passengers entering French Polynesia must be in possession of a valid
passport and outbound ticket. (passport must be good for 6 months
past return date). Note: US "Green Card" is not a travel document.
of the following countries can stay 3 months without a visa:
All countries of the European Union,
as well as citizens of the following other countries: Andorra, Cyprus,
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland
and the Vatican.
of the following countries can stay 1 month without a visa:
Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic,
Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia,
Slovenia, South Korea, the United States of America and Uruguay.
from other nations from South America, Africa and Asia need to apply for
their visa before entering French Polynesia. Visas for France are not
formalities may change at any moment, it is strongly recommended that
you check with the nearest French Consulate or Embassy. Visas are actually
issued in Tahiti and may take up to 3 weeks to be returned back to the
is NO WORK visa and NO resident visa available.
not need to get ANY Immunization shots prior to going to French Polynesia.
The local currency is the Central Pacific Franc or CFP (See Rates
- XPF is the currency code) which is pegged to the Euro. No matter where you come from, it is best
to change your currency into CFP when you get to Tahiti. Money can be
exchanged at the airport ATM upon arrival, even in the middle of the
night, or later at a bank in any island ( banks and ATM charge a service
fee ). Hotels and some businesses will change your currency, but not
at the bank rate.
in CFP denominations of 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000, and coins in denominations
of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100.
value of the CFP in relation to the US$ is about 95 CFP for 1 $US (Jan 2006)
cards are widely accepted and banks will give you a cash advance.
checks ($US or Euros) are easily cashed (you will have to show
is not an issue, and carrying cash around is not a problem. Just don't
be careless, and lock your valuables in the hotel safety box (most of
them have one in the room).
a few ATM machines in all the islands as well.
On the inter-island flights (Air Tahiti) the weight limit is 20 Kg
(42Lbs) per person - no matter how many bags - but not including hand luggage (limit is 5 kg, 1 pp, must be a small bag). They will enforce this limit!. Divers get another 5kg allowance on presentation of their C Card.
Each person can "officially" bring 1 liter of wine or spirit
into French Polynesia. But, tourists are very seldom asked or searched...
Inter Island Transport and Airport Transfers:
If you book a vacation or honeymoon package, your inter-island air, meet-and-greet and airport/hotel transfers will be included.
If you book hotels individually, you will need to buy your inter island air directly with Air Tahiti (reservation office is in Tahiti only - They are not the same company as the international carrier Air Tahiti Nui).
Your also need to arrange your airport transfers ahead as hotel do not provide this service (particularly in Moorea). Taxi are available, but expensive and not always present at the airports. There is no other practical public transport available for arriving/departing passengers.
The onlyl way to travel between islands is via Air Tahiti. Except for Moorea, there is no frequent or reliable passenger boat service.
Tipping is not part of the Tahitian tradition and should not be encouraged
on a routine basis.
All the prices quoted on menus, hotels or shops are all inclusive
and you need not add anything for service or tax.
All the hotels have a US 110 v. shaver socket in the bathroom that will recharge camcorders and cameras (no adapter needed). The standard current is 220 volts AC with round European-style plugs.
If you come from the USA, you need to bring a plug
adapter if you want to use a socket other than the shaver socket. The better hotels have hair dryers in the bathrooms, but if you want
to use your own hair dryer/curling iron you need a voltage
converter that can handle the wattage of your appliance.
To recharge your camcorder/camera in 220v sockets, you only need the Euro plug adapter (not the volltage converter),
as all chargers are multivoltage.
As far as clothing is concerned, casual is the style, and because
of the warm climate clothing should be light, even in the evenings which
remain pleasantly mild.
Shorts for men seem to be the standard with cotton shirts (no jacket ever), and light dresses for women as well as sandals. Men should wear slacks in the evening while dinning.You
will need a light plastic raincoat or a windbreaker for the odd tropical
downpour, a hat to shield you from the intense sun, lots of sunscreen,
some insect repellent, reef or water shoes, a supply of photo film or
video tapes, aspirin, Band-Aids etc.. A mask and snorkel if you intend to do a lot of snorkeling (hotels have them, but usually in bad shape). You can bring some package snacks,
and even a bottle (per person) of your favorite liquor. You do not need
to bring a hair dryer as most hotels provide one. Also, you will need
a small flashlight if you want to walk to restaurants in the evening.
Roads are narrow and unlit, and it gets dark at about 6:30 p.m.
The telephone system in Tahiti is excellent.
There are public phones (multilingual) in all the islands and most of
them are operated with phone cards (telecarte ) which can be
readily purchased at the airport coffee shop, in some bars (bar-
tabacs), at some magazine stands and of course at the Post Office.
These phone cards are priced according to time unites pre
loaded in a microchip embedded in the card. The phone box debits the
card and tells you how many units you have left as you are talking.
There are cards priced at 1, 2 and 5 thousand Pacific Francs depending
on the number of units.
