Paradise - {par'e-diz'} noun.
A place or condition of perfect beauty or happiness".

Discover the islands of French Polynesia, truly, paradise in its ultimate form.

Huahine was the first of three islands we were to visit. Engulfed by coconut groves, coffee and vanilla plantations, this island was a virtual utopia for anyone who seeks true peace and quiet within the beauty of the South Pacific. Even our hotel room was serene, a traditional style thatched roof bungalow nestled amid lush tropical gardens and only a few short steps from the waters edge.

We spent an entire afternoon visiting the historic villages that speckle the small island, and another afternoon traversing the interior and capturing magnificent views of the brilliant turquoise waters from every location we paused to rest. We found the charm and friendliness of the Tahitian people unsurpassed. It was the same on every island we visited.

Our second stop in this virtual paradise, was the world famous island of Bora Bora. The majestic towering volcano that depicts this island, is surrounded by a pristine lagoon with colors ranging from turquoise to deep blue. The crystal clear waters of the lagoon have a visibility of nearly 150 feet, and have given Bora Bora a reputation of having the finest snorkeling in the world.

Scattered along the protective reef that encompasses the island (about a half mile out), are small sandy motus (pronounced "mo-too's"). These small individual islands have become very popular themselves, not only for their beauty, but for their use as private get-a-ways for hotel guests that wish adventuring in private.

On the main island of Tahiti is the capital city of Papeete, and this is where most of the Tahitian people live. It is a bustling city with charming restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and a delightful marketplace that offers more modern shopping and conveniences. Activities in and around the city include helicopter excursions, island tours, horseback riding and deep sea fishing. Many of the hotels nearby also provide or arrange for traditional activities like snorkeling, sailing and glass bottom boat excursions. Outside the city you'll still find what makes Tahiti a paradise. Towering mountains, lush green valleys, and breathtaking waterfalls.

The island of Moorea (located just 10 minutes by air or an hour by boat from Tahiti), is a very popular island in the Tahitian chain and offers visitors an atmosphere of activity or relaxation. There are several resorts/hotels on Moorea along with small boutiques and restaurants to suit any vacationing desires.

The list of islands in French Polynesia and their beauty go on and on, but we must come to a close sometime. Two final notes we will leave you with: First, one of the most pleasant factors about the Tahitian islands are the temperatures. Tahiti averages a comfortable 80 degrees year around. And the water? It's 80 degrees too! Secondly, the sun in the South Pacific is the most intense I have ever experienced. Sunscreen is a must.

Copyright © 1985 - 2015 by Michael Hensley. All rights reserved.

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