Tahiti (Papeete), French Polynesia
Tahiti is not just an island - Tahiti has always been a state of mind. The bustling capital of Tahiti and her islands, Papeete is the chief port and trading center, as well as a provocative temptress luring people to her shores. Immortalized in the novel "Mutiny on the Bounty," who could blame the men of "HMS Bounty" for abandoning their ship in favor of basking in paradise? And what would Modern Art be without Tahiti's influence on Gauguin and Matisse? Today the island is a charming blend of Polynesian "joie de vivre" and Gallic sophistication. But venture out from Papeete and you find a landscape of rugged mountains, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and deserted beaches.
Contrasting with other French Polynesian ports, Papeete's coastline initially greets you with a vista of commercial activity that graciously gives way to both black and white-sand beaches, villages, resorts and historic landmarks.