Tahiti Week: Historic Sites & Museums

This week, we’re dedicating our blog to Tahiti! Big surprise there, right? Well actually, we want to talk about all the attractions and things to do on the main island of Tahiti. All too often, most travelers skip over the country’s capital and head straight to the other islands of choice, but as you’ll see in this week’s series of posts, Tahiti has so much to offer! First, we’ll focus on the historical sites and museums worthy of a visit.  

Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands 

Located in Punaauia, Tahiti, this museum explains the geological history of the islands, describes their indigenous flora and fauna, and showcases the history and culture of the Polynesian people. Here, you’ll see examples of ancient artifacts including early tools, warfare weapons, woven objects, body ornaments and written transcripts. You’ll also learn about religion, fishing, horticultural techniques and the art of tattoo.

Canoe at Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands

Point Venus, Tahiti 

Point Venus is the northern-most point on the island of Tahiti. This is where Captain James Cook set up his observatory to watch the Transit of Venus during his second trip to Tahiti. The observatory was converted into a lighthouse, which is still in existence today. The site also includes monuments to Cook, Captain Bligh and the entire Bounty crew. If you remember, because of this historical significance, Point Venus is where many people gathered to watch the recent Transit of Venus earlier this month on June 5, 2012.

Lighthouse at Point Venus, Tahiti

Paul Gauguin Museum 

Located in Papeari, Tahiti, this museum tells the story of artist Paul Gauguin and reflects on his love affair with the islands of Tahiti. Although not the original paintings, it features photos and copies of his most famous works.

Paul Gauguin Painting

Tahiti Botanical Gardens  

Conveniently located near the Paul Gauguin Museum, you can easily make your way over to the Botanical Gardens and discover many exotic flowers, plants and animals. Here, you’ll find one of the world’s oldest turtles – a Galapagos Tortoise that weighs approximately 440 pounds!

Turtle at the Botanical Gardens

The Home of James Norman Hall 

This home is a replica of the original residence of James Norman Hall, the author who was most famous for his classic, “Mutiny on the Bounty.” Located in Arue, Tahiti, it houses his extensive library of over 3,000 books and serves as a wonderful example of his life in Tahiti.

James Norman Hall Museum

Robert Wan’s Black Pearl Museum 

Located in Papeete, Tahiti, the Black Pearl Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to pearls. It tells the history of these gems by describing their place in art, history, mythology, philosophy and religion, as well as demonstrating the cultivation process.

All in One Day? 

Believe it or not, you can see most of these attractions in one day. To see it all, we recommend a full-day circle island tour. Your guide will narrate the way as you visit each of these historical sites and museums.

But that’s not even the end of our list! There are so many other activities, sites and attractions in Tahiti. For instance, there’s the famous open-air market, Le Marché, and the popular food trucks, Les Roulettes… but we’ll talk about those later this week!


9 thoughts on “Tahiti Week: Historic Sites & Museums

  1. did a circle island tour when i was in tahiti and saw most of these sites. definitely worth it to give yourself at least a day in tahiti. thanks for the post!

    1. A friend recommended that I do the guided tour and she was right. I enjoyed the extra background material.

  2. never knew there were museums in tahiti. with so much natural beauty, not sure i’d want to spend much time in a museum, but good to know they’re there. thanks!

  3. Was there in 1972 and still enjoy my pictures with Paul Gaugain’s grandchildren. Am an artist
    and am just finishing paintings of Cooks Bay and the Point Venus Lighthouse. Known as the
    sweet island sunshine girl.

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