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The Ultimate French Polynesia Travel Guide


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Violet Tharpe



Welcome to the ultimate guide to French Polynesia, a tropical paradise known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant culture. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia is an archipelago consisting of 118 islands, each offering a unique experience for travelers.


From the iconic Bora Bora with its stunning overwater bungalows to the untouched beauty of the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia offers a range of breathtaking destinations to explore. Whether you’re seeking a romantic honeymoon getaway, an adventure-filled vacation, or a relaxing island retreat, French Polynesia has something to offer for everyone.


With its warm climate and pleasant weather year-round, French Polynesia is a destination that can be visited at any time. The islands are home to a diverse range of activities and attractions, including snorkeling and diving, hiking through lush rainforests, exploring ancient Polynesian temples, and indulging in delicious local cuisine.


Getting to French Polynesia is relatively easy, with several international airlines offering direct flights to Tahiti, the main gateway to the country. Once you arrive in Tahiti, you can easily travel between the islands either by domestic flights or by ferry, allowing you to experience the different landscapes and cultures that each island has to offer.


In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the best time to visit, how to get to French Polynesia, and the most popular islands to explore. We will also delve into the thrilling activities and attractions available, the tantalizing traditional cuisine, the varied accommodation options, and essential travel tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation.


So pack your flip-flops, grab your snorkel, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the enchanting islands of French Polynesia. Let’s dive in and explore the beauty and wonders that await in this tropical paradise.


Overview of French Polynesia

Situated in the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia is a group of islands renowned for its stunning natural beauty and captivating culture. It is a French overseas collectivity and is composed of five main groups of islands: the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands, and the Austral Islands.


The most well-known and frequently visited group of islands in French Polynesia is the Society Islands, which includes Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, and Huahine. These islands are famous for their breathtaking landscapes, turquoise lagoons, and luxurious resorts.


The Tuamotu Archipelago is another popular destination within French Polynesia, known for its abundant marine life and world-class diving spots. Rangiroa and Fakarava are among the standout islands in this group.


The Marquesas Islands, considered one of the most remote island groups in the world, offer a unique experience for adventurous travelers. With rugged terrains, towering cliffs, and rich Polynesian culture, these islands provide a true sense of exploration and discovery.


The Gambier Islands, located in the far southeast of French Polynesia, are a hidden gem. Known for their pristine beaches, archaeological sites, and picturesque landscapes, these islands offer a serene and off-the-beaten-path experience.


The Austral Islands, the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, are characterized by their lush vegetation, stunning cliffs, and warm hospitality. Rurutu and Tubuai are popular islands to visit in this group.


French Polynesia is renowned for its diverse marine life, which includes vibrant coral reefs, schools of tropical fish, and even encounters with majestic creatures like sharks, dolphins, and whales. The islands’ lush tropical vegetation and volcanic landscapes further add to the natural beauty of the region.


Furthermore, French Polynesia is a cultural treasure trove, with a rich Polynesian heritage deeply embedded in everyday life. From traditional dance performances and handicraft markets to ancient marae (archaeological sites) and historical museums, visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of the island’s history.


With its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, French Polynesia is a dream destination for beach lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and those seeking an unforgettable escape from everyday life.


Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit French Polynesia largely depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. The region enjoys a warm tropical climate throughout the year, with two distinct seasons – the dry season and the wet season.


The dry season in French Polynesia falls between the months of May and October, offering pleasant weather with lower humidity levels. This is considered the peak tourist season, as travelers flock to the islands to take advantage of the sunny days and to explore the underwater wonders through diving and snorkeling. The temperatures during this period range from 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F).


If you prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds, the shoulder seasons of April and November are ideal times to visit. During these months, you can still enjoy favorable weather conditions and engage in various water activities without the high season rush. The temperatures can range from 22°C to 27°C (72°F to 81°F).


The wet season in French Polynesia falls between November and April, characterized by higher chances of rain showers and occasional tropical storms. However, the rainfall is usually short-lived, and the islands retain their lush greenery. This season is also considered the low season, offering more affordable rates on accommodations and activities. The temperatures during this time range from 26°C to 31°C (79°F to 88°F).


It’s important to note that even during the wet season, the islands still experience plenty of sunny and dry days, making it possible to enjoy outdoor activities and explore the picturesque landscapes. If you don’t mind occasional showers and are looking for a budget-friendly trip, visiting during this time can be a great option.


