{{ message }}

French Polynesia

French Polynesia (Polynésie française) is halfway between California and Australia in the South Pacific Ocean. Its status is that of an overseas country (pays d'outre-mer), ruled by France, which administers education, justice, defense, and internal security while a local parliament takes care of other day-to-day affairs.

Tahiti and her islands cover four million square kilometres of ocean which is the same area as the European Union. However the land above sea level accounts for some 7,000 square kilometres consisting of 118 islands, grouped into five archipelagos (4 volcanic, 1 coral).

Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru.

Understand

Climate

Tropical, but moderate. Natural hazards: occasional cyclonic storms in January. Very humid.

The average ambient temperature is 27°C (80°F) and the waters of the lagoons average 26°C (79°F) in the winter and 29°C (84°F) in the summer. But do not worry, most resorts and hotel rooms are air conditioned or cooled by ceiling fans.

Summer is from November through April, with a warmer and more humid climate and winter is from May through October, when the climate is slightly cooler and drier. When you step out of the aircraft, you'll immediately notice that the air is warm and humid.

Terrain

Mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs.

Highest point : Mont Orohena 2,241 m (6790 ft)

Diverse landscapes:

  • Valleys cut by rivers and waterfalls
  • Crests leading to summits attaining heights of more than 2,000 m (6,500 ft)
  • Seashore paths bordering remote creeks overshadowed by cliffs.

History

Since Polynesia was one of the last places on earth to be settled by humans, the Polynesians had only inhabited these islands for less than a thousand years before their "discovery" by western explorers. Several marae (religious sites) still exist, scattered throughout the islands as evidence of this inhabitation.

The British discovered Tahiti in the mid 1760s and Captain Cook visited there in 1769 to observe the Transit of Venus before sailing on to the south and west in search of the fabled Terra Australus Incognita with the assistance of a Polynesian navigator.

The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the French conducted atmospheric nuclear tests in the islands, primarily at Mururoa atoll. Testing later moved underground after international protests from other Pacific countries, including a flotilla of yachts and a warship from New Zealand to monitor tests in 1974. Testing continued into the early 1990s, despite attempts to disrupt them by environmental activists. In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing on the Mururoa atoll after a three-year moratorium. The tests were suspended in January 1996.

The islanders have been working towards autonomy and economic independence from France. However, the process is a gradual one and is expected to take a decade or two to occur.

Regions

Cities

Other destinations

  • Clipperton Island - far to the east, closer to Mexico, was administered by France from French Polynesia until recently
  • Rapa. A remote atoll

Get in

Entry requirements

Nationals of the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Norway only need a valid passport for entry - in no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Unlike metropolitan France, Swiss nationals are only visa-exempt in French Polynesia for a stay of up to 90 days and do require a visa for a stay exceeding 90 days.

Nationals of all other countries will need a valid passport for entry to French Polynesia and most will need a visa. Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days: Albania*, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Montenegro*, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan***, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, as well as persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports. In addition, holders of a valid residence permit issued by the Préfet of a French overseas département, the High Commissioner of a French territorial collectivity or a Schengen state and holders of a special card issued by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the staff of diplomatic and consular missions can stay in French Polynesia visa-free for up to 90 days.

Citizens of Albania1, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina1, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Kiribati, Macedonia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro1, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia1,2, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Taiwan3, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vatican City, and British Nationals (Overseas), are permitted to work in French Polynesia without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. Holders of a valid residence permit issued by the Préfet of a French overseas département, the High Commissioner of a French territorial collectivity or a Schengen state and holders of a special card issued by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the staff of diplomatic and consular missions are also permitted to work during their 90 day visa-free stay.

If you are required to obtain a visa for French Polynesia, you can apply for one at a French embassy or consulate in your country of residence. A visa costs €9.

For more information on entry requirements, visit this webpage of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

While British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to French Polynesia. British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom, British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom, and British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general require visas. However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to French Polynesia.

Notes:

1 Nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia must have a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel. 2 Serbian nationals with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (residents of Kosovo with Serbian passports) require a visa .<be> 3 Taiwan nationals must have their ID number stipulated in their passport to enjoy visa-free travel.

By plane

French Polynesia has a very remote position in the South Pacific Ocean, so unless you are already there, flying is the main option.

