Welcome to the Islands of Tahiti!
May 30, 2008 · Print This Article
U.S. and Canadian citizens need a passport valid for six months beyond their date of return. If yourr passport is other than U.S. or Canadian, check with the French Consulate. No immunization certificates are required.
Climate French Polynesia enjoys warm, tropical weather year-round. The climate is divided into two seasons: a “summer” that spans from November through March, when the daily temperature is about 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and most of the rain falls; and a drier “winter” that spans from April through October, when the daily temperature is about 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The year-round low is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The average water temperature is in the low 80s.
Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawaii, making it two hours behind the West Coast during Pacific Standard Time, and three hours behind during Pacific Daylight Time.
Language Tahitian and French are the main languages spoken throughout French Polynesia. English is spoken at all major hotels and most shops and restaurants.
Currency and Exchange The Pacific French franc (XPF) is the currency used in French Polynesia. It is different from the French franc. Banks are located at Tahiti’s International Airport and on each island. Generally a higher exchange rate is given for travelers’ cheques than for cash. Hotels also exchange money but give a less favorable rate than banks. U.S. currency may be accepted in most hotels, restaurants and other large establishments.
Tipping Although tipping is not customary in Tahiti, it is appreciated for exemplary service.
Health Tips While tap water is generally safe, we suggest using bottled water sold by all hotels. A good sun screen is essential (sun block is suggested for the first few days) to prevent burning. As in all tropical locales, French Polynesia has its share of mosquitoes; the hotels do their part to keep this problem to a minimum, but it is still wise to pack an insect repellent. Hospitals or medical clinics are available for emergencies on most islands. Medications, even aspirin, should be brought from home, as pharmacies are not always convenient to the hotels.
Electrical Equipment Most hotels have 110v outlets for electric shavers. For other appliances such as hair dryers, a converter/adapter kit will usually be needed. Hotels may have either 110v or 220v systems. It’s wise to always inquire at the hotel desk about the compatibility of your appliances before you attempt to use them.
Clothing Tahiti is very informal. Lightweight, washable cottons will serve well. Men will be comfortable in shorts, slacks for dinner, sport shirts and sandals, while ladies may wear shorts, skirts and sun dresses. We recommend at least two swimsuits per person, comfortable rubber-soled shoes for walking on coral (a necessity on the shark feeding excursion), a hat or visor, sunglasses and a waterproof bag to protect your camera equipment from salt and spray.
Early Flight Arrivals and Pre-registration With many international flights arriving in Tahiti in the very early morning hours and inter-island flights arriving early, it is suggested that you pre-register your hotel room for immediate occupancy where appropriate. If it is already included, this will be indicated in the “Included Features” as “includes pre-registration.” In most hotels in French Polynesia, check-in time is 1 p.m. or later.
Late Flight Departures and Dayrooms Some international flights depart from Tahiti very late in the evening. Most hotel check-out times are around 11:00 a.m. You may want to consider pre-purchasing a late check-out. If already included, it will be indicated in the “Included Features” as “includes dayroom on last day” or “plus late check-out.” Dayroom check-out times vary by itinerary.
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