Plan an intimate escape to French Polynesia and spend three nights on Moorea (one of them complimentary) at the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa, then visit the romantic island of Bora Bora for four nights at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui.
Even the nicknames of the islands of Tahiti sound like paradise. Locals call the island of Tahiti the Queen of the Pacific. The name seems appropriate, since Tahiti towers over the ocean, crowned by a circle of magnificent peaks, and serves as gateway to the rest of French Polynesia, a grouping of 118 islands and atolls spread over five archipelagos in the South Pacific Ocean.
Then there’s Moorea, the so-called Magical Island, located about half an hour by high-speed ferry from the island of Tahiti. What makes Moorea magical? Probably the way it rises out of the ocean in an explosion of green, with a wide lagoon surrounding the mountains. It’s no surprise that it has been likened to the mythical paradise of Bali Hai from the musical South Pacific.
The other well-known island is Bora Bora, dubbed the Romantic Island; it’s one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations. Breathtaking Bora Bora’s many shades of blue lagoon is encircled by palm-covered motu (a reef islet), and it boasts the castle-like Mount Otemanu, perfect white sand beaches and coral gardens inhabited by colored fish and giant manta rays.
If diving is your thing, you’ll find plenty of world-class adventures. The islands are famous for warm (80 degrees F), crystal-clear (up to 150 feet of visibility) waters, large marine life, coral gardens, sunken ships and oceanic drop-offs.
Near Tahiti, you can explore the wreck of a large cargo ship and a Catalina boatplane on a lagoon dive between 20 and 70 feet deep; at Shark Valley, you can see antler and boulder corals in bright blue waters.
On a dive in Bora Bora’s beautiful lagoon, you’ll usually be accompanied by swarms of gigantic manta rays gliding within arm’s reach. Surrounding the island is a vibrant coral reef that attracts snorkelers and scuba divers from around the world.
There aren’t a lot of strong currents in the waters around Moorea, which makes it a great spot for beginner divers. But experienced divers can still find deep, dramatic canyons. And dive experts suggest venturing to the lush island of Huahine, where lesser-known sites present a quiet underwater world of yellow coral gardens, eagle rays, pufferfish and gray reef sharks; or to the lagoon of Taha’a and Raiatea (called the Sacred Island), which is a favorite with divers for its caverns, sea mounts and drop-offs.
Snorkelers can check out the clear, shallow waters of Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti. There’s also jet-skiing, paddleboarding, sailing and swimming in abundance throughout the islands of Tahiti.
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