Living in Polynesia?

Connect with fellow expats in Polynesia
Join exciting events and groups
Get information in our Polynesia guides
Exchange tips about expat life in Polynesia

Living in Polynesia

If you are an expat looking forward to live next to sandy beaches and warm weather, life in Polynesia could be the right choice for you. Get to know important info on local healthcare, education and safety in Polynesia in this guide.

Healthcare in Polynesia

Because Polynesia is such a sparse group of islands, you will find that many afflictions that you may encounter elsewhere are not an issue; malaria is virtually non-existent, there aren’t any poisonous snakes or spiders, and flu bugs only go around the islands when they are brought in from other countries. However, there is a risk of contracting dengue fever, spread by mosquitoes, which can in some cases be fatal. Protecting yourself from mosquito bites is the only way to avoid the risk of dengue fever, so keep your skin covered up, and use insect repellent. It is also recommended that you sleep under a mosquito net as an added precaution.

On the larger islands, medical facilities are of a good standard, but on the smaller islands, there might not be any access to doctors or medicines at all. Medical facilities do cost money, so insurance is essential when traveling to Polynesia. Larger hospitals will accept credit cards on site, but in the more remote areas, the small medical practices will only accept cash and if you are in a medical emergency on one of the smaller, more remote islands, then it may take a long time for any medical support to reach you. It would be advisable to take any required medication with you, and protect yourself against the sun. 

Education in Polynesia

Education in Polynesia is state-funded for residents and follows the French model of education — a legacy of a time when much of Polynesia was under French rule. Education is technically mandatory for children from age five to 17, but this is not strictly enforced and is often not complied with.

For older children, there are private colleges for those who graduate from secondary school, and there are other options that are funded by the state such as schools for agriculture and other vocations. For expatriates, there are international schools on the larger islands — these can be expensive, but offer an education that is more streamlined with international schools across the world.

Safety and Security in Polynesia

Crime levels in Polynesia are low — the number of expatriates living in Polynesia is not high because of the difficulties of getting to the area, but for those who do choose to pack their bags and move to these alluring islands, there are few reports of crime or any problems. Violent crimes against foreigners are rarely heard of, but as with anywhere, it is best to keep any valuable possessions out of sight. Staying on the islands is expensive, and the islands make a lot of money from tourists being there, and the low crime rate contributes towards the income of the people making a living in the tourism industry in the region.

It is a requirement in Polynesia to carry identification with you all the time, but a photocopy of your passport will be acceptable. Possession of any illegal drugs at all is a very serious offence on the islands, and if you are found with anything illegal in your possession then you will not be allowed to return to the islands. The emergency number for the police is 17, so if you encounter any issues call this number. 

Ivan Dlouhy

"A platform like InterNations makes life easier for the scattered expat community of Polynesia. "

Mireille Auffret

"Polynesia is very far away from my home country, but InterNations helped me and my entire family cope with the transition. "

Global Expat Guide