After an insanely painful trip to Tahiti we finally arrived in Papeete, the main island (population: 26,181). We spend the night there before heading to Bora Bora and did have time to explore the downtown. A few things came to mind:
- All of the shops are centered on the docks where the huge cruise liners dock.
- Everywhere you turn there are black pearls. We spent time in the Robert Wan Museum which provides a fascinating history of pearls and of the man who controls the majority of the pearl trade in Tahiti. Take a moment to learn about the pearl trade here – cool stuff.
- Flowers are EVERYWHERE. When we entered the central open market, we came upon the flower market and it was breathtaking. Obviously, their climate supports the tropical plants that we pay dearly for in NA and Europe … but it was a bit surprising to see the public bathrooms sink lined with flowers that would have cost hundreds of dollars in Canada.
- I would not stay in Papeete if I were traveling to Tahiti. It is a central town and a bit industrial. Stay over night if you need to but head to the islands …. Papeete is a bit dirty, tired and our hotel (Sheraton Hotel Tahiti) – while on the ocean – was not one I would stay in for more than a night and if I were traveling all the way to Tahiti and staying in that hotel – I would be SORELY disappointed as there is no real beach and it faces out on the shipping port. If you click there website, it is a good example of buyer beware as the site paints a different picture.
The next morning, we boarded the plane and headed to Bora Bora. I took the following pictures from the plane. Awesome.
The last one is now my laptop background (smile).