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French Polynesia Travel Guide

French Polynesia is one of the Pacific’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s made up of 118 islands covering over 6,400 square kilometers. Soaring volcanic peaks, rugged cliffs, and emerald lagoons provide some of the South Pacific’s most spectacular scenery. These islands are where you find those picturesque bungalows on stilts over blue lagoons. It’s a tropical paradise. Due to their remoteness and their appeal to celebrities and honeymooners, the islands are an expensive destination to visit. It’s hard to travel here on a budget, but if you have the money, you won’t regret making the trip!

Typical Costs

Accommodation – A night in a hostel dorm will cost around 3,000 XPF while a private room will cost closer to 9,000 XPF per night. There are not a lot of hostels in French Polynesia, so be sure to book in advance. While WiFi may not be common, free breakfast usually is. Cheap hotels and bungalows can be found for as little as 6,000 XPF per night, however, 10,000 XPF is more common (most hotels will actually cost over 20,000 XPF per night). Free breakfast is usually included, and free WiFi is more common here than at hostels. Airbnb is an option in French Polynesia, though there are not a lot of properties available. For shared accommodation, prices begin around 4,000 XPF per night. For an entire home or apartment, expect to pay 6,500 XPF per night. Camping is available on many of the islands, but don’t expect full-blown campgrounds. For those with a tent, some hostels and guesthouses will simply allow you pitch your tent for around 1,800 XPF per night.

Food – By eating from the local snack bars on the road, you can expect to pay around 1,100 XPF per day for food. A meal in a casual restaurant will cost around 2,300 XPF. If you eat at the resorts and hotels, you’ll pay at least 2,700 XPF or more for a meal. For a meal at an upscale restaurant, expect to pay around 4,500 XPF. Fast food will cost around 1,000 XPF while a beer will cost around 600 XPF. If you plan on buying your own groceries, expect to spend at least 8,000-10,000 XPF per week (probably more) on food.

Transportation – A bus ticket around the island costs around 215 XPF. An island-hopping air pass is a good option if you’re planning to explore a few of the islands. These vary in price according to which islands you want to visit but start at around 36,000 XPF from Air Tahiti. Getting to/from the area isn’t cheap, with flights from Chile costing almost 55,000 XPF, round trip. Expect to pay at least 75,000 XPF for a round-trip ticket to/from New Zealand.

Activities – Diving and other day water activities start at around 11,000 XPF, with a two-tank dive starting around 15,000 XPF.

Suggested daily budget – 10,000-40,000 XPF / $90-350 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher! This country is pretty expensive and there’s a huge possible range in prices so that’s why the suggested budget varies so much!)

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