American Express -- The American Express representative is Tahiti Tours, on rue Jeanne-d'Arc (tel. 54.02.50; fax 42.25.15), across from the Centre Vaima in downtown Papeete. The mailing address is B.P. 627, 98713 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia.
Bookstores -- Librairie Vaima, on the second level of the Centre Vaima (tel. 45.57.57), has some English-language novels and a wide selection of books on French Polynesia, many of them in English and some of them rare editions. It also has maps of the islands. Le Kiosk in front of the Centre Vaima sells the International Herald Tribune, Time, and Newsweek, as does La Maison de la Presse, on boulevard Pomare at Quartier du Commerce (tel. 50.93.93).
Business Hours -- Although some shops stay open over the long lunch break, most businesses are open Monday to Friday from 8 to 11:30am and 2 to 5pm, give or take 30 minutes, since "flex hours" help alleviate Tahiti's traffic problem. Saturday hours are 8 to 11:30am, although some shops in the Centre Vaima stay open Saturday afternoon. The Papeete Municipal Market is a roaring beehive from 5 to 7am on Sunday, and many of the nearby general stores are open during those hours. Except for some small groceries, most other stores are closed on Sunday.
Camera & Film -- Film and 1-hour color print processing are available at several stores in downtown Papeete. One of the best is Tahiti Photo, in the Centre Vaima (tel. 42.97.34), where you can get help in English.
Currency Exchange -- Banque de Polynésie, Banque de Tahiti, and Banque Socredo have at least one branch each with ATMs on boulevard Pomare and in many suburban locations where you can cash traveler's checks.
Drugstores -- Pharmacie du Vaima, on rue du Général-de-Gaulle at rue Georges La Garde behind the Centre Vaima (tel. 42.97.73), is owned and operated by English-speaking Nguyen Ngoc-Tran, whose husband runs Pharmacie Tran on Moorea. Pharmacies rotate night duty, so ask your hotel staff to find out which one is open after dark.
Emergencies & Police -- Consult with your hotel staff. The emergency police telephone number is tel. 17 (but don't expect the person on the other end of the line to speak English). The central gendarmerie is at the inland terminus of avenue Bruat (tel. 42.02.02).
Eyeglasses -- Papeete has several opticians, including Optika (tel. 42.77.54) in the Centre Vaima.
Healthcare -- Both Clinque Cardella (tel. 42.80.10), on rue Anne-Marie-Javouhey, and Clinic Paofai (tel. 43.77.00), on boulevard Pomare, have highly trained specialists and some state-of-the-art equipment. They are open 24 hours.
Information -- Tahiti Tourisme's Fare Manihini visitors bureau (tel. 50.57.12; www.tahiti-manava.pf), on the waterfront on boulevard Pomare at the foot of rue Paul Gauguin, is open 7:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, 8 to 4pm Saturday, 8am to 1pm on Sunday and holidays.
Internet Access -- Every hotel here has Internet access for its guests to use. Tahiti Tourisme has computers in its Fare Manihini visitor center (tel. 50.57.12; www.tahiti-manava.pf), on the waterfront on boulevard Pomare at the foot of rue Paul Gauguin. It charges 300CFP (US$3.75/£1.90) for 15 minutes of access time, 1,000CFP (US$13/£7) for 1 hour, open 7:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, 8 to 4pm Saturday, 8am to 1pm on Sunday and holidays. Cybernesia Tahiti, on the second level of the Vaima Centre (tel. 85.43.67), has both dial-up and wireless access for 20CFP (US25¢/10p) per minute for the first 10 minutes, 15CFP (US20¢/10p) per minute thereafter. It has English keyboards and the Skype telephone program on some of its computers, and it will burn your digital photos to CD. Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm. La Maison de la Presse, on boulevard Pomare at Quartier du Commerce (tel. 50.93.93) also has English keyboards. It charges 16CFP (US20¢/10p) per minute. The Tahiti-Faaa Business Center, next to McDonald's in the airport terminal (tel. 83.63.88), has access for 300CFP (US$3.75/£1.90) for 15 minutes or 1,000CFP (US$13/£7) for 1 hour. It's open Monday, Tuesday, and Friday 7am to 6pm and 8pm to midnight; Wednesday and Thursday 9am to 6pm and 8pm to midnight; and Saturday 7am to 1pm and 6pm to midnight. The Business Center has fax services and will burn your photos to CDs.
MANA (www.mana.pf), the local Internet service provider, has several wireless hotspots around town, including the main post office, Parc Bougainville, Place Toata, the Fare Tony building on boulevard Pomare, Brasserie des Remparts restaurant, and at Tahiti-Faaa International Airport.
Laundry -- Lavomatic du Pont du L'Est, Gauguin, 64 rue Paul Gauguin (tel. 43.71.59), at Pont de l'Est, has wash-dry-fold service for 1,400CFP (US$18/£9) a load. Open Monday to Friday 7am to 5:30pm, Saturday 7am to noon.
Libraries -- The Office Territorial D'Action Culturelle (Territorial Cultural Center) on boulevard Pomare, west of downtown Papeete (tel. 42.88.50), has a small library of mostly French books on the South Pacific and other topics. Hours are 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, except on Wednesday when it closes at 4pm.
Mail -- The main post office is on boulevard Pomare a block west of the Centre Vaima. Open from 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday, 8 to 11am Saturday. The branch post office at the Tahiti-Faaa International Airport terminal is open from 6 to 10:30am and noon to 2pm Monday through Friday, and from 6 to 9am on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.
Restrooms -- Both Tahua Vaite (the park by the cruise-ship terminal at rue Paul Gauguin) and Place Toata on the western end of downtown have free and clean public toilets.
Safety -- Papeete has seen increasing street crime in recent years. The busy parks on boulevard Pomare along the waterfront generally are safe, but be very careful if you wander onto the side streets after dark.
Telephone & Fax -- The main post office, the cruise-ship terminal, and Place Toata all have pay phones, where you can use a télécarte to make local and international calls.
Water -- You can drink the tap water in Papeete and its nearby suburbs, which includes all the hotels, but not out in the rural parts of Tahiti. Bottled water is available in all grocery stores.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.