Maupiti is the last of the Leeward Islands. Despite its remoteness, it remains well connected to the rest of French Polynesia. Here are the steps to go to Maupiti and optimize your stay.
Step 1: Fly to French Polynesia
Flights From Europe
Several companies offer daily flights from Paris Charles-De-Gaulle and Paris Orly airports. These flights are not direct: a stopover in Tahiti is necessary. The flight takes about 20 hours.
For round-trip fares, prices vary from 1000 to $2500, with a sharp increase during July and August. The choice of departure date is extremely important. Bringing your trip forward by two days can sometimes save up to half the price of the plane ticket.
Transit on North American Territory
Air Tahiti Nui plans a stopover in Canada, in Toronto or Vancouver. On the other hand, its competitor French Bee transits via San Francisco or Los Angeles. For flights with a technical stopover in the United States, an electronic travel authorization (ESTA) is mandatory, or else you will be refused access to the plane in Paris. Travelers will not be checked by U.S. immigration authorities as they are in transit to their final destination. Moreover, they will not be able to leave the airport or even get off the plane.
The ESTA is an administrative measure, mandatory and not free of charge, necessary to enter the United States. An online application must be made at least one week before departure. The cost does not exceed $20 and payment is made by credit card or PayPal account.
Flights From the United States
Regular flights to French Polynesia depart from Los Angeles and San Francisco airports, California. United Airlines operates direct flights almost daily. It takes about 8 hours to fly to French Polynesia from the West Coast. For round trip fares, prices range from 800 to $1,600. Prices are more expensive during the high season.
About requirements and travel documents, Citizens from the United States, Canada or New Zealand, only need a regular passport valid for at least three months after the date of return. Stays longer than 90 days require a visa. No other certification or electronic travel authorization will be required by the French authorities at Tahiti International Airport.
Step 2: Stay in Papeete Before Getting to Maupiti
The arrival at Tahiti Faa’a International Airport will be the occasion of a first Polynesian impression. It is to the sound of the ukulele that visitors receive their first flower necklace as a sign of welcome.
Before going to Maupiti, remember to do your last shopping. You can also take advantage of the stopover in Tahiti to discover the city of Papeete with the crowds, the stores and the restaurants.
Taking Pacific Francs to the Bank
In Papeete, travelers can stock up on enough cash to avoid being caught off guard later on. Indeed, there is no bank or ATM on Maupiti. In addition, guesthouses on the island rarely accept credit cards (American Express, MasterCard, etc.). Knowing that the Pacific franc is preferred to the US Dollar (and even to the Euro currency), plan on a base of 100,000 cfp (about $1,000) for three days/nights for two people on the island.
Last Minute Shopping: Pharmacy, Drugstore & Supermarket
A visit to the shops in Papeete will allow you to stock up on sun cream and mosquito repellent. On Maupiti, in case of rain showers and on the motus, mosquitoes become a permanent nuisance. A good protection is necessary. Remember to take water shoes that fit you. This is an essential purchase for anyone who wants to venture into the lagoon without risking injury.
The main grocery store on Maupiti depends on a hazardous supply. It’s time to plan for the little treats that are essential to your stay. Besides, prices will always be lower in Papeete: you might as well take advantage of it.
Step 3: Arrival on Maupiti
There are no sea shuttles from Papeete. Finding a flight to Maupiti requires that you plan well in advance. This last plane ride is not only short but also very impressive. The propeller plane flies over the Leeward Islands, offering magnificent visuals. The airport is also impressive, as the ends of the runway touch both the ocean and the lagoon.
Maupiti’s airfield is located on a motu. Once your luggage has been retrieved, you will take a sea shuttle to the main island. It costs about 4€ per person. Payment is made when you get on the boat. It is customary for the hosts to pick up the travelers by car at the pier. Remember to keep your guesthouse informed of the arrival time at the airfield so that your host can make arrangements to pick you up. Your Maupiti vacation can begin.
After Maupiti, Which Islands to Visit?
Want to continue the trip? You can include Maupiti in a multi-destination itinerary in French Polynesia. How about visiting the vanilla plantations in Tahaa or admiring the landscapes of Bora Bora? Contact us to receive our advice and selected itineraries.