French Polynesia is an archipelago in the South Pacific that offers some of the most luxurious vacation spots in the world.
With an intense tropical climate, it can be difficult to navigate the ever-changing weather on French Polynesia. However, in this guide, we’ll detail the best time to visit French Polynesia so that you can get the most out of your trip.
From Tahiti to Bora Bora to Raiatea, this guide will help you plan your trip so that you can enjoy the most spectacular weather.
Overall Best Time To Visit French Polynesia
Above all, the best time to visit French Polynesia is in September. Not only is September the month with the longest days, but it’s the driest month, making it perfect vacation weather.
You’ll also love that September is smack-dab in the middle of humpback whale season. If you want the experience of your lifetime, you cannot miss out on swimming with humpback whales. You can find out more about whale season by jumping down to this section.
If possible, we suggest aiming for September for a French Polynesian holiday. But, if you can’t make that work, there are plenty of other seasons and months with spectacular weather, too.
Here’s what you need to know about the best time to visit French Polynesia:
Best Time To Visit French Polynesia By Season
French Polynesia experiences two separate seasons: wet season and dry season. Simultaneously, the wet season is also the hot season, meaning you’ll feel much humidity during specific months.
Here’s a rundown of the two different seasons in French Polynesia, what you can expect, and what we recommend for booking your trip:
Wet & Hot Season
The wet season in French Polynesia runs from November to April. During this time, you’ll experience consecutive rainy days and high temperatures.
Unsurprisingly, the wet season is also when you can run into cyclones in the South Pacific, although French Polynesia is rarely affected by them.
May to October marks the dry season where the islands experience far less rain, lower temperatures, and cooler ocean water.
During the dry season, you can expect many sunny days. And while that is the goal for any paradise vacation, the dry season is also when you’ll experience higher prices and more crowds.
Best Time To Visit French Polynesia By Month
Now that you understand the two seasons in French Polynesia, we can break it down by month.
Which month should you plan your trip? Which month will give you the best weather in French Polynesia while also giving you the best bang for your buck?
Here’s what we think:
Hot & Rain
The wet season hits its peak in January, so you can expect rain, rain, and more rain. January sees rain approximately every other day, if not more.
With many tropical island locations, afternoon showers are common, and that remains true for French Polynesia in January as well.
You may also feel overwhelmed by the heat in January. Bring a hat, plenty of sunscreen, and be sure to pick up some electrolytes at the local grocery store.
Note: We always found Powerade at the local grocery store Super U Are in Cook’s Bay. This was perfect for replenishing electrolytes.
But remember, prices will likely be a lot higher than you’re used to. You may consider bringing electrolyte packets in your suitcase to save some money.
Island temperatures hover around 87º F and remain this way throughout the day and night.
Hot & Rain
Above all, February is not the best time to visit French Polynesia. It will almost certainly rain a few times while you’re on the islands if you decide to go during this month.
With that said, the rain doesn’t typically last very long and you can easily continue your activities after the mid-afternoon showers.
But along with the rain, you’ll also have to take on the heat and boy, do the islands of French Polynesia get toasty!
Expect temperatures around 86º F each day with a low of 73º.
Note: We stayed in a few different places that didn’t have air conditioning. If you visit French Polynesia during February, I recommend staying in a place that has air conditioning. Check before you book!
Hot & Rain
And the hottest month of all.. March! March takes the cake for the highest average temperature, which can be a good thing and a bad thing.
For one, the sea temperature will feel like bathwater. If you want to get out and explore the ocean, you will feel comfortable doing so in warm water.
As March approaches, the number of rainy days starts to diminish. Travelers can expect approximately seven days of rain during March. But remember, even if the forecast predicts rain, it will likely be a quick afternoon shower.
April wraps up the rainy season for French Polynesia; those looking to travel to the islands in April can expect approximately half as many rainy days as December and January.
And although the weather is becoming less rainy during this month, the temperatures are still sky-high. The average daytime temperature for French Polynesia in April is 86º F, with a low of 73º F.
