Be well prepared for your vacation
For most people, a stay in Tahiti and Her Islands involves a long flight and various travel connections. However, according to most visitors, it is definitely worth the trip! Here is invaluable information ensuring your stay is without hassle…
In your suitcase
Must-haves in your suitcase:
French Polynesia benefits from a sunny climate so you will need light summer clothes, light shoes and swim wear. Don’t forget about your sunglasses, sun lotion with a good SPF and a hat in order to be protected from the sun.
Between June and August, it is recommended to bring a light jacket or sweater as evenings may be a bit cooler, especially if you stay in the mountains or on a boat.
Don’t bring too many shoes:
Everyone takes their shoes off before going into a house or bungalow. Flip-flops (called “savates”) rather than shoes and socks are ideal. You will also find some very nice ones in Tahiti and Her Islands!
Light activity gear:
For the adventurous the following items of clothes will come in handy:
Water shoes to walk in water as many corals lie close to the beaches or on the reef.
Don’t forget that Bora Bora
and The Islands Of Tahiti
host some incredible hiking treks. Bring your hiking shoes if you are interested!
Bring running style shoes if you would like to go on a 4WD tour.
Although most resorts have snorkeling gear, you may want to bring your own to enjoy the underwater marine life. A mask and a snorkel are enough.
Cruise ship passengers should not forget to bring wind and rain jackets when out on deck!
No anti-malaria treatment is necessary but bring some mosquito repellent as mosquitoes may bother you!
Watch the weight of your luggage and be aware of maximum weight guidelines by your airline. Airlines are now very strict on excess luggage and expect to pay extra if you are over by only a little.
On international flights, as a couple, each of you are entitled to one piece of 23kg luggage. Avoid checking in with 25kg in one bag and 15kg in the other one. You will be subject to paying extra tax.
Hand luggage follows the same rules with most airlines being strict on number of items, dimension and weight. You may have to check in a piece of luggage that you had planned to keep with you and pay extra fees.
Luggages in domestic flights
For the Air Tahiti flights inter islands, baggage allowance is generally of 20 kilos per person for residents out of Tahiti and with an international connecting flight. It is necessary to rely on the price of the luggage weight on each flight ticket or each pass purchased. For these flights, flexibility regarding the weight of each luggage is sometimes applied; therefore, a couple travelling with a luggage weighing 23 kilos and another one at 17 kilos shouldn’t have any supplement to pay although it is a favor which depends on seat occupancy rate of the plane and the goodwill of a staff at ticketing.
An extra baggage allowance of 5 kilos is also extended to divers. For more information, please take a look at the airline company website.
Instructions are available at the airport for those travelling light in the islands.
With exception of the Marquesas, Tahiti and all her islands are on the same time zone as Honolulu (GMT-11 hours in the summer and GMT-12 hours in the northern hemisphere winter).
Thus the time difference is:
- Paris: -12 hours during the summer and -11 hours in the winter
- West coast of the USA: +2 hours
- Santiago, Chile: +6 hours
- Sydney: -4 hours + 1 day in the winter and -3 hours + 1 day in the summer
- Auckland: 2h + 1 day in the winter and -1 hour + 1 day in the summer
Tips to recover from jet lag: plenty of rest prior to your trip, avoid too much alcohol onboard your flight, upon arrival adjust your body clock by adjusting to the new current time zone (ie…if you arrive early attempt to stay awake until evening or maybe take a short nap during the day day)
Transit via the USA:
Even in transit, travelers are requested to provide the same documents as visitors in the USA:
- a valid passport showing at least 6 months before expiry. Electronic or biometric passports are visa exempted. Optical reading passports (Delphine) and older passports may require a compulsory visa.
- ESTA document: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
These administrative formalities may be subject to change without notice, we recommend that you read the official related website, such as the link in French: http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/F14079.xhtml
Arrival in French Polynesia:
For a stay up to 3 months, a valid passport only is requested for visitors from the following countries: European Union, Malta, Australia, Monaco, Cyprus, Vatican, Iceland, Saint Martin, Liechtenstein, Switzerland.
For a stay of one month only, a valid passport only is requested for visitors from the following countries: USA, Argentina, Latvia, Lithuania, Bolivia, Malaysia, Brunei, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Paraguay, Poland, Equator, Salvador, Estonia, Singapore, Guatemala, Slovakia, Honduras, Hungary, South Korea, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Slovenia, Japan, Czech Republic, Uruguay.
Visitors from other countries must obtain a visa at the French embassy of their country of residence. This visa must feature the mandatory indication “valid for French Polynesia”, including foreigners holding a French temporary “carte de séjour”.
Foreigners holding a residence card in France are not subject to obtain a visa. Apart from citizens from the European Union and foreigners having held a French residence card for more that 10 years, all other visitors traveling to French Polynesia must show proof of a return ticket or must upon arrival leave a repatriation deposit with the authorities.
Detailed information is available on: www.polynesie-francaise.gouv.fr
No specific vaccinations are required except for travelers visiting from an at-risk country.
an immunization certificate against yellow fever is demanded from any traveler coming from an infected area.
Any goods must be declared and duty should be paid with customs.
Detailed information is available on: www.douane.gouv.fr
The following items are prohibited unless they were authorized prior to arrival: pets, live animals, plants, plant products or any other biohazard product, cultural property or belonging (art item from a collection or antiques), medicines, weapons (whatever they are), communication and phone objects are subject to import authorization.
The following duty free items are allowed per person:
200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco
2 liters of spirits, wine or champagne
1 bottle of perfume (50g) or 25cl (1/4 liter) of eau de toilette
500 grams of coffee - 100 grams of tea
However, travelers less than 17 year old are not allowed to import duty free goods nor tobacco nor alcoholic beverages.
The following items are prohibited: drugs, counterfeit items, cultured pearls not from French Polynesia.
Money and banking services are equivalent to Western standards:
The currency used is the Pacific Franc (XPF or CFP) which benefits from a fixed exchanged rate to the Euro: 1 € = 119,33 F.
You will find the following banks:
Banque de Tahiti, part of BPCE group (Caisse d’Epargne) ;
Banque de Polynésie, a Société Générale subsidiary;
Apart from some atolls, you will find ATMs anywhere in French Polynesia accepting Visa and Master cards and available 24/7. You won’t need to bring a large amount of cash with you as these cards are accepted in most places.
The main exchange rates outside of the Euro are the following (the 24/11/16) :
1GBP = 140 CFP
1USD = 113 CFP
1NZD = 79 CFP
1AUD = 84 CFP
Be well-insured for your trip
From experience, we know that any trip may be subject to health problems or issues may arise that are likely to affect you or one of your traveling companions.
We therefore recommend that you take out reliable travel insurance likely to cover potential cancellation fees and healthcare related issued during your trip…
Some credit card companies offer such insurance but please check the small print carefully.
You may also sign up to our specific travel insurance designed exclusively for our clients.