French Polynesia is located in the same time zone as Hawaii, which is 10 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). If you are flying from Los Angeles, the islands are just two hours behind Pacific Standard Time (PST), and three hours behind Pacific Daylight Time (March to late October). The Gambier Islands in this region are one hour ahead of Tahiti, and the Marquesas are 30 minutes ahead of Tahiti.
Tahiti is a tropical destination blessed with continuous sunshine and just enough rain to keep everything lush. The air temperature, which can vary from one archipelago to another, typically stays between 75° and 85° Fahrenheit (24° and 30° Celsius), and the water temperature ranges from 73° to 79° Fahrenheit (22° to 26° Celsius). In general, the high volcanic islands are more humid than the low coral atolls because the islands are dense with vegetation and the atolls are more exposed to trade winds.
There are only two main seasons in Tahiti. Summer is from November to March, when the climate is slightly warmer and more humid. It can rain more frequently during this time, but the islands hardly see a rainy season. Winter, which is considered the dry season, is from April to October, when the climate is slightly cooler and less humid. During this period, the underwater visibility is ideal for scuba diving and whale watching. Winter is also the best season for hiking and sailing. July and August are the coolest months of the year due to southeast trade winds known as maraamu.
The sun can get intense during the day, so remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. There are no snakes or poisonous spiders in Tahiti, only mosquitoes and the small sand fly known as the no-no. Bring bug repellent and carry it with you when hiking through dense vegetation. There is really nothing to fear in the lagoon. If you plan to walk or swim near coral, wear reef shoes to avoid injury. This will also protect your feet if you happen to step on the rarely encountered stonefish.
French is the official language in Tahiti but the locals also speak Tahitian. English is widely spoken and understood in most hotels, restaurants and shops. Still, learning a little Tahitian is always encouraged and appreciated. Below are some commonly used words and phrases. There are only thirteen letters in the Tahitian alphabet, including vowels a (ah) as in spa, e (ay) as in hey, i (ee) as in ski, o (oh) as in low, and u (oo) as in due; and consonants f, h, m, n, p, r, t and v, which are pronounced the same in English.
hello: ia orana (yo-rah-nah)
goodbye: nana (nah-nah)
welcome: maeva (mah-ay-vah)
thank you: mauruuru (mah-roo-roo)
cheers: manuia (mah-new-yah)
The power supply in French Polynesia is 220 Volts (60 Hz). Hotels use either 110 or 220V, depending on the location. The outlet, which accepts Type E and C plugs primarily used in Europe, has two round prong holes and an outward grounding pin. Be sure to check compatibility before plugging in any electrical appliance. Some hotels may have an adapter or converter on hand, but we recommend traveling with your own. You can purchase one at most hardware or department stores. Look for the product marked Europe/Asia. In most cases, you will only need an adapter. In some cases, like when using certain single-voltage devices, you may need a converter. Read more: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/world-electricity-guide.html
French Polynesia uses the Metric scale for distance and the Celsius scale for temperature.
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