Information & Facts
French Polynesia is in a moderate tropical region with a climate offering sunny, pleasant days and an average yearly air and water temperature of 27C. Summer is from November through April and the temperatures are slightly warmer and more humid. Winter is from May through October and the temperatures are slightly cooler and dryer.
French Polynesian customs laws prevent you from bringing drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms and protected wildlife into Tahiti. Some common items such as fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are also prohibited. Antiques and nationally valuable works of art should be checked with customs before leaving the country.
Travelers importing or exporting the equivalent of 10, 000 Euros, in cash or travelers cheques, will need to declare the total sum to the relevant customs officials. All gold, except for personal jewellery, over 500grams will need to be declared before entering or leaving the country.
If you are carrying prescription medicines or controlled drugs, you should have a prescription from your physician advising that the medicine is being used under a doctor’s direction and is necessary for your physical well-being.
The following items can be imported tax free into the country by visitors aged 17 or over.
• 200 cigarettes
• 50 cigars
• 100 cigarillos
• 250 grams Tobacco
• 1 litre spirits over 22% vol.
• 2 litres fortified wine
• 2 litres stilled wine
• 16 litres of beer
• 500 grams of coffee
• 50 grams of perfume
Hotels use either 110 or 220 volts, depending on the location. Power outlets for shavers are provided in most hotels and a converter/adapter is often required for appliances you bring, including computers. Most of the hotels use a European style plug.
The French Polynesian islanders drive on the right-hand side of the road. An international visitor may drive in French Polynesia on a valid overseas driver’s licence for the same class of vehicle. Canadian and U.S. citizens do not require an international licence, unless their home licence is in a language other than English. You should carry both your home licence and international licence when driving.
Flights to the other islands are available on Air Tahiti and Air Moorea. These flights leave from Faa’a Airport in Papeete and should be organized by your destination specialist prior to your arrival.
Passenger ferries to Moorea depart from the waterfront in downtown Papeete.
On Tahiti, there are two types of public buses available. Both operate frequently in Papeete and around the island. Taxis can be hired at most hotels, airports and ferry terminals.
A travel insurance policy that covers you for theft, loss, accidents and medical problems is highly recommended. If you plan on doing any adventure activities like scuba diving, bushwalking or travelling in remote areas, check that your policy fully covers these activities. Remember to bring your insurance policy details and emergency contact numbers and with you.
No special immunizations or vaccinations are required to visit French Polynesia unless you have come from, or have visited a yellow fever infected country prior to your arrival. However, it is recommended that you check with your family doctor or a travel clinic a few weeks before you travel.
On the islands of Tahiti, good sanitary facilities and health services are available. The cities of Papeete, Taravao (Peninsula of Tahiti) and Uturoa (Raiatea) have fully equipped hospitals. Other tourist islands at least possess a doctor's office or a clinic. Tahitian hospitals and clinics provide a high standard of health care. For a tropical location, Tahiti has very few pest or insect problems, and the region is free from malaria.
French and Tahitian are the official languages of French Polynesia. English is spoken and understood in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
Tahiti’s national currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF).
Upon arrival most visitors exchange some money at the airport or hotels. However, since most credit cards are readily accepted in all tourist areas, it is not necessary to exchange large amounts.
Tipping in French Polynesia is neither customary nor expected, with the exception of tour leaders.
All visitors to French Polynesia must have a passport that is valid for 3 months beyond the date of their arrival, a return airline ticket to their country of residence, or at least 2 more countries, and sufficient funds to support them during their stay.
For stays of up to three months or 90 days, there are no visa requirements for citizens of the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. A foreigner with a residence card for the U.S. is not exempt from the above requirements and should consult the French Consulate based in the U.S. for information.
Citizens of European Union countries do not need a visa for stays of up to three months. Citizens of all other countries should consult the French Consulate.
As entry requirements are subject to modification without notice, it is recommended that you check with your destination specialist before you travel
The islands of French Polynesia are generally a safe destination for travel. With common-sense, you can safely enjoy your visit. However, as with all travel at home or away, you should observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions. Take copies of your important documents (passports and credit cards) and keep them separate from the originals. You should also keep a record of the description and serial numbers of valuable items (cameras and laptops).
French Polynesian time is equal to UTC -10.
From March to late October, they move one hour ahead. However, time in the Marquesas is always half an hour ahead of the rest of the islands.