French Polynesia


From Andrew Harper

French Polynesia is an autonomous overseas territory of France consisting of 118 islands sprinkled over a vast oceanic area almost the size of continental Europe. Of its five archipelagos, the Society Islands are perhaps the best-known to foreigners: Bora Bora, Tahaa, Raiatea and Huahine are less than an hour by air northwest of Tahiti. Enchanting Bora Bora and its neighboring islands embody the South Pacific fantasy. The sheer physical beauty of these lush and mountainous tropical idylls is astonishing. French Polynesia is eight hours’ flight from Los Angeles, the international airport being located on the island of Tahiti. Since most flights arrive in the middle of the night and depart early in the morning, it is often necessary to spend a night in Papeete.

CLIMATE : Schedule your visit during the drier, less humid months of May- October. There is little change in temperature and humidity year-round. Rainfall is moderate to heavy December-March, with the remaining months subject to light afternoon showers. Southeasterly trade winds prevail.

TIME : Five hours behind New York (EST).

CURRENCY : Pacific franc (CFP). Fluctuating rate valued at about CFP90 = US$1.00 as of June 2014. Note: One of our suggested hotels quotes rates in euros (€); €1.00 = US$1.35 as of June 2014.

U.S. EMBASSY : None. A U.S. consular agent is located in Punaauia, Tel. 42-65-35.

DIRECT DIAL CODES : To phone hotels in French Polynesia, dial 011 (international access) + 689 (French Polynesia code) + 40 (new additional French Polynesia code for fixed phones; 87 for mobile phones) + local numbers.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS : Passport(valid for six months beyond end of stay). Visit, and for travelers’ health information,

GENERAL INFORMATION : Visit before your trip.


All recommended hotels in French Polynesia

Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

Luxury resort on its own motu (islet) and surrounded by coconut palms. The 100 overwater bungalows and seven beachfront villas with pools offer panoramic views of the lagoon and Mount Otemanu.

Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa
Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa

Captivating resort on a private islet off the coast of Tahaa, surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and backdropped by Bora Bora’s dramatic profile.

The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

This 100-suite hotel offers exceptionally spacious accommodations, each overwater villa enhanced by a living room, lavish bath and a large terrace featuring a dining gazebo.