Handy tips and visitor information to make trip planning easier

Planning a vacation to the French Polynesia. Then you need to read our helpful tips and useful visitor information to ensure you make the most of your upcoming holiday.

Visas & useful Visitor Information

Immigration
Upon entering French Polynesia visitors can receive a max 3 month entry with a for a valid passport, which is valid for at least three months on arrival, a valid return or onward ticket and sufficient funds to finance your stay. You can demonstrate this with cash, travelers checks or a credit card. There are no special requirements with respect to mandatory vaccinations for tourists. Upon arrival, an “Arrival Card” “be filled with personal data; This is already being distributed on board the aircraft.

On arrival in French Polynesia, the traveler is asked for an explanation on any brought food, plants and products of animal origin. To protect the pristine nature and agriculture knows French Polynesia strict regulations regarding the importation of food, animals and plants.

International Departure in French Polynesia
French Polynesia’s international airport is located on the northwest side of the main island of Tahiti. The airport is located 15km west of the center of the capital Papeete. Both international flights as well as interisland flights operated at this airport.

The following air carriers execute international flights:

Air Caledonie (Noumea [New Caledonia])
Air New Zealand (Auckland [Nw.Zealand])
Air Tahiti Nui (to Auckland, Brisbane, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo)
LAN Airlines (to Easter Island and Santiago [Chile])
Qantas (to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
Virgin Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])

All other airports and airstrips only serve the domestic air traffic.

Electricity
The electricity in Tahiti is 110 or 220 volts at 60Hz. A european plug or convertor is required (as in France).

Duty Free
Plants, fruits, dangerous goods and drugs must not be imported.

Duty free allowance is 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 2 liters of spirits or two liters of wine (over 18 years); 50g perfume and 250ml eau de toilette; goods up to a value of Fr5000 CFP (CFP Fr2500 for persons under 15 years) to carry.

Entertainment & Night Life
Papeete is a bustling city. Some night clubs close by midnight on weekdays, on weekends they stay open until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. A nice place to have a drink and watch people’s Le Retro, a Parisian-style café in the center Vaima. Le Tamure Hut, at the Royal Papeete hotel is one of the most popular (dance spot) locations with new and old Tahitian music played by a live band. La Cave (in Royal Papeete hotel) is another club with a Tahitian atmosphere.

Food & Drink
Tahiti has excellent French, Italian and Chinese restaurants.

“Poisson cru ‘is a typical Tahitian salad with fresh tuna marinated in lemon, cucumber, onions and tomatoes served with a coconut dressing.

Internet
If you have your laptop or smartphone along on your trip, you can use it in certain places using a wifi connection.

If you want to access the internet on the go, that you need to purchase a SIM card (or dongle) for the UMTS network. These are for sale in the shops of the major telecom providers (such as Telstra and Vodafone). Along the main routes and in most places the mobile reception is good.

Currency & costs

Currency
The currency in French Polynesia is the Cour de Franc Pacifique (CFP).

There are €10,000, 5,000, 1,000 and 500 francs. There are coins of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2 francs. Paying by credit card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) is very common.

Foreign currency and travelers checks Thomas Cook and American Express can be exchanged in hotels and banks in francs, which you should take into account exchange costs.

Banks
There are several banks located in Papeete. In the outer islands there are only banks in the main towns. The banking hours are typically: 08:00 to 15:30 from Monday / Friday. Some banks are open on Saturdays from 07:45 to 11:30.

The Faa’a International Airport has a currency exchange facility.

Tipping
In principle, tipping is not mandatory, but if you have received exceptional service then you can express your appreciation by giving a small tip. Service charges and taxes are generally included in the price.

When to go

Climate
The best time for French Polynesia is May through to October. The East Pacific Islands are in the summer, November through to April, not only hot, but also very wet. For a warm and dry winter holiday it is best you choose May to October.

What to wear for the climate
When you plan your visit to the French Polyneisa it is best to bring light summer clothing. When visiting a local village residents make sure not to show up in swimwear, but with shirt or t-shirt.

Consider a thin raincoat (for walks) and plastic sandals or reef shoes (for protection against coral). Bring a hat or cap to protect against the sun. The shops will otherwise provide virtually everything that you need to enjoy your holiday.

Festivals and Events
The most important annual festival is the Heiva i Tahiti. This two-week festival is held from 30 June until July 14. There is an extensive program with parades, dances, carnivals parties, races and sports tournaments.

“Quatorze Juillet” (July 14) is the highlight of the festival with parades and celebrations. Also good to note that hotels are very busy around this time.

Getting there

French Polynesia’s international airport is located on the northwest side of the main island of Tahiti. The airport is located 15km west of the center of the capital Papeete. Both international flights as well as interisland flights operate at this airport.

The following air carriers execute international flights:

Air Caledonie (Noumea [New Caledonia])
Air New Zealand (Auckland [Nw.Zealand])
Air Tahiti Nui (to Auckland, Brisbane, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo)
LAN Airlines (to Easter Island and Santiago [Chile])
Qantas (to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])
Virgin Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney [Australia])

All other airports and airstrips only serve the domestic air traffic.

Getting around

“Le Truck” is Tahiti’s public transport. It looks kind of like a colored army trucks with wooden benches side. The destination is shown on top of the truck. The start and end of Le Truck is in the open market in downtown Papeete. Official bus stops are present, however, getting in and out is possible outside of the designated stops. You pay the driver before you get to your destination. At night there is only transportation to the hotels on the west coast to Maeva Beach.

On the other outer islands, public transport is often less well regulated.

Health & safety

Health
The climate in French Polynesia is pleasant, therefore you usually do not need to take any special medical precautions. However, the best you can go to your family doctor for specific advice.

French Poloynesia has almost no dangerous or poisonous animals. The most dangerous animal is probably the shark. Inside the reefs in the lagoon from time to time you will see small harmless reef sharks. The larger shark species – such as the hammer head, tiger shark and white shark – like deep water so you are only likely to encounter if you are scuba diving outside of the lagoon.

Remember that the coral is sharp. To prevent sores and possible infections, we recommend that you wear plastic sandals or reef shoes when you are walking or in shallow water over coral is swimming over the coral. If you have to cut the coral the risk of infection is very large, do not wait to long to use antibiotics.

Water in French Polynesia
Tap water is generally safe to drink on French Polynesia, but chlorinated. For safety, however, we advise you to boil your drinking water or buy bottled water.

Sunburn in Fiji
French Polynesia is located in the tropics, the air is not polluted and pure. This brings strong solar radiation unhindered on earth. Head covering and a sunscreen with a high protection factor is so highly recommended.

Country Profile

Population
The population of French Polynesia is 276,831.

Language
The official languages of French Polynesia are French and Tahitian, although each island group has its own language. English is spoken in all hotels. On most of the larger islands you will also find English spoken in most shops and restaurants.