As French Polynesia moves toward more sustainable tourism–five-year tourism plan calls for one foreign visitor per local resident–visiting the remote Tuamotu Archipelago is one way to put your dollars more directly into the pockets of locals. Known for black pearl farming, The Tuamotus sprawl 76 islands and atolls across 700,000 square miles of the South Pacific, and are just an hour’s fly-time from the capital of Papeete.
The Tuamotus are known for world-class surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, with plunging coral walls and current-washed passes filled with reef sharks on atolls like Fakarava and Rangiroa (the latter is the second largest atoll in the world and could fit the entire main island of Tahiti within its enormous lagoon).
In December, Delta launched a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Papeete on Tahiti, and in February, Air Moana launched inter-island flights from Papeete to Rangiroa to compete with Air Tahiti’s historically pricy airfares.
You can tour the Tuamotus on wind power, too, with catamaran sailing adventures for up to 12 people with Herevai Charter.