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Visit our special pearls section to learn all about French Polynesia's most famous little treasures: the enchanting BLACK PEARLS of TAHITI...

Or, follow the links below to buy them direct.

Baroque Pearl Necklaces
Baroque Pearl Necklaces


Pearl Earrings

Pearl Earrings


Black Pearl Necklaces
Black Pearl Necklaces



Mens Jewelry
Men's pearl jewelry


From our pearly pages, you'll learn what to look for when choosing Tahitian black pearls, tips on caring for them, interesting pearl legends, history, facts, and much more.

tahiti black pearls


Tahitian
Lesson # 2

maeva -

welcome

Maita'i? -

how are you?

marae -

holy religious site

mauruuru -

thank you

motu -

island

nana (or parahi) -

goodbye

orero -

oratorical art

Ori Tahiti -

traditional dance

paepae -

stone platform



TAHITI SPEAKS FRENCH!


...but YOU don't have to...

to get up to date news and fresh stories IN ENGLISH 12 months a year.
Visit Tahiti all year-round!
is the ONLY English text magazine in French Polynesia and it's been published in Tahiti for over 25 years!

Now you can get the Beach Press delivered to your home, every month, anywhere in the world!

CLICK HERE FOR A SUBSCRIPTION

graphic


Basecamp International

Papeete.com and Tahiti Sun Travel are Basecamp International members.

Discover more fascinating travel and tourism destinations around the globe by visiting the Basecamp International homesite or by clicking on the links below:

> Mildura, Australia
This region is known for its wineries & river-centered recreational opportunities.

> Puno, Peru
The folklore capital of Peru lies on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

> Chiclayo, Peru
Peru's fourth largest city is an archeological treasure chest.

> Piura, Peru
South America's oldest Spanish city and the Piura region.

> Gustavus, Alaska

Your gateway to Gustavus and magnificent Glacier Bay Park.

> Burkina, Africa
Guide to the fascinating Country of Burkina Faso.

> Patan, Nepal
Visit one of the 3 Royal cities in the famous Kathmandu valley.

> Bhaktapur, Nepal
One of 3 of Nepals "Royal cities" and a cultural gem popular with travelers.

> Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
The famous island known for its pivotal role in WW2- the Battle of Guadalcanal.

> Krumlov, Czech Republic
Traveler's info for the UNESCO world heritage site Cesky Krumlov.

> Tokelau, New Zealand
A non-self-governing territory consisting of three coral atolls in the South Pacific.

> Tulcea, Romania
One of the larger cities in Romania located at the mouth of the famous Danube River.


Enjoy your travels in the Polynesian Islands

Because Tahiti is the most populated, well known and business and administrative center of French Polynesia, much of the information on this page focuses on the island of Tahiti itself...

Most of the information is ALSO RELEVENT to ALL other French Polynesian Islands.

On this page, you will find general information covering a large diversity of topics and interest... from medical and marriage questions, to visa requirements and banking information to the weather and more...

We also have a general resources index for useful and often inquired about organizations, associations, non profits, etc.

We hope you will find the answers to your many questions from this page, however, if you don't, we ask for your patience and understanding in trying to find them. (In some cases, you may stump us...)


Tahiti General Information Categories:

Time Difference  |  Air Service  |  Fumigation- (importing plants and animals)  |  Foreign Exchange, Currency Conversions & Banking Information

Health Certification  |  Medical Care  |  Utilities  |  Clothing  |  Weather  |  Postal Services  |  Telephone Service  |  Entry Requirements

Customs Regulations  |  Marriage Formalities  |  Internet Note & Contact info for Tahiti Businesses  |  Addressing letters to French Polynesia

Useful addresses & telephone numbers  |  Tahiti News (Tahiti Presse)  |  Employment Situation for Foreigners (getting a job)


And a Special TST notes section for Backpackers and Roaming surfers


TIME DIFFERENCE

French Polynesia is 10 hours behind GMT, 2 hours behind US Pacific Standard time, and 20 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time.

Examples: When it is noon Sunday in Tahiti, it is 2 P.M. Sunday in Los Angeles, 8 A.M. Monday in Sydney, and 11 P.M. (winter time) and 12 P.M. (summer time) in Frankfurt.

