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Island of Taha’a, French Polynesia

Tahaa, French Polynesia

Follow the sweet scent of vanilla to Taha’a, located about 20 miles southeast of Bora Bora. Here you discover a captivating beauty that rivals the island’s more famous sisters, along with an authentic, laidback Polynesian lifestyle of days gone by. Taha’a produces the majority of Tahitian vanilla, recognized the world over for its uniquely complex flavor, and the warm air is rich with its exotic fragrance. Small, family-run plantations spill down the island’s luxuriant slopes, as do groves of banana, taro and coconut trees. Dozens of tiny motus, wrapped in white sands, lie scattered about turquoise lagoon that Taha’a shares with Raiatea; a narrow channel separating two of these motus creates a coral garden that many consider the best snorkeling spot in French Polynesia. There in the calm, crystalline waters, you can leisurely drift above large schools of bufferfly-, clown- and parrotfish, along with octopus, stingrays, moral eels and blacktip sharks. Visit one of the island’s famous black pearl farms, or hike along an old crossing road between the villages of Patio and Haamene to soak in spellbinding views.