What Kind of Shopping Is There? What Souvenirs Should I Buy?
Among Tahiti's most popular products are black pearls, tiare and coconut soaps, monoi oil, vanilla beans, shell leis, wood carvings, woven hats and baskets, and the colorful hand dyed pareu fabric worn by the island natives. The Papeete public market is a favorite with visitors. Shops usually open about 7:30am and close at 5:30pm (Noon on Saturdays) but there is always a long lunch hour. Except in hotels, all shops are usually closed on Sundays.
How Do I Get Around?
The most inexpensive and common form of transportation is the public bus system. On Tahiti there are now two types of buses: the open-air trucks called Le Truck and the RTC large white coaches. Both operating frequently in Papeete and around the island. Le Truck also operates on most other islands. Taxis can be hired at most hotels, airports, and ferry terminals. For scenic tours around the islands, try escorted excursions by boat, 4x4 safari, bus, or helicopter.
What Is the Time Difference?
The islands are just two hours behind Pacific Standard Time. During Daylight-Saving Time (April to late October) they are three hours behind. Time in the Marquesas is half an hour ahead of the rest of the islands.
What Should I Wear?
The climate and lifestyle on the islands call for casual and comfortable clothing. Pack loose-fitting, natural fabrics and plenty of shorts. Pareus and swimsuits can be worn during the daytime at the resorts, while casual shirts and walking shorts provide the most comfort during island explorations. For dinner, casual slacks and sport shirts are the best choice for men while cool sundresses are most appropriate for women.
What Are the Essentials to Bring?
Sunscreen, brimmed hats, sunglasses, swimsuits, reef-walking shoes, bug repellent, prescription medicine, and a camera with plenty of film.
Is the Water Safe to Drink?
Tap water is good in most hotels and restaurants. Bottled water is also available everywhere in stores, markets, and hotels
Do I Need Health Certifications?
No shots or certifications are required from North America. Regardless of the traveler's nationality, entry from an infected area of the world as defined by the World Health Organization requires certifications.
What Is the Voltage?
Hotels use either 110 or 220 volts, depending on the location. A converter/adapter is often required for appliances you bring, including computers
Will I Need to Exchange Money?
Upon arrival most visitors exchange some money at the airport or at their hotels. Since most credit cards are readily accepted in all tourist areas, it is not necessary to exchange large amounts. The currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF).
Will I Need a Passport/Visa?
A valid passport and a roundtrip or return ticket are required for all visitors entering Tahiti. Visas are not required for North American citizens for stays of less than one month.
Is English Spoken?
French and Tahitian are the official languages, but English is spoken and understood in tourist areas. Brushing up on a few basic French phrases and learning Tahitian greetings are appreciated.
What About Tipping?
Tipping is not customary in Polynesian culture and is not expected. However, tipping is welcomed for exemplary service.
What Are the Seasons and Climate?
Cooled by gentle ocean breezes, the climate is ideal. Being tropical but moderate, the climate features sunny, pleasant days and an average yearly air and water temperature of 80∞F. Summer is from November through April, when the climate is slightly warmer and more humid. Winter is from May through October, when the the climate is slightly cooler and dryer.