The flag carrier of French Polynesia is Air Tahiti Nui and the main airport is the Faa'a International Airport built on the lagoon, about 5km west of Papeete near several major hotels such as the InterContinental hotel. Air Tahiti Nui flies internationally to Tokyo, Osaka, Los Angeles, New York, Auckland, Sydney and Paris. They cooperate with Air France, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, Vietnam Airlines, and Qantas. They no longer participate in either of the American Airlines Advantage or the Delta Air Lines frequent flyer program. Air New Zealand also has regular flights to Tahiti. LAN Chile flies twice a week to/from Easter Island, with connections on to Santiago de Chile.

Passengers arriving on international flights must collect their baggage, go through customs and then recheck-in at the domestic flight counters some 50 m to the right of the International arrivals area.

By boat

There are cruise ships on irregular schedules, and cargo ships on regular schedules travelling from Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and Panamá. The islands are understandably something of a hub for sailboats between South or Central America and Australasia, and it is not impossible to find passage for yourself on a yacht, but challenging.

Get around

The territory of French Polynesia has about the same surface as the European Union but the combined land area (all islands and atolls) is just about the size of Mallorca. Most people live on the two islands of Tahiti and Moorea. These islands have street networks and public transport (including good touristic infrastructure). To jump from island to island there are different options:

By plane

Air Tahiti offers domestic flights to other destinations in French Polynesia, and Air Moorea makes the short hop to Moorea several times daily. Charters flights such as Air Archipel are available on request. Helicopters are one other option.

Air Tahiti operates 11 turboprop aircraft (four ATR42-500 with 48 seats, five ATR72-500 with 66 seats, one Beechcraft with 8 seats and one Twin Otter with 19 seats). The ATR42 and ATR72 reach a cruising speed of about 500km/h. Most of the inter-islands flights in the Marquesas are operated with Twin Otters.

Air Tahiti offers several types of Air Tahiti Airpasses:

  • Discovery Pass, covering MooreaHuahine and Raiatea: €253 with 20kg baggage allowance, €316 with 50kg baggage allowance,
  • Bora Bora Pass, covering MooreaHuahineRaiateaBora Bora and Maupiti: €367 with 20kg baggage allowance, €460 with 50kg baggage allowance from Jan 1 to 10, Jun to Oct and Dec 11 to 31, €347 with 20kg baggage allowance, €435 with 50kg baggage allowance from Jan 11 to 31, Feb to May, Nov 1 until Dec 10,
  • Lagons Pass, covering MooreaRangiroaTikehauManihi, Fakareva and Ahe: €378 with 20kg baggage allowance, €487 with 50kg baggage allowance,
  • Bora Tuamotu Pass, covering MooreaHuahineBora Bora, Maupiti, RangiroaTikehauManihi, Fakareva and Ahe: €498 with 20kg baggage allowance, €640 with 50kg baggage allowance,
  • Marquesas Pass, covering Nuku Hiva, Atuona, Ua Pou, Ua Huka: €666 with 20kg baggage allowance (not available with 50kg baggage allowance),
  • Austral Pass, covering Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae, Rimatara: €491 with 20kg baggage allowance, €630 with 50kg baggage allowance,

Extensions to the Marguesas cost €459 with 20kg baggage allowance, €636 with 50kg baggage allowance, and to the Austral Islands €262 with 20kg baggage allowance, €361 with 50kg baggage allowance (rates of 2010). Passes start and usually end at Tahiti or Moorea. Tahiti-Moorea or Moorea-Tahiti can be flown on Air Moorea or Air Tahiti flights. The itinerary does not need to cover all the islands of the Pass. All flights must be reserved and confirmed. The full journey must not exceed 28 days. The islands of one archipelago must be visited before moving to the next archipelago (e.g. islands of the Society archipelago must be visited before those of the Tuamotu archipelago). The islands within an archipelago can be visited in any order. Stopover or transit in Tahiti within the Pass is not allowed, except for the Lagons Pass between Moorea and the islands of the Tuamotu Archipelago, for a Pass with Extension, between the Pass and the Extension, where a maximum of 24h transit in Tahiti is permitted. Only one stop per island (of more than 24h) is allowed. A transit (less than 24 hours) with a flight number change is considered as stopover. Exception: change of flight number with a transit of less than 2 hours in Rangiroa on Bora Bora to TikehauManihiFakarava or vice-versa flights. Change of reservations is not permitted after the Pass has been issued. Air Passes are non-refundable after departure. For details see http://www.airtahiti.com/articles.php?id=69

Air Tahiti suggests the following multi-island itineraries:

Check-in at the airports begins 1 hour and closes 20min before departure time (except for flights to Rarotonga where check-in begins 2h and closes 45min before departure time).

