Situated within the southern a part of the Pacific Ocean, midway between California and Australia, the Islands of Tahiti are a legendary vacation spot. Often known as French Polynesia, the nation is comprised of 118 islands dispersed throughout a big nautical space the scale of Western Europe. The smattering of coral-fringed islands and atolls stretches south of the Equator slightly below Hawaii and is in the identical time zone. The point out of Tahiti calls to thoughts visions of an idyllic island paradise and when you go to, you’ll uncover that your creativeness isn’t too off the mark. With sheltered blue lagoons, vibrant coral reefs, an impressive, mountainous inside, and 5 star overwater lodges, French Polynesia is an idyllic tropical paradise that pulls guests from all around the world. The archipelago’s legendary locations embrace Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and the distant and untouched Marquesas Islands.
Get probably the most out of your (luxurious) journey to French Polynesia with my journey information. Discover out extra about:
TRAVEL GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA: BEST TIME TO VISIT
French Polynesia enjoys a tropical local weather that’s excellent year-round for a getaway. In truth, the archipelago’s Tuamotu Islands take pleasure in nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine per 12 months, one of many highest on the earth! The temperatures in French Polynesia are gentle and comparatively fixed, and the islands are cooled by the commerce winds of the Pacific that blow all year long. On the northern islands, the typical ambient temperature is round 78°F/25°C, which is about the identical because the tranquil waters of the nation’s turquoise lagoons. Whereas farther away from the equator, the archipelagos down south (the Austral Islands and the Gambier Islands) get pleasure from cooler climate.
On the Polynesian latitudes, it’s summer season year-round. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to distinguish two fundamental Tahitian climate patterns: the dry season and the humid season.
- The dry season lasts from Might to October, has balmy temperatures between 71°F and 80°F/21°C and 27°C, and is marked by largely clear skies (with the occasional passing bathe). The dry season although additionally brings robust commerce winds, which might make water actions like snorkeling troublesome and rattle Bora Bora’s overwater bungalows.
- The humid season sometimes lasts from November to April, is a bit hotter (between 77°F and 95°F/25°C and 35°C), and topic to tropical showers. The frequent showers normally don’t last more than half-hour and are sometimes adopted by vibrant rainbows and gorgeous sunsets. Nonetheless, there’s all the time an opportunity that the downpours might final for a number of days. You’ll even be in danger for cyclones, so it’s necessary to remain alert. Flights can be cancelled as a consequence of dangerous climate or lack of passengers.
The most effective time to go to Tahiti is the one which coincides with the actions you want to expertise:
- The most effective season for a seaside vacation is after all the dry season, which lasts from Might to October. When you’re searching for probably the most snug seaside trip potential, you’ll wish to keep away from the moist season of November by means of April.
- With technicolor reefs that teem with tropical fish, the islands of French Polynesia are world-renowned for scuba diving and snorkeling. The most effective time of 12 months to discover the islands’ underwater gardens is between April and October. That is the dry season and the shortage of rain makes for clear, calm waters and glorious visibility. Through the moist season, rain and wind can have an effect on visibility, however that is much less problematic within the islands’ shallow, sheltered lagoons.
- Outside actions reminiscent of mountaineering and browsing are additionally greatest loved within the dry season when trails are straightforward to navigate and waves peel as completely as a slice of orange. Nonetheless, when you’re seeking to dangle ten on massive barrels, the wet season brings excessive waves that can problem even probably the most seasoned surfers.
- To expertise the jungle-clad pure surroundings of French Polynesia, go to in the course of the moist season, or “Season of A lot,” between November and April when the vegetation in French Polynesia is especially luxuriant. That is additionally the most effective time for many who like to pattern new tastes as all of the tropical fruit are ripe.
