Where to Shop in Tahiti
Shopping can be a relaxing adventure for many visitors to the Islands of Tahiti. Planning out where to shop in Tahiti and what gifts to bring home can help guide your travel plans.
Papeete, on The Islands of Tahiti, is the shopping epicenter. It offers the largest market and shopping center, but as the main port of French Polynesia, it also offers a wide range of products from each of the islands. Determined shoppers willing to explore the many stores, boutiques and shops of Papeete will find great deals and uncover unusual and curious souvenirs.
The public market in Papeete is, in every sense, the heart of the city. “Le Marché,” as the municipal market is called, is the perfect place to find local Tahitian products and produce while you shop in Tahiti, and it is located just one block inland from the waterfront.
On the ground floor of the spacious building are many stands with displays of luscious and ripe fresh fruits and vegetables. Vendors offer a wide-range of produce including Tahitian and Chinese vegetables, “monoi” oil and scented soaps, vanilla beans, cakes and pies, fruit preserves, dance costumes, woven hats and bags and shell necklaces.
Strings of brightly colored fish are brought from the fishing boats to the market each afternoon around 4:00 pm, which is an excellent time to visit. “Le Marché” is open daily from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm and Sundays until 9:00 am. The peak of activity is very early on Sunday mornings when Tahitian families come to shop for their Sunday feast.
Be sure to stop at the flower market on the ground floor, where you will find brilliant displays of lovely floral arrangements of orchids and anthuriums, and daisies, red ginger, and jasmine, as well as shell necklaces, woven hats and baskets.
The upstairs section is reserved for artisans selling pareos, carvings, tifaifai wall hangings or quilts, embroidered cushion covers and other handicrafts. All around the exterior of “Le Marché” are more vendors of pareo, Tahitian vanilla, table sets, shell jewelry, monoi oil products, leis and crowns of “Tiare Tahiti” flowers.
Centre Vaima in Papeete
The Centre Vaima in Papeete, or “Vaima Center,” also in the heart of the city, offers shoppers the Tahitian version of a United States shopping mall. Located on the waterfront, facing the cruise ships, the Centre Vaima is very accessible for passengers in port for the day and interested in going shopping.
The Centre Vaima is more than just souvenir shops though. There are more than 60 businesses, which makes it the largest shopping destination in French Polynesia. Visitors will find numerous retailers that offer everything from shoes to perfume to clothing to jewelry. Also located at the Centre Vaima are authentic Tahitian restaurants, cinemas, airline offices, travel agencies, tour operators, art galleries, and more.
Other Shopping in Tahiti
Tahiti Pearl Market
Family-owned Tahiti Pearl Market has shops on Tahiti and Bora Bora and sells loose pearls, black pearls and readymade settings. You can choose the most beautiful pearls and have them set into one of the designs within hours. The market is located at 23 rue Colette in Papeete, Tahiti.
Collin’s flagship store is located on the island of Moorea, and she has outposts on Tahiti and Bora Bora. Call and arrange transportation from your hotel. Collins won awards for her original designs, which incorporate Tahitian pearls with 18-karat gold and pavé diamonds. The store is located near Le Petit Village in Papetoai, Moorea.
Shopping on the island of Tahiti should undoubtedly include a visit to the famous Robert Wan Pearl Museum. At the museum, tourists can not only learn about pearls but also shop for pearl jewelry. Robert Wan operates several shops in several hotels on Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora.
Bora Bora Shopping
Coqui Coqui Perfumes Yucatan & Polynesia
Inspired by Polynesian flowers, fruits, woods, and herbs, perfumer Nicolas Malleville created Coqui Coqui Perfumeria and began a new chapter on the island of Bora Bora. Visitors can discover a beautiful range of Polynesian inspired products like unique fragrances, oils, beauty products, and scents for the home and body.
Bora Bora Original
Bora Bora Original, located in Vaitape, is an upscale boutique that offers shoppers a diverse range of unique and original merchandise. From original art to jewelry to clothing to traditional souvenirs, this store has something for everyone.
Shopping on Other Islands
Tahitian pearls and pearl jewelry can be easily found throughout the Islands of Tahiti. One memorable way to buy Tahitian pearls while visiting is to purchase them directly at a pearl farm. There are many family pearl farms throughout the Tuamotu Atolls and on Huahine and Taha’a.
Visitors will find authentic local handicrafts at the centres artisinants located on many Tahitian islands. Locals still make many textiles like pareos (wraparound sarongs) and tifaifai quilts using indigenous materials and dyes.
Jus de Fruits de Moorea
Jus de Fruits on the island of Moorea is a fruit juice factory that offers self-guided tours for visitors to learn more about their production process. At the end of the tour is a gift store that offers truly original Tahitian creations like pineapple wine, Tahitian rums and coconut liquor.
Vanilla plantations offer shoppers a unique experience to buy a gift that any foodie would love. Besides a great price, meeting growers and experiencing the sweet aromas of Tahitian vanilla can make for a memorable experience. Visit the island of Taha’a which is home to 80% of Tahitian vanilla production and the most plantations.