On Tahiti and the main islands frequented by tourists you can find art galleries, bric-à-brac, crafts and artwork (carvings, paintings, etc.) from all the islands as well as typical Polynesian products. The Pape'ete market is the ideal place to to shop at the end of your stay to take home sarongs (pareos), baskets, works of art and a load of souvenirs. The two-story Vaima shopping centre in the centre of Pape'ete has a wide range of souvenirs, shops and galleries.
Hotel shops also have a large selection of souvenirs from our islands. Local food products and cosmetics can be found in supermarkets, shops or, if you're looking for beauty products, in pharmacies. You can also buy crafts directly from producers and craftspeople during your stay.
Tahiti cultured pearls from the Tuamotu and the Gambier Islands are the must-have souvenirs. You can buy them mounted or unmounted (pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings, etc.). The prices are very wide-ranging and depend on a number of criteria (quality, lustre, size and shape). Strict regulation guarantees the quality of our pearls. You can request a certificate of authenticity from your reseller. Polynesian creators and designers compete to combine pearls with mother of pearl and other natural materials (wood, bone, leather, fabric, etc.) to produce original pieces.
Monoi, a term borrowed from the ancient Tahitian word, mōno’i, is made from refined coconut oil and macerated Tahitian tiare flowers and is sold in different forms. Handmade monoi is prepared by māmā (grandmothers) from the islands and sold by the producers directly (along the roadside, at craft shows, etc.) and in Pape'ete's market. Commercially produced monoi, prepared by a number of local laboratories, is scented (sandalwood, ylang-ylang, jasmine, etc.) and, as a cosmetic item, can be found in supermarkets or in pharmacies (balm, creams and lotions for the body, shampoo, soap, etc.). Other local products and natural ingredients can be added to enhance its special properties (tāmanu oil, pressed from nuts with healing properties, or noni, an ancient remedy with immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties).
Tahitian vanilla is recognised as the best in the world by master chefs, who value its taste and aroma. It is sold in several forms (beans, powder, extract, etc.) by producers in our islands, in particular Taha’a, an island renowned for its high-quality vanilla plantations and beans.
Pickled mango, pineapple or papaya, fondants and fruit pastilles, honey from fragrant exotic blossoms, special vanilla, coconut and tiare flower flavoured teas: Polynesian gourmet grocery products are used as the basis for a number of unique recipes just waiting for you to discover when you return home. You can find all these unique products in supermarkets and self-service stores.
Marquesas islanders are experts at carving in any material (bone, wood or stone), in any size and for any use: decorative carvings, such as tiki carvings, statues, oars, clubs and puzzles, or utilitarian carvings, such as ‘ūmete (plates and bowls), penu (pestles), ‘ana (coconut graters), etc. Māmās in the Austral Islands excel in weaving and embroidery (purses, baskets, hats, mats and a variety of decorative items). The residents of the Tuamotus are experts at making all kinds of items from shells and mother-of-pearl (necklaces, vases, lampshades, a host of reproductions, etc.).
Tahiti and its islands are also inspirational lands which have produced a number of artists, painters, sculptors and photographers. The contemporary wave has created a new generation of visual artists whose works are on exhibit around the word and who are invited to give talks at symposiums. You can find these works in Pape'ete's art galleries on permanent or temporary display.
The sarong, or pareo, a word derived from the Tahitian word, pāreu, is a piece of cloth that is usually either painted or printed with flower patterns, often dried in the sun, and found in every wardrobe. Both men and women wear the pareo in any occasion, whether at home, on the beach, at parties and, of course, during ceremonies and cultural events. The pareo can be knotted in several different ways and serves as more than a garment. Local artists strive to outdo each other in creativity with colours, patterns and techniques. Polynesian designers have translated pareo patterns into original ready-to-wear fashion and accessory lines (purses, belts, shoes, etc.).
You can find post cards, posters, handsome photography books, calendars, key chains and other small objects for sale in souvenir and stationery stores. Postage stamps and other philatelic products can be purchased at any Post Office branch, at the Mahina Philately Centre, and on line at www.tahitiphilatelie.com
Why not bring back an indelible souvenir to remember an unforgettable trip? Polynesian tattoo artists are known for their art and creativity. Should you decide to get one, strict hygiene requirements are enforced on all the islands.