It’s also worth considering the activities you plan to engage in. For surfers, the peak surfing season runs from May to October when the swells are optimum. If you are interested in spotting migrating humpback whales, plan your visit between July and November when they pass through the waters of French Polynesia.


Overall, French Polynesia is a fantastic destination to visit year-round. Whether you prefer the peak tourist season or the quieter shoulder seasons, you’ll find something to suit your preferences and have an unforgettable experience in this tropical paradise.


How to Get to French Polynesia

Getting to French Polynesia is relatively convenient, with international flights connecting the region to major cities around the world. The primary point of entry is Tahiti, specifically Faa’a International Airport (PPT), located near the capital city of Papeete. From Tahiti, you can easily travel to other islands within French Polynesia by domestic flights or ferries.


Several international airlines offer direct flights to Tahiti from destinations such as Los Angeles, Paris, Auckland, Sydney, and Tokyo. The flight durations vary depending on the origin, with flights from Los Angeles lasting around 8 hours, while flights from Sydney take approximately 9 hours.


Some popular airlines that operate flights to Tahiti include Air Tahiti Nui, Air France, Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas Airways, and Air New Zealand. It’s advisable to compare prices and schedules to find the most convenient and affordable option for your journey.


If you’re traveling from other parts of the South Pacific or within French Polynesia, you can take advantage of domestic flights provided by Air Tahiti. They offer regular flights between the main islands, including Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, and more. The flight durations are relatively short, usually ranging from 20 minutes to an hour.


Alternatively, if you prefer a more leisurely and scenic route, you can opt for inter-island ferries. The ferry services operate between select islands, providing a unique opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean as you move from one destination to another.


Once you arrive in French Polynesia, there are various transportation options to explore the islands. Rental cars are available on many of the main islands, allowing you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. However, it’s important to note that on some remote islands, car rentals may be limited or unavailable.


Taxis are also readily available in larger towns and at the airports, offering a convenient mode of transport. Additionally, some resorts and hotels provide shuttle services for their guests.


Lastly, for shorter distances or to get around within towns, you can rent bicycles or opt for local buses, known as Le Truck. These open-air buses are a popular way to travel, as they provide an affordable and authentic experience.


Getting to French Polynesia is an adventure in itself, as you embark on a journey to discover the stunning beauty and enchanting culture that awaits in this tropical paradise.


Popular Islands to Explore

French Polynesia is home to a captivating collection of islands, each offering its own unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the popular islands that are worth exploring during your visit:


Tahiti, the largest and most well-known island in French Polynesia, is the gateway to the region. Explore the bustling capital city of Papeete, visit local markets, and experience the vibrant Polynesian culture through dance performances and traditional handicrafts.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is often regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, with its iconic turquoise lagoon and overwater bungalows. Relax on stunning beaches, indulge in water activities like snorkeling and diving, and witness breathtaking sunsets over Mount Otemanu.


Just a short distance from Tahiti, Moorea is a paradise with lush green mountains, pristine beaches, and a calm lagoon perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Explore pineapple plantations, hike to scenic viewpoints, and encounter dolphins and rays in their natural habitat.


Huahine offers a glimpse into traditional Polynesian culture and history. Visit ancient marae, explore vanilla plantations, and discover the lush landscapes that earned this island the nickname “The Garden of Eden”. Huahine is also a popular spot for surfing and windsurfing.


Rangiroa, in the Tuamotu Archipelago, is renowned for its clear turquoise waters and abundant marine life. Dive into the world-famous Tiputa Pass to witness schools of colorful fish, sharks, and dolphins. You can also relax on the white sandy beaches or visit the pearl farms.

The Marquesas Islands

If you’re seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure, the Marquesas Islands are a must-visit. With their dramatic landscapes, lush valleys, and rich Polynesian culture, these remote islands offer a truly unique experience. Explore ancient archaeological sites, hike through untouched landscapes, and immerse yourself in the local way of life.


These are just a few of the many incredible islands that French Polynesia has to offer. Each island has its own distinct atmosphere, from luxurious resorts to untouched natural beauty, making it easy to find the perfect paradise to suit your preferences.


Activities and Attractions

French Polynesia offers a wide array of activities and attractions that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Beaches and Water Activities

With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, French Polynesia is a paradise for beach lovers. Spend your days lounging on the pristine shores, swimming in the warm lagoons, and snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs. For more adventurous water activities, try scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, jet skiing, or even paddleboarding.

Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in the rich Polynesian culture by attending traditional dance performances, exploring local markets, and visiting ancient marae (Polynesian temples). Learn about the history and customs of the islands through museums and cultural centers, gaining a deeper understanding of the local way of life.

Wildlife and Nature

French Polynesia is home to diverse wildlife and breathtaking natural landscapes. Take a guided tour to spot dolphins, whales, and sea turtles in their natural habitats. Hike through lush rainforests, visit waterfalls, and enjoy panoramic views from scenic viewpoints. Birdwatching enthusiasts will also be thrilled with the opportunity to spot endemic and migratory bird species.

Traditional Tahitian Cuisine

Indulge in the tantalizing flavors of traditional Tahitian cuisine, which often features fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and locally sourced ingredients. Savor dishes like poisson cru (marinated raw fish), fei (breadfruit), and taro root. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a traditional Tahitian feast, known as a “Tama’ara’a”, where you can sample a variety of local specialties.

Adventure Sports

For adventure seekers, French Polynesia offers a range of thrilling activities. Go hiking or horseback riding through scenic trails, explore caves and grottos, or try your hand at kiteboarding or windsurfing. Adrenaline junkies can also experience skydiving or take a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view of the stunning landscapes.


These are just a few of the activities and attractions that await in French Polynesia. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or embark on adrenaline-fueled adventures, this tropical paradise has something to offer for every traveler.


Beaches and Water Activities

French Polynesia is renowned for its breathtaking beaches and stunning waters, making it a paradise for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. With crystal-clear turquoise lagoons, powdery white sands, and a wealth of underwater treasures, the islands offer endless opportunities for relaxation and exhilarating water activities.


One of the top attractions in French Polynesia is its pristine beaches. Picture yourself lounging on the soft white sands, basking in the warm tropical sun, and gazing out at the sparkling turquoise waters. From the famous Matira Beach in Bora Bora to the idyllic shores of Moorea and the secluded stretches on Huahine, each island boasts its own unique and picturesque beaches.


Swimming in the calm and transparent waters of the lagoons is an absolute must-do. The water is comfortably warm year-round, offering the perfect environment for a refreshing dip. Float effortlessly in the lagoons, enjoying the peacefulness and stunning surroundings.


Snorkeling and diving are popular activities in French Polynesia, thanks to its vibrant coral reefs and rich marine biodiversity. Strap on your snorkeling gear or scuba equipment and explore a world teeming with colorful fish, fascinating coral formations, and even encounters with sea turtles and rays. Top snorkeling spots include the Coral Gardens in Bora Bora, the Lagoonarium in Moorea, and the Tiputa Pass in Rangiroa.


If you’re an adventure seeker, consider trying your hand at thrilling water activities. Jet skiing and water skiing are popular options for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Glide across the lagoon’s surface or catch some waves for an exciting and memorable experience. Kayaking and paddleboarding are also fantastic ways to explore the calm lagoons and discover hidden coves and pristine beaches.


Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to test their skills in the abundant waters of French Polynesia. Deep-sea fishing trips can be arranged, allowing you to hook big-game fish such as tuna, marlin, and mahi-mahi. You can also try your hand at traditional Tahitian fishing methods, such as handline fishing or spearfishing, for a more authentic and rewarding experience.


For a truly unique water experience, consider taking a sunset cruise or a romantic sailing trip around the islands. Watch the sun dip below the horizon, witness the changing colors of the sky, and enjoy the serenity of the seas as you sail through the stunning archipelago.


French Polynesia’s beaches and water activities provide endless opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and unforgettable memories. Whether you’re diving into the vibrant underwater world, indulging in thrilling water sports, or simply unwinding on a powdery white beach, you’ll find yourself immersed in the natural beauty and tranquility of this tropical paradise.


Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant culture of French Polynesia through a variety of unique and authentic experiences. From traditional dance performances to exploring ancient sites, the islands offer a plethora of opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the local heritage and customs.


One of the highlights of any visit to French Polynesia is witnessing a traditional dance performance. Known as ‘ori Tahiti’, these energetic and mesmerizing performances showcase the beauty and grace of Polynesian culture. Dancers adorned in colorful costumes move to the rhythmic beats of drums, sharing stories through their movements. Don’t miss the chance to witness this captivating art form and appreciate the skill and talent of the performers.


