Mangareva (Gambier)


You are in the Gambier Islands, the most remote archipelago of French Polynesia, situated about 1700 kilometers south-east of Tahiti. Because of a cooler climate than in the other archipelagos, pine trees and coconut palms may be seen growing together and they are surrounded by a vast lagoon with multiple shades of blue. This archipelago is a true splendor of nature…it contains 18 motus and 10 ...
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Practical information

Population : + 1445 inhabitants
Surface area : 54 sq. miles
Main village : Rikitea

Minimum flight duration : 3h40
Distance from Tahiti : 1654 km


The good reasons to visit

  • Ten high islands and eighteen "motus", contained in a single lagoon with stunning colors.
  • A diversity of landscapes.
  • A pearl known for its beauty and perfection.
  • A place steeped in history: many Catholic edifices dating from the nineteenth century and especially St. Michael's Cathedral.
  • Land and water based activities.

Do not miss

  • The village of Rikitea, site of the newly renovated cathedral of Saint Michel de Mangareva in 2011, whose altar decorated with pearls and mother-of-pearl is quite magnificent,
  • The convent of Rouru and the tomb of Maputeoa, the last king of the island, located in the hills above the village,
  • The mother-of-pearl engraving centre,
  • The pearl farms,
  • Mataihutea headland, which offers views over the bay of Rikitea,
  • The island of Taravai, with the "ghost village" of Agokono, the church of Saint Gabriel and some lovely beaches with sand the colour of curry powder,
  • The island of Aukena, with its hexagonal watchtower overlooking the turquoise lagoon, its church, many ruins and gorgeous beaches of white sand,
  • The island of Akamaru, with the church of Notre Dame de la Paix emerging from the lush, colourful vegetation,
  • Motu Tauna, or "Bird Island",
  • The various “motu” (islets) of fine sand.

Did you know that

  • Mangareva is also known as Maareva.
  • The archipelago comprises ten high islands and eighteen "motus", contained in a single lagoon.
  • The St Michael’s Cathedral of Mangareva is famous for its altar decorated with pearls, coral and mother of pearl shells.
  • The Gambier archipelago is the cradle of Catholicism in French Polynesia. It is featuring more than one hundred stone buildings of the eighteenth and nineteenth century: churches, presbyteries, convents, schools, weaving workshops, bread ovens, lime ovens, and watchtowers.
  • "E na koe" means "hello" and "maro'i" means “thank you” in Mangareva local language.
  • There is a time difference of one hour between the Gambier Islands and Tahiti.

Air Tahiti magazine

Mangareva airport (Gambier)

Rikitea airport, on the island of Mangareva, in the Gambier Islands, is located on Motu Totegegie, some distance from the main island.
The local council operates a shuttle service to the main island. The fare is payable when boarding the boat. The crossing takes approximately 45 minutes. If you take the shuttle when leaving Mangareva, you need to be at Rikitea harbour at least 2 hours before takeoff.
If you have booked tourist accommodation, find out from your hosts whether they can arrange your outward and return transfer.

Services available

  • Snack bar
  • Toilets