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French Polynesia with Kids (Baby + Toddler)

French Polynesia with Kids (Baby + Toddler)

French Polynesia has always been topping the list of the most iconic honeymoon destinations around the world. Stunning landscapes of Moorea, overwater bungalows of Bora Bora, uncovered islands like Nuku Hiva and bustling Tahiti. It’s a great place to explore!

I’ve been wanting to go for a while, but everyone seemed to think I was insane to even think about taking kids with me. Small kids to be exact – one toddler and a baby. There was barely anything online about traveling to French Polynesia with kids.

French Polynesia with kids and babies is possible! In fact, there are more and more people doing it and it’s been great. Here’s my guide on traveling to French Polynesia with kids.

Traveling to French Polynesia with Kids

We actually visited French Polynesia twice, because of a giant mishap due to the pandemic. Needless to say… both kids had a blast and my toddler keeps pointing at the photo from our overwater bungalow in Bora Bora saying that he wants to go there again. Me too kiddo…

I’m actually glad we had to come back, as I created a slightly “less touristy” itinerary for us the second time around.

Originally, we were supposed to just visit Moorea and Bora Bora, but in the end, we also added Tahiti and Nuku Hiva. We visited places on and off the path in French Polynesia.

Air Tahiti Nui flies from Los Angeles Airport straight to Papeete International. Flight quality is amazing, one of the best airlines I’ve ever flown. Our baby got the bassinet and the toddler got a lot of kids’ goodies but fell asleep as it was an overnight flight. We all slept and when we woke up we were already in French Polynesia.

French Polynesia is very accommodating to families with young children. Because of this, we were allowed to skip the long security line at the airport, board the plane first and everyone was helpful.

Dylan getting to try a museum artifact

Which Islands to Visit with Kids?

There’s no one fits all island. We traveled to Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, and Marquesas – Nuku Hiva. We enjoyed all the islands, although each was unique in a way.

Overwater bungalow with kids

Moorea is the easiest island to travel with kids because it’s just a short ferry ride from Papeete International Airport. There are shops everywhere, you can rent your own car or get a taxi, snorkeling is easy. Unsurprisingly, I saw many families only did Tahiti and Moorea.

Bora Bora is also an easy place to travel with kids, but more expensive and quiet so it might not be everyone’s preferred choice.

Sofitel vs Hilton Moorea: Which is Better?

Nuku Hiva is a very remote island that I’d classified as slightly hard to travel with kids. It’s a long flight away from Papeete, long driving distances and requires preparation like being able to hike and be flexible. It’s not a beachy destination, more of an adventure in the jungle type of place.

Huahine is a moderate place to travel with kids but with a more local vibe than Moorea.

Bora Bora with kids

French Polynesia with a Baby

French Polynesia can be absolutely amazing with a baby and I saw not only us had this idea as we saw multiple babies everywhere. Locals love and accommodate babies, so it wasn’t a problem.

Babies are also much easier to travel with than toddlers as they’re portable and don’t move much so you can enjoy your time.

Most hotels and resorts offer cribs, so there’s no need to bring any pack&plays. We even managed to get a crib in an overwater bungalow at Hilton Moorea and FS Bora Bora!

Shops in Tahiti and Moorea offer a wide range of baby products, formula, or food so you can stock up as well. We had everything we needed for Nuku Hiva and Bora Bora as options were limited but still managed to get more diapers in Bora Bora.

One thing that we prefer to bring ourselves to “water destinations” is a baby life jacket (among other baby packing list items). There’s no requirement for babies to wear a life jacket in most places outside of the US and Canada (I experienced it in France, Italy, Poland, French Polynesia, Mexico, or Mauritius). Boat tour companies and rentals offer life jackets for little kids, but it’s all way too big for a baby.

Some parents opt for holding kids in carriers, but we bring our own portable life jacket, so we can safely let the baby sleep with we snorkel or something. This is the exact one we have as it’s comfortable.

Nuku Hiva with kids

French Polynesia Car Seats

There’s no official requirement for children to use car seats in Tahiti, which also means there are no fines for using an American-style car seat even though they use European-style car seats.

I always say when you travel with kids you need to adjust and let go of some of your North American standards when it comes to transportation. French Polynesia is more European so bringing kids on the bus or shuttle and holding them is pretty normal.

We brought car seats for the first trip as we were meant to do a road trip with a rental car, but the second time around we just rented some upon arrival, because it would have been a nightmare to drag car seats for small planes with baggage limits (Air Tahiti domestic limits luggage a lot so you have to be strategic about what to do bring and what to leave at home).

