The territory of French Polynesia has about the same surface as the European Union but the combined land area all islands and atolls is just about the size of Mallorca. Most people live on the two islands of Tahiti and Moorea. These islands have street networks and public transport including good touristic infrastructure. To jump from island to island there are different options:
Ferries sometimes combined cargo and pax boats like the Aranui travel between most islands. Catamarans and ferry boats cross between Tahiti and Moorea several times a day. Schooners and cargo boats serve all the inhabited islands from Papeete. Rotations vary according to the destinations: from three times a week to the Society Islands to once monthly to the Island of Mangareva.
Two cruise ships/luxury liners currently ply the islands: the Paul Gauguin, which does a regular 7-day trip around the Societies, with occasional trips out to the Tuamotus, Marquesas and Cook Islands; and the Tahitian Princess which does similar itineraries. A great way to see the islands, unless you're on a tight budget. The Bora Bora Cruises is a more intimate vessel based in the Leeward Islands. Or for more adventure, embark on the Aranui III.
Air Tahiti (http://www.airtahiti.aero) offers domestic flights to other destinations in French Polynesia, Air Moorea (http://www.airmoorea.pf/g...) used to make the short hop to Moorea but stopped flying in 2010. Charters flights such as Air Archipel are available on request. Helicopters are one other option
Air Tahiti operates 11 turboprop aircraft 4 ATR42-500 with 48 seats, 5 ATR72-500 with 66 seats, 1 Beechcraft with 8 seats and 1 Twin Otter with 19 seats. The ATR42 and ATR72 reach a cruising speed of about 500km/h. Most of the inter-islands flights in the Marquesas are operated with Twin Otter.
Air Tahiti offers several types of Air Tahiti Airpasses:
Discovery Passcovering Moorea, Huahine and Raiatea: €253 with 20kg baggage allowance, €316 with 50kg baggage allowance,
Bora Bora Passcovering Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Maupiti: €367 with 20kg baggage allowance, €460 with 50kg baggage allowance 1-10 Jan, Jun-Oct & 11-31 Dec, €47 with 20kg baggage allowance, €435 with 50kg baggage allowance 11-31 Jan, Feb-May, 1 Nov-10 Dec
Lagons Passcovering Moorea, Rangiroa, Tikehau, Manihi, Fakareva and Ahe: € 378,- with 20 kg baggage allowance, € 487,- with 50 kg baggage allowance,
Bora Tuamotu Passcovering Moorea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Maupiti, Rangiroa, Tikehau, Manihi, Fakareva and Ahe: € 498,- with 20 kg baggage allowance, € 640,- with 50 kg baggage allowance,
Marquesas Passcovering Nuku Hiva, Atuona, Ua Pou, Ua Huka: € 666,- with 20 kg baggage allowance not available with 50 kg baggage allowance,
Austral Passcovering Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae, Rimatara: € 491,- with 20 kg baggage allowance, € 630,- with 50 kg baggage allowance,
Extensions to the Marguesas cost € 459,- with 20 kg baggage allowance, € 636,- with 50 kg baggage allowance, and to the Austral Islands € 262,- with 20 kg baggage allowance, € 361,- with 50 kg baggage allowance rates of 2010.Passes start and usually end at Tahiti or Moorea. Tahiti-Moorea or Moorea-Tahiti can be flown on Air Moorea or Air Tahiti flights. The itinerary does not need to cover all the islands of the Pass. All flights must be reserved and confirmed. The full journey must not exceed 28 days. The islands of one archipelago must be visited before moving to the next archipelago eg islands of the Society archipelago must be visited before those of the Tuamotu archipelago. The islands within an archipelago can be visited in any order. Stopover or transit in Tahiti within the Pass is not allowed, except for the Lagons Pass between Moorea and the islands of the Tuamotu Archipelago, for a Pass with Extension, between the Pass and the Extension, where a maximum of 24h transit in Tahiti is permitted. Only one stop per island of more than 24h is allowed. A transit less than 24 hours with a flight number change is considered as stopover. Exception: change of flight number with a transit of less than 2 hours in Rangiroa on Bora Bora to Tikehau, Manihi, Fakarava or vice-versa flights. Change of reservations is not permitted after the Pass has been issued. Air Passes are non-refundable after departure. For details see (http://www.airtahiti.com/...)
Air Tahiti suggests the following multi-island itineraries:
Society Archipelago: 2 islands: Tahiti - Moorea - Bora Bora or Huahine or Raiatea - Tahiti 3 islands: Tahiti - Bora Bora - Raiatea or Huahine or Maupiti - Tahiti, or: Tahiti - Moorea - Huahine - Bora Bora - Tahiti, or: Tahiti - Moorea - Bora Bora - Raiatea - Tahiti 4 islands: Tahiti - Moorea - Huahine - Raiatea - Bora Bora - Tahiti 5 islands: Tahiti - Moorea - Huahine) - Raiatea - Bora Bora - Tahiti
Society Islands and North Tuamotu: 2 islands: Tahiti - Bora Bora - Rangiroa or Fakarava, Manihi or Tikehau - Tahiti 3 islands: Tahiti - Bora Bora - Rangiroa - Manihi or Fakarava or Tikehau - Tahiti, or Tahiti - Moorea or Huahine, Raiatea or Maupiti - Bora Bora - Rangiroa or Fakarava, Manihi or Tikehau - Tahiti 4 isllands: Tahiti- Moorea - Huahine Or Raiatea) - Bora Bora - Rangiroa or Fakarava, Manihi or Tikehau - Tahiti
North Tuamotu Archipelago: 2 islands: Tahiti - Rangiroa - Tikehau or Fakarava or Manihi - Tahiti, or Tahiti - Ahe or Tikehau - Manihi - Tahiti 3 islands: Tahiti - Tinehau or Manihi - Rangiroa - Fakareva or Tikehau - Tahiti, or Tahiti - Fakarava - Rangiroa - Manihi - Tahiti 4 islands: Tahiti on Fri - Ahe on Sun - Manihi on Tue or Wed - Rangiroa on Fri or Sat - Fakarava - Tahiti
Marquesas Archipelago: 2 islands: Tahiti - Nuku Hiva - Hiva Oa Atuona or Ua Huka or Ua Pou - Tahiti 3 islands: Tahiti - Hiva Oa (Atuona - Ua Huka or Ua Pou - Nuku Hiva - Tahiti 4 islands: Tahiti - Hiva Oa (Atuona - Ua Huka - Ua Pou) - Nuku Hiva - Tahiti
Society Islands - Tuamotu - Marquesas: 4 islands: Tahiti - Bora Bora -Rangiroa - Nuku Hiva - Atuona - Tahiti
Austral Archipelago: 2 islands: Tahiti -Rurutu - Tubuai or Rimatara - Tahiti, or: Tahiti - Tubuai - Raivavae - Tahiti 4 islands: Tahiti on Mon - Raivavae on Wed - Tubuai on Fri - Rurutu on Mon - Rimatara on Wed - Tahiti
Check-in at the airports begins 1 hour and closes 20 min before departure time except for flights to Rarotonga where check-in begins 2 hrs and closes 45 min before departure time.