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Tahiti / Blog / Money in French Polynesia, key information to prepare your trip

Money in French Polynesia, key information to prepare your trip

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It is important to take the following considerations concerning money into account whenever you travel abroad – in this case to French Polynesia:

  1. Set an overall budget for your trip based on your estimated daily expenses.
  2. Check whether you can pay with a credit or debit card in establishments and hotels.
  3. Verify that they have ATMs to withdraw money in local currency. Remember that there will be a commission to pay for the service so we advise you to make as few withdrawals as possible.
  4. Ascertain whether there are places where you can change currency: banks, money changers or hotels.
  5. Make sure you have a currency converter or take the value of the local currency into account (you can check the exchange rate at a money changer’s or a bank) when executing the transaction.
    1. You will have to multiply the value in francs of your currency of origin by the amount you want to exchange to ascertain how many francs you will get for your money. For example: if $1 equals 112.10 CFP, $100 will be 12,210 CFP.
    2. If, on the contrary, you wish to know the price in your local currency of a certain amount of francs (to be sure of what you are going to pay) you will have to divide. For example: if a 50-fluid-ounce bottle of water costs 200 CFP, divide the amount by 111.10 (the value of $1 in CFP) and you will get $1.78.
  6. Before beginning your trip, ask you bank to supply you with some French Polynesian currency for the first few hours after arrival. Otherwise, you can always change some on arrival at Faa’a International Airport in Tahiti. In this case, change as little as possible because the exchange rate is always unfavorable to visitors at the airport.
  7. Bring money from your country of origin in cash (the amount will depend on the points above) and exchange it in official offices (important). As a precautionary measure, never change money with or for individuals.
  8. Always remember to keep your money safe, secure, and never all in the same place to ensure that you will still have funds if some is lost or stolen.


We will now tell you everything you need to know about money in French Polynesia so that you can easily make a budget.


What is the currency of French Polynesia?

The Pacific franc (Cour de Franc Pacifique in French) is designated CFP or XPF. Take note because you will usually see it like this on the exchange rate list. The denominations available in French Polynesia are 500, 1,000 and 5,000-franc bills and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100-franc coins.


How much do everyday things cost in French Polynesia?

Some of the questions frequently asked by travelers are: How much does a beer cost? How much does a coffee cost? The following answers are key aspects for drawing up the daily budget we mentioned at the beginning. The following is a list of prices to give you a rough idea of how much day-to-day life costs in French Polynesia these days:

  • A 50-fluid-ounce bottle of mineral water – 200 XPF ($1.78)
  • Loaf of bread – 53 XPF ($0.47)
  • Can of juice or soda – 250 XPF ($2.66)
  • Glass of fresh juice in a bar – 500 XPF ($4.46)
  • Coffee at a coffee shop – 250 XPF ($2.66)
  • 11-fluid-ounce beer from shop – 200 XPF ($1.78)
  • Pastry per unit – 200 XPF ($1.78)
  • Sandwich – 200 XPF ($1.78)
  • Fresh bluefin tuna (2.2 lb) – 2,000 XPF ($17.85)
  • Bananas (2.2 lb) – 220 XPF ($1.94)
  • Dish of the day in a cafeteria – 1,000 XPF ($8.92)
  • Average dish in a restaurant – 2,000 XPF ($17.85)



Should I exchange my currency in French Polynesia or take local currency with me from my country of origin?

It is an interesting fact that there are ATMs on the main islands. In spite of this, we would advise you to carry cash (always kept safely: it is a safe country but you should always take precautions) and that you change it at the official rate in places like banks, money changers or hotels.

Bank hours in French Polynesia are from Monday to Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For your information, some banks are also open on Saturdays from 7:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

In French Polynesia you will have no trouble changing American, Australian, or New Zealand dollars or, of course, euros.


Can I use my credit/debit card in establishments in French Polynesia?

American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa, Mastercard and Bank of America cards are generally accepted. You can pay by card in a wide variety of establishments such as shops and restaurants.


Is tipping customary in French Polynesia?


Tipping is not mandatory, but showing appreciation for a job well done is well-received. Therefore, a tourist’s generosity is always appreciated and if the service has met with your approval, why not showing it?

Hotels have recently established a small extra charge added to the customer’s final bill in order to motivate their work teams to provide excellent service. The amount collected is distributed among the entire team at the end of the year in gratitude for the good service.


Is haggling acceptable in French Polynesia?

No, people don’t haggle. Prices are generally fixed and lower offers will not be entertained. In fact, tourism is one of the main sources of income for French Polynesia.


Do I have to declare the money I bring with me when I enter the country or that which I have not spent when I leave?

If you are importing XPF from your country of origin, there are no limits to the amount of money you can import, but you will always have to declare it and substantiate its origin. For this reason we advise you to always exchange your currency at official sites and keep the receipts.



What can I import and export from French Polynesia?

Another point you have to be clear about before traveling to French Polynesia is what you can bring into the country and what you can take out.

People over 18 years of age may import a maximum of 200 cigarettes, 100 small cigars, 50 cigars, 8.8 ounces of pipe tobacco, 70 fluid oz. each of still wines, beverages over 22° proof alcohol and beverages 22° or less from their country of origin or from the airport duty-free shops before boarding. All items brought in by travelers for their personal use are duty-free, provided they are non-prohibited items and are re-exported out of French Polynesia within six months.

There are restrictions on import-export of animals, plants and their derivatives. Certain types of animal life and flora are protected by customs regulations. Strictly prohibited imports include live animals, all plant material, flowers, fruits and cultured pearls of non-French Polynesian origin. Naturally, all weapons, ammunition and narcotics are prohibited outright.

With respect to what you can take out of the country, please check the allowances in force in your next country of destination.


What can I buy as a souvenir of French Polynesia?

As you now know, the star product – but also the most expensive – is the black pearl. Craftwork is the most distinctive product to take home with you from French Polynesia and includes manoï oil, hand-painted sarongs (an emblem of the islands), vanilla fragrances, wood carvings or tiare soap, among others.


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