Escape to French Polynesia 4

Crystal turquoise waters, perfect temperatures year-round, white and black sand beaches, towering waterfalls, rugged volcanic hillsides, lush tropical foliage, over-the-water bungalows… it’s no wonder that the islands of French Polynesia are an idyllic dream vacation for many. While there are 100 islands in this area of the South Pacific, most visitors are familiar with the popular destinations of Tahiti, Mo’orea and Bora Bora. They are often considered the most beautiful places on earth and attract beach lovers, nature aficionados, honeymooners and adventurers alike.

The incredible natural beauty of these islands is often what draws vacationers, but most are happy to report that, just like the year-round sunshine, the people of the islands are also warm and welcoming. Locals are happy to help tourists navigate their way with helpful directions, restaurant recommendations and language tips.

Along with the friendliness of the locals, the celebrated culture of French Polynesia is also an overlooked advantage of such a vacation. The history and traditions date back 3,000 years and delight travelers with unusual song, dance and craftsmanship. Musical performance is widely practiced, and a favorite activity is to sing old classic ballads as a group, accompanied by ukulele, guitar and spoons. Traditional drumming is also widely practiced, often as an accompaniment to dance performances.

Most dining choices on these tropical islands involve fresh seafood. After all, dinner is usually caught just feet away from where you are dining on the beach. Tahiti’s popular national dish is poisson cru, or “Tahitian Salad,” which is similar to ceviche and includes raw fish marinated in coconut juice and spices.

Whether you are traveling as a newlywed or celebrating a milestone anniversary, as a solo traveler or with a group of friends, if you are a beach lover or an adventure seeker, French Polynesia offers the trip of a lifetime.

Roni Fishkin is the Marketing Director of Mann Travels which, with local ownership in Charlotte, has been serving travelers with personalized service for more than 35 years. 800-343-6266