The Tahitian language has survived the attempts of the missionaries
to anhiliate it and is thriving. Be prepared to use the two most
important phrases all the time and to pronouce every vowel (say the
letter "a" three times for Faa'a Airport):
Ia Orana - hello, goodbye.
Mauruuru - thank you, your welcome.
After that, be prepared to speak French. After all, this is a
French colony. While English will work in many situations, French
is the language of choice here.
A travel visa is not required for most countries whose citizens visit French
Polynesia for less than 90 days. A small slit of paper is used for
travellers to retain during their stay. Visitors from the European
Economic Union get priorty at customs and immigration even though French
Polynesia is not part of the Schengen Zone. Check your specific country at VisaHQ.
For a list of exempt countries, visit Project
The currency of French Polynesia is the the French Pacific Franc (XPF). It
is also referred to as the CFP Franc (Change Franc Pacifique). US dollars are accepted many places, especially for tips.
at the bank machine or at the currency exchange at Faa'a Airport is a good
idea. Both of these options charge a heavy standard transaction fee, so
the poor exchange rates offered by hotels may actually be an advantage for
The warm weather, picturesque islands and isolation in the
South Pacific make French Polynesia a popular tourist destination,
especially for honeymooners and anniversaries. Although
temperatures are consistently comfortable on a year round basis, the
rainy season and high humidity from November to April tend to make
summer the most popular time to visit. Hotels are very expensive in
French Polynesia even in the rainy season.
Access by air to
French Polynesia is through Papeete on the island of Tahiti. Tahiti Nui is the main airline servicing the islands and has regular service to
Los Angeles and Auckland. A few
cruise ships visit French Polynesia, however it
takes quite a few days to get to these islands by ship from elsewhere.
Savor the Tastes of French Polynesia:
uru - breadfruit
taro - root vegetable
fish and pua (pork) cooked in a himaa (underground oven)
poisson cru - raw tuna marinated in lime juice and
grilled yams and bananas
umara (sweet potato) and ufi (yams)
pineapple and coconut flavored rums and liqueurs
mango and passion fruit jams
fafa - chicken cooked with coconut milk and spinach
poe - fruit baked in coconut milk
French influences with crepes and baguettes
servings on hand-woven leaves.
Hinano, Polynesian bottled beer
French Polynesia map