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French Polynesia

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

Tahiti and its islands cover 4 million km² of ocean, which is the same area as the European Union. However the land above sea level accounts for some 7,000 km² consisting of 118 islands, grouped into 5 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 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

  • 1 Clipperton Island - far to the east, closer to Mexico, is administered directly by the Ministry of Overseas France
  • 2 Rapa - 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 (note 1), Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (note 1), Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macedonia (note 1), Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Montenegro (note 1), Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia (notes 1 and 2), Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan (note 3), 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 5 km 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. LATAM flies twice a week 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 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 it is 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 another 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). 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 20 kg baggage allowance, €316 with 50 kg baggage allowance,
  • Bora Bora Pass, covering MooreaHuahineRaiateaBora Bora and Maupiti: €367 with 20 kg baggage allowance, €460 with 50 kg baggage allowance from Jan 1 to 10, Jun to Oct and Dec 11 to 31, €347 with 20kg baggage allowance, €435 with 50 kg 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 50 kg baggage allowance,
  • Bora Tuamotu Pass, covering MooreaHuahineBora Bora, Maupiti, RangiroaTikehauManihi, Fakareva and Ahe: €498 with 20 kg baggage allowance, €640 with 50 kg baggage allowance,
  • Marquesas Pass, covering Nuku Hiva, Atuona, Ua Pou, Ua Huka: €666 with 20kg baggage allowance (not available with 50 kg baggage allowance),
  • Austral Pass, covering Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae, Rimatara: €491 with 20 kg baggage allowance, €630 with 50 kg baggage allowance,

Extensions to the Marguesas cost €459 with 20 kg baggage allowance, €636 with 50kg baggage allowance, and to the Austral Islands €262 with 20kg baggage allowance, €361 with 50 kg 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 24 hr transit in Tahiti is permitted. Only one stop per island (of more than 24 hr) 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.

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 2hr and closes 45min before departure time).

By boat

  • Ferries (sometimes combined cargo and passenger 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 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 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 language of business and government and Tahitian being the language of day-to-day discourse. 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 dialects of which Polynesians are proud: Tahitian, Tuamotuan, Marquesan and Mangarevan (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 50 km 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 15 km 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 50 international class hotels can be found on 12 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 CFP 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 [1] 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 US$5, but blocks of time can be purchased online for as little as US$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

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)

What Your Travel Agent May NOT Tell You About Bora Bora: The Secrets To Saving In Bora Bora

Gloria Altus

Don't make the mistake of paying full price for your Bora Bora vacation. Use this strategic guide to walk through all the critical considerations while designing your ideal Tahitian island getaway. It's easy to save thousands of dollars if you start using it during the initial stages of planning and booking. Whether you want to make a Bora Bora vacation do-able; do it for less money; or discover how to do it sooner, because you need to save up less dollars; this book will help you live your fantasy, while others sit at home wishing… Most sun-lovers have Bora Bora, the world's most beautiful island on their bucket list. But it's such a mysterious and unique destination that they're unsure about how to make their dream come true. This is no ordinary vacation, and this informative book cuts through all the glossy hype to facilitate decision-making. We've had the fun of helping people design awesome Bora Bora vacations for over five years, and found that saving money is as pertinent to the well-heeled, as it is to those on a budget. Bora Bora is often synonymous with expensive, but it doesn't have to be! This much-needed practical shortcut to savvy ways of saving money, with every choice; helps you know ways to slash hundreds, and even thousands of dollars, from the cost of your trip. You'll also smile while getting the most value from dollars that you do spend. Planning a trip to French Polynesia isn't as simple as snapping up a hotel and flight for a bargain price. It took us several trips to know what there is to know about all the unique choices, and we're sharing the most valuable gems in this book. The more tips and strategies you use, the more money you save; while still enjoying the pleasures of paradise. You'll have pivotal, insider peeks into how to: get a free night staying over water at a Bora Bora luxury resort, make your Bora Bora flight money go twice as far, slash your drink bill, buy discounted tours, find the best price on pearls; and why you should choose your hotel for it's beach. One spending tip alone reveals how to save money with every transaction; and there are about 80 tips more! There's brilliant advice addressing common concerns that people all around the world “wrestle with” during the process of designing an extraordinary Tahiti vacation. From the early decision-making stages of planning and booking, all the way through to while you're sunning on a pristine, Polynesian white-sand-beach; this easy-to-read guide shows how to make astute choices and save money.

