Yes, it is totally possible to travel to French Polynesia on a budget!
Before going there I was thinking everything would be crazy expensive. We all have in our mind the images of luxury hotels on lagoons, and couples on their honeymoon drinking a cocktail in front of the sunset.
Anyway, I thought French Polynesia is on my way, which is very rarely the case! So I would go, even for a short time. And I would skip the ‘resort islands’ like Bora Bora.
And yes indeed, there are other options that are accessible! You should know it is possible to camp in some ‘pensions’/guesthouses for a reasonable price.
Chilling at Pension Plage Rangiroa
As I wanted to scuba dive most of the time, so I choose to go to the Tuamotus archipelago.
So here is the budget to give you an idea, if you do not camp. if you do, you can divide the prices by two. Unluckily I had my diving equipment with me so no more space or available kg to bring a tent with me.
ACCOMODATION: average of 30 euros a day in a mix of bungalow/dorm/camping.
- Most expensive was in Fakarava : 60 euros a night in a bungalow, which is still the cheapest option on the island.
- Cheapest in Moorea: 12 euros for a tent with a view! That’s because I went to a place where they actually lended me their own private tent and even gave me a real bed mattress to put in it. And offered me dinner. And lunch. And drinks. Such nice people!
- The rest: Tahiti, Rangiroa and Tikehau was in between 22 to 27 euros per night.
Camping in Moorea at Pension Teataura. My Tent on Stilts!
FOOD: 16 euros a day.
That is if you mix eating outside once in a while and doing your own meals most of the time. Food variety is very limited once far from Tahiti and extremely expensive. So that means eating a lot of pasta/rice/eggs. No fresh fruit or veggies available. But to be in paradise it is worth doing a few sacrifices!
At the Roulotte of Pension Plage Rangiroa, enjoying a delicious tuna mi-cuit for 12 euros.
FLIGHTS: buy a pass – 450 euros for the lagoon pass
You can buy some passes to Air Tahiti. I bought the lagoon pass that give you access to 5 islands: Rangiroa, Fakarava, Tikehau plus Moorea and Tahiti.
Be careful to include everything before you start as you cannot add a destination anymore once you started. This happened to me. Luckily it was just for Moorea, which is really cheap to go to by boat so it was ok.
Flying over one of the atoll.
SCUBA DIVING: pass Te moana – 580 euros for 10 dives.
Diveshops have teamed up to counter attack Topdive in French polynesia. You can buy a 10 dive card for 580 euros and most of these diveshops are really good. I personally did not take this pass and ended up paying the same amount overall per dive as the more you dive the cheaper it gets. Still you would not find cheaper than this pass. So it can be worth taking it!
Diving in Rangiroa North Pass – Tiputa.
So my recommendation is: grab a tent, and enjoy the trip!