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Top 10 Island Getaways


1
French Polynesia

This group of archipelagoes, located in the South Pacific Ocean about halfway between South America and Australia, offers dramatic landscapes and mild tropical weather. Noted for its rugged highlands and reef-encircled lagoons, French Polynesia includes Tahiti, one of the top 10 honeymoon destinations globally [source: Modern Bride], along with lovely Bora Bora and mysterious Moorea.

This is the land of the Old South Seas, a place of coconut, vanilla, sailors and missionaries. It's where many of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty made their home, and there's plenty of history here still. The Tuamotu Archipelago shows current Polynesian life largely untouched by modern trappings, and the Musée de Tahiti et Ses Isles (Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands) provides information on the history, culture and geography of the islands. Be sure to visit some of the ancient Tahitian stone temples, known as marae, restored near the village of Maeva on the island of Huahine.

Moorea's jagged ridges offer gorgeous views of Tahiti, while Bora Bora's feral landscape, with its tumbledown remains of ancient volcanoes, seems to resonate with something primeval in the human soul. Bora Bora offers excellent snorkeling areas as well as a marine sanctuary. Taken together, these present some outstanding opportunities to view and interact with manta rays, sharks, giant mussels and much more. The volcanic black sand beaches are scenic, but your best bet for sun-soaking are the numerous white beaches surrounding the coral lagoons.