The French Pacific Islands: French Polynesia and New Caledonia

Virginia Thompson

"It is high time that someone made a sober study of the French Pacific islands. They have not been entirely neglected, though--it has been the fashion to dip a dilettante pen into Tahitian (though scarcely New Caledonian) themes, and French geographers have given us some splendid work. But Thompson and Adloff refuse to be diverted by swaying palms and curving beaches; they give evenhanded treatment to both French Polynesia and New Caledonia, they view the Pacific from the perspective of Franco-African experience, and they write in English. The two territories, of course, offer a telling contrast--Polynesia versus Melanesia, far-flung archipelagoes versus the "Grande Terre," classic Pacific paradise versus onetime convict colony, lagoon-encircled basalt pinnacles versus scrub-clad hills and nickel mines. The authors shrewdly press on common themes, especially economic dependence and an allegedly "anomalous but also anachronistic" retreat from self-government in a decolonizing world, though such themes scarcely dominate the book. The presentation is straightforward and methodical. First French Polynesia, then New Caledonia; first the land and its indigenous occupants, then annexation and administration, colonial settlement and development, World War I to World War II, political parties of the left and the right, government and autonomy, rural and industrial life, trade and transportation, labor, religion, and culture. Even if the book is oriented more toward the historian and the political scientist, it offers plenty of grist for the geographer's mill. There are solid studies of the economy of both territories, and several (sometimes tantalizingly brief) glimpses of the regional variations in peoples and places: Protestants and Catholics, urban drift and rural malaise, crowding islands and depopulated archipelagoes." Author(s): Gordon R. LewthwaiteReview by: Gordon R. LewthwaiteSource: Geographical Review, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1973), pp. 296-298Published by: American Geographical SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/213427

Tahiti & French Polynesia Guide (Open Road Travel Guides)

Jan Prince

This is our best-selling classic guide to the island paradise of Tahiti and the major islands of French Polynesia.Open Road’s bestselling travel guide is fully updated with new hotels, restaurants, cruises, and activities. Readers will find all new maps, plus a beautiful new full-color photo insert, in addition to complete coverage of TahitiMooreaBora BoraHuahine, Tetiaroa, and more. Find out which cruise option is best, where the great scuba diving is, whale and dolphin watching, where to go for the tastiest Tahitian feasts, unique places to stay, and much more!

Tahiti & French Polynesia Guide (Open Road Travel Guides)

Jan Prince

The most comprehensive travel guide to Tahiti and Her Islands, including TahitiMooreaBora BoraHuahineRaiatea, Tahaa, Maupiti, RangiroaTikehauManihiMarquesas Islands and the Austral Islands. Extremely detailed descriptions and ratings of hotels, restaurants, beaches, sailing, boating, diving/snorkeling, shopping, and sightseeing, plus travel planning, history and culture chapters, and much more. Print book is 632 pages including an 8-page color photo insert -- the e-book leaves nothing out! from the print edition!

Lifetime Journeys: Explore French Polynesia: Tahiti and Moorea

Kim Heinbuch

Explore the exotic islands of Tahiti and Moorea in vivid detail! Stay in an overwater bungalow with the ocean as your horizon. Go on a culinary tour where you are treated to a romantic beach dinner, an authentic French meal, and some of the freshest seafood dishes! You’ll go on some fantastic sightseeing opportunities that cover the entire coastline of Tahiti while zipping around the island of Moorea on a jet ski having personal interaction with sting rays and black-tipped reef sharks. Fall in love with the French Polynesian islands through more than 115 amazing photos!

Fodor's Tahiti & French Polynesia, 1st Edition (Travel Guide)

Fodor's

Fodor’s. For Choice Travel Experiences.Fodor’s helps you unleash the possibilities of travel by providing the insightful tools you need to experience the trips you want. While you’re at the helm, Fodor’s offers the assurance of our expertise, the guarantee of selectivity, and the choice details that truly define a destination. It’s like having a friend in Tahiti!•Updated frequently, Fodor’s Tahiti & French Polynesia provides the most accurate and up-to-date information available in a guide book.•Fodor’s Tahiti & French Polynesia features options for a variety of budgets, interests, and tastes, so you make the choices to plan your trip of a lifetime.•If it’s not worth your time, it’s not in this book. Fodor’s discriminating ratings, including our top tier Fodor’s Choice designations, ensure that you’ll know about the most interesting and enjoyable places in Tahati.•Experience Tahiti like a local! Fodor’s Tahiti & French Polynesia features information from local experts.•Indispensable, customized trip planning tools include “Top Reasons to Go,” “Word of Mouth” advice from other travelers, and tips to help save money, bypass lines, and avoid common travel pitfalls.•8-pg, pull-out mapVisit Fodors.com for more ideas and information, travel deals, vacation planning tips, reviews and to exchange travel advice with other travelers.

Diving & Snorkeling Tahiti & French Polynesia

Jean-Bernard Carillet

Tahiti, Morea, Bora Bora - names that evoke warm South Pacific fantasies. French Polynesia boasts legendary topside beauty and a variety of diving adventures. Join a shark feed, swim with manta rays or snorkel alongside humpback whales. Pelagic encounters top a list of underwater highlights, including dramatic topography, prolific marine life and even a few shipwrecks. From the ripping passes at Rangiroa to the sheltered lagoon of the Society Islands, this book details nearly 50 of French Polynesia's best sites, with full-colour photos throughout.

You'll get specific information on: Dive site topography and conditions Diving services and live-aboards Common and hazardous marine life Topside attractions from Polynesian dancing to pearl farms 14 easy-to-read maps

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.

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