- The most effective time to see whales in French Polynesia is from mid-August till the tip of October. That is when humpbacks migrate from Antarctica to mate and provides start. Common day and evening temperatures begin to rise, however humidity ranges are nonetheless low sufficient so that you can get pleasure from being outdoors for longer durations. Come to Tahiti in October to see the whales, swim with them, and luxuriate in clear skies, sunny climate, and fewer individuals on vacation. Though it’s the wettest month of the dry season, it nonetheless has solely half the rainfall in November.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA: HOW TO GET THERE
There’s little doubt that attending to Tahiti takes some effort, however the payoff is effectively price it. Most vacationers headed to this tropical paradise arrive by air. The Tahiti-Faa’a Worldwide Airport is positioned on Tahiti’s fundamental island and is near the archipelago’s capital metropolis Papeete. That is the one worldwide airport in French Polynesia and it’s shut and handy to all the most important lodges and resorts on Tahiti. From right here, you’ll be able to hop on connecting flights by way of Air Tahiti to discover the various areas that make up this pristine island nation, together with stunning Bora Bora identified for its turquoise lagoon and white sand seashores.
French Polynesia is definitely accessible by air from the US, and a flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti is round 7 hours and half-hour in period. Many airways fly direct to Tahiti from the US mainland, together with:
- United Airways presents 5 nonstop flights per week and French Bee presents three nonstop flights per week from San Francisco to Tahiti’ Worldwide airport in Faa’a.
- Air Tahiti Nui flights depart nonstop from Los Angeles 9 to 12 instances per week with a number of flights per day. Nonstop flights from Seattle can be found twice per week.
- Air France presents direct flights from Los Angeles to Papeete 5 instances per week.
- Delta Airways presents nonstop flights from Los Angeles 3 times per week.
If you wish to break up the journey to French Polynesia with a cease in Hawaii, you’re in luck: Hawaiian Airways presents common flights to Tahiti from Honolulu as soon as every week. Leaving each Friday, flights arrive in Papeete and return on Saturdays, so it’s straightforward to schedule a one or two-week journey to French Polynesia and spend just a few days in Hawaii as effectively.
Flights to the island of Tahiti depart from all around the globe, together with direct flights from Japan, New Zealand, Chile, and Australia. Flight time varies relying in your departure location. Here’s a complete listing of flight durations from standard worldwide airport hubs to French Polynesia:
- Paris – Papeete: 22h00 (with a brief stopover in Los Angeles, Seattle or San Francisco)
- Los Angeles – Papeete: 08h00
- Seattle – Papeete: 10h00
- San Francisco – Papeete: 08h00
- Honolulu – Papeete: 05h00
- Nouméa – Papeete: 06h20
- Tokyo – Papeete: 11h00
- Shanghai – Papeete: 12h30
- Hong Kong – Papeete: 11h30
- Sydney – Papeete: 09h05
- Auckland – Papeete: 05h00
- Rarotonga – Papeete: 02h30
- Santiago du Chili – Papeete: 11h00
- Hanga Roa (Easter Island) – Papeete: 04h50
Before you purchase a airplane ticket, take into account studying my suggestions & tips for getting the most affordable airplane ticket.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA: ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Necessities for entry into French Polynesia differ from nation to nation, and are topic to vary. Previous to departure, all the time verify together with your authorities and your nearest French embassy or consulate what paperwork you want for journey to French Polynesia. Some necessary factors:
- First, verify to see when you want a visa for French Polynesia by visiting the official visa web site for France. Take a fast take a look at to find out whether or not you want a visa.
- Guests holding a residence allow from one of many nations of the European Union or the Schengen Space are exempt from the requirement to acquire a visa supplied that their residence allow is legitimate all through their keep in French Polynesia.
- For U.S. and Canadian Residents: your passport should be legitimate for at least three months after the return date. No visa is required for stays of as much as 90 days.
- Any foreigner who needs to remain greater than three months in French Polynesia should apply for a long-term French Polynesia visa aside from residents of the exempt nations.
- Chinese language vacationers can e book a visit with out visa to French Polynesia by means of a journey company permitted by the visa workplace of the French embassy, the visa free coverage is simply relevant to ADS tour teams with lower than 15 days keep.
Be sure to learn my 10 tricks to plan a worry-free journey.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA: GETTING AROUND
When you’ve arrived in Tahiti, you could wish to head straight to your resort or resort, or you could be sure for a special island such because the ever-enchanting Bora Bora and Moorea islands. No matter the place you’re sure, you’ll be able to simply e book connecting flights and different modes of transportation round the Islands of Tahiti.