You will find these public phones everywhere in French Polynesia, even
in the most remote atolls.
the US to Tahiti dial: 011 + 689 + phone number.
From Paradise to the world dial: 00 + country code + area code + number.
All the hotels have direct dial, but they may charge you up to $10 per
minute to the USA.
Excellent cell phone service has been available in FP for many years.
Access in French Polynesia:
Most of the resorts have now either an ethernet connection in the room or a wi-fi network. Most hotels will charge for connection time.
All resorts have a Business Center, or at least a public computer in the lobby.
resorts have A/C in their bungalows. If you stay in an overwater bungalow, you will most likely find the trade winds cool enough
and more pleasant, and probably will not use the A/C while still sleeping
with a light blanket.
Offices and shops are usually open from 8 am to 12 noon and from 1.30
p.m. to 5 or 5.30 p.m. In the suburbs, smaller family corner stores
may not close until 10 p.m. Shops close at 11 am on Saturdays.
Banking hours are 7:45 am to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and
some banks (e.g. the Bank of Tahiti) are open on Saturday from 7:45
to 11:30 am.
Currency Exchange counters are available at Faaa International
Airport and are open for all arriving flights, no matter the time.
The French Polynesian postal system is on par with any standards. The
mail delivery is efficient, but count on one week to ten days for mail
to and from the US (USPO can't figure-out where French Polynesia is..).
The main Papeete post office is very modern and located on the waterfront
boulevard. It offers all types of services including photocopying, fax
and telegrams as well as and "poste restante" where you can
have your mail delivered and waiting for you. They also sell sets of
beautiful collectors stamps. Hours are 7:30 am to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays
and 7:30 to 11:30 am on Saturdays.
French Polynesia is 10 hours behind GMT, two hours behind US Pacific
Standard time (same time as Hawaii) and 21 hours behind Australian Eastern
Thus, when it is noon Sunday in Tahiti, it is 2pm Sunday in Los Angeles
(+1 hour summer time) and 9 am Monday in Sydney.
The tap water is good tasting and safe to drink in hotels, restaurants
etc. Bottled mineral water is readily available in food shops around
Medical Care and Critters:
No need for any type of inoculation against exotic diseases when going
French Polynesia enjoys a high standard of health, with excellent medical
and dental services, pharmacies, private clinics and a large hospital
There are NO snakes, poisonous spiders or any land critters that
can hurt or sting you. There could be some mosquitoes and sand flies
(called nono) depending where you are, but their bite is very mild and
the itch doesn't last (rub lime ). It is a good idea, however to pack
some bug repellent.
The lagoons of French Polynesia have a few species of sharks, mostly
the harmless black tip shark which makes for wonderful entertainment
during the Shark Feeding excursions (a must!). There has not been any
shark attack in French Polynesia in recent memory.
One thing you must not forget is lots of sunscreen, as the sun
is VERY strong and will burn you after only 1/2 hour of exposure. Wear
a T-shirt and waterproof sunblock when snorkeling. Also a good idea:
reef shoes if you are going wadding in the shallows or the reef. Beaches
are all coral, with chunks which can be sharp.
Tahiti is very safe by any standard and the worst crime is usually domestic violence. Theft
does happen occasionally, but you need not be concerned. Just don't
be careless (all hotels have room safe).
as any potential terrorist threat is concerned: this is probably one of the safest country
in the world -- low population, zero immigration, strict border
control (only 1 point of entry) and an overwhelming majority of Polynesian
Christians make these islands a heaven of peace and safety. There is
also a very pro-American sentiment at all levels of the population and American tourists are made to feel very welcome.
The only bugs you could encounter are mosquitoes or sand
flies in the more remote beaches. It all depends where you are on any island,
and it can vary within 50 feet. Most resorts treat their grounds and
you may not come in contact with any insect. It really is not a problem
that an occasional application of repellent would not take care of.
and Information Center in Tahiti:
The main tourist office is in the center of Papeete., on the waterfront
where the cruise ships dock. It is very easy to find across the street
from the Vaima Shopping Center, in a large traditional Tahitian building.
They have maps and info on most islands with accommodations and excursions.
They are very helpful and speak excellent English.
The address of the Tahiti Tourist Office is Fare Manihini ( 689 / 42-96-26),
Boulevard Pomare, BP 65, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia.
For their US (LA) office, call : (310) 414 - 84 84.
Travel insurance is always a good idea, if for no other reason than
a plane delay and the loss of a few (expensive) nights of accommodation.
Cost and coverage may vary depending on the cost of your trip.
They are available everywhere...At the airports, the hotels, in the
However, they are usually small cars with stick shift and no A/C. Scooter rental is not recommended due to road hazards and fast drivers.
Tahitian wedding ceremonies are spectacular and very romantic, but they are not legal
unless you have been a resident of the particular island for 30 days
and Work Permits:
No, there are no jobs in Tahiti, and work permits are impossible
to get, unless you have an employer who can be responsible for you,
as well as having been granted a residency permit (also hard to get).