Thanks to tons of euros pouring in from Paris, French Polynesians enjoy a relatively high standard of living. The flip side of that coin is that everyone pays high prices for almost everything, locals and visitors alike. As one resident of these gorgeous islands once told me, "You must pay for paradise."

Indeed, you can pay a king's ransom to vacation here, but French Polynesia doesn't have to cost you both arms and both legs. In this guide, I will advise you on how to plan your trip, hopefully so that you won't have to declare bankruptcy after visiting this modern paradise.

In planning your trip, keep in mind why you are coming here and what your priorities are. You can go scuba diving to exhaustion or just sit on the beach with a trashy novel. You can share a 300-room hotel with package-tour tourists or get away from it all in an overwater bungalow. You can hide away with your lover or join your fellow guests at lively dinner parties. You can totally ignore the islanders around you or enrich your own life by learning about theirs. You can listen to the day's events on CNN International or see what the South Seas were like a century ago. Lacking the ability to read minds, I must leave those decisions to you.

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.