Any trip to French Polynesia begins and ends at Papeete. You have no choice but to stop here for at least a night or two. Blame it on the international & local flight schedules, which make it pretty impossible for you to take a connecting flight to any of the smaller islands on the same day. The tiny propeller planes that take you to the smaller islands seem to only fly in the morning. Consequently, we had to spend a night here both on our way in to French Polynesia and on our way out. But we’re not complaining because it so happens that Papeete is just the perfect buffer between the humdrum of whichever city you are coming from and the peace and quiet that awaits you at the smaller islands.
Besides, Papeete also gives you your first glimpse of the ‘fifty shades of blue’ that await you at your next stop.