Money goes fast in Tahiti and ALL the islands! Second only to Japan, French Polynesia has the next highest cost of living in the world, and if you haven’t experienced it, it can be quite disconcerting. It really takes planning and a little self discipline if you want to live within your means, otherwise when you get home, you’re going to be looking at a stiff credit card bill!
Some thoughts: If you’ve got a lot of money: Just go have fun! Buy whatever you want, stay wherever looks good, and eat where you want…Don’t skimp because livin’ it up in Tahiti is good fun! If you’ve got limited amounts of money: Try and restrain yourself when it comes to random purchases. Stay out of the hotel gift shops! Support local artists or craftspeople when you can. When you rent a car, get a “Panda”, not a Honda… Stay at mid-range Pensions or family run accomodations, as opposed to the top end luxury resorts… Eat at the road side “trucks”, or smaller restaurants, or shop at the grocery stores. (The Supermercados- really, the cheapest way to go…) Also, don’t be afraid to ask to see a menu’s prices before committing…eat lots of baguette.
Lastly, if you’re really poor or broke, or super worried about spending money: Don’t go to French Polynesia.
Very wise to bring one… Not only will it give you peace of mind in case you’ve not properly managed your cash flow, but it comes in handy time after time. Most hotels want an imprint (deposit) from your card. Car Rentals, Activities, etc, also will usually ask for your cards imprint (they dont charge it, unless you run off). By having the card, your cash stays more handy. Thats a good thing… Also, another MAJOR benefit to using your card is that you get a way better exchange rate on purchases, including cash draws from the bank if you need one. (See the next note on exchange rate for more details.)
EXCHANGE RATE & CHANGING MONEY:
The exchange rate between Pacific Francs and US dollars is ROUGHLY 100 xpf (otherwise known as cfp, or French Pacific Francs) for every 1 US dollar. The EXACT rate varies from day to day and can be found byclicking here.
Note on quick figuring (for the American dollar): One way to quickly figure the exchange is to drop a zero and divide by 10 in your head, although this seems to confuse some people. Others bring calculators… The thing to know is with the information on this page you should be able to figure out any exchange in your own way if you know the current banking rate. Once you get used to it, it’s pretty easy.
(Note: Our linking conversion table lists just about every type of currency in the world. If you live in a country thats actually NOT on our conversion table’s list, we don’t know what to tell you, except to suggest comparing your currency with the US dollar or the Euro, since they only types of currency accepted in French Polynesia other than the Franc.)
Obviously, the thing to try and do is get the best exchange rate for your dollars, no matter where you’re from, BEFORE you travel, or you’ll have to take whatever rates the banks in Papeete hand out. (Papeete banks offer better rates than the outer islands.) Surprisingly, the airport exchange booth offers good rates of transfer… (at least in LAX it does, where the majority of flights to French Poly originate from). Get some of your bucks exchanged at your local bank, or the airport. If you have time to make the calls, find out who’s giving more. When in Tahiti, the banks will be competitive with each other, and possibly a little worse (?) than your bank at home. This all depends on random things concerning banking and daily exchange rates.
Most important to know is this: THE HOTELS WILL ALL CHANGE MONEY FOR YOU, BUT THEY CHARGE A LOT FOR THE SERVICE. Avoid them if you can…
Also, good to know is: Credit card purchases you make in Tahiti offer REALLY GOOD EXCHANGE RATES! – Even better than your banks’, so if you don’t have a fear of using your credit card, this is a great way to go. (Just be sure and pay your card back asap when you return!)
The last cool tip on saving money is to take advantage of our TAHITI EZ PRINT COUPONS. They actually work. Remember: French Polynesians don’t “negotiate” or barter with their published prices… These coupons are worth cold, hard cash! *For a quick glance at our coupon participants, go here now!
Fortunately, making telephone calls on Tahiti’s Islands is pretty easy and inexpensive! The french phone companies have developed a rather good public system: Dispersed in good numbers throughout the islands are phone booths utilizing a “card system”. Just insert your card into the slot, and you can easily call island to island for local rates (inexpensive). You won’t have to know french, or bang your head on the booth wall trying to connect to an operator you don’t understand…
Just about all hotels and many businesses, (and randomly placed along main roads), have a phone for you to use utilizing this card system.
GET YOUR PHONE CARDS AT THE POST OFFICES FOR THE BEST DEALS! This is where they are officially distributed. Hotels and businesses will all sell you cards, but you’ll pay more. CARD PRICES are organized by different time allotments. Standard (post office rates) are 60 minutes for 2,000 cfp (around 20.00), or you can opt for less minutes for less cash.
Ahhh, the dreaded Mosquitos….the insect we all love to hate… and Tahiti and all her islands all have to share! (and other little biters too). Yes, its true, but it depends on where you are of course. They are no worse here than other areas of the world, they only “seem” worse because they’re often reminding you that even “paradise” isn’t perfect- and how dare they mess with your perfect vacation in paradise!? The coastlines help because of the breezes. Anytime the wind blows you’re basically allright. Stay away from the jungles if you’re tender. Bring lots of Mosquito repellent. Avon’s “Skin So Soft” lotion works good, and doesn’t make you smell like a toxic waste dump…
If you’re going camping, just prepare for them like any other backpacker would, make sure your tent zipper works good, and deal with them… The locals are used to them and don’t even use repellent. They seem to accept them for what they are: biting little pests that are part of the fabric of life. They burn a lot of incensce!
It seems there is really no “good or bad season” for these little buggers, but if anybody knows differently, please inform us of your insect knowledge.