French Polynesia, known to many by the name of its most populous island, Tahiti, is accepting visitors again.
We know, we can't believe it, either. If Americans try going most other places in the world, they'll be looking at slammed doors. But as of July 15, the South Pacific paradise will show anyone its sublime reefs and beaches—and as long as visitors jump through a few hoops first, there's no quarantine to worry about.
Step One: Book your accommodation. The government got Covid-19 under control months ago, so officials want to know where you'll be in case you bring something nasty with you. Upon arrival, you'll need to show your confirmed reservation(s) for every night of your stay. There are plenty of tempting islands throughout French Polynesia (like Huahine, pictured above), so consult this Frommer's photo feature on how to choose the Tahitian island that you'll love the most.
Step Two: At home, buy travel insurance that will cover your health expenses should you come down with the coronavirus. The locals require insurance so you won't be a drain on their system. Our recent article on buying travel insurance during the pandemic will point you in the right direction.
Step Three: Book a flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Air Tahiti Nui. We're specific about the airport and the airline for a good reason: The Tahitian government requires a Covid-19 test that is no older than 72 hours, and, thoughtfully, Air Tahiti Nui is working with a Los Angeles testing firm to bring passengers into compliance. (What a smart idea!) The cost will be $149 if you show your airline ticket. For that price, results usually come back within 48 hours. If you start your journey in another city or take another airline, it'll be up to you to obtain your own negative test, but in many places in the United States, you won't be able to get a result that quickly. So Air Tahiti Nui's partner service in L.A. should do the trick.
Step Four: After you land in paradise, show border agents proof of your health coverage and where you'll be staying for your whole itinerary. Also provide your info on the necessary tracing forms (which you can find through Tahiti Tourisme, the official tourist office). In exchange, the government will give you a second testing kit. Four days into your stay, you'll test yourself for Covid-19 once again, just to be sure. You'll get a list of health centers where you can drop the test off, or you can give it to the front desk of your hotel.
The rest is up to you. You can swim with stingrays, eat fresh seafood with French baguettes, snorkel glassy lagoons—and above all, completely erase thoughts of the troubled world far across the seas.