INTERNATIONAL AIR SERVICE

Faa'a, the airport of Tahiti, is regularly served by frequent jet connections, linking Tahiti with the west coasts of the United States, Canada, Hawaii, France and Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and South East Asia, among others.

For links to the International airlines providing these connections, see our GETTING HERE & AROUND SECTION now...


FUMIGATION SERVICE (importing plants and animals)

All passengers importing plants, flowers, or fruits or vegetables must be in possession of an international certificate. To import plants and flowers, special permission is necessary from the Service of Rural Economy, P.O. Box 100, Papeete, Tahiti, Tel. (689) 42. 97, 80 (Fare Ute) or 82, 49. 99 ( Faaa airport).

Importation of live animals is prohibited. Contact the above-mentioned service for details. Office is open daily from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and from 1:00 pm. to 4:00 pm. Non prohibited items should be re-exported in a maximum deadline of 6 months. Certain types of animal life and flora are protected by customs regulations, by the Washington agreement ( requires a CITES certificate issued by the Nature Protection Service), and by territorial regulations (certain shells, etc...)

EXCHANGE AND BANKING

The local currency in French Polynesia is known as the French Pacific Franc (XPF). It is also known locally as CFP. Tahiti also happily accepts the Euro and American dollars.

Click this link for conversion tables of all international currencies to Polynesian XPF:
(In the dropdown box, search for French Polynesia - XPF).

Note: The exchange rate for most currencies in comparison to the Franc fluctuates daily.

Bank notes of francs are issued in denominations of: 10,000, 5,000, 1,000 and 500 francs (XPF); and coins are: 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and I francs (XPF).

There are several international banks in Tahiti, (see Useful Addresses section for list) including a bank at the Tahiti-Faaa International airport, and branch offices in many of the resort islands of French Polynesia. The larger hotels will also exchange various currencies for XPF. Major credit cards are also accepted in most hotels, restaurants, boutiques and other tourist establishments.

(See TST Travel Tips for more on these topics)

FOREIGN EXCHANGE OFFICE

There are a few foreign exchange offices located throughout Papeete:

1) Office at the Tahiti Faa'a International airport opens and closes in tandem with the incoming and outgoing international flights and has questionable schedules at other times.

2) Another office is in downtown Papeete on the waterfront next to the main harbor.

3) third office is in back of the port immigration office (at the ferry wharf) and the Socredo Bank.

Hours are Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. Also open Sundays and public holidays from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

All currency with a legal exchange rate may be exchanged. The exchange rates used are the same as those used by the banks in Papeete.


HEALTH CERTIFICATION

Certificates of inoculations against cholera, yellow fever and the plague are required for visitors arriving from an infected area as defined by the World Health Organization.

MEDICAL CARE

French Polynesia enjoys a high standard of health, with excellent medical and dental services, pharmacies, private clinics and a large government hospital in Tahiti. The outer islands have hospitals or dispensaries, and a few private practitioners. All the islands maintain hygienic controls to combat potential epidemics of tropical diseases, such as the dengue fever.

There are no snakes, poisonous spiders or fearsome animals in these islands, and hotels and dispensaries on each tourist island and atoll keep first aid supplies on hand to treat coral cuts, sunburn and the extremely rare case of poisoning, when the barefoot swimmer steps on the toxic spines of the stonefish.

The most common "injury" is sunburn! Take precaution and do not overexpose your body to the tropical sun, and wear tennis shoes or plastic sandals when walking on the reefs and in the lagoons of Polynesia.


WATER

Tap water in the hotels and restaurants is safe to drink. Local mineral waters and all sorts of French mineral waters are also available.

ELECTRICITY

Most of the hotels use 110 or 220 volts, a.c. 60 cycles. Power outlets for all shavers is a convenience provided in most hotels. A converter/ adaptor for other appliances is usually available upon request.

CLOTHING

Comfortable and cool, natural fabrics such as cotton sundresses or T-shirts are perfect for daytime wear. The standard attire for men even at dinner parties is simply slacks and shirt. Women usually wear comfortable dresses in the evenings and normal resort wear around the hotels.

Pareus or pareos are brightly colored and versatile hand blocked or painted fabrics 2 yards long by 1 yard wide, and are worn at home, at the beach or around the hotel pools. Some are elegantly tied for evening wear. Pareus are not recommended for downtown Papeete, as the city is rather cosmopolitan in dress code. Bathing suits and short shorts are also out of place in Papeete.

