The area of French Polynesia is a mesmerising wonderland of reef-fringed islands and translucent aqua-coloured lagoons, all teeming with beauty and natural abundance. Shamelessly chic and seductive, it’s the kind of place where the rich and famous come to play and hedonistic honeymoon fantasies are realised.
Situated midway in the Pacific Ocean between South America and Australia, French Polynesia is comprised of 118 islands in the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society island archipelagos, spread out over an area roughly the size of Europe.
The encircling barrier reefs provide a secluded and protective habitat for sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, porpoises, colourful hard and soft coral, and more than 500 species of fish. The epitome of the South Pacific dream, this is one Garden of Eden so beautiful that it is hard to believe that it really exists...
From North America
All visitors to the Society Islands must pass through Faa'a International Airport in Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. (This may be the only airport in the world where all passengers are given fresh flowers upon their arrival and welcomed by a dancing and singing group)! The airport code is PPT and the island is well served from Los Angeles, less than 8 hours away. Air Tahiti Nui, the Tahiti-based international carrier, has daily flights from Los Angeles, and from JFK on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Other international airlines providing services include Air France, Hawaiian Airlines, Air New Zealand, Qantas Airways Limited, Lan Chile, and Air Caledonia International.
Guests from Europe will be pleased to hear that, being a French territory, flights from Paris to Tahiti are classed as flights within France, and are priced accordingly at very reasonable rates. Fly from Paris to Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui (via LA) and then follow the above directions when you arrive in Tahiti. (Other airlines flying this route include Air France, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways).
Tahiti and her islands draw vacationers from all over the world. With her tropical climate and exotic beauty, it's hard not to have a relaxing time in this fabulous destination. Far removed from typical spring break vacationers and rowdy crowds, Tahiti is in a class by herself. If you are seeking a special experience, spectacular scenery, few tourists and no giant hotels, then Tahiti is for you. The term "French Polynesia" refers to five archipelagos spread over an expanse of the South Pacific approximately the size of Western Europe (2,000,000 square miles). The region includes the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, the Society Islands, the Australs and the Gambiers. Each of these archipelagos has its own culture, ethnicity and climate, and we have chosen the Society Islands for your South Pacific Dream.
Mount Temehani on Raiatea is home to the sacred Tiare Apetahi flower - which will not grow anywhere else in the world, despite botanists having tried to replant it for centuries.
Legend says that a beautiful Tahitian girl named Apetahi had fallen in love with the son of a king. Devastated that she could not marry him, she fled to Mount Temehani and died of a broken heart. Soon after, the Tiare Apetahi flower sprouted from the ground in the place where she had died. The five delicate petals of the Tiare Apetahi are said to represent her lovely fingers, while the soft cracking sound that can be heard as the flower opens each morning is the sound of her heart breaking.
Although Tahiti is a tropical environment, the rainfalls do not follow a "wet" and "dry" type of season. This means that there is no pattern of weather or rainfalls and the weather is not predictable from day to day or year to year. It will be mostly sunny, with intermittent and localized showers or storms at any time, but there is always far more sunshine than rain in any period. There are no real seasons in Tahiti and the temperatures remain fairly constant day and night (about 80/85 degrees).
Passports and Visas
Visitors wishing to come to French Polynesia must have a valid passport, which, depending on the nationality of the visitor, contains a valid visa. Such visitors must also have an airline ticket back to their resident country or to at least two more continuing destinations.
Please see this link for full passport requirements
Please see this link for visa requirements, and please also, nearer the time of your departure, double-check with your local French Consul or Embassy in case any recent changes have been made and not yet added to this website
Dress code on Tahiti is very informal. Lightweight, natural fabrics such as cotton will serve well. Men will be comfortable in shorts, long slacks for dinners ashore, sport shirts and sandals, while ladies may wear shorts, skirts and sundresses. We also recommend taking along a couple of swimsuits each, rubber-soled shoes for reef walking - as there are a lot of beaches with coral, which makes it quite difficult without them. They can be purchased at the airport on arrival. Also, hat or sun visor, sunglasses, "reef safe" sunscreen, insect repellent, and a waterproof bag to protect camera equipment. Water temperature is steady year round and averages 27C (80F). Divers may wish to bring shortie wetsuits. Please note that all towels are provided.
We strongly advise that all guests cruising with us have fully comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all eventualities such as hotel accommodation, lost baggage, changes to flights etc. An important point to note is that, for medivac, guests need to include the various islands that we will cruise at, not only Tahiti.
Land supply is 220 volts, 60 cycles, so a converter and adaptor plugs are needed for travel appliances for our North American guests. The boat also has 220V, and there is also a small convertor - 12v/110v (max 150w)
The currency in Tahiti and her islands is the French Pacific Franc or CFP (95 CFP = 1US$) listed as "xpf" in the international currency code. It is best to exchange your money in Tahiti, as this is where you'll get the best rate. There are 2 banks inside Faaa International Airport in Tahiti, open for all arriving flights, as well as currency-exchange ATM's. A privately operated foreign exchange office is located on the Papeete waterfront, next to the harbour, and in the back of the port immigration office and the Socredo Bank. Credit cards are widely used and US dollars and Euros are easily exchanged. ATM's and currency machines are also available.
Tahiti: For those who wish to stay overnight on Tahiti , we recommend the Manava Suites
Raiatea: On Raiatea we recommend the Hawaiki Nui Hotel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bora Bora: For those who elect to stay in Bora Bora before or after the cruise we recommend the Bora Bora Pearl Resort.
Unfortunately, due to government regulations, we are no longer able to offer scuba diving in French Polynesia. For those guests who wish to come a few days prior to or after cruising to do refresher dives, or even to obtain Open Water certification, we recommend Top Dive (located at the InterContinental Hotel, Tahiti Island), a PADI 5 star operation http://www.topdive.com.
The official tourism site is Tahiti Tourisme
Tahiti Tourisme North America
300 Continental Blvd., Suite 160
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 414 8484 - Office
(310) 414 8490 - Fax
Please click here to read more about a sample itinerary for a crewed sailing charter out of French Polynesia.