French Polynesia is composed of 118 islands and five archipeligos. The largest island is Tahiti, known as “The Island of Love“.
The entry point into French Polynesia is at the bustling capital city of Papeete on Tahiti. Our international flight on Air New Zealand, the South Pacific’s premier airline, departed from Los Angeles late in the evening, and 7 ½ hours later, we arrived into Faaa airport, where our Polynesian adventure began.
We connected to our local hotel for a quick nap and to freshen up, before checking out some of the things that make Tahiti famous.
French Polynesia Facts
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- French Polynesia consists of 118 islands and atolls, making up only 1,544 square miles, spread out over one and a half million square miles of ocean in the eastern South Pacific.
- There are five archipelagoes that make up French Polynesia: the Society Islands, Austral Islands, Marqueses Islands, Tuamotu Atolls, and the Mangareva Islands.
- Papeete is the capital of Tahiti – the largest island in French Polynesia.
- French Polynesia is 2 hours behind US Pacific Standard time.
- There are basically two seasons: from November through March, the climate is warmer and humid, while from April through October the climate is cooler and drier. The yearly average temperature at Faaa International Airport is 79 degrees.
- The 1996 census counted 219,521 people living in French Polynesia.
- The official languages are French and Tahitian. English is also widely spoken.
- Besides the key industry of tourism, the largest industries are products of coconut, cultured pearls, fishing, and vanilla.
- Weddings in French Polynesia are not legally recognized in the United States.
- Visitors from the United States (staying less than one month) are not required to get a visa to visit French Polynesia.
- Most of the hotels use 110 or 220 volts.
- Tap water in the hotels and restaurants is safe to drink.
- Tipping is not expected in French Polynesia.
How to Get Around in French Polynesia
- Air Tahiti
- Transfer between the many islands of French Polynesia is made easy with regularly schedules flights operated by Air Tahiti. You can purchase point to point tickets to fly between islands, or you can purchase one of Air Tahiti’s five passes, that allow you to visit several islands, often at considerable savings.
- Ferry Service
- There is a ferry service between the dock in Papeete to Moorea. This 30 minute ferry ride offers fantastic views of both Tahiti and Moorea, and has many departures every day.
Local Island Transportation
- Le Truck
- Do you want to get around ‘Tahiti-style’? Try Le Truck on many of the islands, offering a ‘non-rapid’ form of transportation. Travel with the natives – in style.
- Car Rentals
- Several of the islands of French Polynesia offer car rentals.