French Polynesia - Facts

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  • French Polynesia covers an area of the South Pacific Ocean about the size of Europe. It is made up of over 100 islands in five archipelagos: the Society Islands, the Marquesas, Tuamotu, Gambier Islands and Australs, as well as Clipperton Atoll, a small French possession off Mexico.
  • From the rugged beauty of the Marquesas to the crystal clear waters of the Tuamotu atolls and the lofty peaks of the Society Islands, the variety in scenery and sailing conditions is unsurpassed anywhere in the South Pacific.
  • Most yachts make their landfall after a Pacific Crossing in the Marquesas, which is a perfect introduction to this vast cruising ground. There are few man-made ports here and the swell can tuck into the anchorages, but this is more than made up for by the beauty of these high islands.
  • In complete contrast is the Tuamotu, once called the Dangerous Archipelago on account of its treacherous currents and lurking reefs. Yachts used to avoid this area, but now often stop and visit the low atolls, as the hazards have diminished considerably with the advent of radar and satellite navigation. Negotiating the passes into some of the lagoons can be a difficult operation, mainly because of the strong currents. Generally, the weakest current occurs one hour after low water and one hour after high water. Passes are for the most part well-marked, some even lit at night. However one should still be sure to use careful eyeball navigation, ideally when the sun is overhead and the colour of the water gives a good indication of its depth.
  • Entirely off the usual cruising routes are French Polynesia’s other two groups, the Austral and Gambier islands. The latter is best visited if coming from Easter Island or Pitcairn, while the former is only a few days’ sail away from Tahiti or make a convenient landfall for yachts heading towards Tahiti from New Zealand.
  • In the last decade, the total number of boats cruising in the South Pacific has increased. This is undoubtedly due to the draw of the South Seas, but also because of safety concerns in other parts of the world.
  • Getting work done: The best facilities are to be found in Papeete (Tahiti) where everything is possible, but expensive; the only other centre with extensive repair facilities is on Raiatea. In the Marquesas there is a resourceful yacht repair business on Nuku Hiva and a boatyard on Hiva Oa. In the more remote Tuamotus there is now a boatyard on Apataki. See Yachting Essentials for further details.
  • Anchoring and MooringThe French Polynesian Government continues to introduce restrictions on anchorages and moorings in many of the more popular islands (in particular in the Society Islands).  In some places a quota system is being implemented, drastically reducing the number of yachts that can anchor and the length of time they can stay.  Consequently anchorages and marinas are very full, due to the Pandemic blockage and the closure of many countries in the Pacific to yachts between 2020-22. See the News section for the latest updates.
  • It is important to float your chain to protect the coral, avoid the bommies and prevent future damage to marine life.  You will also save yourself the hassle of having to unwrap the chain.  Use a fender or old pearl farm float. See French Polynesia Yachting Essentials for tips on Navigation and Anchoring in this part of the world.

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  1. May 8, 2024 at 11:21 PM
    Chris Pinkham says:

    Umoya arrived in Rikitea, Gambier on Monday 6 May. We filled out the online form before departure. All crew are US passport holders without long stay visas. First thing Tuesday morning we visited the gendarmerie. The friendly gendarme asked for our online reference number which I gave him. He checked a few things on the computer, stamped our passports and gave us a hearty welcome smile and we were on our way. Easiest checkin ever.

    1. May 8, 2024 at 11:24 PM
      Chris Pinkham says:

      No customs form to mail to Papeete. We were told to visit the Mairie to pay for garbage disposal, which we happily did.

  2. May 24, 2023 at 10:45 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Kevin Ellis from Nuku Hiva Yacht Services has provided this update on the new online system for checking into French Polynesia.

    When using the online system, you must have on the same device, usable scans of the following documents, all passports, Ship’s Papers, Zarpe, & Flight Tickets. The tickets would be for anyone leaving the boat at the time of check-in, which is common.

    We have done a couple of entries with the new system and if you are from a non-EU country, the system is useless. Useless because, 1) you still need to go to the Gendarmerie to get your passport stamped, 2) the officers at the Gendarmerie have no documentation on this system and are not aware of how it works, 3) so you have to complete the paperwork manually again if you did it online already, and, 4) it takes at least 3 business days to get your entry reviewed and accepted. This leaves you in a state of limbo not knowing if you have completed your formalities or not for three days.

    If you complete your formalities on paper and present them to the Gendarme, once stamped and returned, the process is complete as they will require any other supporting documentation you need. Like departing airline tickets or Bond Exemption letter or Repatriation Bond, or a valid visa for those from countries where a visa is required to enter French Polynesia.

    However, other than the 3 days of limbo part, if you and all your crew are EU citizens, this could be a viable alternative.

    Now this has been in place for only a few weeks, I would like to believe with time some of the issues will be addressed and corrected.

