Maupiti, French Polynesia
Photo by Pierre Lesage/Flickr
Maupiti, Society IslandsMaupiti, the smallest and most isolated of the Society Islands, feels like an unblemished tropical playground, where tranquility trumps everything else and romantic love stories of deserted sparkling white-sand beaches surrounded by shimmering aqua lagoons are realized. The best beaches are on the five motus, or small sandbars that also house pensions, ringing the main island. Of the five motus, Motu Tiapaa has the best beaches by far. For surfing and decent kite-boarding, you'll want to head to Motu Tuanai, which also houses the airport. Serving up a Robinson Crusoe version of paradise, Maupiti seduces lovers and adventurers on a quest for the heavenly Polynesia of lore, but it is not for everyone. Time moves slowly on this island, and the resort focus here is on small family run "pensions" (guesthouses), not luxury five-star resorts with multiple restaurants and Wi-Fi. If you're the kind of traveler who's craving a temporary separation from your Facebook account, and love watching the sun set over the lagoon while reading a book or chowing on fresh caught seafood with the family that owns the pension where you're sleeping, Maupiti may be the perfect island for you. Oh, and if you stay at any of the guesthouses here, sign up for full-board, as it isn't really the kind of place where many restaurants exist.