> Polynesia Travel Tips
Polynesia Travel Tips - with Wired Destinations
Polynesia is readily accessible by air from most parts of the world.
Qantas, Air New Zealand, Air France, Aircalin, Corsair and AOM carry
most of the visitors, though Hawaiian Air flies between Honolulu and
Tahiti once a week. All international arrivals by air passes through
Faaa Airport in Papeete, but a US$46 million redevelopment of the
airport in the Marquesas island of Nuku Hiva might soon change this
situation. There is no departure tax in French Polynesia. Only French
citizens can enter French Polynesia without a passport and the visa
requirements are much the same as for France itself. Western European
and Scandinavian citizens are allowed to stay for up to three months
without a visa. Citizens of Canada, the USA, Japan, Singapore and New
Zealand can stay up to one month without a visa, but all other visitors
need a visa to enter. In Papeete two extra foreign exchange offices are
available: the airport office (from Monday to Friday from 7:45 am to 3
:30 pm as well as one hour before departures and after arrivals of
international flights); the Overseas Passenger wharf on the waterfront
(open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday and from 7 am to 1 pm
Sundays and holidays). There is no official airport bus, but Le Truk
stops right opposite the airport for transfers into Papeete and along
the west coast. Taxis are available at all hours but are expensive.
Tour Charter Companies meet those on package holidays and some smaller
pensions provide meet and greet.
French Polynesia weather is typically tropical. Summer, between
December and April, is hotter and more humid with a higher rainfall and
the risk of tropical storms. Winter is between May and November and is
cooler and drier. The main island of French Polynesia and also Moorea
are both high volcanic islands and accumulate clouds around its
mountain peaks creating more rain and humidity in the south eastern
side of the islands (windward or facing south-east trade winds).
Similarly, the western sides are much drier and protected from the
trade winds making it feel hotter. Small coral islands tend to feel
cooler with constant sea breezes although they have less shade from the
sun and receive little rainfall.
French Polynesia currency is the Cour de Franc Pacifique (CFP) also
known as the Pacific Franc and is used in French Polynesia, New
Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna. The main banks are Bank of French
Polynesia, Bank of Polynesia and the Banque de Socredo with outlets
around French Polynesia, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora. The
outer islands have few banking facilities but resorts will exchange
travellers cheques and allow payments by credit cards. Most credit
cards and travellers cheques are accepted and there are ATM machines
(or DAB's in French) around the main island of French Polynesia and on
UTC / GMT (-10 hours) The Marquesas Islands are a half hour ahead of the rest of French Polynesia.
Central Post Office, located near the Yacht Wharf and Bougainville Park
and is open weekdays from 7 am to 6 pm and on Saturdays from 8 am to 11
am. There is a Philatelic Center at the Post Office. Post offices in
the islands usually open weekdays from 7 :00 am to 3 :30 pm. Shops are
open from Monday to Friday 7:30 am to 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm to 5
pm/6 pm, and even to 8 :00 pm. Saturdays from 7:30 am to 11:30 am. Some
shops also open afternoons. Most places are closed on Sunday except for
the colourful Papeete market, which is very busy from 5 in the morning.
international dialling code for French Polynesia is (689). Telephone
lines are reliable and available throughout the French Polynesia
Islands. There are many international card-operated phones throughout
most of the islands. Public Internet access is available throughout the
main islands but is limited on the outer islands.
is 110 or 220 AC / 60Hz voltage depending on the island visited with
220 AC most common (acceptable for UK, Australia and New Zealand) but
if you come from the US you will probably need a converter. Sockets are
French and Tahitian are the two official languages. English is also widely spoken, particularly in tourist areas.
is casual and informal throughout the islands. Visitors should bring a
light tropical clothing including slacks for evenings. Casual. "Pareus"
wraps are popular over swimsuits around the beach or pool. Papeete is
French Polynesia travel experiences involve inter island flights or
fast ferries from Papeete on the main island of French Polynesia.
buses known as Le Truk are cheap and frequent around Papeete and its
suburbs and are by far the easiest way of travel. If you want to do a
sightseeing tour around the island, then hiring a car is the better
option. There are several International car hire companies including
EuroCar, Budget and Hertz as well as lots of local companies offering
Air Moorea offers 18
flights per day for the 10-minute hop from Papeete to Moorea, starting
at 6.15 am with its last flight at 6.15pm. The cost very affordable
making it the most accessible and cheapest of islands to visit. Air
French Polynesia flies to 38 islands, with the more popular
destinations on a daily basis and to Bora Bora and Huahine at least
five times a day. Flights however are very expensive but purchasing one
of the many island passes available cuts the cost considerably. Papeete
(Faaa Airport) is the hub of all internal flights with few flights
connecting the other islands. So, to get from Moorea to Huahine for
example means going back to Papeete.
much cheaper way to get to and from the islands is by inter-island
ferry. There are three companies offering ferries to Moorea, one of
them a high speed catamaran, between them departing every half hour
from the wharf in Papeete. The trip takes about 50 minutes. There are
also regular ferries to the other Society Islands including a high
speed catamaran which can make the trip from French Polynesia to Bora
Bora in 7 hours compared to the regular ferry time of 14 hours and to
Huahine in less than 4 hours. The Maupiti Express offers fast
connections from Bora Bora to the nearby islands of Huahine, Raiatea,
Tahaa and Maupiti and there are lots of local water taxis to get you
out to the small islands surrounding these. There are 10 ships serving
the Tuamotu Islands, one of which connects through to the Marquesas.
Reliable schedules service the Marquesas and the Austral Islands.
Overall, getting about by ship is very easy.
and the outer islands enjoy a high standard of health, with excellent
medical and dental services. No vaccinations are required, except for
visitors arriving from an infected area (please contact your travel
agent or airline company).