International Airline Tickets
If you booked your international flight with True Tahiti Vacation; you will receive e-Tickets once your trip is paid in full.
Entry Requirements for French Polynesia
If you carry a US or Canadian passport, you’re allowed to stay 90 days without a visa. Your passport must be valid for six months from your travel date. You’re also required to have a return or continuing ticket.
Entry requirements may change at any moment. If you have any questions, please contact your nearest French Consulate or Embassy. Visas are issued in Tahiti and may take up to 3 weeks to be returned to the French Consulate.
Immunizations are not required for entry into Tahiti. However, visitors arriving from other countries that have infections such as cholera, yellow fever, and/or the plague as defined by the World Health Organization may be asked to present certificates of inoculations to gain entry.
Each person may legally bring the following items into French Polynesia duty free: 200 cigarettes, 200 cigarillos or 100 cigars; 50 grams of perfume; 500 grams of coffee; 100 grams of tea; 10 rolls of film; and 2 liters of alcohol. Returning home, U.S. customs allow an exemption of $800 in goods per resident, including one quart of liquor and 200 cigarettes; Canadian customs also allow an $800 exemption, including 1.1 liters of alcohol and 200 cigarettes.
Luggage restrictions are subject to change at any time. Please check with the airline prior to your departure.
International, Air Tahiti Nui
Coach: Allowed 2 pieces at 23 kilos each (50 lbs).
Business Class: Allowed 2 pieces at 32 kilos each (70 lbs).
Infants (all classes): Allowed 1 piece at 10 kilos each (22 lbs) + 1 folding stroller.
Any piece over 32 kilos (70 lbs) will not be accepted and must be shipped as air freight. A maximum of 4 pieces per passenger allowed (including the 2 free & 2 excess baggage).
Inter-island, Air Tahiti
Normally when flying inter-island on Air Tahiti, passengers are allowed baggage up to 20 kilos (44 lbs). There is however an exception for divers who may bring 25 kilos (55 lbs). To qualify you must present your dive certification card and international ticket at the check-in counter.
We do not include travel insurance with our packages. However for your protection and peace of mind, we highly recommend you insure yourself against trip cancellation, medical emergencies or illnesses and baggage loss. A search on Google will offer several different companies, we recommend InsureMyTrip.com.
Receiving Your Travel Docs
When you arrive in Tahiti and exit customs, you’ll walk straight ahead to the True Tahiti Vacation Board. Look for our representatives. They’ll be wearing red and standing next to a white board with your name on it. He/she will provide you all of the travel documents for your trip.
Luggage carts are free when you arrive at the international terminal. Outside of the international terminal you will need a 100 franc coin to use the carts.
You may store your luggage in the parking lot just across from the departure terminal. It is open everyday from 6am – 6pm when there are no late international flights or until 10:00pm when there are late international flights. The price varies according to size. The smallest carry-on is around $4.00/day. The largest surfboard around $22.00/day.
Airline Seating-Inter Island
On all inter-island flights, therein open seating so try to sit on the left side of the airplane for the best view.
Location of Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti lie halfway between California and Australia. It is an easy, 8 hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles or a 12 hour non-stop flight from New York’s JFK. You have the choice of several national airlines including: Air Tahiti Nui (voted 4th best airline in the world by Skytrax) Air France, Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Air (via Hawaii).
The Islands of Tahiti are 2 hours behind Los Angeles. If it is noon in Los Angeles, it is 10 am in Tahiti. However, during Daylight Savings, the difference is 3 hours.
French and Tahitian are the official languages of French Polynesia. On the main islands, you will find English is spoken in all the hotels and in most shops and restaurants. Communication is rarely a problem. Find out more about the Tahitian language here.
The French Pacific Franc (xpf) is the local currency and it’s tied to the Euro with a fixed rate of 119.331. Visa & MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards. The major resorts accept American Express. As you get to the more remote islands, fewer places will accept credit cards. ATM machines are available on most of the larger islands. You’ll also find on some of the larger islands, that the the US Dollar is accepted by many vendors. They will simply give you change in local currency.
Electric voltage in French Polynesia is 220v. Most hotels have 110v outlets for electric razors. You will typically need an adapter for other appliances. We use the same plugs as in France with two round prongs.