Discover the fascinating history and archaeology of the islands by visiting ancient sites and marae. These sacred Polynesian temples were once the center of religious and social life. Explore the well-preserved marae on the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, and Tahiti, and learn about their significance in the Polynesian culture. Local guides are available to provide insights into the history and spiritual practices associated with these sites.


Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of local markets, where you can find an array of arts, crafts, and fresh produce. Tahiti’s Papeete Market is a must-visit, offering a sensory experience with stalls selling tropical fruits, vanilla beans, local handicrafts, and colorful pareos (sarongs). Engage with the friendly vendors, learn about the local ingredients used in Tahitian cuisine, and take home unique souvenirs that reflect the island’s culture.


Experience the warm hospitality of the people of French Polynesia by attending a traditional Tahitian feast, known as a “Tama’ara’a” or “Marae”. These feasts are a celebration of food, music, and dance, where you can savor an array of traditional dishes prepared in an earth oven called an ‘umu’. Feast on dishes like po’e (a sweet pudding), roasted pig, taro, and fresh seafood while enjoying live music and dance performances.


To gain a deeper understanding of the local culture, consider visiting small villages and interacting with the residents. Learn about their way of life, participate in traditional crafts workshops, and engage in conversations to learn more about the customs and traditions of the islands.


Throughout the year, various cultural events and festivals take place in French Polynesia. The Heiva Festival, held in July, is the most famous cultural event, featuring traditional song and dance competitions, sports events, and art exhibitions. Attending these festivals provides a unique opportunity to witness and celebrate the vibrant and diverse culture of the islands.


French Polynesia offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences that allow visitors to connect with the local people and gain a deeper appreciation for the traditions that have shaped the islands. Whether through dance performances, visits to ancient sites, or engaging with residents, these cultural encounters will leave a lasting impression on your journey through this tropical paradise.


Wildlife and Nature

French Polynesia is a treasure trove of wildlife and natural wonders, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the stunning beauty of the islands. From diverse marine life to lush rainforests and breathtaking landscapes, the region is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.


One of the standout attractions of French Polynesia is its abundant marine life. Snorkel or dive into the crystal-clear waters and discover a kaleidoscope of colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays. The lagoons are home to an incredible array of species, providing ample opportunities for underwater exploration and unforgettable encounters with marine creatures.


If you’re lucky, you may have the opportunity to swim alongside pods of dolphins or spot majestic humpback whales. From July to November, these gentle giants migrate to the warm waters of French Polynesia, offering a spectacular sight and a chance to observe their behavior up close. Numerous tour operators offer whale-watching excursions to witness these awe-inspiring creatures in their natural habitat.


With its lush vegetation and diverse landscapes, French Polynesia also boasts a wealth of terrestrial wildlife and natural wonders. Embark on hikes through verdant rainforests, where you can encounter colorful birds, such as the famous Tahitian Monarch, and rare plant species. Exploring the valleys of the Marquesas Islands or the rugged terrain of Moorea will reward you with breathtaking panoramas and encounters with endemic flora and fauna.


French Polynesia is also home to unique geological formations, such as volcanic peaks and dramatic cliffs. One of the most iconic landmarks is Mount Otemanu in Bora Bora, a dormant volcano that stands proudly over the island. Take a hike or helicopter tour to witness the awe-inspiring vistas and capture unforgettable photos of these natural spectacles.


For nature enthusiasts, the Tuamotu Archipelago offers exceptional biodiversity and is a haven for birdwatching. Explore the untouched atolls and spot rare bird species, including the Tuamotu sandpiper and the Polynesian ground-dove. Many of these atolls have been designated as nature reserves to protect their unique ecosystems.


French Polynesia is dedicated to the preservation of its natural habitats through the establishment of marine and terrestrial conservation areas. Visitors can support these efforts by practicing responsible tourism, respecting the delicate ecosystems, and abiding by the rules and guidelines set by local authorities.


Whether you’re exploring the vibrant underwater world or hiking through lush forests, French Polynesia offers a captivating immersion into the wonders of wildlife and nature. Prepare to be amazed by the rich biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes that await you in this pristine tropical paradise.


