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By No owner — last modified Dec 26, 2018 10:18 PM

 French Polynesia - Formalities


It is NO LONGER compulsory for all yachts visiting French Polynesia to visit Papeete Customs and Immigration to complete the clearing-in process.

Yachts can now clear in or out of FP with the “gendarmes” offices (French Police) at the ports of entry in the other islands (Marquesas, Tuamotus, Gambiers, Australs, etc.) and complete all customs and immigration formalities in the one place (full details below).

Be sure to also visit the local "gendarmes" office at the various islands you visit throughout French Polynesia once cleared in.


If visiting Tahiti or Moorea (regardless of whether you have already cleared into FP elsewhere), it is compulsory to register with the Harbourmaster's office on arrival - known as the Entrance Declaration. If this Entrance Declaration is not carried out then Clearance will not be granted.

Registering with Papeete Harbourmaster
Skippers do not need to visit the Harbourmaster in person. Registration can be done by e-mail. Document F09.01 (Avis d’Opération Nautique Petite Plaisance) MUST be filled out properly and sent to:
Copy to and

If you are a Papeete Marina customer, this document will be sent to you by the Marina agents.

If Arrriving from a Foreign Country
The owner or master of the boat must go to the Immigration office located at Faaa Airport.
If someone is embarking or disembarking, they must also visit Immigration on arrival in Tahiti.

Next, skippers must visit the Customs office in Motu Uta (20 min walk or taxi ride).


Because of the distances and sailing conditions, FP Customs now authorise yachts to report inwards and outwards from islands where there is a “gendarmerie”. As stated above, a visit to Papeete to complete clearance is no longer necessary.

Immigration formalities will be processed by the Gendarmes.

They will also provide the owner or master of the boat with a “Customs declaration form” that shall be filled in and signed. The gendarmes will then scan and email the form to the Customs main office in Papeete. It is then the responsibility of the skipper to post the form to Papeete not later than 24 hours after arrival on the outer island (keep one copy with you). Remember that the gendarmes are not Customs officials and in fact often know very little about the latest Customs regulations.

The Customs declaration form should be taken seriously as a French customs boat patrols the islands and regularly inspects boats using the information sent to Papeete. They are particularly interested in any arms, alcohol, strong medicine and whether you have bought any pearls and will confiscate anything not declared.

Note: A visit to Customs in Motu Uta, Papeete will be necessary if you have not mailed your white customs sheet from the first port of entry in French Polynesia.

After completing clearance in the outer islands, yachts are no longer obliged to continue flying the Q flag.

Each clearance port for the outer islands has details of how to find its respective Gendarmes office.

See here for the official Customs website (only in French). From this site, the Customs declaration form can be downloaded and this form is in both French and English.

CLEARING OUT in Papeete:

For all departures for more than 50nm away from Tahiti and/or Moorea, yachts must make a clearance request.

In all cases, e-mail the Papeete Harbourmaster 3 days (72 hours) prior to departure from Tahiti and/or Moorea. E-mail and copy to and

Include details of your boat name, captain's name, date of departure and destination (for example Cook Islands via the Leeward Islands or Tonga).

If you are planning on just cruising the Polynesian Islands and then returning to Tahiti/Moorea, sending the e-mail is all you need to do. You will receive your clearance by e-mail and when you return to Tahiti/Moorea you simply need to e-mail the Harbourmaster with your date of return and place of mooring. No Customs Declaration is needed in this case.

If you plan to depart Tahiti and sail to a foreign country via other FP Islands:

The Harbourmaster will prepare your inner Polynesian Islands departure clearance in Tahiti and e-mail it to you. You must however go and meet the Gendarmes in the last FP island touched to do the official final exit from FP.

You will have to fill out a Custom Exit Declaration document, signed by the Gendarme agent. Before leaving the country, this document must be sent (regular mail) to:

Bureau de douanes de PPT Port (service Plaisance)
Direction des douanes de Polynésie française
BP 9006 PPT - Motu Uta

The local Gendarme will give you 24 hours to leave once clearance has been granted.

If you plan to depart Tahiti and sail direct to a foreign country:

It is compulsory to go and meet Customs at their main office in Motu Uta, Papeete, to make your Exit Declaration the day before departure. The harbourmaster will send your clearance to the Immmigration authorities and a copy to the Customs office.

The day of departure the Skipper must visit Immigration at the airport to pick up the exit clearance. This gives yachts until midnight to depart.


  • Duty Free Fuel can be obtained by visiting Customs in Papeete who will issue you with a duty-free fuel certificate. This can be obtained anytime during your stay in FP.
  • If you have to pay a bond on entry (non EU citizens only), ensure that your papers specify which island you will be departing from in order that arrangements can be made to retrieve your bond. For more information about paying the bond (and possible ways to get around it) see Immigration and Fees below.

