Tahiti has one of the lowest crime rates within France and its territories. However, petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs.
As an overseas territory of France, defence and law enforcement are provided by the French Forces Army, Navy, Air Force and Gendarmerie.
No vaccines are required.
Be sure to bring jelly-type sandals for walking amidst coral in the water and along the beaches or either old sneakers so you don't cut your feet on the coral or don't step on a stonefish.
Encounters with sharks in the lagoon will be most likely when scuba diving or even snorkelling but they are harmless. So are stingrays. However, be aware of moray eels which hide deep in the corals and are generally curious. Be sure to keep your fingers to yourself or risk a painful bite.
Internet access in Polynesia is provided by MANA, a subsidiary of the Post and Telecommunications Office, either by modem or by ADSL. For a short stay, a subscription-free connection is best. You can make the connection with the following information:Telephone # of the server: 36-88-88 - Log-in: anonymous - Password: anonymous. This type of modem connection is available in all archipelagos.
There are cyber-spaces on Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Rangiroa about XPF250 for a 15 minute connection. Most of the hotels and some small hotels and pensions provide Internet access to their guests. On some islands, access is possible from post offices.
[http://www.iaoranet.com Iaoranet also provides wifi in the Society Islands Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Raiatea as well as some of the Tuamotus Fakarava, Manihi, Rangiroa, Gambiers Mangareva, and Marquesas Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa. One hour costs c. USD5, but blocks of time can be purchased online for as little as USD2/h. The service is slow but fairly reliable.
The official language is French and it's the most widely spoken language by far. The Tahitian language has special status in the territory and some English is also spoken in tourist areas.
Here are some Tahitian words that you may pick up from a conversation:
Aita = no
E = yes
Fare = house
Ia ora na = how are you?
Ma'a = food
Maeva = welcome
Maita'i? = How are you?
Mauruuru = Thank you
Nana = Goodbye
Pape = water
Tama'a = Let's eat
Tahitians have a tendency to mix up French and Tahitian words in their conversation, so don't be surprised.
Tahitians are proud of their islands and happy to share their way of life with their guests in many ways. They are really relaxed people who live according to the aita pea pea philosophy meaning "no worries". Their culture should be respected as well as their way of life. Don't make them feel that you're superior to them but just be natural. They are a very welcoming and warm people.
Please also respect the land and its diversity. Activities which include approaching whales and other marine mammals are regulated and authorizations from the environmental authorities are mandatory.