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Introducing Mo'orea

This is the island paradise you've been daydreaming about all winter: mountains that leap almost vertically out of the clear lagoon, lush vegetation, restaurants serving the freshest fish, stylish accommodation and a languid pace of life. Splash around in the shallows of the aqua lagoon, 'walk' along the sea bed, snorkel, cycle, hike, horse ride…When you have to leave, you'll be kicking and screaming.

Transport to Mo'orea from Tahiti is absurdly easy, so you've no excuse but to spend a day or two at the very least on this veritable gem of an island. If idling away the days ceases to do it for you, there are challenging walks, scuba diving, snorkelling and interesting marae (sacred sites) that will keep you entertained.

Mo'orea remains seductive to artists, disenfranchised popaa (Westerners) and Tahitians, many of whom treat Mo'orea as a weekender par excellence. Although the island retains a palpable air of traditional Polynesia, and locals pride themselves on having avoided the jam-packed development of Bora Bora, the island is dominated by tourism. But, you can still tuck a tiare (fragrant white flower) behind your ear, jump on a bicycle and head south, where hotels are rare and islanders eke out a quiet existence.

Live it up in style or visit on the cheap: the island has a good choice of deluxe hotels, but travellers on all budgets can find comfortable places to rest their weary limbs after a day of sunburnt fun.