CLEARING OUT from other FP Islands

Visit the Gendarmes at the clearance port you are departing from at least a day before departure and complete a Customs Exit Declaration document, signed by the Gendarme agent. Before leaving the country, this document must be sent (regular mail) to:

Bureau de douanes de PPT Port (service Plaisance)
Direction des douanes de Polynésie française
BP 9006 PPT - Motu Uta

Sometimes the Gendarmes will do this on your behalf, however it is your responsibility to ensure the form gets mailed to Papeete. The Gendarmes will also stamp your passports. They will then give you 24 hours to depart.

Last updated March 2018.

Papeete Customs Office
Tel:40.505.587 or 40.505.567
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 0700-1445, Friday 0700-1330
You need to meet Customs if you are coming straight from or leaving straight to a foreign country, or, if you have not mailed your white Customs sheet from your first port touched in FP. A visit here is also required if you want to get duty-free fuel. Bring copy (green or pink) of the Customs Entrance Declaration that you did in the first island you touched in FP.
Papeete Harbourmaster
Tel: ,VHF Channel 12
Be sure to copy all clearance requests to and
Papeete Immigration Office
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 0800-1200,1330-1600
You need to meet Immigration if you are coming straight from, or leaving straight towards, a foreign country. Or, if someone is embarking or disembarking.


All visitors need a passport valid for at least 6 months (except French nationals).

French Polynesia is part of the European Union (as an overseas collective of France) but not of the Schengen Area Agreement and has its own visa rules. These rules closely follow those of mainland France with some exceptions that are specific to FP.

As not all border crossings are sufficiently manned, it is advisable for yacht crews to make every effort to obtain a passport stamp to be able to prove their length of stay to avoid difficulties at a later stage.


Length of stay for EU citizens is regulated by FP decree N°2010-1434 dated 19 November 2010. They do not require a visa for a stay of less than 3 months.

For stays longer than 3 months, EU citizens require sufficient income for their stay in FP (proof of funds might be requested) and also medical insurance covering them and the members of their family during their stay in FP.

Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Norway may have a special agreement with French Polynesia and should check with immigration authorities about permitted length of stay without a visa.

EU Citizens are permitted to stay in FP up to 18 months.  This is the maximum accumulated time they may spend in FP, without being subjected to taxes and duties on the boat: i.e. they may fly out of FP then back in again, but that will neither reset the clock nor put it on hold.


Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa for stays on up to 3 months:-

Antigua-Barbuda,  Argentina,  Australia , Bahamas,  Barbados,  Bolivia,  Brazil,  Brunei,  Canada,  Chile,  South Korea,  Costa-Rica,  El-Salvador,  United States (including residents of American Samoa and Guam),  Guatemala,  Honduras,  Israel,  Japan,  Kiribati,  Malaysia,  Northern Mariana Islands,  Marshall Islands,  Mauritius,  Mexico,  Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru,  Nicaragua,  New Zealand (including residents of Tokelau, Niue and Cook Islands),  Palau,  Panama,  Paraguay, Saint Christophe-et-Niévès,  Salomon Islands,  Seychelles,  Singapore,  Tonga,  Tuvalu,  Uruguay,  Venezuela and Western Samoa.

Other non-EU Citizens are only permitted to stay for the length of their visa. This is usually a maximum of 3 months in any 6 month period.

Non-EU citizens wishing to stay longer than 3 months must have a LS visa (one year visa) obtained outside of French Polynesia. The only exception to this rule is if your spouse is a EU citizen, then you can apply for a LS visa upon arrival in FP.

Long Stay Visas (LS)

The rules concerning long-stay visas change often. Whilst we make every effort to have the latest information on noonsite, a resource worth using is SV Jacaranda's notes, which are constantly updated as they are based in French Polynesia and used by many agents with English speaking clients.

Go to: and follow the link "Obtaining a long-stay (one year) visa for Fr. Polynesia."

In 2019 the French consulate in Mexico City is allowing non residents in Mexico to apply for FP long stay visas. This is a big hurdle as it allows cruisers to not have to travel back to the US, submit the paperwork along with their passports, obtain a temporary US passport and then travel back to the boat.


  • Your health insurance must cover the whole period of your LS visa, otherwise your visa will expire at the same time as your health insurance.
  • On arrival in French Polynesia you must apply for a "Carte de Sejour" (temporary resident card) via a Haut Commissire. The procedure is straightforward. There are Haut Commissaire offices in Nuku Hiva (Taiohae),  Papeete and Raiatea.
  • Early in the year, and through springtime, more people are applying for LS visas and therefore the officials in Papeete have more applications to process, and will do them on a more regular basis. Applications outside this period may take a lot longer to process (some cruisers report 13 weeks).

