’s Beach, an excellent black sand beach for
swimming. Another good beach
for swimming is located in Mahina, near Point Venus.
down Boulevard Pomare visitors are enchanted by French-inspired
fashions and exotic merchandise displayed alongside more mundane
every-day goods. Side streets
leading from the main thoroughfare are crowded with shops and
vendors selling everything from black pearls to bright pareus
(sarongs). Covering an entire
block, Papeete’s colorful two-story Municipal Market is the place
to find local products, vanilla, soaps, souvenirs and gifts, flowers
and fruit. Upstairs in the
crafts section is a huge array of pareus, baskets, shell jewelry,
and the inevitable tee-shirts.
center of pier side action isn’t merchandise but food.
Les roulouttes are mobile restaurants set up in the
waterfront parking lot after dark. It's the least expensive place to
eat in Papeete and the smells are inviting to say the least.
Ports of Call
Cruise Diva's Focus
on Tahiti with reviews, cruise line
info, tourism links, & more.