Hi, not a great range of budget accommodation, French Polynesia is all about the expensive resort. But there are some dormitory type hostels in Papeete. I hear the Te Moa Hotel has rooms from about $US20/30 a night. There are some camping options on other islands.
Sounds divine, and not much to worry about in terms of safety either.
Make sure you have travel insurance, getting sick or injured on the outer islands means medical evacuation to Tahiti, and any serious illness will mean evacuation to another country - and you're literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Phil from the safety hub over 5 years ago
The idea of "budget" in the French Polynesia is a bit deceiving. There are extremely few real beaches so if you came to camp and live on a white sand beach you will be extremely disappointed. That is why there are over water bungalows everywhere. The beaches you see are artificial and created for the expensive resorts. It is possible to find some cheap places if you show up on sleepy islands like Huahine. There are a couple cheap places to crash and camp as well. That was my cheapest island. Make sure you can cook your food and buy groceries because the restaurants are geared towards tourists and can be really expensive. The bus system on all islands are extremely unreliable if you look like a tourist. They wouldn't pick me up anywhere but Tahiti. A lot of people hitchhike which is fine if you're not a female traveling alone. You can eat at snack stands for about $8 for lunch and on Tahiti you can get diner for about $15 that way. You can camp on Raiatea at the Sunset Beach Motel but the island is very large and you need a car to get a around. They don't allow bikes for tourists anymore even though they say that they do. Also that was my least favorite island. You can camp on Moorea as well but it is a very sad looking place with no shelter from blazing heat our the downpours. Both of which are extreme. There is nothing to do on that side but surf. The major resorts have all pulled out on that side along with most everything else. My advice is to stay away from the resort islands like Bora Bora and Moorea. Skip Papeete as well. It's not worth paying that huge air fare to go and stay in Papeete which can be very unsafe at night and you would have to take an unreliable bus a very long ways to get anywhere. I think it's about 18km to the beach from there. Also the bus don't run on Sundays or holidays. In the 5 days I was there they had 2 of them. almost 4 years ago
Though you wouldn't believe it, you CAN do French Polynesia on a shoestring. Well, still more expensive than South East Asia, but way cheaper than staying in the over-priced overwater bungalows.
For accomodations, you have the option of staying on campgrounds, though this is the least comfortable one, and depending on the season (too rainy, to hot) might not be a vacation. Or you go local, and stay in one of te countless "fares" (=pensions) that you find on all islands. Most don't have the perfect white sand beach you are looking for, but it's usually not far to walk, or a shuttle is included. (My favorite fares are these two: Rohotu fare on Bora Bora www.rohotufarelodge.com/ and Vanira Lodge on Tahiti www.vaniralodge.com/).
Most fares don't include meals, but there are plenty of local eating options. The best and cheapest are usually the food trucks called roulottes. Most of them show up in the evenings, on some closed supermarkets or car parks space. Just ask your host, and they will be able to point to the closest one.
If you haven't decided yet where you want to go, have a look at this overview of the ten French Polynesian islands we visited this spring and find your favorites: www.travelintense.com/eco-travel-destinations/french-polynesia
Have fun! over 2 years ago