Proof of Funds / Bond for non-EU Citizens:

If you have a Long Stay visa in your passport you may or may not need to post a bond. If you check-in in the Marquesas, Hiva Oa requires a bond but Nuka Hiva does not (10-2018). If a bond is required then a re-fundable air ticket is a good option and can be done when you arrive. Or you can contact an agent and for a fee they will guarantee a bond and also provide you with a duty free fuel certificate.

Otherwise, all non EU citizens are required to do one of three things when they arrive in FP:

1) Post a bond for each non-EU Passport of approx US$1,700 
2) Have an airline ticket departing FP* (*see note below);
3) Have a Bond Exemption Letter from a registered Yacht Agent in FP, approximate cost US$2-300 per person. Note, in order to get bond exemption you must have insurance which covers the cost of you flying out in case of a medical emergency.

The rules about having a return air ticket or posting a bond seem to vary in how strictly they are enforced, whereas in the past they were fairly relaxed, so do be prepared.

* Refundable air tickets appear to be available through Air NZ. Refunds take approx. 2-3 weeks to process. See this report by an Australian cruiser who used this option to circumvent paying the bond in April 2016.

Even if a bond is paid, if plans change you may encounter difficulties. See this report for more details.

For a list of yacht agents see Clearance Agents.

The bond/bond letter is not required by EU citizens.

Crew arriving by Air

Crew arriving by air to join a boat should make this clear on their visa application, also to Immigration on arrival at the airport, who should give them both an entrance and an exit stamp in their passport. The exit stamp is needed to clear out by boat.

How long can I stay in FP with my Boat?
See Customs section below for more details.

Last updated:  January 2019

French Polynesia Haute Commissariat
Conditions for the residence of foreigners in French Polynesia.


Ensure that you comply with all the Customs regulations as it is very likely that Customs officers will board and search your boat.

Conditions of temporary entry of leisure vessels (admission temporaire des navires de plaisance) under decree N°0401/CM dated 27 March 2013 and modified 22nd April 2014.

See the Customs website for all the details.

Note: The length of time a private yacht can now remain has been extended to 36 months. Nor is it necessary to remain out of the country for 6 months before returning.

Visiting leisure vessels can enter and be kept temporarily in French Polynesia without payment of Customs taxes and duties, during a maximum period of 36 months (there is no extension, except in cases of “force majeure”) provided:

  1. The vessel's inward clearance has been duly reported to the Customs office in Papeete.
  2. The vessel is registered (flagged) outside the territory of French Polynesia, and the owner or master or user is a bona fide tourist and not a resident in French Polynesia.
  3. The vessel is solely for the private use of the owner, or master, or user. Spouse or direct ascendants or descendants of the owner, or master, or user are allowed to privately use the vessel.
  4. The vessel shall not be used for commercial activities. It shall not be loaned, rented or sold.
  5. The owner or master or user of the vessel shall not engage in lucrative activities in French Polynesia.

The temporary admission status of a leisure vessel ends when it departs French Polynesia for a foreign port. There is now no minimum time it before it can return as long as it has visited a foreign port.

Breaking the Rules

If the permitted stay rules are broken, not only is a substantial fine imposed, but import taxes on the yacht also become due (understood to be about 25% of its value for French-flagged yachts and up to 35% for other foreign-flagged yachts).

Overstaying the boat is considered a criminal offence and skippers that do so are liable to have their boat confiscated, be fined two times the boat's value and be given a jail term of 11 days to 1 month.

Customs have made it clear that the law will be fully enforced.

You must declare:

It is not specified on the Customs declaration form, but you must declare all motorized vehicles present on your boat: this includes dinghies with outboards for most leisure vessels, but also motorcycles and even helicopters for some larger yachts!

The make, model, motor output, and serial numbers of each vehicle and outboard shall be listed either directly on the Customs declaration form, or on a separate sheet to be attached to the Customs declaration from.

These vehicles will be granted the same temporary admission status as your boat, i.e. with the same rules and obligations.

Firearms and ammunition must be declared. If staying less than three days they can be kept on board, otherwise must be bonded by the authorities in each island until departure.

All alcohol must be declared. When reporting alcohol to the Gendarmes on arrival, be accurate. Do not under report stores or Customs will assume your intention is to sell the excess alcohol to the local population. You will be fined, and have alcohol confiscated. Note that there is no maximum that one can bring into the country, but it is essential that the full amount in litres be correctly stated (not cases or bottles). Customs take this very seriously.

Tobacco products must also be declared

All prescription medicines must be in the original packaging with the patient's name.

The import of plants and grains is forbidden. Recently, the transport of fruits between the islands in the Marquesas has begun to be controlled as they have started to have problems with some fruit flies. Check with the local agriculture inspection when landing. Yachts coming from the western Pacific, such as Fiji, Tonga or the Cooks, may have to be fumigated. On arrival they should anchor off and clear formalities before tying to the quay.

