Captain James Cook brought the Polynesian art form to the West after he and other explorers were influenced by the tattoos they saw in the Marquesas, a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia and one of the five administrative divisions in the archipelago.
You can still see local tribes with head-to-toe tattoos on Fatu Hiva.
The art form, which tells the mythology of the South Pacific islands, is experiencing a resurgence there today.
Fatu Hiva also offers gorgeous wilderness typical of the Marquesas.
Trekking through the lush but hot jungles of the islands and narrow valleys isn't for the inexperienced, but it's worth the journey.
Pension Chez Lionel serves a tasty local meal of plantains, goat meat and poe (fruit pudding).
Chez Lionel, Fatu Hiva; +689 928184; from $48 a night
In recent years Moorea has been gaining on Bora Bora as the area's best honeymoon location.
Many argue it rivals Bora Bora for natural splendor.
It has low mountains rising above wide meadows of grass and ferns, fields growing coffee, pineapple and sugarcane, and villages encircled by gardens of bright hibiscus.
It's a 30-minute catamaran ride from Tahiti.
The Intercontinental Moorea has its own dolphin center for an up-close swimming experience, as well as singular amenities like room service by canoe and a spa flower bath experience.
Intercontinental Resort and Spa Moorea, Moorea; +689 551919; from $262
Better known as the Island of Whales, Rurutu is encircled by tall cliffs of ancient coral.
This ring attracts mating humpback whales every year from July to August.
Rurutu is worth visiting year round for the unique coral snorkeling experience, white sand beaches and incredible biking on the nearly car-free island.
Manotel, Moeral, Rurutu; +689 930225; from $66
6. Hiva Oa
The Marquesas bring an authentic Polynesian experience to the island experience, as opposed to say, a honeymoon resort so big you need a golf cart to get around.
This mysterious set of islands remains mostly untouched by modern tourism, with raw beauty that influenced Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Singer Jacques Brel and painter Paul Gauguin spent their last days on the island of Hiva Oa, famous for its untamed landscapes, as well as archaeological wonders like giant stone tiki dotting the island, in addition to a proud local culture welcoming of visitors.
The Paul Gauguin Cultural Centre pays tribute to his philosophy of "escaping to reach art," and features a replica of his own Maison du Jounir (House of Pleasure).
The Paul Gauguin Cultural Centre, Atuona, Hiva Oa; +689 927897