Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
My first trip to Polynesia, in 2012, made me want to go back (sigh) But the plane ticket is not given and given the duration of the flight, it is better to have a little time in front of you. Here are some practical information to remember.
Find a flight
More than 20 hours of flight from Paris! The word long-haul makes sense... At the time I made this trip (October 2012), Papeete was served from France by Air Tahiti Nui (via Los Angeles) and Air France (via Los Angeles and sometimes other stops like Detroit or New York).
On Air Tahiti Nui, the call price for a round trip at the time of publishing this article was €1,795... 😲 Yes, that's definitely another budget than my usual destinations in Asia (which are more like €500 to €800 on average, depending on periods and promotions, for a Paris-Jakarta round trip for example).
Another alternative to fly to Polynesia from Europe: leave from London with Air New Zealand (I found a return ticket at 1 579 €). Otherwise, there is the good deal of "round the world" tickets with a stopover in Papeete: for ± 2 500 €, you can visit several continents!
UPDATE 2018.Note that since 2018, prices of Paris-Papeete flights tend to drop, Air Tahiti Nui and Air France having lost their quasi-monopoly position, with the new competition the company FrenchBee (note that this is low-cost, so the prices shown for a round-trip ticket around €1,100 are generally without options, such as checked baggage or meals). This downward trend should continue with the recent arrival of United Airlines. You can visit the Facebook page Aviation Geeks Tahitiwhich regularly monitors the evolution of fares of companies serving Polynesia.
When to go?
The high tourist season in Polynesia corresponds to our July-August holidays, but over there it's summer all year round! Roughly speaking, there are two seasons: a dry season from March to November, considered more pleasant, with temperatures between 22 and 27°C; a hotter wet season, from December to February, between 25 and 35°C.
In the Australes and Gambier, located very far south, it is cooler and wetter: it is best to visit them during the less rainy months, between May and November.
Budget on site
To stay at not too expensive, I recommend family pensions. I tested during my stay of 2012 it's simple, but super-sympa. The rates are around 80-100€ in half-board. Then there are the more luxurious hotels, villa rentals, etc. for which the flight + hotel packages are often more interesting.
Beware, in Polynesia, everything is much more expensive than in France, from everyday products to tourist activities. Plan also for inter-island travel by plane: it is better to optimize your itinerary, with the "passes" of the domestic airline Air Tahiti allowing to combine several islands.