Work and Travel in French Polynesia

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Think French Polynesia and you’ll think resorts with white sand and crystal clear waters. But unfortunately, you need a lot of money for that so most backpackers don’t go near French Polynesia.

What if we told you that you could work and travel in French Polynesia and experience one of the most beautiful locations in the world without paying for anything other than your flight?

It’s possible with our travel guide to French Polynesia.

1. Work in a Soup Kitchen on French Polynesia

French Polynesia is so much more than rich tourists enjoying the fruits of their labours. Local people are not rich and there is a lot of poverty in this territory.

Soup kitchens are, sadly, a fact of life if you get out of the resorts. Volunteers are always wanted to work in them. The reason why you should consider this type of work in French Polynesia is it’s your chance to meet the locals, which you wouldn’t if you were staying in a luxury resort.

The work is simple and doesn’t require any qualifications to get started with.

2. Study the Marine Life of French Polynesia

The marine life is one of the reasons why people visit this territory. One of the great volunteering opportunities in French Polynesia is studying the marine life there.

Many students from France come to study environmental marine studies here for a reason. To work as a volunteer you don’t need to be qualified, but it definitely helps.

If you apply for a position well in advance you’re likely to find the position you want. Just don’t turn up and expect to find something.

3. Work on a Farm in French Polynesia

Believe it or not, travel in French Polynesia is far more than beaches and luxury resorts. There are working farms all over the territory.

It’s a great chance for you to find work there and experience a side of the territory most tourists who visit never see. Whilst working on these farms, you’ll get a taste of normal life in the country and have the opportunity to pick up the local Tahitian language at the same time.

It’s definitely an experience that will stay with you.


The visa policy of French Polynesia is set by the French government. Luckily, most Western nationalities are able to enter French Polynesia without a visa. To start with, all European Union (EU) citizens are able to enter the country without the need for a visa for as long as they want.

North Americans, Japanese citizens, South Koreans, Australians, and Kiwis are able to enter for 90 days without a visa.

For other nationalities, there can be some differences. Russians and South Africans will need to apply for a visa from the French embassy in their home country. However, Chinese citizens are able to enter without the need for a visa As long as they are on an organised trip. So independent Chinese travellers will still need to apply for a visa if they want to work in French Polynesia.



The tropical climate of French Polynesia means that spring is characterised by the end of the rainy season. It’s one of the best times to visit because this is also the low season. You won’t have to deal with the hordes of tourists and the cost of getting around could be half the price of high season.

During spring, we recommend that you head to the coastline. Marine studies and conservation projects are popular in spring. They’re easier to find and the looming shadow of tourism isn’t as prominent as it usually is.


The summer season is the much cooler season and, again, you can still involve yourself in marine projects. However, if you feel like you want to go into the interior, this is a good time to do it.

Farms in some of the most pristine areas of the country are open to volunteers. Homestays are an excellent way to meet the locals and these volunteering opportunities in French Polynesia will also allow you to see how people really live in French Polynesia.


The autumn season is when the tourist season begins to ramp up again. If you do want to work in the tourism industry, this is the time to do it.

The majority of hotels and resorts start looking for staff a few months in advance of the main tourist season. Whether you want to work in a hotel or whether you want to show visitors how to snorkel, there are always seasonal positions available.

However, you will be expected to have prior experience in the hospitality trade. These are not easy backpacker jobs to secure.


When you travel in French Polynesia in winter you’re travelling at the height of the tourist season. This is also when cyclones are possible and there’s a higher chance of rain. Whilst we don’t recommend work in French Polynesia in winter, there are positions available.

For example, you can work in the urban areas. Working in orphanages, soup kitchens, clinics, and schools are just some of the positions on offer.

The vast majority don’t require you to have any prior qualifications. A knowledge of English or French is more than enough to qualify you.

These positions are best taken in winter to avoid the high season.


French Polynesia can be difficult to get around because most locals will assume you’re a rich tourist. Avoiding the relevant scams should be your main priority. If you want to get in touch with the real people of French Polynesia, you should head to the interior and away from the resorts.

You’ll notice a much warmer, friendlier side of the region. However, foreigners coming to work in French Polynesia is nothing new, so don’t expect any problems if you’re taking up one of the volunteering opportunities here.

Do you want to work and travel in French Polynesia?

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