You'll only find bed and breakfasts here, as locals actively campaign to keep away big resorts.
Le Kuriri, Maupiti; +689 678223; from $138 per person
After scouting locations for his film "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1960, Marlon Brando fell in love with the French Polynesian lifestyle, a paradise he described as "chiffon in the wind."
He bought the island of Tetiaroa, a previous vacation spot for Tahitian royalty.
After years of planning, the Brando Resort is finally opening in July 2014, to be powered by renewable resources such as coconut fuel, solar power and deep-ocean water cooling.
Focusing on private luxury, each of the 35 villas on the island offers its own plunge pool, terrace and coconut tree grove, all next to a private beach.
Guests can cruise the lagoons by paddle boarding, book a traditional beauty ritual at the Queen's Spa or learn about Tetiaroa's royal history at the Culture Lounge.
The Brando, Tetiaroa Private Island; email@example.com; reservations open in early 2014
At the center of the Gambier Islands, the islands at the end of the world, more than a thousand miles southeast of Tahiti, sits Mangareva.
A hub of Catholic missionaries in the 19th century, its village of Rikitea is home to the neo-Gothic 1848 St. Michael's Cathedral, constructed of fired limestone and inlaid with mother of pearl.
The village center is filled with eerie stone ruins from the era, including watchtowers, a triumphal arch and a former prison.
The hike up Mount Duff through high grass and pine forest offers the best panoramic views of the island. Not many tourists make it out to Mangareva -- Air Tahiti operates flights only once a week, guaranteeing a quiet getaway.
The island is serviced by a handful of modest and hospitable pensions.
Pension Bianca & Benoit, Rikitea, Mangareva; +690 978376; from $95 a night per couple with breakfast
With an enormously fun name, Fakarava is known for its diverse ecosystem, marked by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve to preserve rare species.
With only about 400 people living on the island, its atolls are virtually untouched, making it great for diving.
Over-water bungalows are banned to protect the delicate coral in the area.
While other pearl farms in Tahiti are often tourist traps, Fakarava offers a genuine exploration of the pearl trade.
Motu Aito Paradise, Tuamotu, Fakarava; +689 41 29 00; from $165 per person for full board
Ancient legends are still a daily part of Raiatea, Tahiti's religious and cultural capital a thousand years ago.
This sacred island is home to Taputapuatea, French Polynesia's best-preserved historical site, full of religious artifacts and shrines. Here you can learn about how South Pacific civilization took shape.