Rangiroa: Where life really is simple

MOTU AVEA RAHI, RANGIROA, French Polynesia — One of the most refreshing things about unplugged travel is breaking away from your usual pastimes and replacing them with different ones. I felt almost like a kid again as I packed my travel editions of Battleship and Connect 4, and a kite, something I hadn’t used since my dad made one for me when I was little.

We wanted to rediscover a more simple life, and we thought we’d find it at Hotel Kia Ora’s private island, Motu Avea Rahi, also known as Le Sauvage, one hour by boat from the main resort.

There are only five bungalows here, with a maximum of 10 guests cared for by two hosts, Michel and his wife, Tetuanui. The island is small; we walked around it in less than 15 minutes after we arrived. The restaurant and kitchen have electricity but the bungalows do not, although each had a water heater.

Each thatch-roofed bungalow is made from local materials, and all are situated on the palm-fringed beach with impressive lagoon views. They have king beds with the same heavenly bedding that we found at the main hotel — fluffy pillows, crisp white sheets, a waffle-weave cotton blanket and a mattress so comfortable we wanted to stuff it in our suitcase and take it home.

In the back of the bungalow, separated by a driftwood curtain, is a cute bathroom with a giant shell for a sink and a floor made up of coral pieces. Every afternoon at 5, Michel would deliver an oil lamp to each bungalow.

On our first two nights, two other couples — Cecile and Michel from France and Brigitte and Stephan from Germany — also were here. Meals were served family-style, so we got to know one another and had a few chuckles trying to communicate in three languages. Breakfast was my favorite meal of the day, with pancakes, French toast and yogurt, while lunch and dinner usually included freshly caught fish, fruit and a vegetable platter.

We were the only guests on our final night, alone on a tiny speck of land in the middle of the South Pacific. There was no moon while we were there, but the stars were so bright we could easily see.

We read books, flew our kite, snorkeled around the unspoiled coral and spent quality time soaking up our beautiful surroundings and recharging our inner selves. We found peace, calm and relaxation.

And those smartphones? Never missed them.

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