Tahiti tourism ensures that a well-heeled clientele attract high-end shops to the island – take a stroll down Boulevard Pomare to find everything from designer labels to the island's signature black pearls. For top souvenir shopping, head to Le Marché, the two-storey market in the main town of Papeete. Here you'll be able to purchase Marquesan carved bowls, ukuleles, baskets, woven hats and the local monoi oil.
The Municipal Market in Papeete is a reliable go-to destination for buying gifts, souvenirs, and even local produce. The market is spread across two floors, with the lower floor selling mainly fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood, and the upper floor offering a variety of local arts and crafts. You’ll also find coffee and food stalls strewn throughout the market, providing easy breaks in between shopping sessions. The Municipal Market is open every day and starts early in the morning (typically 4 or 5am). It’s best not to arrive too late, though, since stalls often close up by mid to late afternoon.
Manapearl Tahiti is one of the island’s most established pearl sellers, offering an assortment of high-quality pearls at affordable prices. The store proudly sources its pearls from its own farms in the Tuamotu Islands, making its pieces entirely locally made. Manapearl specialises in transforming Tahitian pearls into a variety of jewellery and accessories, from necklaces and pendants to bracelets and earrings.
For those looking for a conventional mall experience in Tahiti, the Vaima Shopping Centre is the place to visit. This multilevel mall houses several shops for clothing, jewellery, and other items. The centre is also a famous place for purchasing Tahitian black pearls, a favourite among locals and tourists. Restaurants and cafés are also available for those who want to grab a bite to eat or pick up some coffee.
The Robert Wan Pearl Museum may be most famous for its exhibitions and pearl gallery, but it’s also among the best places in Tahiti to buy some first-class pearls. As the first museum dedicated solely to Tahitian pearls, you can be sure that the team behind the museum knows their pearls inside out. And it shows: the museum’s pearls and jewellery for sale are among the finest and most luxurious in the island, featuring lavish earrings, necklaces, and even watches. Entry to the museum is free so you can view its collection as much as you want.
If you’re looking for authentic Polynesian art and clothing, Tahiti Art should be at the top of your list. This store showcases the traditional designs of Polynesian culture, which features bold symbols with vibrant colours and vivid imagery. Many of the store’s pieces are also hand-printed or hand-engraved, making many of its products genuine works of art. Tahiti Art has a separate store and workshop open to the public, but either branch will provide you with plenty of choices for unique clothing and pieces.