Sabin’s at Sea - Day 41 - Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog

Theme for today’s blog is ‘Tahiti in the rain’. Think of the song ‘I’m Singing in the Rain’; that is what played in my head in while we walked around Papeete today.


Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia and is located on the largest of its islands, Tahiti. The city is the most important hub of French Polynesia with its waterfront and South Seas port frequently docked by waves of cruise ships, ferries, yachts, luxury liners, and cargo boats.

The heart of Papeete is perhaps its waterfront and port with its rows of docked boats. There is a walk-able promenade along the port, and this is the scene where many of the city's festivals take place. At night, the waterfront often plays hosts to "roulottes" or Tahitian dinners accompanied by festival-like, Polynesian performance shows.


In Papeete, like in other places in French Polynesia, you can enjoy the array of tropical activities from swimming, beach tanning, to surfing, sailing, snorkeling, and diving. The Bain Lot is a particularly popular beach in Papeete. The city is also a great base to go on excursions into the interiors and suburbs of Tahiti.


The description above is what we read about Tahiti if it sunny outside. However, when it is raining many of those activities are either not available or too wet to enjoy.

The rain did not stop us from exploring Papeete. Dressed in a rain coat, a large hat for John, and an umbrella, we were determined to see the sites of the city of Pepeete.

There still was a lady with flowers and a band playing local music to welcome the passengers of the Zuiderdam.


Besides our ship, there were two other cruise ships and many yachts at the port.

We started at the visitor center to find out about the bus. The bus only ran till 12 pm and once on the bus, we would have taken two hours just to see either the east side or the west side but getting off wouldn’t be wise because there was no guarantee we could get a bus back. So we decided going around on foot would be better.

There is a main market of Pepeete where they sell flowers, fruit, and other handicrafts. We watched the women make beautiful flower head pieces. I would have loved one, but it would last to take home.

Besides the market, we walked along the streets and visited the Catholic Church, Eglise Evangelique de Polynesie Francaise,Siloama. The church had beautiful flowers and stained glass windows. We stayed a little while to dry off from the rain.


We walked about a mile from the port on the inner street. We enjoyed going into the local markets to see the products. Our favorite things to buy are local chocolate bars and drinks. The did have a great selection of pre cooked food and sushi. However, we weren’t ready for lunch at 10 am.

Outside one of the stores there was a Tahiti gum ball machine, but instead of gum balls they were tiny bouncy balls.

The art (graffiti) on the walls were so detailed and vibrant. We loved seeing them as we walked.


On our way back to the ship we walked through Pa’ofa’i Gardens near the port. There were neat tiki statues that we enjoyed taking pictures of.

Across the street from the port we stopped at a local restaurant, Le Retro, to dry off. John had an espresso and I had banana juice. We shared some French fries while we used their free internet. They give you a password that is good for 30 minutes, but if your 30 minutes are up and you are still eating they will give you another password.


It pretty much rained the rest of the afternoon and evening. Once we came back to the ship we relaxed, had a late lunch, and then dinner in our room.

The final event of the night was a cultural show. The local dancers came onto our ship and performed on stage. It was an amazing performance.


The internet was not working on the ship so we decided to brave the weather again. There were bars close to the port that provided free wifi. We enjoyed a local beer, listen to French Karaoke, and wifi; experienced night life in Papeete.

Tomorrow we are still in Papeete till 4:30 pm. We are praying for better weather but as of now it still looks like rain. Being flexible is what this trip has been all about. The truth is that is life in general. You can plan, but nothing is for certain. The best thing to do is enjoy each moment as it comes. Just being on this trip and at these islands had been a blessing.


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