Traditional Tahitian Cuisine

One of the highlights of visiting French Polynesia is indulging in the tantalizing flavors of traditional Tahitian cuisine. With its emphasis on fresh local ingredients and a blend of Polynesian, French, and Asian influences, Tahitian cuisine offers a unique and delectable culinary experience.


Seafood plays a prominent role in Tahitian dishes, reflecting the islands’ abundant coastal resources. Poisson cru, a signature dish, features raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, accompanied by fresh vegetables and served with a side of poe, a sweet pudding made from banana or taro. The delicate flavors and refreshing taste of poisson cru showcase the simplicity and elegance of Tahitian dishes.


Taro, a root vegetable, is a staple in Tahitian cuisine and is used in various preparations. It is often steamed or boiled and served as a side dish or as part of the main course. Fei, a type of breadfruit, is another local favorite and is usually baked or roasted. These traditional root vegetables provide a unique taste and texture to the cuisine.


Coconut, a versatile ingredient, is extensively used in Tahitian cooking. It is grated to extract the milk, which is then used in curries, sauces, and desserts. Coconut cream is a common addition to many seafood dishes, adding richness and depth of flavor. Fresh coconut water, known as eau de coco, is a popular thirst-quencher and is often served chilled.


Tahitian cuisine also features succulent grilled meats, such as marinated pork or lamb, cooked to perfection over an open fire. A favorite dish is the Tahitian-style barbecue, where the meat is marinated with local spices and grilled on hot stones, infusing it with smoky flavors.


For those with a sweet tooth, Tahitian desserts are a treat not to be missed. Try the famous banana poe, a sweet pudding made from ripe bananas, coconut milk, and vanilla. Coco bread, a fluffy pastry filled with sweet coconut filling, is another popular delight. Don’t forget to sample the tropical fruits that abound in French Polynesia, including juicy pineapples, exotic mangos, and sweet papayas.


When visiting French Polynesia, be sure to attend a traditional Tahitian feast, known as a “Tama’ara’a”. These festive gatherings are an opportunity to sample a variety of dishes and experience the warmth of Tahitian hospitality. Feast on local delicacies while enjoying lively music and dance performances that represent the vibrant culture of the islands.


Tahitian cuisine reflects the flavors of the islands and the cultural diversity that defines French Polynesia. From the simplicity of poisson cru to the rich coconut-infused curries, the traditional dishes of the islands will leave your taste buds craving for more and provide a delicious insight into the local way of life.


Accommodation Options

French Polynesia offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences, from luxurious resorts and overwater bungalows to cozy guesthouses and budget-friendly hotels. Whatever your budget and desired level of comfort, you’ll find a place to stay that allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the islands.


Luxury resorts are scattered across French Polynesia, particularly in popular destinations like Bora Bora and Moorea. These resorts offer the epitome of indulgence, with spacious rooms or private villas, stunning views, and access to amenities such as infinity pools, private beaches, and world-class spas. One of the iconic accommodation choices in the region is the overwater bungalow, allowing guests to wake up to panoramic views of the turquoise lagoon right from their doorstep.


If you seek a more intimate and authentic experience, consider staying at a family-run guesthouse or pension. These cozy accommodations are usually located within local villages, giving you the opportunity to interact with the friendly locals and immerse yourself in the traditional Polynesian way of life. Guesthouses offer comfortable rooms or bungalows, home-cooked meals featuring local ingredients, and personalized service that will make you feel right at home.


For budget-conscious travelers, there are also mid-range hotels and self-catering apartments available that provide comfortable and affordable options. These accommodations often offer modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and kitchenettes, making them suitable for longer stays or families looking for more flexibility.


Another unique accommodation option in French Polynesia is the eco-lodge. These environmentally friendly establishments embrace sustainability practices and blend seamlessly with nature. Set amidst lush landscapes, eco-lodges provide an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surrounding environment.


When planning your stay in French Polynesia, it’s important to consider the location and accessibility of your chosen accommodation. While some resorts and guesthouses are located on secluded private islands, others are within walking distance to local amenities and attractions. Decide whether you prefer a more secluded retreat or easy access to restaurants, shops, and local markets.


Whether you’re seeking luxury, authenticity, or affordability, French Polynesia offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every taste. Each option provides a unique experience to complement your exploration of the exquisite natural beauty and rich culture of this tropical paradise.