Customs Patrols
Customs patrol the islands, boarding as many yachts as possible. They have a list of yachts checked in and have scanned copies of their customs declaration. Officials are reported to be polite, but checks could be anything from a quick look around to a very thorough opening of everything (even tapping for hidden compartments). It is important to declare properly what you have on board (see list above) or you will be fined or have items confiscated. They are looking for arms, alcohol, strong medicine and pearls. Pearls without receipts are confiscated as Customs are trying to remove poor quality pearls from the market.

Duty Free Fuel
A permit for duty-free fuel can be obtained for free if you go in person to the Customs office in Papeete. Otherwise, if using an agent, you will be charged for this service.

Duty Free Alcohol
You can only get this if you are leaving French Polynesia. So you can not get it if you are going on to anywhere else in FP. The alcohol is delivered to your boat on the date of departure.

Bringing in spare parts/equipment:

Spare parts and equipment required to repair a vessel under the temporary admission status (“admission temporaire”), may be imported and cleared through customs without paying customs dues.

However, since mid 2017, these goods must now also be declared for export when you check out of French Polynesia, which can add substantially to an already expensive bill.

Yachts owners/skippers can import/export goods by themselves, however there is alot of paperwork involved and the process can be "tricky". Assistance of a yacht agent can be very helpful (which also includes extra services like collecting the shipment at the port/airport and arranging final delivery to the yacht). If the total of the shipment is over 350 Euros you are now required to have an agent under the new law.

Take care and select an agent recommended by other cruisers.

Fees involved for bringing in spare parts are those charged by the Customs broker (for the 2 Customs declarations / paperwork for "temporary admission" and then "final exportation) and NOT for Customs duties. These fees depend on the shipment's CIF value (goods value + insurance+ freight). On average, fees invoiced by the Customs broker for each declaration are between 10 and 25.000 Cfp depending on the CIF value.

DHL can be both your shipper and your agent.

In many cases it may be cheaper to find what you need in a local chandlery and pay the inflated prices. Many cruisers who have done it, advise against shipping goods into FP unless you really have to.

Note that all other goods which are imported and not for repairs (for example tv, computer, crew clothing, etc.) must be cleared through Customs and DUTIES must be paid.

Purchasing expensive products in FP

Be wary if promised a tax refund when purchasing an expensive product/spare (e.g. a dinghy) in FP. Whilst a company may promise a tax refund, in reality this is complicated to achieve and can only be done in Tahiti. The marine store must first process the paperwork before a freight forwarder can get permission from the Custom's officials to refund the VAT (and this is not always given). If you are purchasing via a third party in another island from a marine store in Tahiti, it's highly likely the papers will never be processed.

Last updated March 2018.


French Polynesia is very well covered by health care with hospitals and many doctors, specialists and dentists in the most populated islands, infirmeries with qualified nurses in even remotely populated areas. Emergency air transportation is in place if necessary. Many cruisers have been well taken care off so one should not hesitate to contact medical help if needed.

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases:

Staphilococcus infections are prevalent and usually start from a small cut. The cuts should be cleaned out well, covered with an antibiotic cream and treated until healed, which can take as long as two weeks.

Filariosis (elephantiasis) is still known to exist in some islands. There is a preventative medicine, which gives protection for a year (only necessary if you stay over 6 months).

Food and Water Concerns:

The municipal water supply in the Marqueses is not potable.

The dangers of Ciguatera (fish toxin from eating reef fish) are not widely reported in French Polynesia, but it is a real danger and many locals are affected as well as visitors. Very useful information about Ciguatera can be found on SV Jacaranda's website.

Mosquito-borne Diseases:

Outbreaks of Dengue Fever and Chikungunya do occur here. Both are mosquito transmitted diseases resulting in flu-like symptoms (high fevers, body aches, joint pain, headaches, dehydration). The only prevention is the application of liberal amounts of insect repellent with DEET and wearing protective clothing. Peak transmission is August to November.

See report on latest outbreak at the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention.

No Yellow Fever or Zika Virus risk currently in the French Polynesia (according to CDC).

Tahiti Pharmacist for all of French Polynesia
Tel:+689 87 79 16 93
Patrick Ly runs his own pharmacy in northern Tahiti, but is available to all of French Polynesia via email, text, phone, and Skype. He speaks English well and is willing to ship medications anywhere in FP. He understands cruisers’ needs to order large volumes and is very helpful in finding alternatives. If he can’t provide a specific solution, he will say so.


Necessary Current Documents:

The original of your vessel documentation with current stamp

Passports for the entire crew

Additional Licences

A reciprocal ham license can be obtained on the spot and for free at the phone administration office in many islands (OPT). It can be renewed every 3 months, up to 1 year).


There is a charge for visas granted on arrival.

There are port charges (in Papeete harbour).

Proof of Funds / Bond:

All non EU citizens require one of three things when they arrive in FP: 
1) Post a bond for each non-EU Passport of approx US$1,700,
2) An airline ticket departing FP, or 
3) A Bond Exemption Letter from a registered Yacht Agent in FP.

