Everything you need to know about French Polynesia reopening

Jul 24, 2020

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If you’ve been dreaming about stunning lagoons and overwater bungalows, you’re in luck because French Polynesia officially reopened on July 15, 2020. The island nation implemented a 14-day quarantine period for international travelers back in March, a measure that appears to have been successful. No active COVID-19 cases have been reported since May 29, clearing the way for the island nation to reopen, and guests can visit without the 14-day quarantine.

But before you book your ticket and arrange for a pet sitter, there are a few restrictions you need to be aware of.

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What’s required for travel to French Polynesia

If you plan on traveling to French Polynesia in July, you need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 (RT-PCR) test taken within 72 hours of departure. This test needs to be shown at check-in to the airline that’s taking you to French Polynesia, and you will not be allowed to board the flight without it.

Travelers are also required to fill out a medical registration and submit a printout of it to the airline along with their negative COVID-19 PCR test.

Additionally, all incoming travelers (residents excluded) must provide proof of international travel insurance. Luckily, credit card travel insurance satisfies this requirement. Use a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to pay for your airfare and hotel, then provide a copy of the card’s Guide to Benefits as proof of coverage.

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

What to expect during the flight

Passengers traveling to French Polynesia will be required to abide by IATA sanitary measures, including wearing a mask. You’ll also need to sign a statement of commitment, agreeing to follow sanitary measures and self-report symptoms.

As is the norm with most customs forms, you’ll also need to fill out a form containing your hotel and personal contact information. Passengers will also be given a traceability form that should account all the places they have visited while in French Polynesia.

What to expect on arrival

Upon arrival, travelers will be given packages that contain oral and nasal self-swab tests. The test has to be taken and returned four days after arrival for travelers ages six and up.

All travelers over 11 are advised to wear a mask while in public places throughout their stay and abide by specific sanitary measures. It is mandatory to wear a mask in taxis, planes, ferries and buses. If you do exhibit symptoms during your stay, you must self-report and self-isolate in your room until further instruction from local emergency operators.

What about cruises?

The tourism board has indicated that cruise ships that are currently in Tahiti would resume operations in early July. Cruises will only be domestic for now as guidelines are being developed for international cruising.

How to get there

If you’re itching to travel to French Polynesia when the border reopens on July 15, there are lots of options for getting there. Be sure to check out our guide on the best way to get to Tahiti using points and miles. The following airlines will be resuming flights:

  • Aircalin
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • Air Tahiti
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • French Bee
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • LATAM
  • United

Bottom line

Some of you may be wondering whether it’s safe to travel internationally in the midst of a pandemic. That’s a personal choice that only you can make. The government of French Polynesia has implemented quite a few regulations to ensure the safety of visitors and locals alike. However, nothing is guaranteed and there are still risks associated with travel.

Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

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