French Polynesia is the dream’s holiday of many tourists, a country worth the trip of a lifetime. White sand beaches, lush vegetation, clear sea and friendly welcoming people, French Polynesia is a gem to explore, made of five archipelagos and a total of 118 islands, which only 67 are inhabited.


The Society Islands are French Polynesia’s heart and they include Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea. Bora Bora is the absolute gem of the Pacific thanks to its wonderful lagoon already visible from the sky when arriving by plane. Tahiti if undoubtedly the pulsing heart of French Polynesia offering a lot thanks to Tahiti Nui (its ancient volcano), the capital Papeete with its street food night market and Maraa Caves. Moorea is easily reached from Tahiti and only a few km away and it offers some incredible sunset over Tahiti Nui always visible at the horizon.


The Austral Islands are seven islands further away from tourist tracks as they are positioned below the Tropic of Capricorn; they are distinguished by alternate seasons and heavy rains. The bigger islands are Tubuai, Rurutu, Raivavae and the best time to visit them goes from May to November, outside typhoon season. They are volcanic limestone islands with a rich landscape of mountains and plains. These islands are self-sufficient thanks to their agriculture and local craftsmanship, and they are the best example still standing of a traditional Polynesia before mass tourism arrived 70 years ago.


The Marquesas Islands, where French painter Paul Gauguin lived and died, are the most northern group of islands in French Polynesia nearing the Equator. Being at the extreme end of the country they have remained solitary and true. Twelve islands form this archipelago and only six are populated, charming its visitors with splendid natural bays and jagged coasts. Most important island is Nuku Iva hosting Hakaui Valley, one of the archipelago’s evocative landscape.


The Gambier islands are almost the extension of Tuamotu Archipelago. With exemption of Temoe Cay (an unpopulated island), every island is found in the same reef group long 60 km. Locals’ main activity is farming pearls named after the archipelago’s biggest island Mangareva. Sea life if extraordinary offering many chances of snorkeling or scuba diving.


The Tuamotu Islands, famous of its pearls, has three main islands: Rangiroa, Fakarava and Tikehau. Rangiroa’s Lagoon is world second largest lagoon and nature is everywhere: coconut palms, rich marine fauna and a unique peace make this place a true paradise. Fakarava is among world’s best scuba diving location while Tikehau is renowned for its snorkeling where a multitude of fish can be seen at Tueiava Pass.


To enter the country travelers must hold a valid passport with at least 6 months left validity from schedule return date. If connecting via United States, make sure to have an electrical reading passport and apply for an ESTA.


French Polynesia has a tropical climate with high temperatures all year around. Society Islands have two main seasons: a humid rainy season from November to April, peaking between December and January and with chances of a cyclone; a dry season with less rain from May to October. Water temperatures are always warm throughout the year.
Generally, temperatures are higher in the northern islands compare to the southern islands of French Polynesia. For instance, Marquesas Islands are to the north of the Society Islands and they can experience lesser chances of a cyclone and lesser annual rainfall. These islands microclimates are different to the southern islands; the best time to visit them goes from August to February, opposite to warmer months of December to February. Austral Islands are located south and enjoy cooler temperatures to Society Islands with heavy constant rains, especially during dry season (May to October).


Ideal months to visit French Polynesia are the driest ones from May to October. They are the best for both Society Islands and Tuamotu Archipelago. Marquesas Islands best months are the less rainy ones from September to November. In the Austral Islands it rains every month, a bit less between May and November. Gambier Islands sees less rainfall in January, February, May, September and October.


French Polynesia is a quiet, safe country and domestic travels are easy. There are many ways to move around the country.


French Polynesian Islands are separated by vast stretches of ocean; travel by plane is the fastest way to move around the country for those time conscious tourists. Local Polynesian airline is Air Tahiti which flies between islands with a new fleet of ATR 42 (48 seats) and ATR 72 (66 seats). Multiple daily flights connect main islands in the Society group. From Tahiti are daily departures to Tuamotu and Marquesas Islands, while Austral Islands can be reached 5 or 6 times a week. Less frequent are flights to Gambier. Very convenient is a “Tahiti Air Pass”: tickets book with affordable fares that can be booked directly by Italians tour operators or through intercontinental airlines. Checked luggage allowance is of 23 kg for all passengers holding an intercontinental ticket.
Air Moorea connects Tahiti to Moorea and vice versa in just 10 minutes with many daily departures coinciding with international arrivals. Air Archipels specializes in charter flights using comfortable 7 to 9 seats Beechcraft aircrafts.

