Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tahiti?
Officially know as French Polynesia, Tahiti & Her Islands is an overseas territory of France. The territory covers over two million square miles in the South Pacific Ocean and is comprised of five archipelagos with 118 islands and atolls.

The island of Tahiti is home to the capital city of Papeete and is the largest of these islands. Other nearby islands are Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha’a, and Huahine. Other often-visited islands include the atolls of Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau, and Fakarava and the mysterious islands of the Marquesas.

Where is Tahiti?
In the Pacific Ocean, south of the equator, in the same time zone as Hawaii, and halfway between California and Australia. You do not cross the International Date Line to fly to Tahiti from North America.

What's the time difference?
Two hours behind Pacific Standard Time. Three hours behind during Daylight Saving Time (April-October). Time in the Marquesas is half an hour ahead of the rest of the islands.

Will we need to exchange money? If so, what's the rate?
Upon arrival in French Polynesia, most visitors exchange some money at the Faa’a Airport or at their hotel. Since most credit cards are readily accepted in all tourist areas, it is not necessary to exchange large amounts. The currency is the French Pacific franc or CFP. Click HERE for today's exchange rate

Is English Spoken?
French and Tahitian are the official languages, but English is spoken and understood in tourist areas. Brushing up on a few basic French phrases and learning Tahitian greetings is always appreciated and can make your visit more enjoyable.

What Are the Seasons and Climate?
It’s always summer in Tahiti with plenty of sun and just enough rain to keep the waterfalls flowing and the flowers blooming! The climate is tropical but moderate, with sunny, pleasant days and an average yearly temperature of 79°F. The ocean and lagoon waters average 80°F year-round with less than a degree of variation from the surface down to 150 feet. For a comparison of climate versus North American cities, visit http://www.tahiti-tourisme.com/planner/tahitiweather.asp

What Should I Wear?
The climate and lifestyle on the islands call for casual and comfortable clothing. Pack loose-fitting, natural fabrics and plenty of shorts. Pareus and swimsuits can be worn during the daytime at the resorts, while casual shirts and walking shorts provide the most comfort during island explorations. For dinner, casual slacks and sport shirts are the best choice for men; cool, sundresses are most appropriate for women.

What Are the Essentials to Bring?
Every Tahiti visitor is encouraged to bring sunscreen, brimmed hats, sunglasses, swimsuits, reef-walking shoes, bug repellent, prescription medicine, and a camera with plenty of film.

Will My Hair Dryer Work?
Hotels use either 110 or 220 volts, depending on the location. A converter/adapter is required for appliances you bring, including computers.

How Are the Hotel Rooms Cooled?
Air-conditioning is available in many of the hotel rooms on the island of Tahiti and at several resorts throughout the islands. In most other rooms, ceiling fans draw in the cool tropical breezes.

What Kind of Shopping Is There? What Souvenirs Should I Bring Back?
Among Tahiti’s most popular products are black pearls, coconut and tiare soaps, monoi oil, Hinano beer, vanilla beans, shell leis, carved wooden bowls, fine woven hats and baskets, and the colorful handmade pareu fabric worn by the island natives. The bustling Papeete public market, called Le Marché, is open daily and is a favorite with visitors.

Do I Bargain at Shops and Markets?
Bargaining and haggling over prices with Tahitians is not customary; the price marked is the price paid.

How Do I Buy Pearls?
Every trip to Tahiti should include the purchase of a Tahitian Pearl. This natural gem is born in Tahitian waters at over 1,000 pearl farms. All sizes and price ranges are available from merchants located in the resorts, on the cruiseships, and in most towns throughout the islands.

How Do We Get Around on the Islands?

Most islands are small and easy to navigate. The most inexpensive and common form of transportation is public open-air buses called Le Truck. Le Truck operates frequently in Papeete and around the island of Tahiti and less frequently on other islands. Car rentals are readily available on each island but most visitors do not rent a car for their entire stay but for select days or half days of exploring on their own. Taxis can be hired within the primary towns, at most hotels, and at airports and ferry terminals.

What Activities Are There to Do?
Tahiti is the perfect place to do everything or nothing at all. Popular activities include 4x4 safaris, scuba diving, snorkeling, outrigger canoeing, sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, bike riding, tennis, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, shopping, hiking, circle-island tours, helicopter rides, and tours of museums and ancient marae.

Can I Charter a Boat?
Yacht and sailboat charters are available on most of the major islands, particularly Raiatea, Tahiti, and Moorea. Some even come complete with a captain and crew.

What Kind of Diving Can I Expect?
The islands of Tahiti offer world-class diving. The clear, calm lagoons, coral gardens, underwater passes, and oceanic drop-offs all create an abundant aquaculture where docile sharks, sea turtles, colorful fish, and huge manta rays abound.

Can I Learn to Scuba Dive at a Hotel?
If you have at least one week, you can enroll in a complete resort certification course or take a shorter, four-day course at many of the resorts. If you are already a PADI, NAUI, or SSI member, your certification is recognized.


Content courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme North America.
For more information on Tahiti & Her Islands, see Helpful Links.



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