French Polynesia Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit French Polynesia in 2024
Welcome to French Polynesia

French Polynesia is a group of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is an overseas territory of France, and its capital is Papeete, located on the island of Tahiti. French Polynesia is known for its stunning natural beauty, including white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and lush green mountains. It is a known tourist destination, attracting visitors from all around the world.

Geography:

French Polynesia has a total land area approximately land area of 4,167 square kilometers, and it is among the smallest nations in Europe. French Polynesia comprises 118 islands, grouped into five archipelagos: Society Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago, Gambier Islands, Marquesas Islands, and Austral Islands. The Biggest and most populated island is Tahiti, the economic and political center of French Polynesia. The islands are scattered over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean, covering approximately 4,000,000 square kilometers (1,500,000 square miles).

Climate:

The climate of French Polynesia is tropical, with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The islands experience a wet season from November to April, characterized by heavy rainfall and occasional cyclones. From May to October, the dry season has less rainfall and is generally more relaxed. The average temperature in French Polynesia ranges from 24 to 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

Population:

As of 2023, the estimated population of French Polynesia is around 280,000. Most of the population is of Polynesian descent, mixing French, Chinese, and other ethnicities. The official language is French, and the currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF). Most of the population dwells on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea, with smaller people on other islands. The population of French Polynesia is relatively young, with the median age being around 31 years. The infant mortality rate in the country is low at 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Government:

French Polynesia is an abroad territory of France with a unique political system. It has a locally elected government led by a President and a territorial assembly. The President is the head of the administration and is responsible for governing the territory. However, the President and the territorial assembly have limited powers, as the French government makes most of the defense, foreign affairs, and currency decisions.

Economy:

French Polynesia’s economy largely depends on tourism, pearl farming, and fishing. Tourism is the primary industry, with thousands of visitors visiting the islands each year to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural attractions. Pearl farming is also a significant industry, with French Polynesia being known for its high-quality black pearls. Fishing, particularly tuna fishing, is another important industry, with French Polynesia being one of the world’s most significant tuna fishing territories. Additionally, the French government provides financial assistance to support the economy of French Polynesia.

Languages:

The official language of French Polynesia is French, as it is an overseas territory of France. However, Tahitian, an indigenous Polynesian language, is also widely spoken, and many Polynesians also speak English. Other minority languages in French Polynesia include Marquesan, Tuamotuan, and Paumotu.

Religion:

The majority of the population in French Polynesia practices Christianity, with the majority being Protestant, particularly Protestantism. There is also a notable Roman Catholic minority. Traditional Polynesian religions, based on animism and ancestor worship, are also practiced by some Polynesian communities, particularly in the remote islands.

Culture:

The culture of French Polynesia is a unique blend of Polynesian and French influences. Polynesian traditions, such as dance, music, and crafts, are deeply embedded in the local culture. Traditional Polynesian dance performances featuring graceful movements, colorful costumes, and rhythmic drumming are popular cultural attractions.

Recent History:

In recent history, French Polynesia has experienced changes in its political landscape. In 2004, French Polynesia was granted a higher degree of autonomy, which allowed for more local governance and decision-making. However, political instability has been a challenge, with frequent changes in government and leadership. In 2007, French Polynesia gained full membership status in the Pacific Islands Forum. This regional intergovernmental organization allowed for increased engagement with other Pacific Island nations on regional issues such as climate change, sustainable development, and regional security.

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Before entering the territory of French Polynesia, individuals of Indian nationality need to have a visa. Visas are available at the French Polynesia Embassy or the consulate located in India.

  • Choose the French Guiana visa category you need
  • Pay online
  • Kindly send us your documents using our pick-up and drop-off service
  • Upon approval, receive your visa

  • Tourist visa. Available for all individuals who plan to visit French Polynesia for leisure or sightseeing purposes
  • Business visa. Are for individuals who plan to engage in business activity or investment in French Polynesia
  • Student visa. Visas for individuals who plan to study in French Polynesia for an extended period
  • Work visa. Visa for individuals who plan to work in French Polynesia for an extended period.

The best time preferable for applying French Polynesia visa is 1 to 2 months before the traveling date.

Visa validity in French Polynesia lasts 90 days within the first 180 days.

Generally, short-term visas are not extendable in French Polynesia as they are issued for a short period and cannot be extended. However, long-stay visas such as student visas or work visas may be extended in the country under certain circumstances, which also depend on various factors.

Indian nationals generally need to obtain a visa before their travel to French Polynesia if they intend to visit for tourism, business, work, or any other purpose. They can apply for the visas at the nearest French consulate or Embassy in India.