April is also the month that boasts the hottest sea temperatures.
Hot & Dry
The months continue to get drier and drier. Those traveling to French Polynesia in May can expect very few days of rain (approximately 5) and slightly cooler temperatures.
And when I say “slightly cooler” I mean that island temperatures typically stay around 85º F.
The busy season begins in June when more and more travelers flock to these world-famous islands. With very little rainfall, plenty of sunshine, and adequate temperatures, June is one of the best times to visit French Polynesia.
But as the busy season emerges, prices will rise quickly. Expect to pay top-dollar for anything on the island during the busy season. This includes transportation, accommodation, and activities.
Cool, Sunny, & Dry
If you’re anything like me, scorching heat could be the end of us. I simply cannot stand extreme heat. But, I don’t want to miss out on these picture-perfect islands.
If that sounds like you, I recommend visiting French Polynesia in July because this is the month with the lowest average temperatures.
Sure, you’ll still be sitting in the low 80s most of the month, but it’s a lot better than temperatures flirting with 90º.
This will also keep you cool at night. If you decide to stay in a place that doesn’t offer air conditioning, July is the month to plan your trip. You’ll sleep soundly as the temperatures drop into the 60s.
Cool, Sunny, & Dry
August is another one of the best times to visit French Polynesia. During August, you’ll get used to sunny days, cooler weather, and extended daylight hours.
The temperature typically settles around 80º F and you’ll see the sun for at least 8 hours each day. Take that time to lounge on the pristine beaches of French Polynesia and explore the many islands in this archipelago.
Remember, August is still considered the busy season, so prices will be higher and you’ll be surrounded by more tourists during this month.
If you’re looking for more tranquility and fewer people, I suggest postponing your vacation until September.
Long Days & Dry
In my opinion, the best time to visit French Polynesia is during September. During September, the islands experience the longest days of the year. This means more daylight hours to do the things you want to do on the island.
September is also the driest month. With just three expected days of rain during September, you’re guaranteed dry days during your paradise vacation.
If I were to plan another trip to French Polynesia, I would make sure I took advantage of September’s long and sunny days.
You’ll also find that fewer tourists visit French Polynesia during September. The busy season runs from June to August, meaning you can have more peace on the island if you visit in September.
And of course, we can’t forget the best time to see whales in French Polynesia. Whale season lasts from mid-August until the end of October. This is the perfect time to spot some humpbacks and possibly even SWIM with them!
Cool & Dry
We visited French Polynesia during October and November. We were able to do some of the best things in Mo’orea during this month and we were happy with the weather.
October is primarily dry, but this is the month where the weather begins to change. November marks the start of the rainy season, so get your holiday in before the storms hit.
The daily temperatures are also slightly hotter than the summer months, but they are nothing compared to the heat of December or January.
Hot & Some Rain
As the temperatures in French Polynesia begin to increase, more storms accumulate. High temperatures hover around 85º F, which is significantly hotter than the cool and breezy summer months.
When we were in Mo’orea during November, it rained every other day. Since we were there for two months, this wasn’t an issue for us. But if you’re planning a shorter vacation, be aware that rainy days are common during November.
I don’t necessarily recommend visiting French Polynesia in November as it is not the best time for great weather, but the prices of hotels, resorts, and flights start to drop during this month.
If you’re a budget traveler, you may consider planning your trip for the wet season.
Hot & Rain
The worst time to visit French Polynesia is during December. During the month of December, it’s common for it to rain.. a lot. This is the wettest month of the year.
And to top it off, December is also one of the hottest months of the year in French Polynesia. Hot and humid weather isn’t my cup of tea, but if you want special deals on hotels, flights, and resorts, visiting in December might be worth looking into.
Note: In December, Bora Bora hosts the Bora Bora Liquid Festival, where athletes participate in various water sport activities. If you do visit French Polynesia in December, this might be a fun activity to add to your itinerary.
