Long before French painter Paul Gauguin ventured to Tahiti for inspiration in the late 19th century, the mystical charm of this Polynesian paradise beckoned explorers with its palm shaded beaches, turquoise lagoons, emerald mountains, and understated simplicity.

Also known as French Polynesia, Tahiti and its sister islands continue to entice people the world over with unparalleled beauty and blissful tranquility.

Comprised of 118 islands and atolls spread across an area as large as Western Europe, a Tahiti vacation truly offers something for everyone. Your Polynesian hosts exhibit their warmth and vitality through music, dance, and even flowers, for what would a journey to the South Pacific be without a signature lei?

Where else can you lodge in a thatched roof villa situated right above crystal clear azure water with all the amenities of a first class hotel? How about a taste of the subtle culinary and cultural variations of Tahitis many different islands by way of luxurious cruise ships, super yachts, and customized sailboats that make getting there half the fun?

Rejuvenate yourself in one of the islands many spas, and behold how your cares back home seem a million miles away. Set your eyes ablaze by diving into Tahitis wondrous waters and taking in the spectacle presented by the South Pacifics luminescent fish, docile sharks, giant manta rays, and reefs bursting with life. Ahh, life is good in Tahiti. Very good.

Although Tahitis wide assortment of islands attracts travelers of different stripes, two of the most popular are Bora Bora and Moorea, and for good reason. These tropical gems are a stones throw from the main island of Tahiti and provide a gamut of seductions that make you wish you could stay forever.

Considered the most stunning of the Tahitian Islands, Bora Bora is akin to Hawaii 50 years ago, only more beautiful. Those in the know say whether you stay for a day or a year, the island never loses its magical charm. One of Tahitis most populous islands, you will find more things to see and do on Bora Bora than many of its sister islands.

Bora Bora is truly one of natures most inspired creations. The islands lagoon, resembling an artists palette of blues and greens, mesmerizes, delivering a friendly reminder that, no, Toto, you are not in Kansas anymore. Towering Mt. Otemanu watches over Bora Bora, like a beacon protecting all that lies beneath.

Swim in warm, calm water, sail to uninhabited isles, join a 4×4 safari for adventures into the islands wild interior rainforest, and snorkel or scuba dive in coral gardens. Word to the wise no visit is complete without a once in a lifetime shark and manta ray feeding excursion.

In fact, many of the most exhilarating activities in Bora Bora center around water, if for no other reason because the lagoon is so spectacular and can be explored via snorkeling, diving, jet ski, outrigger canoe, sailboat, and windsurfer. Once you have had your fill, dry off while sunning yourself on perfect white sand beaches that envelop the lagoon.

The liveliest of Tahitis outer islands, Mooreas casual, barefoot lifestyle leaves you feeling one step closer to nirvana. Escape to a deserted motu, fish, dive, snorkel, or play tennis and golf. Delve into the myths, rituals, and traditions of the Polynesian culture at Tiki Village, or sway to ancient rhythms in a hammock.

Moorea is perfectly suited for exploration by car, on foot, or as part of a guided hiking, 4×4, or helicopter tour. The islands mountain peaks burst to life with waterfalls running down fern-covered cliffs, surrounded by picturesque turquoise lagoons.

These stunning alpine wonders are easily accessible, inviting you to venture past plantations, idyllic streams, and deep valleys home to cotton, coffee, sugar cane, and pineapple plantations. Guided hiking trails wind upward through rainforests reaching the islands highest points, with views that make you feel like you are on top of the world.

Back at sea level, swim side by side with dolphins at Mooreas Dolphin Center, and top it off with one of the islands wildly entertaining Polynesian dance shows.

Tahiti hotels and other accommodations range
from stilted bungalows and villas perched above water to 5 star hotels with unforgettable ocean views, Tahiti offers exotic, luxurious accommodations for every taste.

Combining excellent service, delectable cuisine, and Polynesian ambience, you certainly will not feel like you are roughing it. On the contrary, Tahitis lodging options are the perfect complement to the tropical magic you will experience every day when you leave your room.