Article repost from Coastal Living
Article by Kait Hanson
Dreaming of a tropical trip to French Polynesia? In a locale where turquoise water beckons beneath an overwater bungalow and colorful marine life circles, these five islands (that are not Bora Bora) are calling.
Within the Society Islands archipelago sits flower-shaped Tahaa, nicknamed ‘Vanilla Island’ thanks to its production of 80% of all Tahitian vanilla. Lacking an airport, the only way to access the 33-square-mile slip of sand is by taking a quick flight from Papeete (PPT) to Raiatea (RFP) and hopping on a shuttle boat from there. Visitors can tour vanilla plantations and pearl farms on land, but the crown jewel is below the shoreline in the Coral Gardens, a shallow snorkeling spot that is easily accessible from Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa or by boat charter. Be sure to pack an underwater camera to snap photos of the vibrant sea life including rays, parrotfish, and eel. Anyone still hoping for a peek of Bora Bora can venture to the northwest side of the island for unobstructed views and an ideal spot to watch the sunset
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