Public Holidays In French Polynesia
Since the French Polynesian archipelago belongs to France, the islanders follow many of the same practices.
Apart from Christian religious holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.), French Polynesia also celebrates several other public holidays, including Victory Day, Whit Monday, and Autonomy Day.
As a popular tourist destination, many of these holidays will not affect tour and resort working hours.
Best Time To Visit French Polynesia FAQs
As you’re planning your trip to French Polynesia, I’m sure you want to get every detail correct. With fewer mishaps, you’re bound to enjoy your holiday even more.
So to cover all of the bases, here are the most frequently asked questions travelers have about the best time to visit French Polynesia:
Best Time To Visit Bora Bora
Each year, the island of Bora Bora hosts the Bora Bora Liquid Festival. With numerous activities, races, and sports, this would be uniquely fun to witness.
The Bora Bora Liquid Festival typically happens in December, but check updated info on the official website.
Best Time To Visit Tahiti
Tahiti is the biggest island in French Polynesia and it is often overlooked thanks to its idyllic neighboring islands. But don’t be fooled; Tahiti is one of the most visually beautiful islands in the world.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie or an avid hiker, Tahiti can offer the best hikes. And while Mo’orea boasts several iconic hikes herself, Tahiti takes the cake for the most adventurous island.
So, if you plan to get out and enjoy the fascinating hiking trails scattered throughout the island of Tahiti, you’ll want the driest and coolest days. We recommend visiting Tahiti from July through September.
Best Time To Visit Mo’orea
We spent two months on Mo’orea during October and November. If you’re planning your trip to Mo’orea, take it from me; October was an awesome month to visit.
Not only were there far fewer tourists than we expected, but we were able to soak in plenty of sunny days and cooler weather.
You’ll also have the opportunity to swim with humpback whales in October if you choose to.
Overall, I recommend visiting Mo’orea in October, but it’s an amazing destination to experience year-round.
Is There A Hurricane Season In French Polynesia?
Very rarely does French Polynesia encounter a hurricane, or cyclones as they are called in the southern hemisphere.
If a cyclone were to strike the French Polynesian islands, it would likely occur between November and March when the weather is hot and humid.
When Is The Cheapest Time To Visit French Polynesia?
The cheapest time to visit French Polynesia is when the weather isn’t so great. From December to April, travelers can expect a lot of rain on the islands. When the rains come, the crowds stay away.
And when there are fewer tourists, the demand goes down and lands in your favor; book hotels and flights for a fraction of the cost you would pay during peak season.
So, if you’re looking for the best time to travel to French Polynesia on a budget, aim for December through April.
When Is The Busy Season In French Polynesia?
The best weather brings with it the busy season. From June to August, you can expect a high number of travelers making their way to the islands of French Polynesia.
This is when hotel, airline, and resort prices skyrocket.
And although the high prices aren’t great, you’ll experience the sunniest days during your trip and you can’t put a price on that!
When Is The Best Time To Spot Whales In French Polynesia?
Above all, our favorite part of our trip to French Polynesia was swimming with humpback whales. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you won’t want to leave the islands without witnessing this for yourself.
If you can, the best time to visit French Polynesia for humpback whales is from mid-August to the end of October.
You can book your tour with the same company we did here: Moorea Moana Tours Swim With Whales.
You can also see humpback whales just by hanging out on the beach. They frequent the warm waters around French Polynesia each year to give birth to their young.
As you gaze out into the ocean, keep an eye out for their blowholes. This was the first thing we were able to spot from our beach bungalow.
The Wrap-Up: Best Time To Visit French Polynesia
When it comes down to it, the best time to visit French Polynesia is between May and October. For the ultimate experience, I suggest booking your holiday in September.
During September, you’ll avoid the heavy rush of tourists, high resort prices, and rainy weather. You’ll also have to opportunity to see the humpback whales that frequent the waters around French Polynesia during that time.
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