This bond is not required by EU citizens.

Last updated March 2018.



Bora Bora: Strict new anchoring restrictions came into effect in all Bora Bora Island internal waterways in January 2019. See this report for details.

Tuamotus: The movement of yachts is restricted in certain lagoons in the Tuamotus where there are pearl farms. Generally, one should avoid anchoring near oyster beds.

Restricted Atolls:

The approaches to the atolls of Mururoa, and Fangataufa and the area around them are prohibited areas, classed as military zones.


Visiting yachts may not charter in French Polynesia. That will break the rule of temporary admission of the boat (see CUSTOMS above).

People arriving by air to charter a boat need only a valid passport, return air ticket and a visa where applicable.


Alcohol consumption is a problem in many of the islands and visiting boats are urged not to dispense drinks freely to locals.


All fruit trees, including coconut trees, are privately owned. Fruit must not be taken without prior permission.


Similarly, reefs inside lagoons are owned by families, so fishing should only be done after having asked permission to do so. Often, if asked, they give freely or gladly in exchange for goods or services.

Local Customs

Marquesas Islands: Some simple local rules
This is a good article summarising local customs in the Marquesas by cruisers Valerie and Laurent Devin, published by the Bluewater Cruising Association - May 2016.

Clearance Agents

Hiva Oa Yacht Services (HOYS)
PO Box 277 , 98741 Atuona , Hiva Oa
Tel:+689 927 985 / +689 87 23 22 47 ,VHF Channel 9
HOYS is located at the port of Tahauku, at the Sémaphore (sea rescue volunteers station). Assistance with entry formalities, duty free fuel certificate, laundry service, internet access, provisioning, taxi service, car rental, island tour excursions.
Polynesia Yacht Services
Tel:+689 8777 1230
Laurent Bernaert has been acting as an agent for "yachts in transit" for over a decade. Offers a very comprehensive range of services to cruisers, including help with clearance and other formalities, tax free fuel etc. Also agents for WORLD ARC and the Oyster World Rally. Speaks good English.
Tahiti Crew
PO Box 3944 , Papeete , French Polynesia 98713
Tel:+689 87 21 59 80 / + 689 87 23 55 41
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 4.00pm
Tehani and Heirani offer a variety of services, such as assistance with entry formalities, duty free fuel, long stay visas, repairs, marina reservations, guardianage, excursions & tours etc. Tahiti Crew has been the agent for the Puddle Jump Rally since 2014. Located in Marina Taina.
Yacht Services Nuku Hiva (YSNH)
BP 301, 98742 Taiohaé , Nuku Hiva
Tel:689 920 750 ,VHF Channel 72
Under new ownership 2013: Kevin and Annabella are working to provide a full range of support services to Yachts visiting the Marquises. Based in Nuku Hiva, they provide assistance with entry formalities, parts importation, equipment problems, inboard & outboard mechanical repair, RIB repair, sail repair, as well as laundry, provisioning, internet access, telephone/fax, taxi service, car rental, excursions both guided and non-guided as well as party planning.
Annabella was born on the island and is a local artist. Kevin is a former IS Manager, cruiser & yacht racer from the USA.
Their website has alot of useful local information.


Animals are not allowed to land until the end of a 6-month quarantine (time at sea counts) and have been inspected by the official vet. See the permission form here.

Several certificates (or certified copies) are also needed:-

A departure document showing it is more than 6 months since leaving a country infected with rabies (i,e, both North and South America)

A certificate of rabies vaccination done within the last year).

The animal must have an official tattoo or micro-chip,

Dogs which have been in a country infected by the leishmania disease during the last six months must have an indirect fluorescent antibody test or an ELISA test to detect antibodies against Leishmania sp. with a negative result, or be correctly vaccinated against leishmania disease and have undergone a serological test showing the difference between vaccine antibodies and infection antibodies with a negative result for the infection.

In the 30 days prior to landing, two treatments against internal parasites and especially against Echinococcus sp must have been administered. (you can get Drontal or Drontic by mail from Papeete.

Acopy of your exit stamps from the last country where the animal was allowed ashore.

Your entry stamp into French Polynesia.

If an animal is landed without authorisation it may be destroyed.

See the official website for full details.

Papeete is the only place in FP where a vet is available. Email for the current procedure or Tel.689 40 42 35 18 or 40 42 35 57  or fax: 689 40 42 35 52 .

Last updated July 2016

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 09, 2019 11:34 AM

Reported by Chuck Houlihan of SY Jacaranda:

Thanks to Bruce and Alene on SV Migration who worked the issue with the French consulate in Mexico City. The French consulate is allowing non residents in Mexico to apply for FP long stay visas. According to Bruce the consulate is now allowing yachties and other to submit the paperwork from the French consulate in Mexico City.

