Exceptional landscapes, verdant mountains, marvellous lagoons, white sandy beaches, not to mention a unique and generous culture: that’s what Tahiti and her islands have to offer! This island paradise comes at a price. How much does a trip to French Polynesia cost? Let’s find out and explore the treasures of the South Pacific.
Book International and Inter-Island Flights
Find an International Flight
To begin your exploration of the various Polynesian archipelagos, you’ll first need to find an international flight to Tahiti. These flights take off from Paris for Europe, or from Los Angeles and San Francisco for North America. Depending on the season, prices rise sharply. Added to these costs, of course, are transportation and any connections from your place of residence.
Between November and May, the austral summer is characterized by wet conditions and high temperatures. This is also the low tourist season. Round-trip economy tickets start at around $850 from Paris and $530 from North American cities. However, with the onset of the austral winter and the high tourist season, fares soar, peaking in July and August. A round-trip ticket can cost over $2,100 from Paris and over $1,100 from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
If you want to save money on flights, it’s important to know the best time to visit French Polynesia. However, the cheapest periods are also those when weather conditions are least favorable. Don’t spoil your Polynesian experience, and if you can’t leave in August, September and October are a cheaper and equally enjoyable alternative.
Choosing an Itinerary in French Polynesia
French Polynesia comprises five archipelagos, covering a territory as vast as continental Europe. It’s a safe bet that your Polynesian experience won’t be limited to Tahiti, and you’ll be sure to visit a few more islands. Set off on your domestic flights and discover the magic of the Air Tahiti Pass! Thanks to a series of combined flights, you’ll be able to hop from island to island and enjoy the diversity of landscapes and local cultures even more.
Depending on the season and the number of islands and archipelagos you wish to visit, the price of an Air Tahiti Pass can reach almost $800 per person. Some formulas are more affordable, but with a limited number of destinations. These more limited offers are in fact an excellent compromise for a first experience of the islands, focusing in particular on the Society Archipelago. Expect to pay around $500 in high season.
To further reduce transportation costs, you can also concentrate your entire trip on Tahiti and Moorea. These twin islands are brimming with natural treasures and offer a truly immersive snapshot of Polynesia. Here, domestic flights are replaced by journeys aboard the fast and very inexpensive Tahiti-Moorea shuttle.
Type of Stay : Adventure, Discovery, Honeymoon
Defining an Itinerary in French Polynesia
How much does a trip to French Polynesia cost? It also depends on the type of experience you’re looking for. The total price will be significantly different depending on whether you’re traveling alone, as a couple or as a family. Above all, it’s important to define the nature of your stay. The trip may be all-inclusive, or it may leave you free to choose your own hotels and activities. What do you hope to find and experience in the islands?
Some people go to French Polynesia to discover extraordinary landscapes. The azure waters of the lagoon and the white sandy beaches of Maupiti or Raivavae will be more than enough to satisfy them. Others prefer discovery and immersion, heading to Huahine, Nuku Hiva or staying in Tahiti. Their stay will be punctuated by numerous excursions, notably sporting and cultural. Among them, scuba diving enthusiasts will choose the archipelago’s most famous spots: Fakarava or Rangiroa. Finally, those in love will opt for an intimate and romantic experience, as in Bora Bora and Tahaa. Of course, each type of stay entails different costs.
It’s worth remembering that the average length of a stay in French Polynesia is two weeks for people coming from North America and three weeks for people arriving from Europe. For many French people, this difference is partly explained by the length of the journey and the magic of the islands in the collective imagination: it’s the trip of a lifetime. It’s a good idea to take your time, and budget accordingly.
Accomodation in French Polynesia fall into three main categories: hotels, guesthouses and rental accommodation. Each type of accommodation has its own range, from the most basic to the most superlative. As the local economy is heavily dependent on tourism, the islands have sufficient hotel capacity of satisfactory quality. However, it is advisable to make reservations well in advance to access the accommodation offering the best quality/price ratio.
Prices vary according to the services offered by the chosen accommodation, as well as its geographical location. The average cost of a double room is around $270 in a hotel and $160 in a guesthouse. However, accommodation in a bungalow on stilts can quickly exceed $850 per night and more. In this respect, some islands charge higher prices than others, notably Bora Bora and Tahaa, two favored honeymoon destinations.
Conversely, other more remote islands only offer guesthouse accommodation. These are mainly the Tuamotu archipelago, the Marquesas and the Australs, as well as the island of Maupiti in the Society archipelago. Immersion is total, but what you gain in authenticity, you lose in autonomy. Last but not least, the rental housing solution is a great way to save money, and will appeal to families in search of a home base. On the other hand, this is a long-term model (at least five or six days), and is not suitable for those wishing to visit several islands.
A Self-Sufficient Destination
Flights and accommodation account for two-thirds of the total cost of a trip to French Polynesia. Then there’s the cost of food and drink and the little extras. Fortunately, many people regard the Polynesian islands as a finished product. Their natural beauty is already an experience in its own right: unique and wonderful.
In French Polynesia, hiking, public beaches and snorkeling in the lagoons are all activities that come at no extra cost. Depending on the mood of the day, you can walk up the Route des Ananas in Moorea, cross the Maupiti lagoon or simply spend a lovely day on Matira beach in Bora Bora! This economical way is a great way to enjoy the best that French Polynesia has to offer, namely its magnificent landscapes and generous nature!
However, if your accommodation is a little out of the way and far from the centers of interest, you’ll need a means of transport. This is especially the case in Tahiti (excluding Papeete), Moorea and Huahine on the one hand, and in Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas on the other. A rental car can cost up to $80 a day. That’s why it’s essential to choose well-located accommodation with quick access to the beach.
Budgeting for Activities
All free activities can be enhanced by guided tours and excursions. Indeed, some sites and experiences can only be enjoyed in the company of professionals in tourism and wildlife. While we recommend a number of outings during your stay, it’s a good idea to leave plenty of time for relaxation. It’s best to plan two excursions on each island you visit.
Count on an average budget of $160 per person per day excursion. The advantages are many. Firstly, transfers to and from your accommodation are usually included in the price, as is lunch. Secondly, you’ll get to know exuberant nature and local legends in the company of caring people. Finally, it’s the best way to acclimatize to island life.
Among the essentials not to be missed are boat trips on the lagoon in Bora Bora or Huahine; whale watching in Moorea or Rurutu; visits to the marae in Raiatea or Hiva Oa; or excursions to Rangiroa’s Blue Lagoon. In other words, organized tours save time and organization for a result that will exceed all your expectations. Why not plan your itinerary around the things to do in French Polynesia?
How Much Does a Trip to French Polynesia Cost?
Based on a two-week stay, let’s draw up a tour of four islands, including accommodation, food and activities. The true price of a trip to French Polynesia is approximately :
- All comfort in high season: $17,000 per couple
- All comfort in low season: $12,700
- Economy in high season: $10,500
- Economy in low season: $6,400
All costs are variable, but this basic estimate reflects fairly well the disparities between seasons. To this must be added any travel to outlying archipelagos. In this case, the overall cost must be revised upwards. Consequently, the two main questions when planning a trip to French Polynesia are accommodation and itinerary. Contact us to plan your trip to the islands of the South Pacific.