The four islands of the Gambier archipelago are set over one thousand miles southeast of the Island of Tahiti, and are populated by just a few hundred residents—so visitors often feel like they’ve got this slice of paradise all to themselves. Check into one of main town Rikitea’s family-owned B&Bs or lodges—known as pensions de famille—then get the lay of the land with a hike around the whole island of Mangareva (about a four-to-six-hour walk), or up the slope of Mt. Duff, the highest peak in the Gambier chain. Snorkeling and visits to working pearl farms are popular, though you’ll also be tempted to slow down and relish the simple, pure pleasures that make up life here—from taking a picnic out to a deserted motu to taking in the nightly canopy of stars.
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