    I hope this is helpful and informative.

    Cheers, Kevin Ellis

  3. December 7, 2022 at 6:04 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Bruce and Alene, of SV Migration and creators of the Chart Locker (a free resource for cruisers), have this reminder:
    For those of you planning to head to the South Pacific this coming season, don’t forget to download satellite charts for the areas you’re going to visit BEFORE you leave North America. A complete set of charts for only French Polynesia (ArcGIS, BingSat, GoogleSat and Navionics) is over 10GB so you’ll want to have a fast and cheap connection.
    You’ll find the charts at https://thechartlocker.com/
    To avoid having to download, if you’re in Mexico in Banderas Bay, Mike and Kat have a copy at Cruiser Comfort, and Andy Barrow kindly donated a portable drive with the charts that can be borrowed from the Vallarta Yacht Club. There’s probably a copy or two floating around La Paz as well.

  4. September 8, 2021 at 8:13 PM
    youroldnemesis says:

    As of 08/Aug/2021 A compelling reason is no longer required – if the adults on board are vaccinated (detail below)

    Here is the law written by the High Commissioner in FP on 20-Aug-2021: http://www.polynesie-francaise.pref.gouv.fr/…/Arr%C3…
    The relevant part for us is Article 26, section IV:
    “Les deplacements des navires de plaisance a destination de la Polynesie Francais depuis tout autre pays sont regis par les dispositions du ii de l’article 23-3 et par l’article 23-6 du decret du 1er juin 2021 susvise.
    Conformement a l’article 23-4 du decret du 1er juin 2021 susvise et au regard des circonstances locales les deplacements sont interdits s’ils ne sont pas fondes sur un motif imperious d’ordre personnel ou familial, un motif de sante relevant de l’urgence ou un motif professionnel ne pouveant etre differe, ou s’ils ne sont pas lies a une situation de ncessite, une obligation de reparation, d’approvisionnement ou de ravitaillement du navire.
    Pour application des precedents alineas du present article, toute personne de douze ans et plus addresse, le cas echeant par l’intermediare du captaine du navire, au moins 6 jours avant le depart, au chef de service des affaires maritimes et a l’autorite maritime locale, le document permettant de justifier du motif du deplacement, ainsi que les declarations sur l’honneur mentionnees au 2nd du ii de l’article 23-3 du decret du 1er juin susvise.
    Par derogation a ce qui precede, les deplacements des personnes qui disposent d’un justificatif de leur statut vaccinal delivere dans les conditions du 2nd de l’article 2-2 du decret susvise, ainse que des mineurs qui les accompagnent, sont autorises.”
    This is the translation (the first and last paragraphs are the most interesting): The movements of pleasure craft to French Polynesia from any other country are governed by the provisions of ii of article 23-3 and by article 23-6 of the aforementioned decree of June 1, 2021.
    In accordance with article 23-4 of the aforementioned decree of June 1, 2021 and in view of local circumstances, travel is prohibited if it is not based on an imperious reason of a personal or family nature, a health reason falling under the emergency or a professional reason cannot be deferred, or if they are not related to a situation of necessity, an obligation to repair, supply or supply the vessel.
    For the application of the preceding paragraphs of this article, any person of twelve years of age and over addressed, if necessary through the intermediary of the captain of the ship, at least 6 days before the departure, to the head of the maritime affairs department and to the authority local maritime, the document to justify the reason for the trip, as well as the declarations on honor mentioned in the 2nd of ii of article 23-3 of the decree of June 1 aforesaid.
    By way of derogation from the foregoing, the movements of people who have proof of their vaccination status issued under the conditions of the 2nd of article 2-2 of the aforementioned decree, as well as minors who accompany them, *are authorized*.

  5. June 8, 2021 at 6:11 AM
    logie says:

    Hi, could anyone recommend what are ideal gifts to give to chiefs or elders on some of the smaller islands that we visit. Ideally something useful for the islanders rather than trinkets. We plan to be amongst the islands this time next year. TIA regards Keith SV Itiki

    1. June 9, 2021 at 11:08 AM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Hi Keith,
      These 2 reports should give you a good idea of the kind of gifts welcomed in the islands:
      https://www.noonsite.com/report/trading-goods-in-the-south-pacific/
      https://www.noonsite.com/report/insights-cruising-kindly-part-2/
      This report is also helpful for planning purposes: https://www.noonsite.com/report/pacific-planning-advice/
      Also the Pacific Islands all have related reports – well worth a read as most are contributed by fellow cruisers – and many comment on gifts they have taken etc. For example: https://www.noonsite.com/place/french-polynesia/related-reports

  6. June 4, 2021 at 11:30 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    From Kevin Ellis – Yacht Services Nuku Hiva

    The maritime borders to French Polynesia remanie closed. Next week they are opening up the airways for tourism from Europe for vaccinated travelers. Some restrictions are being eased on Tahiti and Moorea, but still no movement on the lifting of restrictions on Yachts. The authorities are gradually lifting restrictions with a wait and see what come from those changes. If the number of cases in FP remains stable there is hope for the future.

    There is another facture to consider here, where will you go from here. Even if they let boats in, Fiji appears to be the only option for continuing West. So, I imagine the authorities here are concerned about allowing too many boats in with nowhere to go after. I certainly would be.

    On another note, we’ve had some boats come without permission, in the hope of things changing while they were on route. DON’T DO THIS. Boats arriving here with out permission are being fined and told to be on their way. While the fines are not super painful, the fact you have to keep going may be. Here on Nuku Hiva things have been fairly loose do to a lack of enforcement personnel. But, when you get to Tahiti, there is no such lack of personnel and they do regular patrols looking for boats in violation.

  7. April 23, 2021 at 2:01 PM
    kcturpin says:

    An article from a local journal is reporting an noticeable issue with the local population. Indeed, some skippers were assaulted physically and verbally on Huahine island. A dinghy has been vandalised with a cutter. Police dosen’t seem to take the issue very seriously.

    Source in French : https://actu.fr/polynesie-francaise/huahine_98724/huahine-les-agressions-sur-les-voiliers-s-accentuent_41280619.html

    1. June 7, 2021 at 10:20 PM
      gdtaylor says:

      start a boycott, when the police don’t care when a 60 year old sailer is beaten to a pulp, losing one eye, violence ignored….and they know who it is with video…stop all travel…air included…let them go back to selling copra and coconut art… please pass this on to all sites you can think of…warning of the crime awaiting them

  8. December 1, 2020 at 3:20 AM
    bonobo says:

    The decline of paradise,
    Since the beginning of the covid pandemic last march, French Polynesia has seen a dramatic increase of hate and crime against foreign vessels.
    Lates are two violent aggressions against the crew of two sailing vessels.
    This happens on Huahine (one of the most beautiful and peaceful islands) these past weeks, On November 20, two crew members where aggressed on their monohull by four Polynesians who attacked the vessel in their canoes.
    This week a 60-year-old man on a monohull was violently beaten, broken nose and will lose an eye.
    He had received verbal treats 10 days before the aggression due to his presence on the island waters; “We don’t want you here any longer”
    One month ago, a young boy, member of British sailing family visiting the islands was killed by a speeding local motorboat, the event was applauded by many local “independentists” …
    What started with insults 8 months ago has escalated to physical aggression…
    Lucky there are more peaceful islands in the south Pacific …

  9. July 7, 2020 at 8:57 AM
    fujin says:

    I am planning a Pacific Crossing, ideally, Panama, Galapagos, Easter Is, Tuomotus and Marquesas.

    Can anyone provide advice on sailing from Tuomotus to Marquesas? What would be a preferred point of departure given the prevailing weather? Any suggestions?

    Many thanks.

  10. June 24, 2020 at 3:52 PM
    bartgib1 says:
  11. May 8, 2020 at 2:29 AM
    peteandlou says:

    Hello,, We live in New Zealand and our plan once/if the world gets back to normal is to purchase a yacht in French Polynesia cruising for 6 mounths and returning to NZ to work the other 6 months. Has anyone done this or simular that maybe able to offer some advise. We would both be very greatful. Thanks Pete and Louise. 🙂

    1. August 8, 2020 at 6:02 PM
      kitgriffin says:

      Hello Peter and Louise I bought the Pacific Seacraft 34 Swan from Sail Tahtiti and had excellent help from Nikki. A couple of things, firstly I’d be open to selling Swan now I’m back Canada aside from that (if you’d prefer a catamaran) I have some tips on staying in Tahtiti such as staying at an AirBnB close to the Marina Taina as Papeete is too far to commute easily — buses only run between 7ish and 5ish. Taxis are too expensive to consider. Here’s the link to Swan and my direct email is [email protected] (most folks call me Kit)
      https://www.sailtahiti.com/en/portfolio-items/pacific-seacraft-34-1996/

  12. April 7, 2020 at 6:43 AM
    paul-waterslive-com says:

    Hiva Oa (French Polynesia)

    Any one there able to provide update advise for a yacht due to arrive in the next two days. They have pratique approval from the authorities. They are looking for practical information regarding anchorage, contacts and support network.

    1. April 8, 2020 at 9:35 AM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      Hi Paul, all the information we know is in the covid-19 section under biosecurity – see https://www.noonsite.com/place/french-polynesia/formalities#biosecurity-section.

    2. April 9, 2020 at 5:11 AM
      paul-waterslive-com says:

      Thanks Sue, greatly appreciated.

    3. June 7, 2021 at 10:23 PM
      gdtaylor says:

      not safe for you or your boat, avoid at all costs

  13. March 23, 2020 at 8:07 AM
    blaseniv says:

    Hello, does anybody please stay in Papeete with your boat in this emergency time? We have to leave her there and go back home to Europe. We are looking for someone who wouldnt mind to check her sometimes. Thanks

    1. April 8, 2020 at 9:40 AM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      Vera, Tahiti crew (https://www.noonsite.com/business/tahiti-crew/) offer boat caretaking. I suggest you also try the French Polynesia cruisers facebook page for recommendations. From what I understand, many owners are leaving their boats in Papeete and repatriating. It is definitely worth organizing boat care-taking as incidents of thefts and looting have increased during this difficult time. The cruisers association (Association de Voiliers en Polynesie) is also a good contact – https://www.noonsite.com/business/association-de-voiliers-en-polynesie/. I hope that helps. Do let us know how you get on.

  14. January 17, 2020 at 6:51 PM
    cachalot2 says:

    Hi.. We are looking to spend some time Documenting the marine life throughout F. P.
    Source in Bora Bora has agreed there are restrictions on anchoring in some areas of Tahiti, however we would be very interested in substantiating claims the French authorities are applying this restriction to any other island.
    Correspondence greatly appreciated.

    Mike.

  15. January 9, 2019 at 11:34 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 others 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.

    Chuck
    Jacaranda

  16. November 24, 2018 at 4:08 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 –

  17. November 11, 2018 at 7:38 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.

  18. September 1, 2018 at 7:54 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Reported by Bob Carlisle:

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

    WARNING OF TEMPORARY ANCHORING RESTRICTIONS:

    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.
    W
    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.

  19. August 20, 2018 at 11:44 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

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

  20. August 20, 2018 at 11:42 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 !! Their services are worth every penny and more. They help with check-in, paperwork and pretty much anything you need.

  21. July 18, 2018 at 3:44 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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

  22. May 5, 2018 at 4:00 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 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

    http://www.tahiticruisersguide.com/

  23. January 24, 2018 at 1:45 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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: [email protected]. 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.

  24. January 21, 2018 at 8:01 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

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

  25. December 20, 2017 at 10:42 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.

  26. December 20, 2017 at 10:39 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 travelers (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!

  27. April 28, 2017 at 12:06 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Hi Sue – I recommend your post your offer on the Women Who Sail Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/WomenWhoSail/. There seem to be quite a lot of followers in the Pacific right now actively cruising and I am sure they can guide you accordingly.

  28. April 27, 2017 at 7:25 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    I’ll be flying from San Francisco, California into Papeete 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?

  29. April 14, 2017 at 12:21 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.

  30. February 14, 2017 at 12:08 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 the 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 the UK.

    French Polynesia is arguably one of the most isolated nations on the planet and it would be a surprise if the 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

  31. July 28, 2016 at 9:24 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Nuku Hiva Yacht Services recommendation

    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 recommend them to fellow cruisers, Stefan (Svsanuk.com).

  32. April 14, 2016 at 8:57 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 paperwork 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 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.

    1. June 20, 2019 at 9:59 PM
      chouliha says:

      Because there are only 2 individuals processing visas in Papeete (all paperwork goes to Papeete) there can be delays. We have heard as long as 5 months and short as 2 weeks.

      An option would be to submit the paperwork in Nuka Hiva at the ahute commisionaires office for your carte de sejour and pick it up when you arrive in Tahiti. As long as you have the email from the hc office in Papeete that they have received your paperwork and its in process that will suffice for any query by the Gendarmes. Even when its ready for Pick up Linda has arrived months later with no issues. Having to wait in Marquesas for who know how long can be an issue for many cruisers.

      BTW they are other options which we have documented in our FP Long Stay Visa document found on our website https://www.jacarandajourney.com/other-good-stuff Under French Polynesia

  33. April 14, 2016 at 8:31 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Warning on alcohol reporting to Customs. Customs is back in business utilizing the Navy vessel after losing theirs 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.

  34. December 9, 2015 at 12:13 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 ([email protected]).

    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 Ph.D. 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 sidebar: 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!

  35. November 22, 2015 at 8:50 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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 [email protected]

  36. July 11, 2015 at 8:33 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.

  37. June 11, 2015 at 11:34 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

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

    We are currently cruising French Polynesia and have thoroughly 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 overnight but anchor off the town or pick up a mooring ball overnight. Our suggestion is to go to Taha’a and pick up a moring ball by the old yacht club and spend the night there.

  38. April 27, 2015 at 9:40 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on Women Who Sail Facebook Group – April 25th, 2015

    DINGHY THEFT ALERT… another dinghy was stolen last night in Bora Bora. The 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!

  39. July 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    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.