23 Images

Island Paradise

Students smile for a photographer on their way home from Valley Primary School on Anguilla. The British West Indies island, population 12,000, is just 16 miles long and 3.5 miles wide. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Architectural Digest has taken note of the chic villas at Covecastles in Anguilla; rates are $895 to $7,000 nightly. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Ernie Harrigan runs the popular beachfront barbeque stand Uncle Ernie’s on Shoal Bay, Anguilla. Harrigan, 87, jokes that he made Anguilla famous when he opened the restaurant 22 years ago. “I started it all,” he says. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Hand-painted plaques rest on a shelf waiting for buyers at the Anguilla Art & Craft Center. The island has few shops; most visitors go nearby St. Martin or St. Bart’s for shopping. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Anguilla’s Cap Juluca hotel, routinely listed as one of the world’s best, offers guests privacy and comfortable surroundings. Many of the rooms, which are about $1,000 a night during high season, have private patios leading to the beach. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Savannah Bay, at the eastern end of Anguilla is pretty enough for a five-star resort, but like many of the island’s lovely beaches, it is usually deserted. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Anguillan men race model sailboats on Rendezvous Bay. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Fishing boats line a beach at Island Harbor in Anguilla. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
A paddler maneuvers his outrigger canoe into the water near the InterContinental as the sun sets behind Mt. Otemanu. Author James Michener dubbed Bora-Bora’s lagoon “the most beautiful in the world.” Michener, stationed here during World War II, is said to have used the island as one of the models for the mythical Bali Hai in his book “Tales of the South Pacific.” (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
Over-water villas bask in the warm morning sun at the InterContinental, one of the island’s ritzy hotels. The thatched-roof bungalows, which sit on stilts over the water, are an island trademark. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
Newlywed Angelic Durante feeds the tropical fish during a snorkeling adventure. The color of the water, from pale turquoise to cobalt blue, is electrifying. The coral reefs and fish are just as gorgeous, glowing in a rainbow of colors. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
A kayaker approaches an over-water pavilion dock at the St. Regis. A trip on these aquamarine waters is a gift from the sea gods. “This place is ideally situated on the planet,” one U.S. expat says of life in French Polynesia. “It’s the place everyone wants to be.” (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
A bat ray seemingly has the lagoon to itself near the thatched-roof restaurant at the St. Regis. In the background, clouds shroud the tip of Mt. Otemanu. Two towering peaks of black rock soar nearly half a mile above the six-mile-long island of Bora-Bora; the lagoon, a barrier reef and myriad islets, called motu, surround it. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
Lights from the over-water restaurant at the St. Regis are reflected in the lagoon. The St. Regis prides itself on service — and in accommodating guests’ every whim. “Our goal is to build an absolutely unique experience,” says its general manager, Milton Sgarbi. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
The setting sun creates a gorgeous tableau at the Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa in Vaitape. The hotel’s suites and bungalows are in a lovely location, surrounded by lush vegetation and overlooking a private cove. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
Brightly colored butterfly fish look for lunch in the mature coral heads beneath the over-water bungalows at the Hotel Bora Bora. The hotel was Bora’s first, and it has one of the best locations on the island. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
A snorkeler checks out the occupants of the clear lagoon just off the dock at the Novotel Bora Bora Beach Resort. The resort, near beautiful Matira Beach, is for the budget-minded visitor — rooms are about $200 a night. (Bob Chamberlin / LAT)
The Rock Islands, a marine haven, are among 300 islands and atolls in the Micronesian archipelago. (Ed Robinson / Tom Stack & Associates)
A snorkeler gets a mite too close to a Jellyfish Lake occupant, a stinger-free but fragile creature that can be harmed by the human touch. Many Palauans would like tourism to increase but are adamant about protecting marine life. (Alison Wright / Special to the Times)
Ngardmau Waterfall on Babeldaob Island is a refreshing break after a trek through dense rain forest. (Alison Wright / Special to the Times)
A carved storyboard relates a traditional tale. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Fish are plentiful in Palau’s markets. Snappers, wrasses and cuttlefish are among the archipelago’s 1,400 species. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)
Stilts keep a Palauan house high and dry above clear, clean island waters. “The beauty of our nation is in our waters, not in our town,” says one resident. (Rosemary McClure / LAT)