What happens when a winter loving, sun hater is given the opportunity to explore The Islands of Tahiti? Well, many things but let me start off by telling you a little bit about my feelings towards warmer climates and outdoor activities…
I live less than a 10 minute walk from the beach but to be honest with you, I think the last time I actually swam in the ocean was at least 10 years ago. Sand isn’t my jam, the sun gives me a headache and I haven’t yearned for tanned skin since high school. When my doctor recently told me I was deficient in vitamin d, I was obviously not surprised but the first thing I said was “OH NO, ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE ME GO IN THE SUN!?”
So, back to the Tahiti trip. I found myself reading this email from Townske and Tahiti Tourisme and tbh feeling like a bit of an asshole for thinking that maybe I wouldn’t go. My friends laughed when I told them because obviously none of them have ever seen me at the beach while other people thought I was crazy for even considering turning it down.
Then I got to thinking about how it had been a while since I’d been out of my comfort zone and really, how many times in your life are you offered a free trip to visit a place you’ve never been before? Very bloody rarely. I accepted the offer and then started to think about all those things you kinda need for summer but I didn’t own, like open-toed shoes and a hat but ya know, any excuse to do a little online shopping is always welcome.
The more I looked into what The Islands of Tahiti have to offer, the more I allowed myself to get psyched on the whole idea. Our itinerary was based around food, something I’m a huge fan of, so naturally knowing I wasn’t expected to be hiking or being hella beachy definitely helped get me in the zone.
I met most of the crew I would be travelling with including Dan, co-founder of Townske, Camille, who works for Tahiti Tourisme Australia/NZ and Jean from Holy Smithereens, a travel blogger and my roomie for the trip. Flying Air Tahiti Nui, we made the total 8ish hour journey to Pape’ete via Auckland.
After about 2 hours sleep (yep), we hit the road to make our first stop, Le Cafe Maeva on the second level of Pape’ete Market. We chatted to manager and Tahitian athlete Cedric, who told us all about his passion for good food while I chowed down on a bowl of oats with coconut and fruit. Cedric was once vegan himself (now vegetarian) so there’s usually something vegan on the menu to enjoy for breakfast, lunch or a snack. We then took some time to take a stroll around Pape’ete Market, where locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and Tahitian wares like coconut oil, pareos and more flower crowns than Coachella.
A short drive later we hit Le Coco’s, known by locals and tourists alike as one of the must-visit food spots on Tahiti’s main island. I knew from the front of the building that we were in for something special but I had no idea of the dynamite view that was waiting for me on the other side. If possible I would recommend giving these guys a heads up that you’re coming so that they can prepare something vegan for you, for lunch I had an amazing mushroom risotto plus some incredible French bread.
Due to our very early morning arrival, we didn’t get the opportunity to explore much of the Manava Suite Resort (other than the bed) until that afternoon. After a quick nap in our spacious suite, I hit the bar for a couple of cocktails and an unbeatable sunset in preparation for our first dinner.
Les Roulottes on Place Vaite in Pape’ete is basically a huge outdoor food court with a range of cuisines on offer from a heap of food trucks. Devastatingly La Burger Machine (with plenty of vegan options) don’t operate on Tuesdays so I wasn’t able to sample their burgers, however there are a range of different options that can be easily made vegan while some trucks even have vegan options marked on the menu – a rare find!
Then it was time to hit the hay, ready for another early start to make the ferry to our next stop, Moorea.
Stay tuned for my next installment of Travel Like A Vegan on The Islands of Tahiti and be sure to check out my guides on Townske.
Café Maeva & Pape’ete Market – Marché de Papeete, 98716 Papeete, French Polynesia
Les Coco’s – Pk 13 200 Cote Mer | BP 1603 Punavai, Punaauia 98703, French Polynesia
Manava Suite Resort – BP 2851 Punavai, Puna’auia 98703, French Polynesia
Les Roulottes – Place Vaite, Waterfront, Papeete 98714, French Polynesia