French Polynesia Travel Guide

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French Polynesia Information

Population: 245 405

Time Zone:

Driving side: Drivers drive on the left hand side of the road.

Languages: Tahitian, French, English

Religion: 55% Protestant
30% Catholic
6% Mormon
2% Seventh-Day Adventist
2% Buddhist and Confucianist

Emergency #: Police: 999
Fire: 996
Ambulance: 998

French Polynesia Culture

The Polynesian concept of family is much broader than that in the West. Cousins, aunts, uncles are all considered as one family, including adoptive children and children are often entrusted to relatives and childless women. They are all brought up collectively.

As in most of Polynesia food is still cooked in the traditional way by wrapping it in banana leaves, then burying it on top of coals made in the ground, covering it and leaving the food to slow cook for hours.

French Polynesia Popular Destinations

Bora Bora - Said by many to be the most beautiful island in the Pacific with its lush green volcanic peaks, lagoon and sandy beaches, it is the ideal place for diving, fishing, exploring the coral filled lagoon and travelling inland to climb the impressive peaks.

Hiva Oa - Atuona, the capital of the island is set against the backdrop of Mount Temetiu and Mount Feani. Having many archaeological sites and giant stone temples, it has relics and monuments to Gauguin, the painter, and Brel, the songwriter. It is here too that both men were laid to rest.

Rangiroa - This is the second largest atoll in the world and the most populated island in the Tuamotu Archipelago. The lagoon which is more like a huge inland sea, brings divers from around the world for its abundance and diversity of marine life. Important to the local economy is the pearl farming and mother-of-pearl production on the island.

Tahiti - The largest and most populated island in a group of 118 islands, it is home to the capital, Papeete, with its thriving waterfront, high-rise buildings, modern shopping malls which sit side by side with its fascinating history.

French Polynesia Beaches

French Polynesia is all about beaches, sea and sun. Huahine and Moorea - These two islands offer surfers clean consistent swell in warm and uncrowded waters. Rangiroa - Famous as a diving location, experience the vibrant and wonderful underworld by just strapping on a snorkel.

Moving Around French Polynesia

The best way to get between the islands is to use the inter-island boats which are a fun way to get around and meet the locals. Huge catamarans sail between Tahiti and Moorea and the very modern Ono-ono services the rest of the islands.

The local bus services are cheap and reliable. There are also scooters and bicycles for hire around the towns and 4WDs to carry one inland. Forget the taxis, they are extremely expensive.

National festival and holidays

Heiva i - This festival held in July is very much what Carnaval is to Brazil. Lasting for a month, great party time is had by all with floats, dancing and singing in the streets, much drunkenness and revelrey.

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