Those who dream of visiting the paradise islands of French Polynesia will have to wait a while longer as it is closing again to international visitors from 3 February.

The South Pacific archipelago had previously reopened on 15 July, but following a spike in cases, it has shut down again in an effort to curb the impact of COVID-19. When the pandemic struck in March 2020, French Polynesia closed to visitors, and at that point, it had registered 62 cases of the virus. After it reopened in July and removed compulsory quarantine requirements, the numbers subsequently rose to 18,000 cases.

Under the new regulations, travelers who are currently on the islands can leave when their trip is over. Inbound travelers cannot enter the territory, but exceptions have been made for those entering due include the death of a family member, medical emergencies, administrative or judicial summons, or if they're health professionals working to address COVID-19.

French Polynesia is comprised of 118 islands, including the showstoppers, Tahiti and Bora Bora. Sculpted by sky-piercing, moss-green peaks and lined with vivid turquoise lagoons, visitors go there to experience warm, laid-back island culture. Most high islands are surrounded by fringing reef that creates a protected swimming pool of the most intense aqua imaginable.

A flower-lined bridge in French Polynesia
There are stunning islands in French Polynesia © len4foto/Shutterstock

Fish, dolphins, rays, sharks, turtles and more inhabit the clear-water coral gardens that are as excellent for snorkelling as they are for diving and swimming. The slim stretches of white-, pink- and black-sand beaches are pretty springboards into the real draw: the lagoons.

For further information on what is required of travelers entering French Polynesia, please see here.

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This article was first published Jun 11, 2020 and updated Feb 2, 2021.

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