Our favorite of the Society Islands, Huahine is a great choice for anyone who wants to see something aside from the main tourist islands (Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora). Located 110 mi/180 km northwest of Papeete, on Tahiti, it's uncrowded enough to fit most people's expectations of a sleepy Polynesian isle, yet it has a couple of upscale resorts and enough tours and outfitters to make it easy to do things.

The small town of Fare (pronounced FAH-ray) is a big part of the island's charm. Small stores, restaurants, guesthouses, warehouses and assorted offices line its two main streets, one of which is along the water. It's a bustling place on weekday mornings or anytime that a freighter pulls in. Trucks, children, tourists and dogs scamper about, intent on their missions. But take a walk along the main drag on a Sunday, and you'll think you're in a ghost town.

Because Huahine has limited public transportation, having your own car is a big advantage. The usual around-the-island drive on Huahine actually involves two islands that are separated at one point by a narrow channel (there's a bridge).

The larger island, Huahine Nui, is where the airport and Fare are located.

Huahine Iti, the southern half of Huahine, is still old Polynesia with small villages, vanilla plantations, a few quaint pensions and some nice beaches. It's less populated than the northern half and has fewer attractions. A drive around the shore road yields some nice views of the lagoon and the waves pounding against the distant reef. A few guesthouses and resorts are situated on the far southern end of the island, near the village of Parea. Some of them have access to the nice sand beach there.

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