A Tropical Climate
French Polynesia enjoys a warm, tropical climate. The average temperature is about 79°F. This is a tropical destination blessed with lots of sun and enough rain to keep the waterfalls flowing and the flowers blooming. Tahiti is well outside the South Pacific cyclone zone, so you won’t find a cyclone or hurricane season here. The water temperature remains fairly constant. It averages 79°F in the winter season (southern hemisphere) and 84F during the summer. From the ocean surface to 166′ below there is only a one-half degree difference in temperature. Most people dive in a 2/3 mm wetsuit. Find out more about the weather here.
Le Marché in Papeete is open daily from 5:00am to 6:00pm. This is a great place to buy local crafts, pareos, flowers, fruit and local dishes.
Most stores are open Monday – Friday from 8am-5:30pm. Many shops close from noon – 2pm for lunch.
Items worth buying include: Tahitian pearls, tattoos, carvings from the Marquesas, tifaifai quilts, woven bags, vanilla and pareos.
Please do not haggle over prices. It simply isn’t done here.
Traditionally, tipping has been contrary to the Tahitian custom of hospitality. You will find it is neither required nor expected. However, if you receive particularly good service from someone, please feel free to tip. I’m sure they will appreciate it.
Note: In Tahiti, the prices quoted on menus and in stores are all inclusive. You won’t find any hidden costs.
What to pack
The Islands of Tahiti are an extremely casual place. You will find yourself in bathing suits, t-shirts, shorts and/or sundresses. Cotton & linen are perfect tropical fabrics. The local pareo is ideal to wear day or night. Sandals and flip-flops are the norm here. Most men wear shorts and a polo shirt at night. For women — sun dresses and resort wear are appropriate eveningwear. Be sure to pack reef shoes for walking on coral and a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen to shield you from the tropical sun. Also bring some insect repellant as the mosquitoes seem to know exactly who the tourists are! You may want to bring a light plastic raincoat or a windbreaker for the occasional tropical downpour.
Bugs & Sun
Humans are not the only ones who love paradise! We do have mosquitos. Most all of the large resorts spray daily for mosquitos, but the smaller pensions do not. They will however provide a mosquito coil and or net for your bed. Be sure to bring some mosquito repellant AND sunscreen.
Health & Safety
Tahiti has an excellent health system with outstanding doctors, dentists and pharmacies. There are private clinics and a large hospital on the main island of Tahiti, while the outer islands have hospitals, dispensaries and/or private practitioners. Scuba divers will be happy to know there is a decompression chamber on Tahiti.
Although tap water in hotels and restaurants is generally safe to drink, we recommend buying some bottled water. You will find it to be much cheaper outside of the hotels at any of the local markets.
Should you encounter any coral cuts, blisters etc, the best way to prevent an infection from forming is to apply fresh lime juice to the cut.
Tahiti is very safe by any standard and violent crime is a rarity. Theft does happen occasionally, but you need not be concerned. Just don’t be careless (all hotels have room safes). It is safe to walk anywhere at any time. As far as “terrorism” is concerned, this is probably the safest country you can visit. Low population, zero immigration policy and strict border control (only 1 point of entry) make these islands a haven of peace and safety. There is also a very pro-American sentiment at all levels of the population.
To call French Polynesia from your home country, dial your international access code (011 from the US; 00 from the UK, Ireland, or New Zealand; and 0011 from Australia), followed by French Polynesia’s country code 689, and the 8-digit local number.
To make international calls from within French Polynesia, first dial 00, then the country code (U.S. or Canada 1, U.K. 44, Australia 61, New Zealand 64), followed by the area code and phone number.
French Polynesia uses GSM technology. Check with your wireless company before traveling to see if you have a GSM phone. If so, you may be able to use it in the islands if your home provider has an international roaming agreement with the mobile network Vini (www.vini.pf). If not, you can always rent a phone or buy a local SIM card from Vini once you arrive. You can also purchase a phone or SIM card duty free from Air Tahiti Nui on the plane or online before your departure (www.tahiti-airstore.com).
Most all of the resorts have free WIFI. However, there are some resorts who still charge for this service. If you don’t have your own laptop or tablet, most resorts have business centers.