It has been 243 days since we stepped on an international flight. It has been 8 whole months since we’ve felt the butterflies of boarding and the anticipatory excitement of travel. The freedom of our first flight to French Polynesia was one of the most beautiful feelings we’ve felt in 2020 and we have an abundance of gratitude for this experience. French Polynesia is one of the few places in the world that is allowing American (and all international) tourists to enter the country. In just 8 non-stop hours from San Francisco, we touched down on the idyllic South Pacific island of Tahiti (part of French Polynesia) and onwards to the romantic island of Bora Bora.

Protocols to Enter Tahiti & French Polynesia

In order to enter paradise, there are strict and effective protocols that have allowed the country to open for tourism. International travel is more than possible in 2020 thanks to these protocols that the government has put in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Prior to boarding the flight to Tahiti on United Airlines, we had to complete the following:

  • Proof of a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours of the international flight departure Please click here to check the Tahiti Tourism site for a list of approved tests. This can be difficult to find in certain states so talk to your doctor to guarantee results in 72 hours. Print out your test with the negative results, your full name, and the date of test. Proof of this will need to be shown while boarding and when you land. Please note that the rapid test is not approved.
  • Register on the Tahitian Electronic Travel Information System (ETIS) and print this out. Proof of this will need to be shown while boarding and when you land.
  • Wear a mask for the flight except when eating and drinking. We recommend requesting your meal to be served at a different time so that your mask is not off at the same time as others.
  • Purchase travel insurance that covers COVID costs. We used World Nomads for our travel insurance.
  • Take an additional COVID test four days after your arrival in French Polynesia. This further ensures your safety and the safety of others on the islands. You will be handed a self-administered COVID test upon arrival to PPT Airport. After taking the test, you can deliver the test to an approved site or give it to the front desk at your hotel. We stayed at the Four Seasons Bora Bora and a doctor picked it up directly from our overwater bungalow. We were also told that the doctor was happy to administer the test if we didn’t feel comfortable doing it ourselves.

How to get to Tahiti, French Polynesia, Bora Bora

There are three direct flights from the United States to French Polynesia from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu. The airlines that fly there are United Airlines (SFO), Air Tahiti Nui (Los Angeles), and Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu). Once you’re in French Polynesia, you can fly Air Tahiti to Bora Bora and the surrounding islands.