(See TST Travel Tips for more on this topic)


POSTAL SERVICE

The main PAPEETE POST OFFICE is located on Blvd. Pomare in downtown Papeete.

Services include stamps for letters and parcels, express delivery service, international telephone calls, telegrams, telex, telefax, and more. Open Monday-Thursdays 7 am - 3 pm, and Friday 7 am - 2 pm. Post offices in the outer islands are open Monday to Friday 7.00am - 3:30 pm.


TELEPHONE SERVICE

Direct dialing for local and international telephone calls is very easy in French Polynesia, whether calling from your hotel or from the public phone booths. (See TST Travel Tips for more on this topic.)

When dialing direct to Raitea and Tahaa, or to any other of the other Tahitian islands, dial the proper International Access Code + 689 (Country Code) + Local Number.

The International Access Code if calling from the U.S. is 011.
When transmitting telex messages from the U.S., the code 702 or 711 for all of Tahiti and her Islands must precede the telex number.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:

I. MAIN PRINCIPLES

Foreigners wishing to visit French Polynesia must have a valid passport, which, depending on the nationality of the visitor, contains a valid visa. Such visitors must also have an airline ticket back to their resident country or to at least two more continuing destinations, and they must have a sufficient amount of resources to cover their planned stay in the territory.

Note: The entry formalities for French Polynesia are subject to modification without notice. Foreigners planning to visit French Polynesia are, therefore, urged to contact their nearest French Consulate or an airline serving Tahiti.

II. VISA FORMALITIES

1. Visitors are eligible for Three-Month Stays, however citizens of certain countries are exempt from all visa requirements for stays of three months or less. They are citizens of European Union Countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and other countries: Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican.

2. Visitors Eligible for One-Month Stays.
Citizens of the following countries are exempt from all consular visa requirements for stays of one month or less: Argentina, Bermuda, Brunei, Cimada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, the United States of America, and Uruguay.

3. When Visas are Obligatory
Citizens from all other countries are obliged to have a consular-issued visa for French Polynesia issued by a French consulate office in the country where the citizen lives. The visa must include the following wording: "valable pour la Polynesie Francaise" (valid for French Polynesia).

4. Other Situations
A foreigner with a residence card for the United States is not exempt from having a visa for visiting French Polynesia. This person should contact French consular officials based in the United States of America.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS

In addition to personal effects, the following items are allowed duty free: 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars, 250 grams of smoking tobacco, 50 grams of perfume, 25 litres of lotion, 5OO grams of coffee, 100 grams of tea, and 2 litres of spirits. Visitors under 17 years of age are not allowed to import tobacco and spirits.

Before importing any telecommunication items, please contact the High Commissioner's services, Tel. (689) 46.86.86 ext. 630.
Prohibited items include narcotics, copyright infringements, weapons and ammunition, drugs, imitation brand names and cultured pearls originating in Tahiti.


MARRIAGE FORMALITIES

(Don't miss the TST Marriage note at the end of this section...)

Marriage between two foreign persons or between a French national and foreign person, must follow and respect the form and conditions provided for in the legislation for public order: legal age limit, freedom from previous Marital engagement, marriage arranged by parents within legal limits, mourning period for women.

In order to verify if the projected marriage is not contrary to public order, the municipal authority has the right to demand a customary certificate from the foreign authorities (ministry or consulate) if the couple does not exercise the right of their own national law. Article 74 of Civil Code provides that "the marriage will be conducted in the commune where one of the future spouses has an address or has established residency for a month of continued habitation from the date of publication provided by the law".

The publication of marriage bans will be posted for ten days at the entrance of the Town House. If one of the future spouses has neither address nor residence in France, the publication must be done in the place of his/her residence and must be verified by a certificate of publication.

Verifying documents to be presented for the marriage:
- 1 birth certificate for each of the future spouses (issued within the last 3 months),
- 1 pre-marriage medical certificate for each of the future spouses (issued within the last 2 months),
- 1 certificate of residency (I month of residency at least),
- birth certificate of children to be legitimized,
- 1 copy of the notarized marriage contract.

