Destination guide: Tahiti, Polynesia

Tahiti is in the South Pacific and is the biggest island in Polynesia. Its capital is Papeete, its official language is French and its economy is mainly based on tourism.

Together with the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, Tahiti is a true paradise which hundreds of tourists from all four corners of the globe come to visit. If you're looking for an unforgettable vacation, check out our promotions and travel to Tahiti with LAN Airlines.

  • Tahiti - Practical Information

    Orientation

    The pointe kilométrique (PK; kilometre point) markers start at zero in Pape’ete and increase in both a clockwise and an anticlockwise direction around Tahiti Nui until they meet at Taravao, the town at the isthmus that connects Tahiti Nui with Tahiti Iti. Taravao is 54km from Pape’ete clockwise (via the east coast) and 60km anticlockwise (via the west coast). The counting starts again on Tahiti Iti, where the markers only go as far as the sealed road – remarkably, there’s no road along the easternmost coast.

    Currency

    Pacific Franc

    Language

    Tahitian, French, English

    Timezone

    UTC/GMT -10

    Weights & Measures

    Metric

    Visas

    Everyone needs a passport to visit French Polynesia. The regulations are much the same as for France: if you need a visa to visit France then you’ll need one to visit French Polynesia. Anyone from an EU country can stay for up to three months without a visa, as can Australians and citizens of a number of other European countries, including Switzerland.

    Citizens of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the USA and some other European countries are able to stay for up to one month without a visa. Other nationalities need a visa, which can be applied for at French Embassies. Apart from permanent residents and French citizens, all visitors to French Polynesia need to have an onward or return ticket.

    Visa Extensions

    It’s possible to extend a month-long visa exemption for two more months. Tahiti’s Immigration Department states it’s best to get an extended visa at a French Embassy before arrival try at the Police aux Frontières (Frontier Police; [tel] 42 40 74; pafport@mail.pf; [hrs] airport office 8am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri, Pape’ete office 7.30am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri), at Faa’a airport and next to the Manava visitors information centre in Pape’ete, at least one week before the visa or exemption expires.

    An extension costs 3500 CFP.
    Stays by foreign visitors may not exceed three months. For longer periods, you must apply to the French consular authorities in your own country for a residence permit; you cannot lodge your application from French Polynesia unless you have a sponsor or get married.

     

    Customs

    The duty-free allowance for visitors entering French Polynesia includes 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 2L of spirits or wine, two cameras and 10 rolls of unexposed film, one video camera and 50mL of perfume. No live animals can be imported (if they’re on a yacht they must stay on board) and certification is required for plants.

    Business Hour

    The opening hours for banks vary from branch to branch but are typically from 8am to noon and 1.30pm to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 8am to noon and 1pm to 3pm on Friday. Shops and offices normally open around 7.30am, close for lunch from 11.30am to 1.30pm and shut around 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    On Saturday, shops are typically open between 7.30am and 11.30am; almost everything (except a few grocery stores and boutiques on the more touristy islands) is closed on Sunday. Restaurant hours vary according to the type of food served and the clientele. Most places open around 10.30am, however, and stay open until about 11pm.

    Electricity overview

    Japanese-style plug with two parallel flat blades

    Electricity overview ( Japanese)