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French Polynesia Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: verseas Lands of French Polynesia
Capital City: Papeete
Language Spoken: French 61.1% (official), Polynesian 31.4% (official), Asian languages 1.2%, other 0.3%, unspecified 6% (2002 census)

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Geographic data

15 00 S, 140 00 W

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Mont Orohena 2,241 m

Land boundaries

0 km

Natural hazards

occasional cyclonic storms in January

Natural resources

timber, fish, cobalt, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 0.75% permanent crops: 5.5% other: 93.75% (2005)

Environmental current issues

NA

Climate

Temperate, but cooled by sea breezes. Two main seasons: humid (hot and wet) from November to March, cool and dry from April to October. Required clothing Lightweight cottons and linens are worn, with a warm layer for cooler evenings. Rainwear is advisable.

Time difference

time difference: UTC-10

Population

274,578 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.1% (male 36,541/female 34,999) 15-64 years: 67.9% (male 96,769/female 89,593) 65 years and over: 6.1% (male 8,428/female 8,248) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 27.9 years male: 28.2 years female: 27.5 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

1.48% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

16.68 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

4.69 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

2.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.1 years male: 73.69 years female: 78.63 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.01 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

French Polynesia has a moderately developed economy, which is dependent on heavily taxed imported goods, tourism, and the financial assistance of mainland France. Business meetings are generally casual and friendly. Business lunches are rare as most businessmen go home at lunchtime. Offices and shops are usually open from 8 am to 12 noon and from 1.30 PM to 5 or 5.30 PM. In the suburbs, smaller family corner stores may not close until 10 PM. Shops close at 11 am on Saturdays. Banking hours are 7:45 am to 3:30 PM Monday to Friday, and some banks are open on Saturday from 7:45 to 11:30 am.

Crime

There are no known threats to foreigners traveling to French Polynesia. However, petty crimes such as pick pocketing and purse snatching do occur. Travelers are advised to take precautions such as guarding personal belongings and avoiding crowded areas such as markets and transportation hubs.

Hotels

Accommodations vary from air-conditioned, carpeted, deluxe rooms with telephones and room service, to thatched-roofed bungalows called "pensions" where the bathroom is shared and may be outdoors with cold showers. Luxury hotels include the Hotel Bora Bora, the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort.

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available in the country and the country code is 689. The telephone system in Tahiti is excellent and very hi-tech. There are many public phones all over town and most of them are operated with phone cards ( telecarte ) which can be purchased at the airport coffee shop, in some bars (bar- tabacs), at some magazine stands and of course at the Post Office. These phone cards are priced according to time unites preloaded in a microchip embedded in the card. The phone box debits the card and tells you how many units you have left as you are talking. There are cards priced at 1, 2 and 5 thousand Pacific Francs depending on the number of units. The standard current is 220 volts AC with European-style plugs.

Electricity

110/220 volts AC, 60Hz. US-style two-pin plugs are in use.

Plug Types

Food And Dining

All the classified hotels have good restaurants. Chinese, French, Italian and Vietnamese food is served, as well as the Polynesian specialties; Papeete is noted for Chinese and French cuisine. Tahitian food can be found in some hotels. Trucks or lunch wagons parked on the waterfront sell steak, chips, chicken, poisson cru, brochettes and shish kebabs. A full range of alcoholic drinks are available. Things to know: A key to how expensive a restaurant will be is often indicated by dollar signs; for instance, $$$$ will indicate an expensive restaurant, whereas $ will indicate a budget restaurant.
National specialties:
? Smoked breadfruit.
? Mountain bananas.
? Fafa (spinach) served with young suckling pig.
? Poisson cru (marinated fish, for example raw tuna served with coconut cream and limes).
? Poe (starchy pudding made of papaya, mango and banana). National drinks:
? Noni Juice comes from the Noni tree and is famous for its health-enhancing effects.
? Hinano is the beer of Tahiti.
Tipping:
In general not practiced but tolerated, since it is contrary to the Tahitian idea of hospitality.
Nightlife
Papeete is full of life in the evenings with many restaurants and nightclubs. Most hotels feature Tahitian dance shows, bands and other traditional entertainment.

Entry departure requirements

* Please see notes within Passport section

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least three months beyond applicant's last day of stay required by all except the following:
1. nationals of France, providing they are traveling from other French Overseas Territories in the Pacific with a National Identity Card or an expired passport (maximum five years).

Visas

Required by all except the following:
(a) nationals of countries referred to in the chart above: 2. for stays up to three months; 3. for stays of up to one month; 4. for stays of up to three months; except 5. nationals of France who can stay for an unlimited period;
(b) nationals of Andorra, Brazil, Bulgaria, Holy See, Hong Kong (SAR), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macau (SAR), Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland for stays of up to three months;
(c) nationals of Argentina, Bolivia, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Korea (Rep), Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Singapore and Uruguay for up to one month;
(d) transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.