Visiting Bora Bora with Kids + FS Bora Bora Review

The baby got a car seat from the hotel in Nuku Hiva and stayed with my husband in the car, while my toddler Dylan opted to ride with the rest of us on the “safari-style” van for our island excursions.

If all you need to do is to get to and from the resort you should leave your car seat at home. It’s a huge item to lug around for a 5-minute trip, especially since you can often request a car seat from the pickup.

Keep in mind that Air Tahiti Nui is a European-style airline which means that it’s not free for all when it comes to installing car seats on board. It depends on the car seat and whether it’s not the plane is full and doesn’t limit the recline and so on.

I personally saw two people got their Doonas refused on board and had to gate check it… and by then all the bassinets were taken by other babies.

Naptime while parents have time to take photos at the lookout point

Planning Your Adventures with Kids

I tried both options: having a pre-planned everything type of trip the first time and winging a lot the second time. I felt like it was relatively easy to wing a lot of things due to flexibility, but it definitely wasn’t cheaper.

Keep in mind what you can and what you cannot do with the kids. In Nuku Hiva, we opted for a moderate adventure as kids were drained by flying so much, and hiking 10 miles to the waterfall didn’t seem like the greatest idea.

Don’t get me wrong, kids still had a blast and so did we as it wasn’t as stressful.

We did a mixture of private guesthouses, hotels, and resorts starting from the simplest to the most elaborate one which was a good idea.

Bring a small travel stroller for long walks around resorts and a baby carrier or/and hiking backpack if you’re planning on exploring the islands.

Holden visited French Polynesia twice: once at 6 months and then at 7 months


Friday 9th of June 2023

Thank you for this nice write-up! My husband I will be traveling with our son who will be 21 months when we go to Moorea next month. I was curious how old your toddler was when you went, and whether you held off on doing certain activities? One of the things we have planned is a boat excursion to see the whales and aren't quite sure what to expect or how he'll do.

Anna Karsten

Friday 23rd of June 2023

My older son was 2y3m old when we went and the baby was 5months. You obviously won't be able to do things like ATV with him as there's an age limit, but boats are fine and it's fine to take even a baby for the whale excursion. It might be hard for him to get into the water as the whales are swimming fast, but the child can stay on board. We did a few boats and if you're planning on doing snorkeling I highly recommend a private boat if you can - we were able to change the stops and do some sting rays first and then both kids fell asleep (most kids usually fall asleep to the waves haha!) so the captain stayed on board with then while we (adults) snorkeled. Alternatively, most hotels can arrange a babysitter if you prefer because the group whale excursions are long.


Friday 12th of May 2023


I have a great tip for families traveling to Polynesia: they can rent baby equipment from LA P'TITE CABANE - TAHITI (we can . They can rent car seats, strollers, baby carriers (even for hiking), beach tents, and more. They can be found on Facebook ;)

Thais Mariano

Saturday 4th of February 2023

Hello Anna, I'm Thais, from Brazil, I'm really surprised with your posts, they are amazing. Loving all. I will travel to FP with my husband and my 9months baby and i'm really worried about the jet lag for my baby (12h difference from Brazil), what do think about it? Can you share your experience with me? We will stay there for 3 weeks. Thank you very much!

Anna Karsten

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

We've never had major issues with jet lags when changing countries, especially with babies under 1 year. Just darken the room for the night and stay busy during the first two days so they baby switches.

Hayley Thomasen

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

Hello, do you happen to have a list of things to bring for baby on your trip? We are going to FP for 4 weeks with our 10-month old son, and I am an over packer so any help is much appreciated!

Anna Karsten

Thursday 24th of March 2022

I don't have a dedicated article just yet, but depending on the islands visited in Tahiti and Moorea you can easily buy it all. We got diapers, formula, baby food, everything. In Bora Bora you can still get stuff but it's expensive so I recommend stocking up on those necessities in Moorea. In Nuku Hiva there's nothing haha! In terms of clothes, we brought way too much the first time and basically reduced to one packing cube per child - one change of clothes for the day is plenty, but some hotels have washing machines on-site so you don't even need that. Everyone walks around in swimtrunks so baby could do (either those with built-in diapers or bring a pack of swim diapers). Baby floatie for the ocean and pool is a must.


Saturday 22nd of January 2022

Did you visit all 4 in one trip? How many days for each island? I think you should cover travelling during the pandemic and the hurdles you came across. People are dying to travel but don’t know what to expect with all the restrictions and rules. Thank you

Anna Karsten

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Yes, we did all 4 on our second trip, first trip just 2 islands :) The problem with covering the pandemic is that rules and everything change nonstop so you never know what to expect these days :/

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