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Tahiti And French Polynesia Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT -10 (The Marquesas Islands are half an hour ahead of the rest of French Polynesia).

Electricity

The electric current in most hotels is 110/220 volts AC, 60 Hz. American-style two-pin flat blade plugs and a round pin plug and receptacle with male grounding pin are used.

Language

French and Tahitian are the official languages; English is widely spoken.

Travel Health

A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers to French Polynesia arriving from an infected area. Immunisation against hepatitis A is recommended, and the territory is subject to increasing outbreaks of dengue fever. A typhoid vaccine is also suggested for most travellers (except short-term business travellers or cruise ship passengers). Tap water in hotels is safe to drink, but bottled water is also freely available throughout the islands. Tahiti has good health facilities with pharmacies and a large government hospital. There are a few private doctors and clinics in the outer islands. The only decompression chamber is at Papeete. Medical insurance is recommended for travellers.

Tipping

Tipping in Tahiti and the islands is not required - nor expected - as it goes against local custom where hospitality is paramount. All prices quoted are all-inclusive.

Safety Information

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.

Local Customs

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

Business etiquette is relatively informal in Tahiti and French Polynesia. French is the main language of trade, however English is often understood in more touristy areas. Business hours are generally 8am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Communications

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). City/area codes are not in use. There are public phone booths on all the islands, most operated with phone cards called 'Telecartes', available from the airport, some bars, magazine stands and the post offices. A GSM 900 mobile network provides limited coverage on Tahiti. United States cell phones will not operate on the islands. Internet access is available in the larger hotels and resorts and the main tourist islands all have Internet cafes.

Duty Free

Travellers arriving in Tahiti do not have to pay customs duty on 400 cigarettes, 1 litre of alcoholic spirits or 2 litres of still wine, a reasonable amount of perfume and eau de toilette for personal use, and items valued up to CFP5,000 (for adults) or CFP2,5000 (children under 15 years) for gifts or personal use. The import of food, weapons or drugs is prohibited.

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