MUSÉE DE TAHITI ET DES ÎLES
This museum is a must visit, not only for its display of Polynesian artefacts and temporary exhibitions, but to take in its beautiful botanical grounds, too. The Museum is working to preserve the Polynesian heritage and culture of the Islands of Tahiti by acquiring and restoring important collections and cultural practices. During our visit, the Tiki exhibition was on display—an emblematic figure of the Marquesas islands, and said to each have their own cheeky spirit imparted on you when in their presence. The heritage and ancestry of the Islands is something the locals really hold onto, often speaking about the significance of nature, spirituality and community wellbeing. Give yourself a couple of hours at this place toreally take it all in.
There is a real community spirit here as people come for their daily goods and visit their friends, so to get a real vibe for Papeete be sure to visit this market around lunch time. Many locals, young and old, flock to the take-away food stalls on the ground level and socialise around the tables. Walk up the stairs to the second floor and enjoy some good people watching over the fruit stands to take it all in. Pick up a bunch of mini bananas for a quick snack too!
PAPEETE STREET ART
Wandering around the city of Papeete I was drawn to the large scale murals scattered throughout the streets. It was only a month prior to my visit that the annual Ono'u Tahiti Graffiti Festival took place—an international event that invites contemporary urban and street artists from around the globe to participate. Started by local Sarah Roopinia in 2014, the Festival adds colour and beauty to the streets of downtown Papeete, like an outdoor gallery to be enjoyed by all. I recommend hiring a car and seeing how many you can find along your trails.
TIKAHIRI TATTOO SHOP
Tattoo's in Tahiti are taken really seriously—so seriously in fact, if you walk into Tikahiri with an idea based on aesthetic alone you may be rejected. The marks you see on locals around the Islands of Tahiti hold lifetime significance, either representing their life to date or what they wish for in their future to come. Every symbol holds a meaning, and you can visit Tikahiri Tattoo Shop to learn more about the cultural heritage and dive into their 'tattoo bible' of endless and inspiring symbols.