Tahiti Cruisers Guide
For Services and Resources in French Polynesia

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Since arriving in Papeete to do some boat projects, we found ourselves “reinventing the wheel” - asking the same questions hundreds of others have asked - in trying to track down parts, services, doctors, dentists, etc.
We have often said we wished there were a Cruiser’s Guide to Tahiti and French Polynesia modeled after the valuable Panama City Cruisers Guide put together by Debi Shaimas on SV Serenity.
So we started compiling this one and what we have so far is now available online and downloadable as a pdf.
Please send updates or additions to tahiticruisersguide (AT) gmail.com
Last update: 20 Oct 2018


Internet Options

Option A.   Vini is one of two phone providers and they partner with OPT.  Once in the Societies most of the islands have 3g with some 4g. If you plan to stay over four months getting a one year phone contract opens you to relatively cheap 3g  data.  One year phone contact costs you (as of 2/2017) $82.28 (in US dollars.)  The contract then gives to a phone number for 1 year with 30 minutes of phone time per month and 20 SMS messages. This also allows you to buy any of the following data packages: 1gigabyte for 1500xpf; 2 gigabytes/ month for $25; 5 gigabytes/mo $42.  These work with most smart phones.  The phone plan is one year but the data is only in three months blocks during which time you can increase your data plan but not reduce it.  So you can also reduce or drop your data after you been at the same rate for three months. For instance if you go back to the Tuomotus, where there is only GSM ( there paying the per megabyte rates might work out cheaper given such low bandwidth) you would not likely be able to benefit from a plan with more than 1Gigabyte a month.  You can purchase the payment cards at Vini shops or the post office or at many magazines.  If you go to vini with you exit papers or you ticket out of FP and a letter stating you are leaving the territory the contract can be terminated.  PLEASE DON'T JUST SKIP OUT AS THIS MAY AFFECT FELLOW CRUISERS BEING ABLE TO GET THESE CONTRACTS IN THE FUTURE!

Option B: Vini also has a Data Only plan available for your smart phone or you can get a 3g router for 1xpf (not a typo.)  The rates are the same as above and also have 10 gigabytes a month for 5000xpf. The contract is one year after 3 months you can reduce you plan and you can increase it any time.  The least you can pay is 1500xpf for 1gigabyte /month.


To get a Vini contract you must get a letter from a marina saying you live at the Marina.  The Yatch club provided the same for Mary Ann II such a letter (even though we only paid for the dingy dock privledge.)  Marina Papeete has provided the same for others.  You need the letter, boat papers, possibly insurance papers and passport.  BE SURE THE ACCOUNT IS LOCKED; otherwise, if you run over, the per megabyte charges are very high.  Install the Vini app to track your usage and any charges.  One cruiser bought a Vini box and it used his allotted data in about a day, he returned the box and told Vini he was terminating the contract.  Mary Ann II has had two months on the 2gig plan without any problems with data usage.

Vodaphone operates 3g based service in Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora only. They have a standard prepay card which for 1500xpf will give you 84 megabytes (fine for emais not much for web based activities like facebook) They also have a prepay plan now TRAVEL SIM for4200xpf you get 30 mins international calls OR 30 minutes local calls OR 1 gigabyte of internet. 
Option C:  Buy a Vini Wi-Fi prepaid card.  Cost are not by the megabyte but by the hour and bandwide can be very narrow.  Cost are $5 per hour for one hour and drop  to around a dollar an hour for 100 hours. Nearly everyone who has used the hourly Wi-Fi system have seen glitches where chucks of time vanish from their account.  In fact from about May 16 to October 16 a one hour Vini WIFI card never expired (those were the days!).  In Papeete there are easily accessible Vini shops with English speaking staff, here buying the 100 hour cards is a surer bet.   There is also a system WDG which is an alternative hourly WIFI system which seems to work well.

Other Options:  Marina Papeete has free WIFI with the slip.  At the Vaima Centre across from the Marina on second floor (first for Brits) there’s an internet cafe with very good bandwidth.