It is requested from foreign born persons:
- 1 customary certificate
- 1 certificate of celibacy
- 1 birth certificate translated into French
- 1 certificate of residency ( with I month residency in the commune selected for the marriage)
- a publication of marriage bans will be posted for ten days in the commune where the marriage will take place and in the last place of residence of the future spouse not residing in french Polynesia.

TST Marriage Comments: There is great interest in the subject of getting married and/ or renewing wedding vows in French Polynesia. It seems the Polynesian waters have put a romance spell on the world... and with good reason... the islands are indeed a very romantic place to take your love interest...

HOWEVER, it seems to us the Polynesians don't make it easy on people wanting to tie the knot on the islands! The legalities are here to read and ponder, but you may still have questions after reading them!

Be sure and visit our SPECIAL HONEYMOONERS AND LOVERS SECTION FOR MARRIAGE DETAILS, other information, and ALTERNATIVES TO THE STANDARD LEGAL MARRIAGE that may be of interest...


INTERNET NOTE & CONTACT INFO FOR TAHITI BUSINESSES

The Internet is very important to the remote islands scattered throughout French Polynesias. Only in the past 5 years was the government controlled (Mana) system upgraded to allow decent enough line speeds and low enough costs that most Tahitians are embracing now what they used to not care so much about...

Some of the hotels and businesses you see listed on our network have websites of their own for you to check in and see exactly what their rates and activities are, services offered, etc. (They're linked if you see hypertext.) Others HAVE websites of their own but haven't decided they need links from Tahiti Sun Travel yet, while others still DON'T have any websites at all. (we're helping to build them when we can.)

IN ALL CASES, YOU CONTACT AND ARRANGE YOUR BOOKING DIRECT WITH THE MANAGEMENT. TST TAKES NO COMMISSIONS OFF ANY OF OUR CLIENTS!

Unless these places are linked with us, you'll just have to contact "the old fashioned way"- via telephone or fax. They often respond well to faxes as they are accustomed to doing business this way. Be prepared to speak French if you can...

Because of this internet situation, TAHITI SUN TRAVEL respectfully requests that you let any LINKING businesses you find on our webpages know that you found them through us. Any communications via the internet let them know their websites are appreciated and that their interlinks are working for them on this network.


ADDRESSING LETTERS TO FRENCH POLYNESIA

If you wish to send letters via "snail mail" to French Polynesia, it's no problem.

THE LETTER SHOULD BE ADDRESSED LIKE THIS:

(1st line)-Business name,
(2nd line)- B.P.# (same as P.O. Box),
(3rd Line)- Any given other numbers followed by Village name,
(4th Line)- Island name.
Last line should read: Polynesie Francaise.

(If you write a snail mail, please be sure and tell them you found their listing on the TAHITI SUN TRAVEL NETWORK and that you wish they would get an internet LINK on our network!)


EMPLOYMENT SITUATION FOR FOREIGNERS (GETTING A JOB)

Some of the most commonly asked questions of TST are from foreigners wanting to obtain employment in French Polynesia. They all ask, " How can I get a job there?" Some want to retire from the ratrace of a city they are living in and try a simple existence on a tropical island. Others are students looking for winter jobs for a few months while others are ordinary people from all walks of life with a tropical island dream in their head...

First of all, let us tell you, we understand the desire. Having a career or a good job in French Polynesia would indeed be a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, the bad news is that it is NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DO for the average foreigner (non French citizen). Europeans have a slightly better chance of obtaining work permits than Americans due to the EU immigration laws, but not much.

For all those interested in the frustrating details, here's the scoop:

In order to work in Polynesia, non French citizens need to obtain a "carte sejour" or "permis de travail", otherwise known as a work permit. Obtaining one of these work permits is extremely difficult to do.

The first and foremost criteria is that the person applying has to have EMPLOYMENT QUALIFICATIONS NOT FOUND IN FP, meaning for which no Tahitian qualifies. Although this is not impossible, the rub is that the applicant must first find employment, as it is the EMPLOYER THAT NEEDS TO APPLY FOR THE PERMIT! The process then can take up to 2 months, after which the employer has to advertise the job position for a certain time period in order to prove that no Tahitian applied for or qualified for that particular job. Only then can a permit be extended.