Transportation within French Polynesia

Getting around and exploring the islands of French Polynesia is relatively convenient, thanks to the various transportation options available. Whether you prefer air travel, sea transportation, or a combination of both, there are several ways to navigate between the islands and explore the stunning landscapes and vibrant culture of the region.


Domestic flights provided by Air Tahiti are the main mode of transportation for traveling between the islands of French Polynesia. With regular flights connecting the main islands, such as Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, and Huahine, you can easily plan your island-hopping adventure. Domestic flights are relatively short, typically lasting between 20 minutes and an hour, allowing you to maximize your time spent exploring.


For those seeking a more leisurely and scenic option, inter-island ferries are available to travel between select islands. These ferry services not only provide transportation but also offer a unique opportunity to enjoy the picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. Ferry schedules may vary, so it’s advisable to check the timetables in advance and plan accordingly.


Once you arrive at your desired destination island, transportation options within the local areas are readily available. Rental cars are an option on many of the main islands, giving you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. However, it’s important to note that on some remote islands, car rentals may be limited or unavailable. Pre-booking is recommended, especially during the peak tourist season.


Taxis are also readily available, particularly in larger towns and at the airports. They provide a convenient mode of transportation, especially for shorter distances or when you prefer not to drive. Many hotels and resorts also offer shuttle services for their guests, making it easy to access nearby attractions or transportation hubs.


For a more adventurous transportation experience, consider renting bicycles to get around within towns or to explore scenic paths. This eco-friendly mode of transportation allows you to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful surroundings at your own pace.


Last but not least, local buses, known as “Le Truck,” are a popular option for transportation on the main islands. These open-air buses provide affordable and authentic island travel experiences. While they may not follow strict timetables, they offer a chance to interact with locals and immerse yourself in the local culture.


As you plan your itinerary in French Polynesia, consider the transportation options within and between the islands to optimize your exploration and make the most of your time. Whether by plane, ferry, car, taxi, or bike, the transportation network in French Polynesia provides convenient access to the stunning landscapes, cultural sites, and vibrant communities that await you in this tropical paradise.


Essential Travel Tips

Planning a trip to French Polynesia can be an exciting and memorable experience. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation, here are some essential travel tips to keep in mind:

1. Valid Passport and Visa:

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay. Depending on your nationality, a visa may be required, so check with the French consulate or embassy prior to your trip.

2. Currency and Cash:

The local currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF). While major credit cards are widely accepted, it’s recommended to carry some cash, especially for small vendors and markets. ATMs are available in larger towns and cities.

3. Travel Insurance:

Obtain comprehensive travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances, such as trip cancellation, medical emergencies, or lost baggage. Check the policy for coverage specific to your trip to French Polynesia.

4. Health and Vaccinations:

Consult your healthcare provider or travel clinic for recommended vaccinations and health precautions before traveling to French Polynesia. It’s advisable to protect against mosquito bites as a precaution against mosquito-borne diseases.

5. Sun Protection:

Due to the tropical climate, sun protection is crucial. Pack sunscreen with high SPF, wide-brimmed hats, and lightweight clothing to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

6. Language and Culture:

Learn a few basic phrases in French, as it is the official language of French Polynesia. English is also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. Respect the local culture and customs, and dress modestly when visiting religious or sacred sites.

7. Weather and Packing:

Check the weather conditions for your travel dates and pack accordingly. Bring lightweight and breathable clothing, swimsuits, a rain jacket or umbrella, comfortable walking shoes, and insect repellent. Don’t forget adapters for electrical outlets if necessary.

8. Tipping and Service Charges:

Unlike in some countries, tipping is not expected in French Polynesia as service charges are typically included in bills. However, it is appreciated for exceptional service, and a small tip is always welcome.

9. Sustainable Tourism:

Respect the natural environment and marine life by engaging in responsible tourism practices. Avoid touching or damaging coral reefs, follow designated hiking trails, and dispose of waste properly. Support local businesses and artisans to contribute to the local economy.

10. Stay Informed:

Stay updated on local news, weather conditions, and any travel advisories or restrictions. It’s always a good idea to register with your embassy or consulate for emergency notifications while you’re in French Polynesia.


By keeping these essential travel tips in mind, you can embark on a memorable journey through the enchanting islands of French Polynesia, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience that will create lasting memories.


