Living in Tahiti: advantages, disadvantages and procedures

Leaving the metropolis to live in Tahiti in French Polynesia, many people dream of it. The island paradise seems to have it all. But what is it really? Before moving to Tahitian territory, discover all the particularities of this piece of land. Beyond the tiare flowers and fine sandy beaches, Tahiti is a tropical island with a unique way of life. Going to live in Tahiti, is it a good plan? How to work in Papeete or in the rest of the island? Follow the guide to prepare your departure in the best conditions.

Living in Tahiti, benefits

An idyllic country

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. Discover breathtaking landscapes in this heavenly territory. Also take advantage of very favorable weather to explore the island.

French expatriates also fall under the charm of the Tahitian welcome. Indeed, the premises are renowned for their warmth. Familiarity is de rigueur on the island. And this, from the first meeting. People also call each other by their first name.


In Tahiti, French is the most widely spoken language, even ahead of Tahitian. By settling on the island, you will not encounter a problem with the language barrier. This is a big advantage compared to other non-French speaking destinations.


Tahiti is divided into two parts, each connected by the Isthmus of Taravao. Discover two different regions with their own culinary traditions and unique landscapes.
Tahiti is a territory rich in discoveries. There is always something to see. Dance shows, concerts, exhibitions, theaters are numerous. Impossible to get bored on this large island of Polynesia.

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Settle in Tahiti, the inconvenients

A distant island

Tahiti is far from France. Count more than twenty hours of flight (non-stop) and 16,000 km to see your loved ones left behind. There is also the time difference, between 11 and 12 hours difference with France (depending on summer or winter time).

The cost of living

In Tahiti, the cost of living is very high. To rent a studio, count around 600 euros and up to 1600 euros for a house with two bedrooms. These are standard prices. Good to know, from the West and East coasts, prices drop!

The food budget is not negligible either. Food imported from France is very expensive. Simple consumer products are overpriced. Generally, it is to be expected that the price will be 40% higher than in the metropolis.

Electricity represents the largest item of expenditure and varies according to the size of your accommodation. But know that Tahiti is the corner of the world where the price of electricity is the highest. On the contrary, water is inexpensive.

The vagaries of time

Admittedly, the weather seems idyllic with an average temperature of 26°C all year round, but the Tahitian soil is not immune to a cyclone.
On the other hand, the tropical climate has two phases: the rainy season which runs from November to April and the dry season from May to October.

Read also: Living in French Polynesia

Work in Tahiti in French Polynesia

French expatriates generally hold positions in the civil service. It is partly about transfer or secondment.

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On the other hand, for people looking for work in the private sector, it is more complicated. Job offers are rare depending on the sector. The tourism, hotel and medical professions are those that hire the most. However, the contracts are often precarious. Generally, Tahitian companies offer fixed-term contracts for a few months. Before settling, it is preferable to have found a job. Without a professional opportunity, life risks being complicated in Tahiti.

Good to know, the number of weekly hours in Tahiti is 39 hours. The salary is much higher than in France. This is especially true for executives. The salary for positions of responsibility is higher than in France (up to twice as high). There are major disparities between public and private.

Finally, know that in Tahiti, casual attire is a must. Forget tie and suit, colorful summer clothes are in order!

Administrative procedures to live in Tahiti

Before completing any formality, it is recommended to open a bank account. This will allow you, among other things, to find accommodation. There are several subsidiaries of French banks. You will be asked for a local address, a post office box, a transfer order or work contract, a payslip and an identity card. Namely, some banks require a CDI to open a bank account.

To find accommodation, you will also need to provide documents including an employment contract, pay slips, a bank details and an identity document.

You will also need to be registered with CPS. This is the Tahitian equivalent of Social Security. Registration is compulsory. The process is different depending on your professional situation. Find out more from your Primary Health Insurance Fund before leaving.

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Namely, in French Polynesia, there is no mail delivery. You will therefore have to open a post office box. The request is made at the Post and Telecommunications Office closest to your home.

Living in Tahiti all year round has many advantages. However, to prepare for settling in and for a successful expatriation, it is important to take into account certain particularities of the territory. Indeed, the island has some disadvantages, particularly with regard to the job market.

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