@ Hinarai Rouleau & Dominique Morvan
Even if you are only spending a day on the island of Tahiti before flying to another island, you must visit the market in Papeete. It is THE must see, must do, cannot be missed activity and you cannot say you have been to Tahiti if you have not visited Maparu a Paraita.
Sunrise on the market
@ Ty Sawyer / Tahiti Tourisme
Papeete's market is the heart and soul of the city. Literally it is situated right at the center of the city and it is easy to access. It comes to life very early in the morning (from 6 am) and closes around 6 pm. There you will experience a total immersion in Tahitian authenticity. It is a place where you will encounter the joie de vivre and legendary warmth of the Tahitian people. Rich in colors, smells and emotions, the 100 years old market is the historical, cultural and social centre of Papeete.
Photos bloggers' own
Around the market, you will find women making colorful flower leis and crowns. In Tahiti & her islands, women adorn the most exquisite flower crowns as a way to enhance their beauty. The enchanting beauty and bewitching fragrances of tiare, frangipani, orchids, miri (basil), moto'i (ylang-ylang), and dozens of other flowers will transport you exotic valleys and you won't resist the temptation to buy a beautiful lei or crown. Don't hesitate a second, they have an amazing smell and will odorize your room or bathroom with intoxicating scents. And ladies, the crowns are absolutely divine to give your holiday a touch of exoticism.
Outside the market you will also find vendors selling pareo and textiles in every color of the rainbow. Prepare for a new explosion of colors as you enter the flower market, red, white, green, purple, pink... the best collection of tropical flowers. The sensory overload continues as you will go through the fruit and vegetable stalls which offer pungent exotic smells and piles of tropical fruits, from bananas to pineapples, breadfruit, lime, mangoes, ginger, sweet potatoes, guava, taro, etc.
On the other side, the stalls of fish: tuna, bonito, mahi mahi, swordfish as well as smaller multicolored lagoon fish; so many different varieties that you won't be able to remember them all, as well as sea shells (shrimps, sea urchins, clams, lobster... ).
@ Ty Sawyer / Tahiti Tourisme
On the ground floor, you can also find stalls selling every souvenir you can imagine, from mono'i to the famous grass skirts that dancers wear, shell necklaces, woven pandanus mats and baskets, etc. On the second floor, you will find more souvenirs and arts & crafts, as well as a few very talented and renowned tattoo artists, so if you want to buy a few wood carvings, pareos, handcrafted local textiles, woven hats, a ukulele or get a more permanent souvenir, all shopaholics and visitors in search of authenticity will find a world far from our busy modern lives.
The best day to visit the market is early on Sunday mornings; this is when the market really comes to life as the hundreds of people rush to buy local produce.
Beware, credit cards are not accepted at the market, so be sure to bring cash with you!
Finally just let your senses guide you, you'll be surprise to realize that inside the market, time stops and you will not realized you have actually spent hours exploring. On your way out, have a fresh coconut to quench your thirst!