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.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.