French Polynesia Transportation Tips by Kakapo2
French Polynesia Transportation: 44 reviews and 36 photos
A cargo ship getting into the port of Papeete.
Air Tahiti flies to 27 islands – which includes all biggies of the Society Islands, and also Rarotonga (but this only during very limited periods), the main island of the Cook Islands. Travel starts at Faa’a Airport in Papeete.
They have airfares which either include 20kg or 50kg free luggage.
Just an example: In the high season a one way flight with 20 kg allowance from Papeete to Bora Bora costs between 164 and 181 Euro, return from 294 to 324 Euro.
From Bora Bora you can fly to nine different islands.
Also check out Air Passes if you plan island hopping.
Additionally, Air Moorea operates between Tahiti and Moorea.
A cheaper option to travel between the islands is by boat. And between the Society Islands this is no real problem, in most cases there are at least two trips per week. Between Tahiti and Moorea you have daily service, and it takes only have an hour. Between Tahiti and Bora Bora three trips per week (on the Vaeanu Mon/Wed/Fri and on the Hawaiki Nui, Ono Ono, Aremiti). Those sailings go via Huahine, Raiatea, and Tahaa. From Bora Bora again you can take the boat to Maupiti (Maupiti Express).
Cost from Papeete to the Leeward Islands (Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa) on the Vaeanu is from about 2000 CPF (17 Euro) on deck to 6000 CPF (51 Euro) in a double cabin with bath. The Wednesday trips are in cabins only.
An example of a trip from Papeete to Bora Bora:
Departure 5pm, arrival next morning at 6.30am
More info here:
(The latter website has info about all boats, including cargo)
The problem starts with the more remote islands in the other archipelagos. There are no passenger ships, so best you fly to the nearest of the islands you want to visit. The ships between the remote islands do not travel very frequently.
You should also check out the cargo ships. However, travelling is very basic. You would stay on deck and have to bring your own bedding. Surely a way of getting around you will not forget.
Update 26 January 2011
The above info for ferries is not entirely correct anymore. I have been just working on a tip - for Moorea -, so here is some new information:
How to get to Moorea – by ferry
The high-speed ferry needs 20 resp. 45 minutes.
I was told the latter can be very entertaining, with dolphins having fun at the bow.
The Aremiti Ferry and the Aremiti 5 connect Tahiti and Moorea at least six times per day. One-way fare as Jan. 2011: 1365 CPX (car from 3800 CPX, on the ferry 2900 CPX). No discounts for return trip.
More information on the Aremiti website:
(The information on this quite good website: http://www.mooreaisland.com/gethere.html#charter is not up to date anymore.)
Contact - phones:
Tahiti +689 50 57 57 / + 689 50 57 92
Moorea +689 56 31 10
The Moorea Express, another ferry service provider, has stopped operating in September 2010 until further notice.
Technical details of the Aremiti Ferry:
272 foot steel - passenger and car FERRY Catamaran. Snack bar and bathrooms onboard. Maximum capacity: 502 passengers and 100 cars.
Length of voyage to Moorea - (quay to quay): 45 minutes.
161' double hulled aluminum catamaran with sun deck.
FAST! -Length of voyage to Moorea - (quay to quay): 20 minutes. Snack bar and bathrooms onboard., Max. capacity: 697 passengers and 30 cars.
Despite the exact departure times, schedules, hours, and prices are prone to change, so always check the details again and again.
The buses named Le Truck are not always reliable.
There are generally five possibilities: Le Truck which is the public bus, rental car or scooter, or bicycle, or a guided tour.
The problem with Le Truck is that it only has a kind of real schedule on Tahiti but you will struggle during the weekend. During the week you can get around the island without the chance of not getting back to where you started.
On the smaller islands service is very limited. On Bora Bora, although the circle island road is only 32 km to circumnavigate, there is no round the island service.
So you rely on rental vehicles, and those are extremely expensive.
On Tahiti I got information about a rental company named Robert which has cars with daily hire rates of about 5000 CFP (42 Euro) but with most other companies you pay twice this and more for the smallest vehicle.
We tried to hire a scooter in Moorea but the big companies like Europcar and Avis have no scooters – which are not cheap either on the other islands. On Raiatea you can only make the small circle island tour on a scooter, for the big tour on a partly unsealed road you need a car.
Bora Bora is perfect for being explored by bicycle, Moorea and Raiatea have quite some hills and are rather big, so you would struggle to get around in a day – as most bicycles have one gear only ;-)
If you have accommodation on Bora Bora and do not, as we did, travel by cruise ship you might be lucky and get a bike for free from your hosts or for a small fee only. The bicycle is the ideal means of local transport on all islands, just not always to tour the entire island.
Flying into Papeete. Moorea in the background.
Distances and flight times from international destinations to Tahiti:
Paris 17,100 km/20 hours
Los Angeles 6,200 km/8 hours
New York 10,100 km/12.5 hours
Auckland (New Zealand) 3,900 km/5.5 hours
Sydney 5700 km/6.5 hours
Santiago de Chile (via Easter Island) 7,500 km/8 hours
Tokyo 8,800 km/11 hours
Airlines that service Papeete (Tahiti; Faa’a Airport):
Air New Zealand
Air Tahiti Nui
Always check out if a round the world ticket could be the best deal for you. For example, if you live in Europe it could be hugely interesting to fly with Lan Chile and have a stop-over on the Easter Islands on the way to Tahiti or back home.
Direct links to the above listed airlines on this website:
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