Tahiti: Instead of Bora Bora, go to the Tuamotus
If you make it to French Polynesia you're already on the right path. But most visitors don't get past Tahiti (home to the main population center of Papeete and the international airport where you touch down after the 8-hour flight from LA) or the overwater bungalow honeymoon-scene on neighboring Moorea and Bora Bora. The best islands for remote surf breaks, sailing and what's probably the world's most exciting scuba diving, however, require boarding an Air Tahiti flight and heading back east an hour to the far-flung Tuamotu archipelago, a chain of 76 atolls where each is more exotic than the next. Black pearls are farmed on Rangiroa, where you can watch the tattooed local free divers plunge down 100 feet on a breath of air and pop back up with dinner in the form of a parrot or unicorn fish. And during dives on the atoll of Fakarava at the famed south pass (Tetamanu), you'll often see dolphins, mantas, hundreds of grey sharks and maybe even a hammerhead on a single tank of air. For a cruise that hits the islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea as well as some of the Tuamotus, mark your calendar for May when Windstar launches a new year-round cruise itinerary to these remote reaches.