The palm-fringed beaches of French Polynesia may look like the stuff of lockdown-induced dreams. But it turns out a trip to the dreamy South Pacific archipelago isn’t totally out of the question over the coming months.
In fact, the French overseas collectivity has officially lifted quarantine measures and has been welcoming travellers to islands including Tahiti and Bora Bora since July 15.
Sound too good to be true? Well, there are only a few caveats. All travellers must take a test no less than 72 hours before they depart for the islands and must have full travel insurance cover. They will also be provided with a second test to be taken four days after arriving. To start with, only visitors from Europe and the USA will be allowed in.
You’ll also have to make sure your trip is fully mapped out before you go. When you arrive, the government says you must provide a complete itinerary – including inter-island transport plans and accommodation details. Beyond that, the famous turquoise lagoons, coral gardens and moss-crowned peaks of these tropical islands will be pretty much yours to explore.
And brilliantly, if you were thinking twice about booking such an extravagant getaway, the ‘islands of Tahiti’ tourism group has announced that it will offer all visitors a ‘Common Cancellation Policy’ that will waive fees incurred if you have to cancel flights or accommodation. Valid reasons for cancellation include French Polynesia locking down again, or if you test positive for Covid-19 before departure.
Dolphins, rays, turtles: the sea life round these parts is lush to the extreme. The mountains are ripe for trekking. And the beaches. Boy, the beaches. Could now be the time to book that trip of a lifetime?
Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.