Visit each airline website for further information on fares and times:


Ferry boats connect nearby islands. There are many daily departures from Tahiti to Moorea for a 45 min ride aboard ferries or catamarans. Tahiti and other Society Islands are linked multiple times a week. Weekly departures reach the Tuamotu Archipelago, while Marquesas and Austral Islands have monthly scheduled connections. Monthly departures are also schedule to the Gambier group with an average 10/15 days sea journey. To travel between islands of the same archipelago, visitors can use a variety of ways from strong outboard boats to motorboats. On average transfers between motu (small islands) can be made by pirogue (canoe) or engine boat.

Visit each website for further information on fares and times:


A cruise through French Polynesia could be the best way to explore different islands and sea spots utterly unique and mostly only reachable by navigation. Advantages are to touch a new location every day without having to move hotel or island, enjoying life on board during times at sea, relaxing or sunbathing in freedom. An adapting attitude is required if choosing to travel like this; while equipped with modern comforts and friendly staff a cruise won’t reach the same standard of service of excellent Polynesian hotels. There are many types of cruises: sailing vessel, private yacht or catamaran.
Nautical charters are an expending business in Tahiti and nearby islands, for tranquil lagoon excursion to tours touching multiple islands. Sailing or catamaran companies based in Tahiti, Moorea or the Leeward Islands (part of the Society Archipelago) offer to hire boats with or without skipper for a weekend or week. Sport fishing at sea, private luxury cruise, day excursion with a pic-nic on a motu or sunset cruising.. you will be spoilt for choice!

Visit some cruise website for further information of itineraries and costs:


Local currency is the Pacific Franc (CFP) with a fix exchange rate with Euro. Money exchange can be made at local banks, at hotel located on islands touched by international tourism or at the international airport Tahiti-Faa’a money exchange bureau. International banks are present in Tahiti and branches can be found on main islands. However it is advised to always have enough local cash for many reasons (some islands don’t have banks, or they may have different trading hours, they could be closed or located on part of the island not visited by tourists). Commissions on money changing and credit card payments are high. Major credit cards (i.e. Visa, Mastercard, American Express…) are accepted at major touristic structures on islands more touched by international tourism. For ATM withdraws Visa International cards are best as some machines may only accept this type of card.


French Polynesia has two main languages: French and Tahitian. English is well spoken in touristic areas.


Temperatures are tropical so clothing of natural fiber like cotton or linen are advised. Don’t forget swimwear, flip flops or sandals, sunglasses, sun hat, a light jacket for boat rides, light jumper for the evening. There is no need to pack too much clothing with you. Casual dress code is common in Polynesia and many will be the chances to buy a colouful local sarong. Polynesian people are religious and in majority catholic or protestant. Swimwear is tolerated among tourists at the beach but when leaving the beach, please don’t walk in your swim costume: it is a sign of respect. It is hard to see a local Polynesian woman swimming in a costume: they usually swim in shorts and t-shirt.


Electricity is 110 or 220 Volts depending on island or resort. Often generators or solar panels are used. Plugs are the same as continental Europe with round ending. For devices only working with 110 V an adaptor is needed.

Visit French Polynesia Tourism Website for further information:


Paola e Nicola
Paola e Nicola “A dream com true!!!! Discovering this continent made us live some unique experiences and feel indescribable emotions. We spent every day with locals learning their culture and a new lifestyle so different from ours. Australia is and will always be… Read More
Madda e Gigi
Madda e Gigi We thank all the Progetto Australia team. Particularly Paola, knowledgeable, available and friendly person who proved to be patient with every change made to our honeymoon in New Zealand and Cook Islands.  A holiday started in a wonderful country where… Read More
Mauro e Chiara
Mauro e Chiara My wife and I would like to thank Paola and her work partners for planning our trip and assisting us in this incredible country. All our needs were met, and everything was perfect. We recommend using Progetto Australia if you… Read More