Getting Here & Around

Tahiti is the international arrival point for French Polynesia. Faa'a (pronounced Fa-a-a) International Airport is 5 km (3 mi) west of Pape'ete. Passengers with hotel bookings will be met at the airport by a representative and driven to their hotel in a minivan or bus. If you don't have a booking, you can take the public bus, L'Truck, from the main road outside the airport to the city (130 CFP), or an expensive taxi (about 2,000 CFP in the day; 2,500 CFP at night).

L'Truck are colorful jaunty vehicles, with a separate driver's compartment at the front and an open-sided section behind with long benches for passengers. There are three different types of L'Trucks for different routes. The red and white buses go west of Pape'ete to the Centre Moan Nui shopping center at Puna'auia, a distance of about 8 km (5 mi) taking in most of the resorts of the west side but not the Le Méridien. The east side buses are green and white and go as far as Mahina (near Point Vénus), a distance of around 10 km (6 mi). You catch the west coast buses behind the market in Rue du Marechal Foch and the east coast buses on Boulevard Pomare opposite the cruise ship dock. West coast buses run Monday through Friday 6 am–midnight; east coast buses stop at 5 pm each night. There's limited service on Saturday and none on Sunday. Long distance buses are orange and white and leave from the visitors center on Boulevard Pomare and travel partially around the island. However, the schedules don't allow you to circle the island in one day. Buses depart on the hour between 6 am and noon and then stop; the next departure from Pape'ete is at 4:30 pm. There are no night or weekend services. Fares around Pape'ete environs are 130 CFP one-way and 200 CFP at night (west side only).

A car's a good option if you're staying a few days. There are seven rental car agencies in Tahiti including Avis, Daniel Rent-a-Car, Europcar, Hertz, and Tahiti Rent-a-Car, which all have outlets at the airport and in downtown Pape'ete. Rates start at around 7,000 CFP a day. Most also rent scooters and bicycles; biking may be tough on the hilly Coastal road. The road around Tahiti Nui is 114 km (71 mi), and is measured in kilometer markers called PKs. It's not possible to drive around Tahiti Iti; paved roads only reach as far as 18 km (11 mi) on both north and south sides of the smaller island.

Two ferry companies—Aremiti and Moorea Ferry—operate between Pape'ete and Moorea, leaving regularly from the ferry port on Boulevard Pomare.

You can catch taxis at the airport, at stands near Pape'ete's Centre Vaima, or just flag them down along the road. They are a very expensive way to get around though. It will cost around 3,000 CFP (or about US$30) to go only a few miles.

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