French Polynesia
Travel Information

Things to know before you go

From what to pack (and what you’ll need to leave at home) to how to get around and what to tip, we’ve put together a collection of some of our most frequently asked questions and practical travel information.

This section provides essential travel information for Australia including: climate and currency, time differences and dialling codes, visas and other entry requirements. 

 

There’s also information about the nation’s food and drink, flora and fauna, history and culture; but if we have left any of your travel questions unanswered, our locally-based Travel Design teams are here to provide in-the-know and up-to-the-minute advice. Contact us.

French Polynesia

Important Information

A valid passport is required. It must not expire for at least six months after your intended date of visit and you will require an onward ticket. A tourist visa for three months is granted to most travellers on arrival however it is advisable to check with a travel agent or local consulate before departing.

The client accepts that Southern Crossings at all times acts only as an agent for all accommodations, airlines, excursion and transport operators, and that Southern Crossings is not liable in relation to any of these principals’ services. All bookings are made subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by service provider principals. Southern Crossings excludes liability for the supply of all leisure and recreational services.

No liquids, gels or aerosols are permitted beyond the screening area or onboard the aircraft except if they are not more than 3.5oz. (100ml) and they are in a clear plastic bag of one litre size which is sealed and separate from the passengers carry on baggage.

If any of the below items do not fit in the closed/sealed 1 litre size plastic bag and/or are over 3.5oz. (100mls), they should be packed in your checked luggage or must be declared to screening personnel at the boarding gate hold areas or the boarding gate – baby formula/milk (to include breast milk) and baby food in containers if a baby or small child is travelling; medications (liquid, gel and/or aerosol) with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; liquids (to include juice) or gels for diabetic or other medical needs. Quantities are limited to no greater than 3.5 oz. (100ml) per container. Any containers over 100mls will need to be accompanied by a doctor’s note. (For purposes of this advice, liquids and gels include beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel, perfume and other items of similar consistency).

Passengers undergo secondary screening at the departure gate. Any liquids or gels found on a person that do not comply with these requirements will be confiscated.

Valuable items such as laptops, cell-phones, cameras are accepted as cabin baggage but will be subject to security checks at both screening stations.

The islands of French Polynesia are delighted to welcome fully vaccinated international travellers from selected countries of origin.

For  further details and current information visit: 

Tahiti Tourisme

and contact our Travel Design team to start planning.  

Vaccinations are not required upon entry unless you are arriving from an area infected by yellow fever. Travel insurance is recommended.

French Polynesia is 10 hours behind GMT. (GMT+10).

Getting Around

Scheduled flights operate on a regular basis from Papeete to the islands of Moorea, Bora Bora, and Raiatea. A frequent catamaran operates from Papeete to Moorea and is a 35 minute trip. Roads are well maintained in and around Papeete on the main island of Tahiti and also on Moorea. Rental cars, taxis and private car and drivers are available at Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora. Scheduled flights also operate to the more remote islands and atolls of French Polynesia including the Marquesas. Boat transfers are the most common means of transport to many of the resorts located on the motus surrounding Bora Bora and Taha’a, whilst helicopter transfers are also available. A road runs around the coast of the main island linking the town of Vaitape on Bora Bora.

French Polynesia benefits from fantastic weather all year round. It is known for having high temperatures throughout the year. Tahiti gets an average of eight hours of sun per day, with temperatures ranging from 75 to 86 degrees F. The dry season occurs from April through October and a more humid and rainy season is expected from November to March.

The typical dress is casual for both night and day. Pack t-shirts, shorts, light cotton dresses and swimwear. Jeans will be too hot and uncomfortable. For cooler evenings or for out on the water, a jacket is a good idea. Sunscreens and hats are a must and joggers or sandals are good protection for walking and swimming around coral.

Spending

CFP Franc = 100 cents. All major credit cards are recognised in the main tourist areas and resorts and there are an increasing number of cash machines available. Most of the smaller island will only accept cash.

 

Tipping is not an expected practice however it is considerate to leave a little extra for great service. The amount to tip is your choice, as it should be reflective of the service you have received.

 

Shops operate from Monday to Friday 8:00am to 11:30 am and from 1:30pm to 5:00pm. Saturdays are from 8:00am to 11:30am. Most shops and restaurants are closed on a Sunday. The popular Papeete market is open on a Sunday where you can buy a wide variety of goods. Banks are closed on Sundays and have limited operating hours on Saturday’s. It is suggested to take a small amount of cash to use for the purchasing of goods and souvenirs.

Communication

Telephone communication and internet connections are good at the resorts. 3G Coverage is available on Tahiti, Mo’orea, Huahine, Ra’iatea and Bora Bora.

Below are the best contact numbers in cases of emergency;
15 – Ambulance Services
120 – Fireman Services
20 – Police Services

About French Polynesia

French Polynesia has two official languages French and Tahitian. English however is widely spoken in the tourist areas.

Modern French Polynesian food is a mixture of French, Chinese and Polynesian influence. Traditional Tahitian cuisine is a mixture of starch, raw or cooked fish, pork, coconut milk and a few vegetables. One of Tahiti’s signature dishes is “poisson cru” or raw fish. With refreshing, and exotic flavours it consists of raw tuna which is marinated in lime juice and combined with a blend of diced vegetables and coconut milk.

French Polynesia has either 110 volt or 220 volt (60 hertz) mains electricity supply depending on the island and type of accommodation.

The French Polynesian Islands are located in Oceania, halfway between South America and Australia. French Polynesia is made up of over 118 individual islands however 67 of these islands are not fit for human habitation. The Islands are known for their coral reefs and lagoons and over-the-water bungalow hotels. Some of the iconic features include white and black sandy beaches, mountains, waterfalls and rocky countryside.

Captain James Cook first sailed to Tahiti in April 1769 to watch the Transit of Venus. He returned at a later stage to visit the surrounding islands which he named the Society Islands. Europeans grew an interest in Tahiti and the South Pacific when Captain Cook returned with the first map illustrating the indigenous fauna and flora. Every Westernised country wanted to attain paradise. British and French missionaries arrived in the 1800’s which triggered rivalry between the two countries for control over the islands which changed the way of life in Tahiti forever. Eventually colonized by France and now officially known as French Polynesia, Tahiti is now and independent overseas country of the French Republic.

The Tahitian culture is described as ‘aita pea pea,’ meaning ‘not to worry’ in English.  French Polynesia has a rich culture which is integral to their identity. Music, dance, textile and tattoos are authentic reflections of the Polynesian culture. The word “tattoo” is derived from the Tahitian word tatau. It is used as an ancient art form which expresses identity and personality. It is used to represent one’s family tree and status in the community.