Changing CFP Franc Coins Into Bills

by Paul
(Brisbane, QLD, Australia)

Hi there,

Thanks for your great website.

I am visiting Tahiti and Bora Bora in December. I have 32,911 CFP Francs (XPF), all in coins (mostly 100XPF and 50XPF coins). The coins weigh 5kg / 11lb, currently worth $440AUD / $341USD.

I will spend this money during our trip (and more!) but I am looking for some efficiencies on how to handle so much coin. My initial thought was that I could change the coins into bills at a bank but apparently in French Polynesia this cannot be done for non-customers (not even for a fee).

In Australia we have gambling machines called poker machines/slot machines. You can feed them a lot of coins, then just "cash out" to receive bills. Do these type of machines exist in French Polynesia? Are there gambling casinos there? (I am not a gambler, this is just an idea I had for changing coins).

Friends have suggested simply spending all the coins. Can you tell me how much shop keepers, taxi drivers etc. will accept in coins? Is there a limit?

I am also curious to know whether there are any vending machines in French Polynesia e.g. for Coca-Cola or beer or whatever. That would allow me to get rid of some of the smaller value coins.

Perhaps you have some other innovative ideas on how I could handle this problem?

Thanks for reading.

Bora Bora Island Guide's response:
Hi Paul,
What an interesting situation! While your poker machine idea is a great one, there isn't much gambling in French Polynesia.

100XPF and 50XPF coins will be accepted everywhere, so I do suggest you use them whenever you pay for taxis, food, drinks and sundries. There may be some vending machines in Papeete, but not in Bora Bora, and you wouldn't be able to buy much other than drinks and chips!

What resorts or hotels are you staying at? If it is a reputable resort they do currency exchange at the front desk, so you may be able to explain to them your situation and they may be willing to change some of, if not all of the coins for bills. As they would be local bank customers they would be able to exchange the coins or deposit at the local bank - unlike you. The best resorts in French Polynesia are usually happy to assist their customers in any way they can, so I would say that is your best option.

What you will have to be careful of is your weight restrictions on the flights - particularly the inter-island flight between Tahiti and Bora Bora as they have very strict rules on both carry on and check in weight limit on these small flights. So see if you can use or exchange at your hotel most of your coins while you are in Tahiti.

Good luck with your coins! We hope you have a wonderful time in French Polynesia. Let us know how you go.

Kind regards,
Melinda

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