It’s hard to talk about French Polynesia without resorting to clichés. Touted as paradise on earth since the first Europeans set foot on Tahiti in the 18th century, the fact is, the 118 islands and atolls that make up this remote South Pacific country really are stunningly beautiful and do just about fulfil every expectation you could have of a tropical island getaway.

Travel to French Polynesia is often associated with jet-setting and it’s true that few luxury holidays can beat somewhere like Bora Bora with its swanky hotels, fantastic beaches and laid back charms. But in this vast chain it’s still equally easy to find somewhere a little more low-key, and it’s quite easy to get off the beaten track.

Beautiful as the beaches are, life away from coastal strips on many of the islands is fascinating, and all too easily missed out on a holiday. Visitors who take the opportunity to trek through some of the more mountainous landscapes of the volcanic islands or simply spend some time chatting to the locals, shopping in the local markets and sampling the unique Polynesian food will get a lot more out of a trip here than a suntan.

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