Tahiti

Raiatea essential information

Sailing in Tahiti

Back to Tahiti

February 11, 2020: French Polynesia has made changes to their entry requirements. Please review the information attached and check with your airline and the Travel Advisory page to stay up to date on any restrictions.   

Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Tahiti. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.

Plan

Before you go

Address
Sunsail Raiatea
Marina Apooiti
Uturoa Raiatea
French Polynesia

Raiatea, nicknamed “The Sacred Island” and once at the heart of ancient Polynesia.  Sunsail’s base is at Marina Apooiti, 2km from the town of Uturoa.  The base is located in the middle of the Leeward Islands, the North-western group of French Polynesia, and is located just 2 minutes from the airport.

Base hours
Monday - Sunday: 7:30am to 5pm

Time zone
Standard Time Zone in Raiatea is UTC/GMT -10 hours

Language
The official languages of the Raiatea are Tahitian and French. English is spoken in the tourist areas.

Cost of living
Prices are in general higher than average. For example, a meal in a restaurant will cost between 2000 Fcp and 6000 Fcp (16 US$/50US$).

What to bring

Passport and visas
You must have a valid passport when you travel to Tahiti. Please ensure that your passport is valid for up to six months beyond your scheduled stay. Visas are generally not required if staying for less than 30 days. You need a visa if you stay more than 3 months in French Polynesia.

Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

Non-EU passport holders, please contact your local consulate for advice on visa and passport requirements.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Customs + immigration
On arrival, you will be required to show your passport, completed Immigration card (distributed on the aircraft) and your return ticket. Going through Immigration, Customs and Baggage Collection can take up to an hour.

Duty free allowances are similar to those in the EU. Airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles, e.g. food, which may also be confiscated by Customs.

No Airport Departure Tax or Taxes/Customs Charges apply.

Sailing licenses
Although no sailing licenses are required for cruising in Raiatea we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification on vacation with you.  This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police.  If you have not already done so then Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing resume to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sailing in this region.

Luggage + packing list

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. Only one item of hand luggage per person is allowed and this must not weigh more than 5kg. For storage aboard we recommend traveling light and using folding luggage.

We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

What's on board

Coolers
Coolers are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Please sign these out and return them clean and undamaged, otherwise there will be a charge for replacement. Only one per boat.

Mobile phones
The VINI networks everywhere around and if you have an extension for your own mobile phone you can use it in French Polynesia. Otherwise you can buy a SIM card to have a local number.

There is a mobile phone provided on every boat with a certain amount of credit.  When you arrive back at the base you need to pay for the credit that has been used. 

Music + iPods
All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod whilst sailing you will need to bring along an iTrip or FM radio transmitter.

Drone

The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit https://www.seac.pf/aeronefs-telepilotes/

Electricity
The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts.

Internet
Internet access is available at the base. There are two internet cafes near the Marina. Huahini and Bora Bora also have internet cafes available. You can also find WiFi zones on each island. 

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Sail

About the marina

Marina facilities

  • Shower facility
  • Briefing room
  • Restaurants
  • Dive center
  • Internet
  • Public phone
  • Water
  • Fuel
  • Weather forecast

Supermarkets are located in Uturoa, 10 minutes by taxi and 30 minutes with vessel.

You will find complete facilities at the marina, including toilets, washbasins and showers. They are near the Sunsail office and are open 24 hours a day. Please ask the Sunsail staff for the key if it is a weekend or public holiday.

Dock facilities
Fuel:

Cost Guide

Approx 1.25 Euros per liter

Fuel Station Location

Uturoa

Sailing licences

Experience level
Sailing experience: Level 2

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area. Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

More information on the sailing in this area.

Sailing grounds

Skippered charter information
The skipper’s time is booked from 12:00pm to 12:00pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 6:00pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12:00pm on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the checkout skipper’s time is booked from 6:00pm to 6:00pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day. This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are therefore your responsibility. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.  The skipper must have his own cabin.

For one-day check out skipper’s it is your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20% of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at your discretion.  

More information on Skippered Charter Options.

Sailing area restrictions
This information will be provided in the chart briefing, however for passages to the islands of Raiatea, Bora Bora, Huahine and Tahaa the base may ask you to sign a waiver confirming your experience in making such long passages. Passing to the south of Raiatea (Passe Nao Nao) is prohibited.

Tahiti prohibits anchoring inside Bora Bora Island.  Only Moorings balls and docking is allowed.
This information is covered in the chart briefing.

Night sailing
You are not permitted to sail at night unless it has been agreed with the base manager prior to departure.

Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.

Sailing permits + taxes
Cruising permits are not required in Tahiti.

Moorings fees + taxes
All moorings in the area belong either to restaurants, charter companies or similar and are usually for their clients. As a guest you may use them free of charge otherwise call the owner to ask for permission. In most places you will anchor.

Health + safety

Illness or injury 
If you get sick and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please have a member of your party contact the Sunsail base manager as soon as possible.

Safety 
All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses. We leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.

Swim Safe 

For your safety and for environmental reasons, the feeding of fish is not recommended and may be prohibited in some destinations.

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Shop

Around the base

Hotels
Sunset Beach - is located by the base and comprises 22 bungalows.

Kite boarding, snorkeling and scuba diving can be arranged here.
PK 2 , Apooiti Bay
B.P. 397, 98735 Uturoa - Raiatea
Telephone- (689) 66.33.47
Fax- (689) 66.33.08

Currency
The Pacific Franc is the common money in French Polynesia.

Euros and US Dollars are accepted throughout the Leeward Islands.

Credit card information
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most of the larger restaurants and supermarkets.

Banks
In the main town of Uturoa (5km from the base) you will find several banks each with ATM’s.

Opening Hours: 7:30 am - 11:30 am and 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Shopping
There is an excellent central market in downtown Uturoa, located between the docking area and the main road going through downtown Uturoa. You'll find inexpensive produce, wonderful fruit and vegetables. Markets are open 6 days a week with limited hours on Sunday. Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6pm and Sunday 6am to 11:30am

Beside the ship dock "Gare Maritime Building" is a shopping center with a couple of restaurants, boutiques, jewelry shops and an 'Arts and Crafts Village' where you will find hand painted dresses and pareos, woven hats and bags, woodcarvings and shell jewelry.

A Post Office is located in Uturoa 5 KM from the base.  Monday to Friday: from 7:30am to 3:00pm during week time and from 8:00am to 10:00am during weekends.  
Stamps, post cards, mailbox are available at the base.

VAT is included in prices, accommodation taxes exist for hotels but not in charters.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

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