Moorea

As spectacular as any island that rises from the Pacific, Moorea is everyone's dream of a Polynesian paradise. Only 25 minutes away from Tahiti via catamaran ferry is Moorea, the island that inspired Michener's mythical "Bali Hai" and served as the setting for Mutiny on the Bounty. In sharp contrast to Tahiti, Moorea is quiter, less crowded (only 8,000 residents) and even more lush, with vast pineapple farms. Mango, coconut and vanilla are also cultivated here. A spectacular view of this heart-shaped island is the reward for ascending (by vehicule or on foot) to Belvedere Lookout.

A lazy, barefoot existence prevails, causing some to proclaim it the "perfect South Seas island." This carefree lifestyle, the coral reefs, and cascading waterfalls have served as inspiration to countless artists, writers and poets who have been drawn by the natural environment.

Moorea beckons the visitor to explore, to meet her warm, somewhat shy residents, to discover the villages and boutiques, restaurants and hotels, which dot the waterfront road, interspersed with uninhabited beaches and secluded coves. A detour inland reveals panoramic views of Cook's and Opunohu Bays, their midnight blue waters dotted white with yachts riding peacefully at anchor.