By boat

  • Ferries (sometimes combined cargo and pax boats like the Aranui) travel between most islands. Catamarans and ferry boats cross between Tahiti and Moorea several times a day. Schooners and cargo boats serve all the inhabited islands from Papeete. Rotations vary according to the destinations: from three times a week to the Society Islands to once monthly to the Island of Mangareva.
  • Two cruise ships/luxury liners currently ply the islands: the Paul Gauguin, which does a regular 7-day trip around the Societies, with occasional trips out to the Tuamotus, Marquesas and Cook Islands; and the Tahitian Princess which does similar itineraries. A great way to see the islands, unless you're on a tight budget. The Bora Bora Cruises is a more intimate vessel based in the Leeward Islands. Or for more adventure, embark on the Aranui III. Coming up December 2007: the Star Clippers will have the capacity of 170 passengers.
  • Yacht charter Polynesia [1] Windward Islands, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to luxury yacht in French Polynesia. Operating from different offices worldwide (UK, USA, Hong Kong, Dubai, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland).

Talk

The official languages are French and Tahitian with French being the most widely spoken language by far. English is also widely spoken particularly in tourist areas.

Polynesians appreciate any effort in trying to speak their language. The words below are the ones you might recognize during a conversation and the words in bold are the ones you should consider learning:

  • Aita = no
  • E = yes
  • Fare = house
  • Ia ora na = Good Morning or Hello
  • Ma'a = food
  • Maeva = welcome
  • Maita'i? = How are you?
  • Mauruuru = Thank you
  • Nana = Goodbye or See you later
  • Manuaia = Cheers or Toast!
  • Pape = water
  • Tama'a = Let's eat

Tahitians have a tendency to mix up French and Tahitian words in their conversation, so don't be surprised.

Be aware of the many (proud) dialects that exist in French Polynesia: Tahitian, Puamotu, Marquesian and Mangarevian (in the Gambier Islands). The inhabitants of each place often cannot communicate between each other in their respective languages.

See

  • Point Venus was the site of Captain Cook's observatory, built to record the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun to try to calculate the distance between the Sun and Earth. Today it's a popular, shaded black-sand beach overlooked by an impressive lighthouse.
  • The Gauguin Museum (Musée Gaugin), about 50km from Papeete on Tahiti Nui, contains artefacts from Gauguin's time in Tahiti, including reproductions of many of his paintings. Open-air buildings and a gift shop are situated in a well-manicured lawn just next to the ocean, well away from the city and resorts. Botanical gardens are just next door.
  • The Museum of Tahiti and her Islands, about 15km from Papeete, contains really great displays of Polynesian history, culture and ethnology. Anyone who is interested in anthropology or the history of the Polynesian culture should see this museum.
  • For pearl lovers, there is also the Robert Wan Pearl Museum in Tahiti.

Do

Buy

Money

The CFP franc (called just franc locally) is the currency used in French Polynesia, and also in the other Pacific territories of New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna. The initials CFP used to stand for Colonies Françaises du Pacifique (“French colonies of the Pacific”), but this was changed later to Communauté Financière du Pacifique (“Pacific Financial Community”) and finally to its current incarnation: Change Franc Pacifique (“Pacific Franc Exchange”). Throughout these successive changes the ISO 4217 currency code has remained XPF and pegged first to the French franc and then to the euro.

The following forms of payment are accepted: all legal bank notes, international credit cards and traveller's cheques. The international banks with foreign exchange offices on Tahiti and the most frequently visited islands are the Bank of Tahiti, the Bank of Polynesia and Socredo. International hotels also provide this service but be careful: some atolls and islands in the Austral and Gambier group have no banking facilities.

Costs

Everything is very expensive in French Polynesia. Even budget accommodation is tough on the budget, as is food, even groceries. So if you visit, take lots of money, you will need it.

