French Polynesia Dreamin’

Everyone who knows me knows that I am always down for a good travel deal. Sure, I have a list of places that I would love to go, but often, I end up booking our travel based on good deals, and it hasn’t failed me yet. This is how we got to New Zealand, IN BUSINESS CLASS, on points. It also ended up being how Chris and I booked maybe our first ever anniversary trip, just for us. For the steal of a deal of 42,000 United miles per person, we were on our way from Denver to Papeete, Tahiti!!! Everyone said, wow, isn’t that a long flight?? Well, when you’ve flown from Texas to Australia, it really didn’t seem so bad. Coming in at just over 8 hours from San Francisco, we watched a few movies, took a few naps, and we were in paradise. Quick side note, did anyone else know there is an OUTSIDE terrace at the SFO airport? We’ve been there several times, and somehow just discovered this. What a great way to get some fresh air while we were waiting to get in the Centurion lounge during our layover (which has wine dispenser machines by the main bar, by the way!)

Outdoor terrace at SFO

The days are pretty much 6 AM to 6 PM throughout the year in Tahiti, so by the time we landed, it was dark and a little drizzly. We headed to the hotel, took a much needed shower (ew, airplanes!) and rested up for the next day. We got up on Sunday morning, without any specific plans, so decided to walk to the main area of town. We stayed at the Hilton Tahiti for a few nights, saving significant money over the hotels on the neighboring islands, and we figured we were still in paradise without many plans other than relaxing, so we were fine staying longer in Papeete than most. There were sidewalks along pretty much our entire walk to town, and while muggy (aka “tropical”) it was a pretty easy walk. We even took our traverse through the Paofai Gardens, a waterfront park with several playgrounds, some art pieces, and a nice trail for walking or running.

However, it was Sunday. And Tahitians take their Sundays seriously. So almost NOTHING was open. We had heard it was the main day for the market, at Marche de Papeete, and Sunday is the day that all of the locals come to shop for their food for the week. There were stands everywhere, both inside and outside of the market building. This place has it all, but on Sundays, is mostly focused on foods, with produce, fish, meats, juices, and breads being sold. Fun fact, the price of a baguette in Tahiti is controlled by the government, so these are CHEAP. Like, we are talking about 60 cents or so with the conversion. We got two croissants for around $2 total. We also got some delicious sugar cane and lemon juice. We didn’t buy much else, as we don’t speak French, and with it being more locals and less tourists, we honestly had no idea what the signs or vendors were saying, so we just wandered around for a while.

We then walked back, towards the hotel, taking in the sights of Papeete and all of the amazing street art along the way. We stopped in the large grocery store across the street from the Hilton, which is connected by a convenient bridge over the main road. They called this area a shopping mall, but it was really about 5 stores or so, along with the grocery and pharmacy. We enjoyed looking at the “American” section of the grocery store, which had Sweet Baby Ray’s for over $30, as well as $10 bags of chips and $36 M&Ms! We grabbed a couple of snacks and drinks for the room, including our favorite drink from France, Orangina, and headed back to relax poolside.

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