Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc
French Polynesia is undeniably a dreamy destination – a scattering of islands in the South Pacific boasting lush fertile hills, dazzling turquoise waters and coral atolls teeming with exotic marine life. The beauty of such an idyllic retreat is that visitors can do as much or as little as they please. For the more active, there are a host of activities on offer including scuba-diving in the magical lagoons or catching some waves off the shores of the vast, sandy beaches. For those seeking relaxation, the overwater bungalows and private plunge pools of the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora are the epitome of laid-back luxury. The St. Regis Bora Bora offers intimate villas and its own bridal boutique, making it the perfect choice for a wedding, honeymoon or simply a romantic escape.
Mount Otemanu is an extinct volcano best seen via an off-road 4x4 tour to the top of the mountain which takes visitors across rugged terrain, providing breathtaking views of the lush vegetation and sparkling lagoons below. Alternatively, jet-ski tours provide an adrenaline-fuelled view of the imposing peak from a different perspective.
Bora Bora is a diver’s paradise and there are various well-established centres across the island. Among the most spectacular diving sites are Tapu – a classic shark dive teeming with lemon sharks and black tipped reef sharks, the White Valley – a stunningly transparent lagoon where divers can see turtles, dolphins and parrotfish and Point Matira - where exotic species of ray congregate.
For those wishing to explore French Polynesia’s fascinating military history, the ‘guns of Bora Bora’ are impressive, giant cannons strategically placed around the island. They were installed by the United States of America during WWII to defend against Japanese invasion. Visitors can seek out these often hidden relics on tours led by knowledgeable guides.
An authentic shopping experience in French Polynesia is likely to centre around the famous Tahitian pearls, which are found in many boutique jewellery stores in which shoppers can purchase unique items and also learn more about the pearl farming and selection process. Visitors can also pick up a variety of locally made goods including colourful fabrics, wood carvings, woven hats and coconut oil products.
Naturally, French Polynesia’s cuisine is largely based around exotic fruits, fresh fish and vegetables, which are in abundance. Poisson Cru is a local delicacy consisting of raw fish marinated in fresh lime juice and coconut milk. French Polynesia is something of a melting pot of different culinary influences, yet retains a distinctly French feel, reflected in the popularity of rich, meaty dishes and creamy, vanilla-based desserts.
Despite colonial influences bringing aspects of Western culture to French Polynesia, the native people retain many traditions including rhythmic dance involving costumes and musical instruments hand-crafted from natural materials. Travellers can visit the Marae – sacred stone structures where the Maohi people once worshipped the gods, and witness ancient Polynesian crafts and rituals at the islands’ many festivals.
French Polynesia is probably at its best between May and October. From November through to April you can expect slightly higher temperatures and humidity with intermittent showers not unlikely.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for French Polynesia.
Air New Zealand from London Heathrow, via Los Angeles, Hong King or Auckland; British Airways from London Heathrow, via Los Angeles or Hong Kong; Qantas from London Heathrow, via Sydney with onward connecting flights to French Polynesia.
From London Heathrow to Papeete: 22 hours (excludes touchdown time in Los Angeles).
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.