Jewellery

Black pearls are the high-end purchase in this part of the world. They are beautiful, and of varied quality, so buyer beware, and the sky's the limit. There are lots of inexpensive mother-of-pearl jewellery that make very nice gifts.

Created only by the giant black-lipped oyster Pinctada margaritifera which thrives in the lagoons of the Tuamotu Archipelago, the rare Polynesian black pearl varies in colour from silver through dark grey with green and pink highlights. This Tahitian jewel makes an exquisite and unique souvenir.

For visitors who wish to discover the secrets of Tahitian pearls, a visit to one of the pearl farms on the island of Tahaa or on one of the low islands in the Tuamotu is an experience not to be missed.

Eat

Fine food in Tahiti and nearby islands is typically a natural style of cooking based on fresh products exotically blended. There is a presence of European cuisine within a tropical setting. Asian cooking has also added its own tastes and textures.

Fish of all kinds, whether tuna, bonito, mahimahi or the many varieties of lagoon fish are prepared in many different ways: roasted, boiled and raw.

The top rated dishes are raw fish a la tahitienne which is marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk and the very popular Chinese ma'a tinito (which is a mixture of pork, kidney beans, Chinese cabbage and macaroni.)

Family occasions and celebrations are the time for a huge tamara'a Tahiti (Tahitian-style feasts) where a meal consisting of suckling pig, fish, breadfruit, yams and fe'i bananas is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in an earth-dug oven over layers of hot rocks.

The larger hotels organize big buffet evenings that offer a vast panorama of local culinary delights accompanied by traditional dance performances.

Tipping is not a custom in Tahiti or the nearby islands.

Drink

Bottles of water are readily available. Being a French territory, wine is common and easy to find. As this is a tropical island, a multitude of fruit juices from pineapple juice to coconut milk are to be found everywhere. Pineapple juice from Moorea is not to be missed! It is sometimes better to crack open your own coconut yourself and drain it for lunch. Orange juice is the states favorite drink and oranges are grown all along the coastlines.

If you're a fan of beer, the Hinano Beer will definitely be one you will like to taste and bring a few cans home.

Sleep

Around fifty international class hotels can be found on twelve islands covering three different archipelagoes - Society, Tuamotu and Marquesas. Although the islands of TahitiMoorea and Bora Bora provide over 80% of hotel capacity, the lesser known islands are also opening top-of-the-range establishments. Several international groups are established: InterContinental, Sofitel, Novotel, Meridien, Starwood-Sheraton, Orient Express, Club Med and Radisson. Two local chains, Maitai and South Pacific Management, complete the hotel scene. Although complying with international standards, Polynesian style has been respected in the overwater bungalows with the use of pandanus, bamboo and shell light fixtures. Some bungalows are fitted with glass-bottomed tables for watching the fishes without ever getting your feet wet.

For travellers who prefer the simplicity and authenticity of the local experience, family hotels are the ideal type of accommodation. The welcome is warm and friendly. Family hotels are divided into four categories: Bed and Breakfast, Holiday Family Homes, Family-run guest houses, Family hotels.

  • Bed and Breakfast: furnished bungalows limited to four dwelling units per home and able to accommodate twelve persons, equipped with bathrooms either private or shared.
  • Holiday family homes: furnished bungalows limited to nine dwelling units and able to accommodate twenty-seven persons, equipped with bathrooms and kitchenette.
  • Family-run guest houses: same as the above + breakfast and dinner service.
  • Family hotels: offers full board meal service and a la carte food menu.

Learn

Stay safe

Tahiti has one of the lowest crime rates within France and its territories. However, petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs.

As an overseas territory of France, defence and law enforcement are provided by the French Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force) and Gendarmerie.

No vaccines are required.

Be sure to bring jelly-type sandals for walking amidst coral in the water and along the beaches or either old sneakers so you don't cut your feet on the coral or don't step on a stonefish.

Encounters with sharks in the lagoon will be most likely when scuba diving or even snorkelling but they are harmless. So are stingrays. However, be aware of moray eels which hide deep in the corals and are generally curious. Be sure to keep your fingers to yourself or risk a painful bite.

Stay healthy

Medical treatment is generally good. Two major hospitals as well as several private clinics provide 24-hour medical service.

