If you’re planning on visiting Papeete anytime soon, you’ll be going through Fa'a'ā International Airport or also known as Papeete International Airport, situated in the commune (municipality) of Fa'a'ā, on the island of Tahiti, located in the north-western part of French Polynesia, 5km (3.1mi) west southwest from the town centre. Opened in 1960, the airport currently serves as the hub for Air Tahiti and Air Tahiti Nui and also where Air Tahiti’s head office is located. It is operated by Setil Aéroports. Papeete International Airport is built mainly on reclaimed land on the coral reef just off-shore due to the limited level terrain. It has a single 3,420-metre (11,220-feet) runway that can accommodate all commercial and military aircraft.
What to see & do
Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of the French Republic in the Pacific Ocean. The commune/municipality of Papeete is located on the island of Tahiti. By Western standards, it’s a medium-sized town with friendly residents, detailed architecture, and a lively port. Go visit the famous Marché de Papeete and shop for colourful pareu (sarongs), shell necklaces, woven hats, and local produce. There are also lots of fruit, vegetable, fish, and meat stands, along with small patisseries and lunchtime hawkers selling takeaway portions of ma’a Tahiti (traditional Tahitian food). Sip some coconut, grab some snacks at a local cafeteria-style restaurant, which features live music at lunchtime, or if you’re up for it, get yourself a tattoo as well! See the Territorial Assembly and other government buildings located at Place Tarahoi, the old site of the Pomare palace. Papeete’s waterfront, Jardins de Paofai, has undergone major renovations over the last few years. You can stroll along the paved walking paths, a breath of fresh air amongst the hustle and bustle of the nearby traffic. See the vividly distinct Temple de Paofai, a large pink temple that stands on the site of the first Protestant church in Papeete.
How to get around within Papeete
Navigating around Papeete should be no problem. As a walking city, any form of transport is not really of much use, expect when you’re going out to the fringes. Getting on the famous Le Truck can also double as an adventure, as you can hop on and hop off anywhere in the city centre and to other parts of the island and around town for a cheap price. Just remember that this mode of transport is infrequent and non-existent on weekends. Just don’t forget to bring a water bottle since the weather in Papeete can be rather hot and humid. There are taxis that ply around the city. They are relatively expensive and less frequent after 6:00 p.m., but are clean and efficient. There are two dedicated taxi stands along the waterfront. Since taxis here don’t use meters, make sure you’ve confirmed the fare before getting in.
How to get there
The airport is served by international carriers including Air Caledonie International (Noumea/New Caledonia), Air France (Paris and Los Angeles), Air New Zealand (Auckland, Los Angeles, and London), Air Tahiti Nui (Auckland, Los Angeles, Paris, Sydney, and Tokyo), Air Tahiti (Raratonga), and LAN (Santiago via Easter Island), as well as domestic airlines like Air Tahiti and Air Moorea. There are plenty of buses that come into the airport from Papeete, the main bus being the Fa'a'ā Airport Shuttle which goes along Tahiti's west coast freeway, passing in front of the main terminal.