Safety and Health Advice

French Polynesia is generally considered a safe destination for travelers; however, it’s always important to take necessary precautions to ensure a smooth and worry-free trip. Here are some safety and health tips to keep in mind when visiting French Polynesia:

1. Water Safety:

Always swim in designated areas and pay attention to warnings or instructions from local authorities. Be cautious of strong currents, especially during low tide. If you’re not a confident swimmer, consider wearing a life jacket or using flotation devices.

2. Marine Life:

While exploring the underwater world, avoid touching or stepping on coral reefs, as they are fragile ecosystems. Be cautious of sea creatures, such as jellyfish or sea urchins, and know how to respond in case of an encounter. It’s advisable to wear protective footwear while walking on the beach or in shallow waters.

3. Sun Protection:

The sun in French Polynesia can be intense, so protect yourself from harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially during outdoor activities.

4. Mosquito-borne Diseases:

French Polynesia is generally free from major mosquito-borne diseases; nonetheless, it’s wise to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Wear insect repellent with DEET, use mosquito nets in accommodations if necessary, and wear long sleeves and pants during peak mosquito activity times, especially during dawn and dusk.

5. Medical Services:

Familiarize yourself with the medical services available in the area you’re visiting. French Polynesia has medical facilities and hospitals that provide quality healthcare, especially in Tahiti and larger islands. It’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, including emergency medical evacuation if needed.

6. Food and Water Hygiene:

While the tap water is generally safe to drink in French Polynesia, it’s advisable to drink bottled water, especially if you’re traveling to remote islands. When dining out, choose restaurants with good hygiene practices and consume freshly prepared food. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked seafood or other dishes that may pose a risk.

7. Traveling Alone or at Night:

If you’re traveling alone or exploring areas at night, remain cautious and stick to well-lit and populated areas. Keep your belongings secure and avoid displaying valuable items. It’s always wise to inform someone about your whereabouts and plans when venturing into more secluded or unfamiliar areas.

8. Natural Hazards:

French Polynesia is generally free from significant natural hazards, but it’s essential to stay informed about weather conditions and follow any advisories or warnings. In the event of a natural disaster, follow the instructions of local authorities and seek shelter in designated safe areas if necessary.

9. Travel Documents and Valuables:

Keep your travel documents, such as your passport and any necessary visas, in a secure place. It’s advisable to make copies of your important documents and store them separately. Avoid carrying large sums of cash or wearing flashy jewelry, which could attract unwanted attention.

10. COVID-19 Precautions:

As travel resumes following the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to stay updated on any travel restrictions or requirements. Follow local health guidelines, wear masks in public places if instructed, and maintain social distancing. Stay informed about vaccination requirements and have the necessary documentation when traveling.


By following these safety and health tips, you can ensure a worry-free and enjoyable trip to French Polynesia while taking necessary precautions to protect yourself and fully immerse in the beauty and culture of this tropical paradise.



French Polynesia is a tropical paradise that offers an abundance of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and unforgettable experiences. From the breathtaking turquoise lagoons and white sandy beaches to the rich Polynesian heritage and warm hospitality of the locals, the islands of French Polynesia have something for every traveler.


Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, an adventure-filled vacation, or a relaxing retreat, French Polynesia has a wide range of activities and attractions to suit your interests. Explore the stunning coral reefs while snorkeling or diving, hike through lush rainforests to discover hidden waterfalls, or simply unwind on the pristine beaches as you soak up the warm Pacific sun.


The islands of French Polynesia also offer a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. Witness traditional dance performances, explore ancient marae, and indulge in the tantalizing flavors of traditional Tahitian cuisine. Engage with the friendly locals, visit colorful markets, and attend cultural festivals and events to gain a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage and traditions of the islands.


When planning your trip to French Polynesia, remember to consider the best time to visit, prepare necessary travel documents, and take appropriate health and safety precautions. Pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and lightweight clothing to ensure your comfort throughout your stay.


Whether you choose to relax in luxury resorts, immerse yourself in the authenticity of family-run guesthouses, or embark on an eco-adventure in sustainable lodges, French Polynesia offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and budget.


As you explore the islands of French Polynesia, be mindful of the natural environment and the delicate ecosystems. Practice responsible tourism by respecting the marine life, preserving the coral reefs, and supporting local businesses and artisans.


In conclusion, French Polynesia is a destination that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression. Its pristine landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality make it a truly unforgettable getaway. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, French Polynesia promises to provide an experience filled with natural wonders, cultural richness, and cherished memories.