Close your eyes. And just imagine. You land on a strip of coral by the sea, you are garlanded at the traditional welcome with tiare (a highly fragrant gardenia) by a smiling-eyed islander. There’s a shimmering lagoon with every hue from lapis lazuli to turquoise, a perfect ring of islets girdled with sand bars, palm trees leaning over the shore and large coral gardens packed with rainbow-coloured species. Brochure material? No, just routine in Maupiti, Bora Bora’s little sister. This impossibly scenic creation of basalt and coconut trees has all you need to throw your cares away.
Unlike its glamorous neighbour, Maupiti has managed to hold on to that slow-down-it’s-the-South-Pacific feeling, and that’s why it’s gaining popularity. There’s only one road and virtually no cars, just bikes; there are no showy resorts, just a smattering of family-run pensions.
If working your suntan ceases to do it for you, there are walks, lagoon excursions, diving, kayaking, fishing and snorkelling to keep you buzzing.