- Air journey is the preferred technique of island hopping. Whereas Faa’a Worldwide Airport welcomes massive worldwide wide-body jets, many airports all through the archipelago will see only a handful of small passenger planes every week. The home airline Air Tahiti is the first mode of transportation between islands. Common flights depart each day to and from the worldwide airport in Papeete. Flight time between Tahiti and Moorea is simply 10 minutes, whereas the flight time between Tahiti and Bora Bora is 50 minutes.
- when you’re headed to Moorea, there’s a each day ferry service from Tahiti that takes about half-hour a technique.
- Public transportation is extensively accessible on the Tahiti fundamental island. There’s a bus system and taxis for transport to your resort, the airport, and the ferry terminal. On the outer islands, public transportation is much less widespread. Rental automobiles and bikes can be found in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha’a. Nonetheless, aside from your individual two toes or a neighborhood boat, you could not even want transportation when you’re in paradise.
- Cruise ships depart from inside Tahiti and island hop inside the nationwide borders. Papeete serves because the gateway for cruises to the French Polynesian archipelagos. To embark on an inter-island cruise, vacationers should fly into Tahiti-Faa’a Worldwide Airport in Papeete, which is the leaping off level for ocean odysseys. From there, you’ll be able to simply hop on Tahitian cruise ships and discover the enchanted isles by way of Tahiti’s blue waterways.
- Paul Guaguin Cruises are among the many most luxurious and standard inter-island cruises. The corporate’s smooth ship carries as much as 332 passengers and options snug cabins, an expansive deck, and an outside pool. Company even have entry to a large number of watersports reminiscent of kayaking, paddle boarding and scuba diving.
- When you’ve ever dreamed of crusing the Pacific, a visit aboard Tahiti’s Windstar Cruises presents the prospect to discover the tropical archipelago beneath billowing white sails. Whereas the ship is smaller than a standard cruise liner, the intimacy and romance of a Windstar cruise is miles away from atypical.
- Moreover, you’ll be able to expertise the wonders of French Polynesia on cargo cruise ships such because the Aranui 5, which presents 14-day live-aboard excursions, or the Tuhaa Pae IV, which cruises bi-monthly to the oft-undiscovered Astral Islands.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA: INSPIRATION, HIGHLIGHTS & TRAVEL TIPS
French Polynesia is a vacation spot composed of 118 islands and atolls in 5 archipelagos. The nation’s three hottest island places are Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea:
- Topped by a circle of majestic peaks, the island of Tahiti, the most important of islands in French Polynesia, towers over the South Pacific ocean. The mountainous inside and coast of Tahiti a is adorned with mystical valleys, coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and excessive waterfalls. A lot of the island’s inhabitants resides close to the shore, leaving the inside of the island feeling nearly untouched and historical, regardless of such proximity to the bustling capital of Papeete. Papeete, which means “water basket,” was as soon as a gathering place the place Tahitians got here to fill their calabashes with contemporary water. Now, Papeete, the touchstone of this island nation, boasts a number of lodges, spas, eating places, nightclubs, vibrant markets, museums, pearl retailers, and boutiques.
- With a form like a coronary heart wanting down on the island from above, it’s no shock that Moorea island – a 30 min ferry journey or 10min flight from Tahiti – is the second hottest honeymoon vacation spot on French Polynesia (after Bora Bora). Eight mountain peaks rise magically out of the ocean like a cathedral. Pastel-painted homes, surrounded by gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise, circle the island in a necklace of blissful, easy villages that can elevate your senses and remind you that that is what Polynesian life-style is all about. Moorea presents guests an genuine expertise, boasting “la vie heureuse,” as they are saying in Tahiti, a cheerful life.
- The south pacific island of Bora Bora may simply be outlined as the middle of the romantic universe, the place luxurious, seaside resorts, and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, thatched-roof villas, and a fabled ambiance. Bora Bora is positioned on a dormant volcano island, set on one of many world’s most stunning and crystal-clear lagoons, coloured in one million shades of blue. The legendary island is positioned a quick 50-minute flight from Tahiti or Moorea.
