Tahiti is the biggest and busiest island in French Polynesia, and is home to over 60% of the population. It is the ideal place for shopping, especially when you’re looking for souvenirs to take home with you.
Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia and also its commercial heart. Products and produce from all over the territory arrive in its port every day, to be sold in the vast market or the many shops and shopping centers in the town. If something is made in The Islands of Tahiti, you can buy it in Papeete!
The market in the town center of Papeete is a concentration of all that you can find in The Islands of Tahiti. A colorful, lively amalgam of fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, meats and all kinds of souvenirs, under one vast roof.
The market is open every day from 6:30AM to 6:00PM, except on Sundays, when it opens from 4:30AM to 9:00AM. Sunday mornings are the busiest time, when everybody comes to buy food for the traditional ma’a Tahiti Sunday lunch. The ground floor is given over to fresh produce and the upper floor is where you’ll find the boutiques selling clothes, pareos, jewelry, pearls, sculptures and every other souvenir of The Islands of Tahiti you can possibly imagine.
Centre Vaima, Papeete
Centre Vaima, or the Vaima Center as it’s also known, is the Tahitian equivalent of an American shopping mall. Located directly opposite the cruise ship quay, it’s perfectly placed for last-minute shopping, just before you sail.
With over 60 shops, the Vaima Center is the biggest shopping center in French Polynesia. You’ll find all types of goods for sale, from shoes, to perfumes and clothing to jewelry. There are also restaurants and cafés, a concept store selling art, handicraft and agroalimentary products, and several souvenir shops.
Shopping in Tahiti and in the islands
Don’t miss the Musée de la Perle Robert Wan in Papeete, where you can learn all about pearl cultivation and buy pearls. Bora Bora has some unique and fascinating boutiques that sell Polynesian perfumes and beauty products, art, jewelry, clothing and souvenirs. In Moorea you should visit the fruit juice factory where you can buy liqueurs, pineapple wines, jams and marmalades. In Taha’a, make sure you to visit a vanilla plantation where you’ll be able to buy this spice at incredibly cheap prices directly from the producer.