Intense blue lagoons. Swaying palm trees loaded with coconuts. Thatched-roofed bungalows. Near-cloudless skies. And you...walking along a white sand beach with your sandals in hand, reveling in the beauty of this place that you can now call home.
It’s difficult to visit the islands of French Polynesia without fervently wishing that you could stay there forever. The beauty, the languid pace, the charm of the Polynesian culture are incomparably seductive. If you’ve got a patient nature and ample funds, you can make your dream of living in French Polynesia a reality.
French Polynesia and Tahiti
French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls scattered over 1,200 miles in the South Pacific. The collectivity is divided into five groups – the Windward and Leeward Islands (part of the Society Island Archipelago), the Tuamoto Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands, and the Austral Islands – and all are a part of the French Republic.
The beautiful island of Tahiti is the highest and largest island of the collectivity, as well as its economic center. It is home to the seat of the French Polynesian capital, Pape’ete, which is home to over 25,700 residents. Only the commune of Faaa, just 4 miles south of Pape’ete, has a higher population (29,687). Both of these communes are well-developed with numerous paved roads, an international airport, and Western-like activities, such as cinemas, restaurants and bars.
Another well-known Tahatian area is the lushly green village of Papeari, which lies about 32 miles from Pape’ete. The famous French painter Paul Gauguin lived in the area in the late 19th century, as did the British novelist Robert Keable in the early 20th century.
Outside of Tahiti, other popular islands and atolls include Bora-Bora, Mo’orea, Raitea and Huahine.
As you might expect, the weather in the French Polynesian islands have a humid, tropical climate, with year-round temperatures ranging between 69 - 87 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainy season last from December until February, which are also the summer months. Since there is so little fluctuation in temperature throughout the year, however, summer isn’t greatly distinguishable from winter for most foreigners.
French is the official language in French Polynesia, but many locals also speak Tahitian in Tahiti and other Society Islands. You should have little trouble finding English-speakers in most touristic or heavily populated areas.
The Requirements for Moving to French Polynesia
The visa requirements for moving to French Polynesia are similar to those for moving to France, including the necessity of having private health insurance and proof that you can support yourself. Contact your local French consulate to get the ball rolling!