Budget

Where Cheaper is Better

by Colleen Clark

South Pacific Islands

Paul Gauguin, Robert Louis Stevenson, James A. Michener. Their writing and art explored a South Pacific mystique that has attracted generations of travelers to Tahiti. Today you are more likely to find lots of couples basking in a honeymoon glow, and not caring how much it costs to enjoy a week or two in paradise. We say go farther afield to the neighboring Marquesas Islands, a three-hour flight from Tahiti. These volcanic Polynesian islands are farther from continental landfall than anywhere else in the world and only two small resorts—Hiva Oa Lodge and Nuku Hiva Lodge, both with private villas for only $250 a night—and a handful of family-run pensioni occupy the islands. As a result you'll be unlikely to run into other tourists exploring unspoiled sites like tiki ruins amid a lush riot of orchids and plumeria in untouched jungles and rushing waterfalls descending from the cloud cover. Sail through crystal-clear bays, ride horses through emerald valleys dotted with ancient petroglyphs, and picnic on utterly deserted black-sand beaches and you'll get a sense of why Gauguin chose to make this his final resting place.

Hiva Oa Lodge
Hiva Oa
Marquesas
French Polynesia
Tel: 689 92 75 87

Nuku Hiva Lodge
Nuku Hiva
Marquesas
French Polynesia
Tel: 689 52 07 10

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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