No vaccines are required.

Take precautions against mosquito bites, as there have been outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus in the 2010s.

Respect

Tahitians are proud of their islands and happy to share their way of life with their guests in many ways. They are really relaxed people who live according to the aita pea pea philosophy (meaning "no worries"). Their culture should be respected as well as their way of life. Don't make them feel that you're superior to them but just be natural. They are a very welcoming and warm people.

Please also respect the land and its diversity. Activities which include approaching whales and other marine mammals are regulated and authorizations from the environmental authorities are mandatory.

Connect

Internet access in Polynesia is provided by MANA, a subsidiary of the Post and Telecommunications Office, either by modem or by ADSL. For a short stay, a subscription-free connection is best. You can make the connection with the following information: Telephone # of the server: 36-88-88 - Log-in: anonymous - Password: anonymous. This type of modem connection is available in all archipelagos.

There are cyber-spaces on TahitiMooreaHuahineBora BoraRaiatea and Rangiroa (about 250 Fcfp for a 15 minute connection.) Most of the hotels and some small hotels and pensions provide Internet access to their guests. On some islands, access is possible from post offices.

Iaoranet [2] also provides Wi-Fi in the Society Islands (Tahiti, MooreaHuahineBora Bora, Raiatea) as well as some of the Tuamotus (Fakarava, Manihi, Rangiroa), Gambiers (Mangareva), and Marquesas (Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa). One hour costs about USD5, but blocks of time can be purchased online for as little as USD$2 per hour. The service is slow but fairly reliable.

Go next

  • You can hop on a direct flight to marvelous Easter Island from Tahiti (the only place in the world apart from Santiago de Chile where you can do this).
  • French Polynesia is one of the few places within practical sailing distance of the Pitcairn Islands.

Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

#1 best-selling guide to Tahiti & French Polynesia*

Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Swim in the sparklingly clear waters, hike to waterfalls, dive into coral wonderlands, then sips cocktail by the beach; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Tahiti & French Polynesia and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Tahiti & French Polynesia Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, environment, islander life, arts, religion, sports, etiquette, popular culture, literature, cinema, food, drinks, dining out. Over 30 maps Covers Tahiti, Mo'orea, Huahine, Ra'iatea & Taha'aBora Bora, Maupiti, The Tuamotus, The Marquesas, The Australs & the Gambier Archipelago and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia, our most comprehensive guide to Tahiti & French Polynesia, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's South Pacific guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Celeste Brash, Jean-Bernard Carillet

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

*Best-selling guide to Tahiti. Source: Nielsen BookScan. Australia, UK and USA

Moon Tahiti

David Stanley

South Pacific expert David Stanley knows the best way to vacation in Tahiti, from browsing the Papeete market to snorkeling off the island of Moorea. This guide includes unique trip ideas like The Best of French Polynesia and Underwater in the Tuamotu Islands. Complete with details on taking lagoon tours and jeep safaris, lounging in Polynesian spas, and partaking in lavish seafood buffets, Moon Tahiti gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.

Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Sit under a warm dome of stars with a cold Hinano, mingle with grey reef sharks, or explore the atoll lagoons by boat; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Tahiti and French Polynesia and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, art, literature, cinema, politics, landscapes, wildlife, and religion Over 40 local maps Useful features - including Month-by-Month (annual festival calendar), Diving, and Travel with Children Coverage of Bora Bora, Pape'ete, the Marquesas, Rangiroa, Maupiti,  Huahine, Mo'orea, the Gambier Archipelago, Teahupoo, the Papenoo Valley,  Rurutu, the Australs, the Tuamotus, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia, our most comprehensive guide to Tahiti and French Polynesia, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

Looking for more coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's South Pacific guide for a comprehensive look at what the whole region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Celeste Brash, and Jean-Bernard Carillet.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

French Polynesia: A lot more to French Polynesia

James E. Callahan

This book is a look at French Polynesia as a tourist destination. Many people know of Tahiti and Bora Bora but there are so many other islands to be explored and discovered.

