Bucket List

Tahitian Island Check List

by Jeralyn Gerba
Breakfast delivered by outrigger canoe. Photo: Courtesy of Thalasso.

You can see it all while taking it easy in French Polynesia. The only things you need are sunscreen and a dream.

- Have breakfast delivered to your over-water bungalow by outrigger canoe.

- Swim with giant sea turtles in a private lagoon (at Le Meridien's turtle sanctuary).

- Arrange a motu picnic, a traditional Tahitian meal prepared on the beach of a small islet. Don't forget the locally brewed Hinano beer.

- Catch the wind: kite-surf, windsurf, or parasail.

- Spend an afternoon on a 4x4 safari excursion on Moorea. Re-fuel with fruit punch at Jus de fruits de Moorea (a charming little distillery).

- Climb aboard a yacht in Cook's Bay.

- Eat hibiscus and tiare ice cream (the latter is tahiti's national flower).

- Try drift snorkeling through the tiputa pass on Rangiroa. Float on the sea surface while the currents carry you into lagoons.

- Reward yourself often with cocktails. Hope they come with tiny umbrellas.

- Get your scuba on. Shallow lagoons for novices, vertical reefs for thrillseekers.

- Take note of Tahiti's burgeoning street art scene.

- Feed the animals (with trained professionals): sharks, manta rays, dolphins, eels.

- Nap on a hammock.

- Tour Taha'a vanilla plantation (pick up vanilla beans and a bottle of noa noa vanilla liqueur, the island's nog-like spirit).

- Dip into the Fa'arumai waterfalls.

- Get a tattoo. French Polynesia is famous for its ink.

- View the volcanic islands — fringed with reefs, surrounded by rings of blue water — by helicopter.

- Get hitched in a glass-bottomed wedding chapel.

- Go horseback riding on the beach.

- Rest in the shade of a coconut palm. Preferably in the Tuamotus.

- Did we mention cocktails?

- Watch Polynesian dances of aparima, hivinau and ote'a. then join in.

- Take a midnight outdoor bath.

Ancient marae. Photo: Courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme.