The vast expanse of the Tuamotu Islands has a collection of 76 small islands and fringing atolls. The closest of these lie some 350km from Papeete or an 90-minute flight. The turquoise lagoons and white sandy beaches are some of the best in the South Pacific. Several of these island groups have luxury resorts and hotels and small pension guesthouses and along with Pearl farming, is the groups major source of income. Scuba diving is exceptional and the romance of being lost amongst remote islands draws the honeymoon market.
Rangiroa - The Endless Lagoon
Rangiroa Atoll is the closest atoll to Tahiti and the most developed island for tourism. It is also the second largest atoll in the world with a lagoon in its centre measuring 75km across and 25km wide. Rangiroa, a string
of coral encircling a luminous turquoise and jade-green lagoon, is one of the world's greatest dive destinations.
From the air, the atoll - the second largest in the world - seems to be a giant pearl necklace laid upon the water. Here is a world where 240 tiny islets, or motu, each no more than 10 meters in elevation, lay upon the ocean for more than 200 kilometers completely encircling an infinitely deep lagoon.
The famous Tiputa Pass, which provides an opening to the ocean, is rich with sea life. It's known as one of the world's greatest shark dives, and those who "shoot the pass" find themselves in the deep blue with literally hundreds of gray, black-tip, white-tip, lemon and nurse sharks. Non-divers can try some world class snorkeling and see schools of dolphins that
gather in the pass. For the true adventurer, a two-hour boat ride across the lagoon leads to the Kia Ora Sauvage,
a luxurious way to rough it. There's no electricity at this remote property, but offers spectacular scenery and complete solitude. Surrounded by two legendary bodies of water, Moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean) and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean), the main villages of Avatoru and Tiputa offer the visitor with a unique look at the South Pacific. Along the few roads, coral churches, craft centers, local restaurants, and tiny shops provide enjoyable land-based experiences to complement the many activities in the lagoon. The primary resort, the Hotel Kia Ora, is located near Tiputa Pass and features overwater bungalows and fine dining. The resort's landmark pier is the launching point of many of the water activities within the lagoon. The other resort, the Rangiroa Beach Resort, is located within a coconut plantation and features garden and beach bungalows. Rangiroa is also home to one of the world's most unique properties, the Kia Ora Sauvage. Located far across the lagoon from the main village on
a remote and tiny motu, guests are welcomed as family while they enjoy one of the only five bungalows in a primitive, yet luxurious environment.
Manihi - Island of Pearls
Manihi, lost in the vastness of the South Pacific, conjures up castaway dreams of a tropical isle.
Far from the modern world, the crystal-clear lagoon was once filled with mother-of-pearl and is the site of
Tahiti's first black pearl farm. Today, Manihi is still the leading supplier for the Tahitian cultured pearl industry.
This is "farm country" South Pacific style. Instead of crops, over 60 farms here produce the world's most sought after gem: pearls. Manihi's lagoon waters are among the most perfect on earth for cultivating pearls because of the temperature, density, salinity, light, and overall climate. Besides the pearl farms, visitors enjoy exploring the lagoon and the main village of Turipaoa. There are few cars here so walking around the town square and along the coral paths is as peaceful and romantic as the lagoon itself. The only primary resort is the Manihi Pearl Beach Resort located on the main motu between the airport and the main village of Turipaoa. This well-known property features beach bungalows, each with a prime beachfront location and overwater bungalows built on the edge of the reef facing the famous lagoon.
Fakarava - Island of Dreams
Fakarava, is an untouched world where nesting birds and marine life live in harmony with the land and water.
The rich ecosystem is home to rare birds, plants, and crustaceans while the dive sites are virtually undiscovered. Life along the shores is equally unique with quaint villages, old coral churches, and welcoming people.
Even though Fakarava is the newest destination to welcome resort visitors among Tahiti, it was one of the first population centers and once served as the ancient capital of the Tuamotu region. The lagoon, the second largest after Rangiroa, is rich with life below and above the surface and a prime example of nature at its finest.
Life among the 400 residents is centralized around the quaint villages of Rotoava and the Tetamanu.
The only resort property on Fakarava is the White Sand Beach Resort Fakarava, (formerly known as Le Maitai Dream Fakarava) located within a few miles of the main village of Rotoava. This charming authentically-designed property features spacious beach and garden bungalows and a remote setting along the virgin shores of the lagoon. This magnificent hotel of only 30 bungalows offers all the comfort you can imagine in this dream like environment.
Pink Sand Island
Tikehau, a graceful oval crown of white and pink-sand beaches, can only be described as a picture postcard.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful atolls in Polynesia, the fragrance of the air is matched only by the abundance of life in the bright-blue water. The friendly people, their homes awash with gardens, invite you to share and explore their world beyond imagination. In Tikehau, fish seem to outnumber people one-billion-to one. In fact the density of the fish in the lagoon is so high that Jacques Cousteau's research group declared it
to contained the highest concentration of fish among any other Tuamotu atolls. Visitors enjoy endless hours of exploring the perfection of the lagoon through snorkeling, diving, and boating and exploring the village of Tuherahera. The only primary resort is the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort, located on an idyllic motu laden with palms and ringed with bright white-sand beaches. This secluded resort features beach bungalow with a lagoon-side beachfront location and spacious overwater bungalows with glass floors.