However apart from Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, French Polynesia can also be house to a number of different much less identified island gems. Listed below are some examples:
- The island of Taha’a will be seen from Bora Bora, and like its world-well-known neighbor, it presents astoundingly clear waters and a soothing break from trendy life. This charming and quiet island sweeps you deep into the standard Polynesians’ straightforward going life. Tiny motus with luminous white sand seashores encompass the flower-shaped island with a comfortable mountain rising from the calm waters of a lagoon.
- Previously named Hava’i, Raiatea is positioned subsequent to Taha’a and is called the gods’ cradle, internet hosting archeological treasures (marae, petroglyphs…) and eons of historical past and tradition. As the primary Polynesian island to be populated, Raiatea shelters probably the most spectacular and first marae of the Polynesian triangle, known as Taputapuatea. Raiatea is the highest yachting location because the island hosts numerous moorings, bays (deep and calm) in a pristine and superb setting.
- Surrounding one of many world’s biggest locations for scuba diving, the 240 islets of Rangiroa string collectively within the ocean for greater than 110 miles (177 km), utterly encircling a deep lagoon and forming the world’s second largest atoll. The gorgeous loop of islands is surrounded by completely different sorts of ocean: Moana-tea (Peaceable Ocean), which defines the lagoon, and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean), the place whales, manta rays, dolphins and sharks placed on a present for the fortunate few who come to expertise their world.
- A few three hour flight from Tahiti are the Marquesas Islands. These rugged, quiet islands are famend inside French Polynesia for his or her wealthy tradition and breathtaking nature. Surrounded by cliffs, the coasts of the Marquesas Islands are a mixture of black sand seashores and beautiful bays. Within the lush rain forest, the place 1000’s of pre-European artifacts lie, you’ll uncover wild horses, goats, boars, and different wildlife. Nuku Hiva, the most important of the Marquesas, lures guests with its lush valleys, historical spiritual websites, and towering waterfalls. The island of Hiva Oa additionally receives tourism as a consequence of its wild panorama, large stone tiki, and wealthy historical past (it’s the ultimate resting place of the performer Jacques Brel and artist Paul Gauguin).
There are such a lot of issues to do when visiting the Islands of Tahiti, you’ll be hard-pressed to perform all of them. Highlights embrace:
- Exploring white sand seashores (the most effective seashores are discovered on Bora Bora)
- Swimming with humback whales (Moorea, Tahiti)
- Swimming with sharks and manta rays (Bora Bora)
- Staying in an overwater bungalow (Bora Bora, Moorea)
- Staying at The Brando, one of many world’s most unique lodges
- Admiring the island’s spectacular surroundings from a hen’s eye view by helicopter
- Watching surfers journey Teahupo’o in southern Tahiti, one of many heaviest waves on the earth
TRAVEL GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA: SUGGESTED ITINERARIES
It’s not possible to recommend one itinerary for French Polynesia on this journey information, however I hereby share with you a schedule primarily based by myself expertise, which is nice if you wish to see the nation in a time-frame of two weeks:
- Day 1 & 2 (2 nights): arrive in Tahiti and chill out after the lengthy journey to the island
- Day 3 to five (3 nights): take the ferry to Moorea and discover the island
- Day 6 to 10 (5 nights): take a flight to Bora Bora and chill out in an overwater villa
- Days 11 to 14 (4 nights): take a personal flight to The Brando and discover the Tetiaroa Atoll
- Day 15: fly again to Tahiti to your worldwide return flight
- When you arrive early morning in Tahiti, you could as effectively skip the (considerably overdevelopped) island of Tahiti and immmediately proceed to the island of Bora Bora or Moorea which have extra to supply when it comes to vacationer sights and accomodations.
- When you’ve got just one week, I recommend you keep 3 nights in Moorea and 4 nights in Bora Bora, or alternatively, 7 nights in Bora Bora.
- When you’ve got greater than two weeks, you may get off the overwhelmed observe and discover among the archipelago’s extra distant locations, reminiscent of Rangiroa and the Marquesas Islands.
For extra concepts, I recommend the superb French Polynesia itineraries as supplied by the Frommer’s.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA: RECOMMENDED HOTELS (+ REVIEWS)
Beneath, you discover my detailed opinions of lodges in French Polynesia (with professionals, cons, & suggestions to save cash per resort).
*** Comply with me on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Fb for a each day second of journey inspiration ***