Awaiting reports of the first cruisers applying.

This is a big hurdle as it allows cruisers to not have to travel back to the US, submit the paperwork along with their passports, obtain a temporary US passport and then travel back to the boat.


chouliha says:
Nov 24, 2018 04:08 PM

That is the 4-5th boat we have heard that was robbed in Avea Bay Huahine in the past 2 seasons. A warning to boats coming behind you - Lock the boat everywhere in FP -

lderamus says:
Nov 11, 2018 07:38 AM

After several lovely months in French Polynesia encountering nothing but friendly people we finally got robbed.

At anchor in Avea Bay in Huahine someone swam to our boat while we were at dinner ashore, went through the boat and got away with all our cash (around $2000.- total). Thank God passports, credit cards and electronics were ok. Our bad for leaving the companionway unlocked.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 01, 2018 07:54 PM

Reported by Bob Carlisle:

Tahouna Bay/Atouna, Hiva Oa, Marquesa Islands, July 2018


Probably not too many are heading that way right now, but when the next Pacific crossing season gets up and running, this is one of the main arrival/check-in ports for the Marquesa Islands and space is going to be restricted.
hen we visited in July 2018 there were notices posted stating that due to dredging works programmed for mid-July to late-December, the anchorage would be restricted to an area north of the dinghy dock and presumably you'll need to get your anchor & chain behind that line too? That area's predominantly very shallow and I'd estimate that no more than half a dozen yachts will be able to squeeze in there, of which there seems to be four or five semi-permanent yachts already.

Works hadn't begun when we left in August, so it's reasonable to assume that the works will overrun and these restrictions will continue at least into the early months of 2019 when the Puddle Jumpers begin to arrive in numbers. You can anchor off outside the harbour wall, but in all but very light weather with little south in the winds/seas that's an uncomfortable option at best.

Even with 'normal' restrictions in place you'll be twin anchored if you're inside the harbour wall and be wary of the Aranui cruise/supply ship's arrival if anchored close to the dock on the east side (the red Taporo supply ship invariably seems to be a lot more careful and courteous?) Whilst we were sat comfortably 'behind the line' our anchor wasn't and the Aranui first tripped that when dropping their own anchor, before 'blasting' us sideways a few seconds later with their powerful bow thruster as they docked; no gel-coat was lost, so just an interesting experience.

lderamus says:
Aug 20, 2018 11:44 PM

We are currently at Marina Taina in Tahiti and can highly recommend Yacht Services Tahiti. Responsive, nice,english speaking and efficient. Worth every penny!

lderamus says:
Aug 20, 2018 11:42 PM

Highly recommend making landfall in Nuku Hiva instead of Hiva Oa. Much better anchorage and dinghy dock in Nuku Hiva,shops,fruit and veggie market and small restaurant right near the dock.
kevin and his lovely wife at YACHT SERVICES in Nuku Hiva are absolutely fabulous !! There services are worth every penny and more. They help with check-in, paperwork and pretty much anything you need.

Patrick Erwert
Patrick Erwert says:
Jul 18, 2018 03:44 AM

I first sailed French Polynesia in 1984. Two days after arriving in Papeete, our dingy was stolen. When I went to the gendarmes, the first thing he said was, laisse-moi deviner, ton zodiac a ete vole. Let me guess, your dingy was stolen. Things haven't changed, secure and lock up your valuables. I am headed again there this coming spring and will keep my past experiences in mind. Enjoy this beautiful land and remember to take nothing for granted. Patrick, S/V Voila

chouliha says:
May 05, 2018 04:00 PM

Headed towards French Polynesia? Be sure to download the free cruisers guide that lists parts and services available in Papeete. Having the pdf onboard will allow to to order parts and check on services. Hopefully this may help you if you are in the remote islands and something breaks or save you time while sourcing parts in Tahiti. Updated often so be sure to check when internet is available Chuck/ Jacaranda

Daniel Baydreamer
Daniel Baydreamer says:
Jan 24, 2018 01:45 AM

If you ever run into mechanical problems or need something done on your boat while you are in Tahiti I can highly recommend a Hungarian guy named: Adrian: 00 689 87286083 email: He is a magician when it comes to boats and engines. He changed our head gasket, rebuild our diesel injector pump,mounted our new bow spread and even made a complete overhaul of our dive compressor. He is honest and he defiantly knows what he is doing.

He lives on his boat just outside marina Taina.

Palzur says:
Jan 21, 2018 08:01 PM

Before sailing to French Polynesia it is really recommend to join for free the "Pacific Puddle Jump".
They will give you tips, handbooks and other stuff that really helps.

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Dec 20, 2017 10:42 AM

Noonsite has written to the Immigration authority in French Polynesia asking for clarification/confirmation about the 'new' rule. We will update the site as soon as we receive the information.

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Dec 20, 2017 10:39 AM

Posted 20th December 2017 on behalf of Ian and Erika

We left our boat in Papeete, Tahiti for a 6 week trip to New Zealand. Upon our return, at the Auckland airport check-in (Air Tahiti Nui on Dec 14th 2017), I was asked to provide evidence of having a boat in Tahiti. When I queried this, I was told that a ‘New’ regulation had just come in and applied to British EU travellers (but not to my wife, who is German). Fortunately we had copies of Ships Papers (SSR) on us, but I was told I would not have been allowed to fly without proof or evidence of an onward plane ticket, despite the fact that Britain is still in the EU. Apparently, this new regulation is in preparation for Brexit !

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Apr 28, 2017 12:06 PM

Hi Sue - I recommend your post your offer on the Women Who Sail Facebook page - There seem to be quite alot of followers in the Pacific right now actively cruising and I am sure they can guide you accordingly.

BlueWaterSue says:
Apr 27, 2017 07:25 AM

I'll be flying from San Francisco, California into Pape'ete for a short week visit in mid-May and I'm wondering what I could bring to cruisers in the way of useful supplies. I hear things are expensive there, and I know from personal cruising experience that specialty repair items can be hard to source abroad. Any ideas for finding requests?

Pannikin says:
Apr 14, 2017 12:21 AM

Marine Surveyor in Tahiti.
If anyone is looking for a marine surveyor in Tahiti I am happy to relay our experience with Patrice BEUSCHER.
We found Mr Beuscher to be very professional, prompt, reliable and honest. He surveyed out boat for purchase and was meticulous with a keen eye for detail and always replied to any query we had promptly and efficiently.

John Freeland
John Freeland says:
Feb 14, 2017 12:08 AM

Fact or Myth: Food in French Polynesia is exorbitantly expensive

While in Panama several permanent sailing residents repeated the often heard tale of woe about Polynesia. “Why would you go to Polynesia, it so dreadfully expensive?” I would usually say "well when I was in French Polynesia 20 years ago many items were price controlled and very reasonable. If you’re on a tight budget you can eat cheaply if you’re careful."
Currently we found many of the Marquesas and Tuomotus were supplied regularly. Staples are rarely an issue, fresh is often available the day the freighter arrives. Locally sourced foods, like mangoes and grapefruit, are not sold in stores but can be found by a bit of asking around.
But are the prices exorbitantly expensive? In a word – No.
We’re from the UK where food prices are similar to the rest of Europe. There are several comparison websites which use the “shopping basket” comparison to measure cost of living and between city comparisons. Using February 2017 here are average UK prices converted to French Polynesian Francs, compared to the Champion Supermarket in Papeete (which by the way is certainly not the cheapest.)
I have converted the British pounds to French Polynesian francs at the current rate of 140.

UK vs Tahiti Prices - Feb 2017 UK in XPF Papeete
Milk , (1 liter); Papeete presidente whole milk HDT XPF 123 XPF 139
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) Papeete for 2 bagettes XPF 132 XPF 124
Rice (white), (1kg) XPF 168 XPF 97
Eggs (12) XPF 269 XPF 451
Cheese (1kg); Papeete Emmental XPF 783 XPF 995
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg): Papeete frozen XPF 843 XPF 292
Beef Round (1kg) XPF 1,092 XPF 1,395
Apples (1kg) XPF 252 XPF 372
Banana (1kg) XPF 134 XPF 140
Oranges (1kg) XPF 239 XPF 345
Tomato (1kg) XPF 255 XPF 720
Potato (1kg) XPF 167 XPF 167
Onion (1kg) XPF 132 XPF 165
Lettuce (1 head) ;only cleaned bagged Papeete XPF 99 XPF 368
Total basket XPF 4,687 XPF 5,769
Papeete is 23% more expensive than UK.

French Polynesia is arguably one of the most isolated nations on the planet and it would be a surprise if food was cheap. Papeete is an expensive city by third world standards where 2 bedroom flats start at 200,000 euros. Shipping food by freighter in refrigerated containers also raises the prices in the outlying archipelagos. Nevertheless, with some staples price controlled by France, many staples are quite reasonable. Try to get a baguette in London for 44 pence, 54 cents US.
Is food more expensive than Europe or USA? Yes. Is it exorbitantly expensive? I’d answer that question with a resounding – NO.

