French Polynesia
by Witta Priester and Richard Baughn

Money Saving Tips

French Polynesia is very expensive. So you want to try to save money where you can. Remember to bring bug spray, suntan lotion and other essentials from home; everything costs 2 to 4 times as much here. Here are some other tips:

Fish in WaterThe fish are plentiful; if you can catch them, dinner is cheap. Consider checking into your hotel early. Our plane arrived at 2:00 a.m. We got to the hotel at 3, and they "didn't have a room ready", so we just wandered around. The lights on the grounds and trees were beautiful, as were the stars and full moon overhead. We found the pool mats and napped on the poolside lounges. By 5, the hotel attendant had a room ready and checked us in (way early). Savings: $220.

We got a great deal from Air Tahiti, which must be booked locally from an Air Tahiti office. It cost us $180 each to fly from Tahiti to three other islands, Huahine, Bora Bora, and Moorea, and return to Tahiti. (Normally the Bora Bora round-trip alone is $220.) The airline also organized rooms (with free airport transfers) at some very nice mid-priced hotels for $72/day, 50% or more off the hotel rack rate. The free transfer to our hotel in Huahine was worth $36.

Ask for a discount. Sometimes you can get 5% or more off of a land or sea package just by asking!

One other tip, we've been told that the weather is best in June and July, though that's when all the honeymooners come, so everything is more crowded. We apparently lucked out as we didn't have but a few sprinkles here and there during our November / December trip. This was the 3rd draught year in a row, so it's bound to be cyclone season one of these Christmases! Be prepared for rain, or come after March.

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Text and Photography by Witta Priester and Richard Baughn.
Copyright © 1999-2000 Witta Priester and Richard Baughn.
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