Types of visa and cost

All visas, regardless of duration of stay and number of entries permitted, cost US$41 In most circumstances, no fee applies to students, recipients of government fellowships and citizens of the EU and their family members.

Validity

Short-stay visas (up to 30 days): valid for two months (single- and multiple-entry). Short stay visas (31 to 90 days and double- or multiple-entry): valid for a maximum of six months from date of issue. Transit visas: valid for single- or multiple-entries of maximum five days per entry, including the day of arrival.

Application to

French Consulate General (for personal visas), or Consular section at Embassy (for diplomatic or service visas); see Passport/Visa Information for France. All applications must be made in person.

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport with blank page to affix the visa. Minors traveling alone must submit notarized parental authorization, signed by both parents, plus one copy. (b) Up to two completed application forms. (c) One passport-size photo on each form. (d) Fee, to be paid in cash or credit card (American Express and Diners Club are not accepted). (e) Evidence of sufficient funds for stay. (f) Letter from employer, or proof of stay in country of residence. (g) Proof of address. (h) Medical insurance. (i) Return ticket and travel documents for remaining journey. (j) Proof of accommodation during stay. (k) Detailed itinerary, including reservations and round-trip airline tickets (only required when visa is issued), plus one copy. (l) Proof of employment (eg last payslip or letter from employer). (m) Proof of valid health/travel insurance with worldwide coverage, plus copy. Business: (a)-(m) and, (n) Business invitation guaranteeing payment of travel expenses, plus one copy.

Working days required

One day to three weeks depending on nationality.

Temporary residence

If intending to work or stay for longer than 90 days, nationals should contact the long stay visa section of the Consulate General or Embassy (tel: (020) 7073 1248).

HIV entry requirements

No Test required

Departure tax

None

Embassies

Embassy of The French Republic in the UK

58 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JT, UK
Tel: (020) 7073 1000.
Website: www.ambafrance-uk.org

French Consulate General in the UK

21 Cromwell Road, London SW7 2EN, UK
Visa section: 6A Cromwell Place, London SW7 2EW, UK
Tel: (020) 7073 1200 (Consular section) or 1250 (visa section) or 7073 1295 (visa applications in progress; 1500-1700 only) or (09065) 508 940 (visa information service; calls cost ?1 per minute) or 266 654 (24-hour visa application form request service; calls cost ?1.50 per minute) or 540 700 (24-hour automated visa appointment booking service).
Website: www.ambafrance-uk.org or www.consulfrance-londres.org

Embassy of the French Republic in the USA

4101 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Tel: (202) 944 6195.
Website: www.ambafrance-us.org or www.consulfrance-washington.org (Consular section).
Most visits to French Polynesia are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html

Currency

French Pacific Franc (XPF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of XPF10,000, 5000, 1000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of XPF100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. The French Pacific Franc is tied to the Euro.

Currency restrictions

See France section.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0745-1530. Some are open Saturday 0745-1130.

Currency exchange

Exchange facilities are available at the airport, major banks and at authorized hotels and shops in Papeete.

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are all accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available. ATMs are common on Tahiti, with a few on the smaller islands.

Travellers cheques

The recommended means of importing foreign currency. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Euros.

N/A

  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment in French Polynesia as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available is often out of date or heat damaged.

Blood supplies

Blood supplies may be screened but not to international standards and should therefore be considered unsafe.

Medical facilities

Medical treatment is generally good on the major islands, but is limited in areas that are more remote or less populated. Patients with emergencies or with serious illnesses are often referred to facilities on Tahiti for treatment. In Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, two major hospitals as well as several private clinics provide 24-hour medical service.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Hazards to bathers include corals and jellyfish, poisonous fish, and sea snakes.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Dengue fever - occurs Dengue hemorrhagic fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Food-borne and water-borne illness: diseases such as the diarrheal diseases, the typhoid fevers and helminthic infections are common. Biointoxication may occur from raw or cooked fish and shellfish. Other hazards: High levels of immunization coverage have reduced the incidence of diseases such as measles and diphtheria. Influenza risk extends throughout the year.

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Centre Hospitalier TerritorialAvenue Georges Clemenceau Mamao Tahiti 98713
Clinique Cardella11 rue Anne Marie Javouhey Papeete Tahiti 98713
Clinique PaofaiBoulevard Pomare Papeete Tahiti 98713

Media

There is an English-language weekly, the Tahiti Beach Press. BBC World Service frequencies are MHz 15.36; 12.08; 11.96; 9.740 and Voice of America frequencies are MHz 15.19; 11.87; 9.525; 5.985. From time to time these change.

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