All you need to know about money and related services including credit cards, money exchange & ATMs.
The official currency for Bora Bora and French Polynesia is the French Pacific Franc (CFP Franc), known as the franc (currency code is XPF). There are 500, 1000, 5000, and 10000 XPF notes, as well as 1,2,5,10,20,50 and 100 XPF coins. The exchange rate with the Euro is a fixed flat rate of 1€ = 119.332 XPF, while the exchange rate with other currencies fluctuates. $1 USD is equal to roughly 90 XPF. Both the US dollar and the Euro are widely accepted in resorts, hotels and other tourist places, but it’s still a good idea to carry a small amount of the local currency, just in case. You can exchange money at Tahiti airport en route to Bora Bora, or at one of the local banks in Bora Bora’s main town, Vaitape. Typically Resorts, Hotels and some other business around French Polynesia can also exchange US dollars and Euros for Pacific Francs (XPF), but this should be avoided if possible because the exchange rate is not typically as good as the one you would receive at a local bank or airport.
Credit Cards and ATM
The easiest way to get the local currency is from an ATM, also known as Cash Machine or Cashpoint. In addition to the ATM at Bora Bora Airport, there are a number of banks in Vaitape where you can find international ATMs. Keep in mind that you may be charged for any cash withdrawals you make in Bora Bora. The ATMs operate in English and French, although they are quite reliable at dispensing cash it is advisable to carry US Dollars or Euros in case the ATM is out of service or there are issues processing your card. It is also important to remember your PIN number. Major credit cards, including American Express, Visa and MasterCard, are accepted at most hotels and resorts, as well as at some of the larger stores in Vaitape. You’ll find, however, that many restaurants, markets and small shops only accept cash, so it’s best to keep some on hand. To prevent any potential account freezes, contact your bank before your trip and let them know you’ll be using your credit card in Bora Bora. It’s also best to carry cash if you plan to travel to some of the smaller islands around Bora Bora, where credit cards are not as widely accepted and ATMs may not work with foreign cards.
One important Bora Bora travel tip to keep in mind is that adding a gratuity is not customary unless the service has been particularly outstanding. That said, you’ll notice that credit cards receipts often have a “tip” line and many tourists choose to tip up to 10%, either by cash or credit, despite the fact that it is not necessary or expected.