Several marae religious sites still exist, scattered throughout the islands as evidence of this inhabitation. The British discovered Tahiti in the mid s and Captain Cook visited there in to observe the Transit of Venus before sailing on to the south and west in search of the fabled Terra Australus Incognita with the assistance of a Polynesian navigator. During the s and s, the French conducted atmospheric nuclear tests in the islands, primarily at Mururoa atoll. Testing later moved underground after international protests from other Pacific countries, including a flotilla of yachts and a warship from New Zealand to monitor tests in Testing continued into the early s, despite attempts to disrupt them by environmental activists.
In September , France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing on the Mururoa atoll after a three-year moratorium. The tests were suspended in January The islanders have been working towards autonomy and economic independence from France. However, the process is a gradual one and is expected to take a decade or two to occur. Nationals of the European Union, Andorra , Iceland , Liechtenstein , Monaco and Norway only need a valid passport for entry - in no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Unlike metropolitan France, Swiss nationals are only visa-exempt in French Polynesia for a stay of up to 90 days and do require a visa for a stay exceeding 90 days.
Nationals of all other countries will need a valid passport for entry to French Polynesia and most will need a visa. If you are required to obtain a visa for French Polynesia, you can apply for one at a French embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
For more information on entry requirements, visit this webpage of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to French Polynesia. British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom, British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom, and British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general require visas.
However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to French Polynesia. French Polynesia has a very remote position in the South Pacific Ocean, so unless you are already there, flying is the main option.
The flag carrier of French Polynesia is Air Tahiti Nui and the main airport is the Faa'a International Airport built on the lagoon, about 5 km west of Papeete near several major hotels such as the InterContinental hotel. They no longer participate in either of the American Airlines Advantage or the Delta Air Lines frequent flyer program.
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Air New Zealand also has regular flights to Tahiti. The islands are something of a hub for sailboats between South or Central America and Australasia, and it is not impossible to find passage for yourself on a yacht, but it is challenging. The territory of French Polynesia has about the same surface as the European Union but the combined land area all islands and atolls is just about the size of Mallorca. Most people live on the two islands of Tahiti and Moorea.
These islands have street networks and public transport including good touristic infrastructure. To jump from island to island there are different options:. Air Tahiti offers domestic flights to other destinations in French Polynesia , and Air Moorea makes the short hop to Moorea several times daily.
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Charters flights such as Air Archipel are available on request. Helicopters are another option. Most of the inter-islands flights in the Marquesas are operated with Twin Otters. Passes start and usually end at Tahiti or Moorea. The itinerary does not need to cover all the islands of the Pass. All flights must be reserved and confirmed. The full journey must not exceed 28 days.
The islands of one archipelago must be visited before moving to the next archipelago e.
The islands within an archipelago can be visited in any order. Stopover or transit in Tahiti within the Pass is not allowed, except for the Lagons Pass between Moorea and the islands of the Tuamotu Archipelago, for a Pass with Extension, between the Pass and the Extension, where a maximum of 24 hr transit in Tahiti is permitted. Only one stop per island of more than 24 hr is allowed. A transit less than 24 hours with a flight number change is considered as stopover.
Exception: change of flight number with a transit of less than 2 hours in Rangiroa on Bora Bora to Tikehau, Manihi, Fakarava or vice-versa flights. Change of reservations is not permitted after the Pass has been issued. Air Passes are non-refundable after departure. Check-in at the airports begins 1 hour and closes 20min before departure time except for flights to Rarotonga where check-in begins 2hr and closes 45min before departure time. The official languages are French and Tahitian with French being the language of business and government and Tahitian being the language of day-to-day discourse.
French Polynesia is Enormous and You’ll Never See it All
English is also widely spoken particularly in tourist areas. Polynesians appreciate any effort in trying to speak their language. The words below are the ones you might recognize during a conversation:. Tahitians have a tendency to mix up French and Tahitian words in their conversation, so don't be surprised. The inhabitants of each place often cannot communicate between each other in their respective languages.
Best Time to Go to French Polynesia
French Polynesia offers some spectacular diving and snorkeling. Divers can legitimately expect to see literally hundreds of fish and other marine species as they drift through the underwater canyons. There are diving centers on 11 of the islands of French Polynesia. Moorea is known for sharks dives reef sharks and lemon sharks here.
Bora Bora has a breathtaking lagoon featuring manta rays and sharks on a coral wall. Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE. It is most commonly denoted by F , and also by CFP , xfp and fcp. It is pegged to the euro at a fixed rate of Bank notes, international credit cards and traveller's cheques are accepted. The international banks with foreign exchange offices on Tahiti and the most frequently visited islands are the Bank of Tahiti, the Bank of Polynesia and Socredo.
Banks will charge a commission fee for each exchange of, for example, 1, F. The exchange office at Papeete Fa'a'a airport charges only F Feb , but the spread between its buy and sell rates is much wider than that of the banks. The euro is exchanged in banks and exchy bureaux at International hotels also provide currency exchange. Some atolls and islands in the Austral and Gambier group have no banking facilities.
Everything is very expensive in French Polynesia. Even budget accommodation is tough on the budget, as is food, even groceries. So if you visit, take lots of money, you will need it.
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Black pearls are the high-end purchase in this part of the world. They are beautiful, and of varied quality, so buyer beware, and the sky's the limit. There are lots of inexpensive mother-of-pearl jewellery that make very nice gifts. Created only by the giant black-lipped oyster Pinctada margaritifera which thrives in the lagoons of the , the rare Polynesian black pearl varies in colour from silver through dark grey with green and pink highlights.
This Tahitian jewel makes an exquisite and unique souvenir. For visitors who wish to discover the secrets of Tahitian pearls , a visit to one of the pearl farms on the island of Rangiroa , in the Tuamotus , is an experience not to be missed. Upon arrival in the islands, I discovered that three of the seven people traveling had exactly the same book.
What You Need to Know About Tahiti
We all found Jan Prince's book an excellent guide to virtually every aspect of the islands. It seems that she has been everywhere possible in French Polynesia and provides intimate I picked up this travel book months ago in preparation for a trip to French Polynesia in August. It seems that she has been everywhere possible in French Polynesia and provides intimate detail for each island.
If you plan to travel to this part of the world, I highly recommend this guide. Bora Bora is on my bucket list. Great for some arm chair planning. Linda rated it it was amazing Nov 04, Yaima rated it it was amazing Feb 24, Matthew rated it really liked it Dec 28, Becky rated it really liked it Sep 16, Thomas Lahive rated it it was amazing Dec 28, Romari rated it liked it Feb 06, Lori Thomas rated it it was amazing Oct 25, Kimberly rated it it was amazing Jun 20, Chinalyi rated it really liked it Sep 24, Michael M.
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About Jan Prince. Jan Prince.