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The Leeward Islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Bora Bora are very different from Tahiti, or even Moorea, for that matter. With the exception of Bora Bora, which is French Polynesia's tourism magnet, all are relatively undeveloped. Except when cruise ships are in port, they will let you see what Polynesia is like without hordes of fellow visitors.

Days 1-2: Touring Old Polynesia on Huahine

Lovely Huahine will give you a chance to relax and chill after your international flight. On your first morning, take an informative tour of the historic maraes (ancient temples) at Maeva village with Paul Atallah of Island Eco Tours. Have lunch at Restaurant Mauarii on gorgeous Avea Beach, one of French Polynesia's finest strands. On your second day, get out on the water with a lagoon excursion, or perhaps go horseback riding. I always have a sunset drink at Restaurant Temarara while watching the boats coming and going at Fare, the island's charming main town.

Days 3-4: A History Lesson on Raiatea

If you can spare a day away from the beach, Raiatea will allow a glimpse of Polynesia sans tourists -- except when cruise ships dock at Uturoa, the island's only town and the administrative center of the Leeward Islands. You will get a good lesson in Polynesian history by spending this morning on a tour with Bill Kolans of Almost Paradise Tours (tel. 66.23.64) Bill will take you to Taputapuatea Marae, the largest and most impressive ancient marae in French Polynesia. You can spend your second day out on the lagoon, which Raiatea shares with Tahaa.

Days 5-8: Enjoying the Lagoon on Bora Bora

You'll spend 2 days in transit between Bora Bora and other islands, so that leaves just 2 days to experience the beauty of Bora Bora and its lagoon. Though it's barely enough time, you can make the most of the days by spending half of your first one on a four-wheel-drive safari expedition. Devote all of the next day to a lagoon excursion, which invariably will include a shark-feeding stop, a picnic on a small islet, and time for snorkeling. Be sure to have dinner at Bloody Mary's Restaurant & Bar one night, and at Villa Mahana the other night.

Days 9-10: Chilling in Luxury on Tahaa

The best way to come down after all the activities of this week is at Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa, on a small reef islet off Tahaa. While you're here, take a safari excursion into the interior of Tahaa. (If Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa is too rich for your blood, finish your trip on Moorea.)

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.