Lesson # 2
how are you?
holy religious site
nana (or parahi) -
Ori Tahiti -
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
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
Certification | Medical
Care | Utilities | Clothing | Weather | Postal
Services | Telephone
Service | Entry
Regulations | Marriage
Formalities | Internet
Note & Contact info
for Tahiti Businesses | Addressing
letters to French Polynesia
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
third office is in back of the port
immigration office (at the ferry
wharf) and the Socredo Bank.
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.
with a legal exchange rate may be
exchanged. The exchange rates used
are the same as those used by the
banks in Papeete.
of inoculations against cholera, yellow
fever and the plague are required
for visitors arriving from an infected
area as defined by the World Health
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.
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.
Tap water in the hotels and restaurants
is safe to drink. Local mineral waters and all sorts of French mineral waters
are also available.
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
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.
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
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.
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.)
direct to Raitea and Tahaa, or to
any other of the other Tahitian islands,
dial the proper International Access
Code + 689 (Country Code) + Local
The International Access Code
if calling from the U.S. is 011.
telex messages from the U.S., the
code 702 or 711 for all of Tahiti
and her Islands must precede the telex
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
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
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.
Prohibited items include narcotics, copyright infringements,
weapons and ammunition, drugs, imitation brand names and cultured pearls originating
(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
- 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
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
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...
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
THE LETTER SHOULD BE ADDRESSED LIKE
(1st line)-Business name,
(2nd line)- B.P.# (same as P.O. Box),
(3rd Line)- Any given other numbers
followed by Village 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
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"
IF you clicked a HYPERLINK that said
"BACKPACKER'S/ ROAMING SURFER'S
CHOICE", and it got you here,
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.
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.
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
An Internetwork of Travel & Tourism Guides
for the Main Islands of Tahiti Polynesia.
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.