At a glance
Just 7 1/2 hours non-stop flying time from Los Angeles, French Polynesia is located midway between California and Australia.
Polynesia enjoys warm, tropical weather year 'round, with two main seasons. The months from November through March are warmer and humid. A drier season runs from April to October. The average year-round temperature is 78oF, and the average water temperature is in the low 80s.
Two hours behind Pacific Standard Time, Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawaii.
U.S. and Canadian citizens require a valid passport. Citizens of all other countries should check with their travel agent or the French Consulate. No immunizations are required.
Electric voltage is 220v, and most hotels have 110v outlets for electric razors. A converter/adapter kit will generally be needed for other appliances.
Taxes or Tipping!
There are no sales taxes or other hidden service charges in French Polynesia. Tipping is not customary, and is actually contrary to the Tahitian idea of hospitality. This represents savings to you when compared with other destinations.
Comfortable and cool, natural fabrics such as cotton sundresses or T-shirts make perfect daytime wear. Slacks and a golf shirt for men, and light dresses and resort wear for women are appropriate evening wear. Shorts, bathing suits and the local pareo, a sarong-like wraparound garment, are the ideal daytime wear on the outer islands. Be sure to pack reef walkers or old tennis shoes for walking on coral, a hat or sun visor, and sunglasses.
French and Tahitian are the official languages. English is spoken in hotels and in most shops and restaurants, so communication is rarely a problem.
Polynesia has modern medical and dental services, pharmacies, private clinics and a large hospital in Tahiti. The outer islands have hospitals or dispensaries, and private practitioners. Take care not to over-expose your body to the tropical sun, and pack a good waterproof sunscreen. Although tap water in hotels and restaurants is generally safe to drink, we recommend bottled water which is sold by all hotels.
The local currency is the French Pacific Franc (CFP). The rate of exchange with the $US is around:
1 US$ = 104 Fcfp / 100 Fcfp= 0.84 US$.
Banks, located on each island and at Tahiti's International Airport, generally give a better rate of exchange than hotels. Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, boutiques and other tourist establishments.