The Cost of Living in French Polynesia
Money can’t buy you happiness… but it can buy you a roundtrip flight to Paradise on earth! French Polynesia is a dreamy destination, which attracts more and more travelers seeking to get away from it all but this idyllic jaunt turns out to be quite expensive, which is why you definitely need to establish a projected budget before you start this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Can we put a price tag on a sunset, a tête-à-tête on the beach or a dive in the middle of the Pacific ocean? Probably not… The airline ticket to reach the destination happens to have a price however and, even though we would like to live on love alone, the truth is that living in Polynesia appears to be costly. A study conducted in 2016 by the statistical institute of French Polynesia showed that the overall consumer price on this overseas territory was 39% higher than that of French metropolis. If we refer to the Big Mac index, created in 1986 by The Economist in order to compare the purchasing power of the different countries where it is sold, French Polynesia is ranked as the 3rd most expensive country, behind Switzerland and Sweden with a 4 €burger.
These figures may scare you obviously but where there’s a will there’s a way… if you plan your vacation ahead, you will beneficiate from promotional offers and save money regarding transportation and accommodation.
The airline ticket:
It is definitely the most important expense of your stay, the one which can dampen your spirits… Even though the air service has considerably improved and diversified itself over the last few years, the cost of a flight can vary a lot from one season to another. If you have no problem with stopovers, that you are ready to spend numerous hours on flight with sometimes little comfort, you can easily get there for about 800 €. However, during high season, the ticket is close to 2500 €
There are plenty of accommodation options, from the very modest room in a guest house to an overwater bungalow in a 5-star resort. We highly advise you to check our selection in order to determine which of these options corresponds best to your budget and your lifestyle.
Regarding food, the most economical alternative consists in doing some shopping on your own in a hypermarket or a convenience store. Nevertheless, if you will encounter no issue within the Windward islands, it will be utterly different in the Tuamotu archipelago where will have a hard time trying to fond such an establishment. Thus, if you stay in a guest house, it is better to choose the half-board option and head to snack restaurants for lunch. If you do not have any real budgetary restriction, feel free to go the gourmet restaurants of the capital city or that of the luxury hotels, your taste buds will thank you, undoubtedly.
The inter-island transportation cost depends on the distance. The flight is the favourite means used by Polynesians and there is only one company in charge of the air service. The farther you get from Tahiti, the most expensive. You will find below a non-exhaustive list of the different rates:
Tahiti Faa’a – Bora Bora : Close to 47 000 xpf, about 394 €
Tahiti Faa’a – Tikehau : Close to 42 000 xpf, about 352 €
Tahiti Faa’a – Rurutu : Close to 51 000 xpf, about 427 €
Tahiti Faa’a – Hiva Oa : Close to 79 000 xpf, about 662 €
I you have some time ahead of you, that you are not against the idea of sleeping on a hammock or on the bare floor and that you do not feel seasick, perhaps will you appreciate travelling on a cargo, a cheap alternative, favorable to wandering and contemplation.
A roundtrip ticket to Moorea by ferryboat: 3000 xpf, about 25 €
Sailing aboard the Hawaikinui heading to Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Taha’a : 2 000 xpf – about 16 € – however, since the cargo only accepts 12 passengers, priority is given to the residents.
A sandwich (half a baguette) ham-cheese / ground meat – French fries /tuna: 300 to 400 xpf, about 2 € to 3 €
A hearty dish from the food truck: between 1 200 et 1 800xpf, about 10 € to 15 €
A dish in an average restaurant: almost 2000xpf, about 16 €
A dish in a gourmet restaurant: 3 500xpf about 28 €
A cinema ticket: 1 100 xpf = 9.5€ // A 3D showing : 1 650 to 2 150 xpf =14 € to 18 €
A cocktail in a bar: between 1 200 and 2 200 xpf = between 10 € and 20 € euros
A pass for the heiva (annual competition of traditional dancing): 2 000 to 3 000 xpf = 17 € to 25 €
3 vanilla pods: in average 1 600xpf, about 14 €
A genuine black pearl from Tahiti: From 6 000 xpf = 50 € for a nice one