Tahiti And French Polynesia Travel Information
GMT -10 (The Marquesas Islands are half an hour ahead of the rest of French Polynesia).
The electric current in most hotels is 220 volts, 60Hz. European-style two-pin plugs, with a round pin plug, are in use.
Though French is the official language,Tahitian is widely spoken. English also has a fairly strong presence.
A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers to French Polynesia arriving from an infected area. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B are recommended, and those staying long-term and eating outside of major hotels and restaurants may also want to consider a vaccination for typhoid. Malaria is not a concern but cases of dengue fever are on the rise so precautions against mosquito bites should be taken.
Tap water in hotels and resorts should be safe to drink, but bottled water is also available throughout the islands. Tahiti has decent medical facilities and there are a few private doctors and clinics in the outer islands but healthcare options are limited outside of major cities. The only decompression chamber is at Papeete. Comprehensive medical insurance is recommended for all travellers.
Tipping in Tahiti and the islands is not required or expected - it is seen as contrary to the local custom of hospitality. Generally prices quoted are all-inclusive.
Visits to French Polynesia are usually trouble-free. The crime rate is low, but sensible precautions should be taken with valuables. Tropical storms and cyclones can occur between November and April.
The culture in Tahiti and French Polynesia is relaxed and welcoming, with hospitality and generosity considered important values. People greet each other with a handshake or kiss on the cheek, and it is considered impolite not to greet everyone in the room unless there is a large group. Guests should remove their shoes when entering someone's home.
Business etiquette is relatively informal in Tahiti and French Polynesia. French is the main language of trade, however English is often understood in more popular tourist areas and main urban centres. Business hours are generally 8am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
The international dialling code for French Polynesia is +689 and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Wifi is available in the larger hotels and resorts; travellers can purchase local SIM cards for unlocked phones.
Travellers aged 18 or over who are arriving with goods purchased in the EU do not have to pay customs duty on 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars or 1 kilogram of tobacco; 90 litres of wine, 110 litres of beer or cider and 10 litres of alcoholic spirits. Passengers arriving from non-EU Member States do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacoo; 4 lites of wine, 16 litres of beer or cider and 2 litres of spirits.
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