Even then the probability of getting one for a foreigner is not guaranteed. In fact, it's highly improbable. In a recent 5 year period only 85 permits were issued! (The only exceptions seem to be for people bringing in heaps of money, have insider connections, or are very well known or prominent characters.)

Apparently, it used to be possible to "get in" by way of the hospitality industry (high level resort jobs), but those days are long since over. Tourism is way down and there are more qualified local and French citizens competing for these jobs than ever. The tragic events of 911 made this slow tourism situation even worse and many hotel chains have been laying off even their own current, loyal, local workers. The reality for Americans dreaming of getting a job in a resort is that the possibility is slim if not virtually impossible.

For those still not turned away by the above news and facts, then here are a few more things you'll need to know before embarking on your Polynesian job finding challenge:


1) Learn to speak French! Without a fairly fluent know how of the language, you'll stand virtually no chance at all. You could say that this is a prerequisite or mandatory thing. All your contacts will be in French, and the whole permit process and governmental conditions are spoken and written in French. Also, most certainly a good cultural knowledge of the Polynesian society as a whole can only help and speaking Tahitian is also a plus.

2) Realize that the FP government wants the few jobs that are available to go to Tahitians. (understandbly so)
Their immigration and work permit laws are tough for a reason. It will be a challenge to overcome them.

All that being said, it IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO DO...

What jobs and skills then are sought after by the Polynesian government? This is a good question that has no clear answer for now. We at TST are learning more about the subject and will report our findings here when we get them.

For those able to read French, you can learn more by checking out this French government site about the employment situation and getting jobs in FP: www.sefi.pf/


BACKPACKER'S & ROAMING SURFER'S NOTE:
(And some thoughts on the differences between "travelers" and "tourists"...)

IF you clicked a HYPERLINK that said "BACKPACKER'S/ ROAMING SURFER'S CHOICE", and it got you here, read this:

All it means when you see this hyperlink is that we're merely noting where we know backpackers and roaming surfers LIKE TO HANG OUT. Most of these notes will be by lower budget or popular accomodations, locations, or activities that wandering or financially challenged travelers populate frequently or are looking for on our network.

TAHITI SUN TRAVEL enjoys backpacking and exploring the Polynesian Islands without always having pre-determined or well organized travel plans laid out before us. Although the majority of humans in the Tahitian islands DO NOT have this mentality, there are quite a few roaming travelers and surfers about THAT DO. This is a common attitude with people we look at as "travelers" as opposed to "tourists"... We at TST have been both.

In our opinion, neither is better or worse than the other, its just a matter of your circumstances at the moment: How good do you know the area? Have you been there before? How tight is your budget? Whats your state of mind? After all, even if you are a fantastically experienced "traveler", and have seen all 7 continents, when you go somewhere for the first time, the local people will still consider you a "tourist", even if you are carrying a backpack!

So, now you know where the little blue "backpackers" hyperlink will take you and you don't have to click it again until you feel the need for the above paragraph all over again! Now... Go whence you came.


Explore the Rest of the Society Islands of
Explore the Islands!
An Internetwork of Travel & Tourism Guides
for the Main Islands of Tahiti Polynesia.

Raiatea
& Tahaa

Moorea Island

Huahine

Bora bora

Tetiaroa

Tuamotu
Islands





 


An interactive bulletin board covering a diverse array of Tahitian subjects.

Ask questions, get advice, meet people, be crazy!

It's fun, easy, and informative!








 


Find out Who's Who and Where -
On the Tahiti Sun Travel Network.


We have many different linking members throughout our pages and are adding more regularly...

This handy quick reference saves time when you don't have time to explore the network. (Members are listed alphabetically and categorized per/ island site.)



Check out our online store for the most interesting Polynesian products on the planet.

Books,travel guides, maps, Polynesian music, videos, gifts, pareos, soaps, oils, lotions, perfumes & clothing are just a few of the items available.






 


(Oooooooooooolala)

Bora Bora is the perfect setting for the ultimate in romantic getaways for newlyweds or newly found romances.

Popular activities include Tahitian weddings and renewing wedding vows using interesting traditional Tahitian methods.

honeymooners on beach


Island Hop >>>  Tahiti & Papeete | Bora Bora Island | Huahine Island | Moorea Island | Raiatea & Tahaa | Tetiaroa | Tuamotu Islands