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Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

Sonoma County...
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Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

Just back from my second trip to FP, where I've stayed on Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti, and Huahine so far for about a month total over two trips, about a decade apart. I've stayed on atolls, at high end resorts, at pensions, and at hotels and most recently, I thought it might be fun to see more of the island of Tahiti, so I booked a hotel in Papeete for three nights, thinking I'd sightsee around the island. I didn't have much time to plan this trip at all, long story, so I just decided to try to day trip around the island.

Well, I was rather surprised that I found myself completely enamored with Papeete and decided to just kind of hang out there for a few days. There's a ton to see, and it's a great, walkable, and very fun little city to hang around. I've heard of almost no one saying that they love Papeete at all, ever, online, but I must say that even as a well-seasoned world traveler, I had a great deal of fun here, eating, shopping, seeing a lot of sights that aren't even in Tripadvisor's list of sights, walking around the harbor, catching a movie one night at the cinema, karaoke, the roulettes, the market, people walking around with ukeleles, people watching like crazy, teenagers everywhere having fun, city parks, I just want to write a post giving Papeete some love since I rarely see any!

Am I the only one? I think it is very underrated, honestly.

40-ish year old independent-style female traveler, not a backpacker but definitely a traveler, not a tourist, often veering towards slow travel, from California, for context?

Edited: 26 June 2017, 21:02
11 replies to this topic
Jonen,Switzerland
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1. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

It's nice to hear you enjoyed your time in Papeete. I guess because you have been in FP before you knew more what to expect from Papeete. Of course if people have the blue Lagoon in their mind and expect a Robinson Feeling then the city is maybe not the place to go. But you are right if you are open to see the "real" live with the people who live in Tahiti, then this can be fun. If you do enjoy more city type thing. Most traveller have just a short time in FP and so they want to see something different then a city, even if it's very different to what we are used from home. I personally like the interaction with locals and there you have this possibility. it has more shops and live than anywhere else for sure, but as well more cars traffic ect. But I think it's good to hear you input for other travellers. I'm waiting to read your Review of the Anapa Pension I understood you stayed in Moorea.

Chico, California
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2. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

I very much agree. We finally decided to spend a couple nights on Tahiti on our fourth trip...took a drive around the island and hiked to a waterfall, walked around Papeete, ate at the roulottes, dinner at the Blue Banana (beautiful views of Moorea from their deck), etc. Too many people skip by Tahiti, but are missing out.

Seattle, Wa
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3. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

That's a really interesting post, thanks for sharing.

Sonoma County...
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4. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

@madameetoile: I definitely would not recommend it to first-time visitors with short periods of time who are looking to "get away from it all." But for return trips, it made a nice change-up. There's something very likable about the city, so much more than I had expected. I had been there once, for a half day, on my first trip, and got no real impression of it then. And Anapa Beach was dream-like; we stayed in the large bungalow for six nights. I've reviewed it on TA. Wow! The water comes close to some of what I saw on Bora Bora, and the accommodations could not have been much more my speed.

@JHull, agreed! I first really thought I would go around the island, that was the plan, but we wound up having fun in the city, so we didn't make it out to the interior, although that will be "next time." The roullottes were so fun, a total scene.

@christy1, you're welcome! I hadn't seen anyone ever mention it and thought, "Why not?"

Mangalore, India
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5. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

We have plan to come to Seattle from Auckland.We wish to spend couple of nights in Pepeettee ,which being a Great location to visit may also help in breaking down the journey time from Auckland.Any specie suggestion on airline,budget hotel 21 etc Thanks

Houston, Texas
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6. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

How would you rank the places you have been in FP from where you most want to return to least?

Sonoma County...
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7. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

@jordansbull -- me? That's hard. There's not really anyplace I wouldn't like to go back. I wouldn't pay for Bora Bora again, but only because it was very costly, and I wasn't the one paying. Still, the lagoon is incredible (and moreso, I stayed on a motu). There's not much to do there, culturally, however, although I had a nice few days or incredible snorkeling. And with the mountain there jutting straight out of the lagoon, the scenery is nonpareil -- but not good for hiking or horseback riding, the other things I like to do. Great fishing though, and the mantas are awesome.

I don't know past there. They're all really different. I wouldn't trade my time in Huahine and Moorea for a trip to Papeete though ;) But Papeete was a really nice, doable city as far as cities go, so I totally liked it on another level.

Huahine and Moorea are such different islands that they are hard to compare, but given one? I would pick Moorea since the lagoon is better, as are the beaches, and the drives to the interior are breathtaking, and I really enjoy snorkeling; it's easier to hitchhike as well. However, the people, archaeological sites, and actual coral is superior in Huahine, and there is more traditional culture (I stayed on Iti side); also, it was less expensive. And Huahine has different fish, more like Bora Bora, and the East side is pretty.

So, it depends on what someone wants to do.

Next time, I would like to go to Maupiti very much, to Raiatea, and also to the Marquesas and the Tuamotus, but my eyes are bigger than my plate.

Moorea is really always nice, although I have to say I'm not a huge fan of resorts or tourists, and it has a little much of both.

Fare would be great to stay in, but I think you'd need a car to get to the prettier parts of Huahine. Huahine's gardens are a lot nicer than Moorea's.

So I don't know how to decide!

Edited: 02 July 2017, 00:02
Houston, Texas
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8. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

"I wouldn't pay for Bora Bora again, but only because it was very costly, and I wasn't the one paying"

I can understand this as well.

Jonen,Switzerland
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9. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

Bora Bora was expensive at my first visit in 1987. exchange rate was worse for us then. Convert to today we payed for a local beer 5 US$, was was compared to our money the today value of 8 us$. My boyfriend (now husband) had a snack for lunch. Hamburger was 15 us$, value if 24. So I told him this was only one day possible, because we want to travel for 8 months and I did not want to spend so much and return home earlier. In NZ we eat lot of soups to recover from Tahiti, but I glad we went and saw the beauty. Today the exchange rate is better for us, but still expensive if course. I think the reason we find BB so expensive is also because there you have the most toursist. Some stay just short and are willing to pay for high class resorts with huge new OWB and service. At the other island you have 4 star hotels but as well more options for budget holidays. No 5 star jet. I think all depend what people expect from holidays. My husband was very sad to see in 2014 what they did to "his" BoraBora if the past, but after a while he saw that the beauty is still there. It just developed and has far more resorts at the Motus and tourists. But the view to the mountain and all the shades of blue in the lagoon makes our heart jumping. 2014 we rent a house for 4 right at Matira beach and was 360/ night. There are also less pricey places to stay, but of course for luxury you pay. I would not spend my whole holiday there but a few days I need each visit. Looking forward to hear your trip report when you return from Maupiti.

Edited: 02 July 2017, 08:39
Ottawa. On
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10. Re: Not a Q. but a Comment: I <3 Papeete!

Going 20 days in FP soon. A few days before our Windstar cruise. We'll be attending the Haeva Tahiti for 3 nights (Centre stage first row ticket :-) ). Love to relax and do some "people watching". Can't wait

https:/…

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