John Freeland - SY Mary Ann II

stefandec says:
Jul 28, 2016 09:24 PM

Nuku Hiva Yacht Services recommedation
I spent a couple of hours with Kevin of NHYS last June 2016 and can recommend him to other cruisers as a friendly, capable, generous and serious person. I recomend them to fellow cruisers, Stefan (

stage2man says:
Apr 14, 2016 08:57 PM

In 2015, Customs patrols of Fatu Hiva were not tolerating vessels that had not prior checked in to the country at either Nuka Hiva or Hiva Oa. Additionally for those who had applied for a long stay Visa prior to leaving the USA, the paper work now takes 7 weeks, after submission to Papeete, upon arrival in French Polynesia. Anne-Marie Guiguen(some English), is a delightful official on Nuka Hiva who assisted us with submission to Papeete. Given the now prolonged time to process, I think she may be not be as helpful to future cruisers, and may suggest heading to Papeete early enough to submit the paperwork yourself. We were not allowed to leave the Marquesas until our papers were returned from Papeete to her office.

stage2man says:
Apr 14, 2016 08:31 PM

Warning on alcohol reporting to Customs. Customs is back in business utilizing the Navy vessel after losing their's on a reef. When reporting alcohol to the Gendarmes on arrival in the Marquesas, be accurate. Do not under report stores or Customs will assume your intention is to sell the excess alcohol to the local population. You will be fined, and have alcohol confiscated. Note that there is no maximum that one can bring into the country. We know of a vessel that had over 1000 cans of beer on board, yet had no problems because they declared all upon arrival with the Gendarmes. Note that they want the quantity in Liters, not cases or bottles. They told us a case to them is 6 bottles of wine. Hence we had inadvertently under reported as the rest of the world counts 12 bottles in a case. They also check all medication and controlled substances when searching a vessel for patient names on labels.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 09, 2015 12:13 PM

Posted on behalf of Bill, Lara and Isobel Calfee of SV Sunrise:
I thought it would be worth writing about our experience with Tahiti Crew. We picked them up as an agent via the Pacific Puddle Jump.

Tehani is a local woman who owns the company and is the primary contact in Tahiti. She has remote island contacts and I suggest that you deal directly with her by phone, text (689 87 21 59 80 ) or email ( She has been wonderfully responsive and has helped us with many things beyond customs and immigration: car rental, tax fee fuel, making medical appointments, importing parts, hiring local contractors, finding places to stay, guided tours of the island (her “auntie” has a pHd in Tahitian Culture and leads tours of the island). We are traveling with our 6 year old daughter and Tehani helped us work our way through the system to put her in the local school!! She also knows the local customs and culture. Tahiti crew does charge fees for many things that can be done on your own… and we feel strongly that Tahiti Crew is a great value.

As a side bar: all Tahitians expect to be treated as friends would treat each other, with kindness and respect. We found people in Tahiti and Moorea to be very kind and generous if you treat them as friends. Of course, the more densely touristed the area, the more you will have to work to become friends. Attempting to speak french will go a long way. And attempting to use a few Tahitian words makes a huge difference as these people are Polynesians, not French!

lifelineexplorers says:
Nov 22, 2015 08:50 AM

For anyone needing assistance with formalities or customs clearance I would highly recommend using Tehani at Tahiti Crew. She helped me clear into Polynesia, dealt with arriving packages being held at Customs, and assisted in acquiring two visa extensions. Her service was beyond was expected and she is extremely professional and pleasant to deal with. She can be contact at

David Johnson
David Johnson says:
Jul 11, 2015 08:33 PM

Couple of recommended services in French Polynesia.
1. PSA (listed under Tahiti marine services) for batteries. Great service, batteries delivered to boat, and good after sales support.
2. Voilerie Aveia (Regine Faux, 68987725112) in Raiatea for sail repairs. We got next day turnaround on 2 separate repairs. Collected and returned sails, nice repairs completed.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 11, 2015 11:34 AM

The cruiser who sent us this security report prefers to remain anonymous:

We are currently cruising French Polynesia and have throughly enjoyed every minute. We are passing through Raiatea for the second time.

I want to report three cases of boats being boarded in the last two weeks in Uturoa on the town public dock. We are still cruising here and want to make sure fellow cruisers are aware of petty crime here.

The first incident happened two weeks ago to a friend's boat tied up close to the Shell Gas Station. His boat along with three others were boarded at night and various items were stolen. All three boats were unlocked. The perpetrator was maced and fled leaving various items behind.

We pulled back into the public dock today to re-provision and met two Australian boats that were boarded last night with a Laptop stolen with forceful entry and the perpetrator being chased off a second boat when the owner was awoken.

Local recommendations are NOT to tie up here over night but anchor off the town or pick up a mooring ball over night. Our suggestion is to go to Taha'a and pick up a moring ball by the old yacht club and spend the night there.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Apr 27, 2015 09:40 AM

Posted on Women Who Sail Facebook Group - April 25th, 2015
DINGHY THEFT ALERT.... another dinghy stolen last night in Bora Bora. Boat was at a mooring in front of the gas station, not far from the Mai Kai Marina... there's been a rash of thefts in Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora... as always, LOCK IT OR LOSE IT!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 14, 2014 01:07 PM

It has been reported that the customs boat hit a reef in the Tuamotos - and it may be a while before a new one arrives.

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