Tahiti & French Polynesia Guide (Open Road Travel Guides Tahiti and French Polynesia Guide)

Jan Prince

This guide to Tahiti and French Polynesia offers the best of the area's 118 islands and atolls that comprise the island groups of the Society Islands, the Marquesas, Australs, Tuamotu, and Gambier Islands. Discover the charming capital of Papeete, with its high-end resorts and modestly-priced oceanfront bungalows, terrific restaurants and varied water and land sports. Explore the island of Tahiti's verdant countryside and incomparable beaches. From your base in Tahiti, take a fast ferry 30 minutes away to Moorea for the day, or fly to Bora Bora or visit the peaceful atoll of Tetiaroa that Marlon Brando calls home. A wide range of lodgings and restaurants across all price ranges is given, and the author includes a special section for honeymooners. A brief Tahitian language glossary is also included, as is Open Road's standard "Best Places to Stay" chapter, travel planning information and detailed historical and cultural background.

All Good Things: From Paris to Tahiti: Life and Longing

Sarah Turnbull

In this lushly written follow-up to Almost French, Sarah Turnbull explores a new paradise: Tahiti.Having shared her story in her bestselling memoir, Almost French, Australian writer Sarah Turnbull seemed to have had more than her fair share of dreams come true. While Sarah went on to carve out an idyllic life in Paris with her husband, Frédéric, there was still one dream she was beginning to fear might be impossible—starting a family. Then out of the blue an opportunity to embark on another adventure offered a new beginning—and new hope. Leaving behind life in the world’s most romantic and beautiful city was never going to be easy. But it helps when your destination is another paradise on earth: Tahiti.

Frommer's Tahiti and French Polynesia (Frommer's Complete Guides)

Bill Goodwin

You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might go--they've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color maps, and exciting coverage of sports, shopping, and nightlife. You'd be lost without us!

Our expert author has been covering these exotic islands for years, and he's personally checked out every hotel, every restaurant, every beach, and every activity he recommends. He gives you a feel for the islanders' way of life, and offers a wonderful introduction to the region's unique blend of cultures.

Tahiti is only the gateway to French Polynesia, there are many islands and hundreds of accommodations to choose from, so of Frommer's Tahiti & French Polynesia compares all the options, helping you find the tropical getaway that's right for you. Rely on us for in-depth, honest reviews of lavish honeymoon resorts, intimate inns, simple bungalows, family-friendly motels, and more, with selections in every price category.

We'll point you to the loveliest secluded beaches, and send you to the best places for snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, deep-sea fishing, and more. You'll also get the latest trip-planning information, including tips on finding the best airfare or package deal.

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary (Lonely Planet Phrasebook and Dictionary)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher*

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful French phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Ask about tucked-away vineyards, bargain with local famers at the market or order wine like a professional; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now!

Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation!

Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides

Inside Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary:

Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features 5 Phrases to Learn Before You Go 10 Ways to Start a Sentence 10 Phrases to Sound like a Local Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Shortcuts - easy-to-remember alternatives to the full phrases Q&A - suggested answers to questions asked Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients

The Perfect Choice:Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary , a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture.

Looking for just the basics? Check out Lonely Planet's Fast Talk French, a pocket-sized, essential language guide designed to get you talking quickly; perfect for a quick trip experience. Looking for an auditory guide to pronunciations? Check out Lonely Planet's French Phrasebook & Audio CD.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Michael Janes, Jean-Pierre Masclef, Jean-Bernard Carillet.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits!

*#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs. Ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Transportation

Roads are narrow. Many secondary roads are not paved. Drivers and pedestrians should exercise caution, particularly after dark.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Oceanic Pacific Islands. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis and malaria.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

For the latest Travel Health Notices and information on vaccinations, outbreaks and diseases, consult the website of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.

The Agency publishes travel health advice for French Polynesia.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are good on the major islands, but limited in remote or less-populated areas. Serious medical cases must be evacuated to Tahiti.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.

Canada and France are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in France to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and French authorities.

Dual citizenship

Although France recognizes dual nationality, dual nationals are considered French citizens and are subject to French laws.

Driving laws

An International Driving Permit is required.

Illegal drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Money

The currency is the Comptoirs français du Pacifique franc or CFP franc (XPF).

Traveller’s cheques and currency can be exchanged at the airport and at major banks. Most credit cards are widely accepted. There are a few automated banking machines (ABMs).

Climate

French Polynesia is located in an active seismic zone.

The cyclone season extends from November to April. Typhoons can also occur. Monitor regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.