Good reasons to visit
- A splendid atoll, with unspoilt nature, forming part of the UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve, due to its particularly rare flora and fauna.
- Superb "motus" of pink and white sand, dotted with coconut trees, great for escaping, away from everything.
- The crystal clear waters, ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving.
- The exceptional dive sites: the northern pass is the largest in French Polynesia (2,624 ft wide) and allows the observation of the "big wildlife" and exceptional coral reefs; the southern pass also offers a very rich and picturesque underwater landscape.
- Cultural and historical sites to explore.
- The inland and water activities.
Do not miss
- The exceptional diving and snorkeling spots, particularly the northern and southern passes,
- excursions to secluded fine sand motu (islets) on the northern part of the atoll but also to southern pass area,
- the old Tetamanu village with its church built in coral (south pass),
- pearl farms,
- the picturesque Rotoava village,
- the ancient Topaka lighthouse, made of coral stones and concrete.
Did you know that?
- Fakarava used to be called Havai'i or Havaiki in the past.
- Fakarava is the second largest atoll in the Tuamotu islands, after Rangiroa and before Makemo.
- The northern pass, Ngaruae is the largest in French Polynesia (5249 ft wide).
- Tetamanu village is located at the Southern pass of Fakarava, which is famous for its exceptional marine life.
- One of the first Catholic churches in French Polynesia, built of coral stones, is located in Tetamanu (southern pass). It was built in 1874.
- The ancient Topaka lighthouse was built in 1957 by a woman, Mrs. Taui Degage, with a team of workers coming from Rurutu island. She was chosen as the main builder for many lighthouses of that kind.
Fakarava, also called Havai’i or Havaiki in the past, is located 488 kilometers (303 miles) to the northeast of Tahiti. This atoll is gigantic; the second largest in surface area in the Tuamotu Archipelago. Veritable jewel of the South Seas, the gold or pink-toned motus of fine sand extend out of sight.
The translucent waters of its sparkling lagoon are a never-ending invitation for swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving among the multitude of colored fish. Moreover, Fakarava is renowned worldwide for its exceptional dive sites and more particularly its northern pass, Ngaruae; the largest in Polynesia. The abundant fauna is often on the agenda: manta rays, sharks, dolphins, rays, barracudas, etc.
The southern pass, Tumakohua, also offers an unforgettable underwater experience and a superb natural aquarium, that will enchant divers and snorkelers. It borders the ancient village of Tetamanu; worth a detour with its ancient coral constructions like its church dating back to 1874 and its innumerable inhabited islets lined with coconut trees. This idyllic place is located one and a half hours by boat from the main village of Rotoava on the northern part of the island where you’ll find the airport and most of the housing.
Fakarava is best discovered by taking an excursion of the lagoon and exploring its marvels, by strolling, by biking (there is a very beautiful path) or by scooter; along the way, small snack shops and picturesque restaurants serve family-style cuisine using products from the ocean.
The island’s main resources are pearl farming, fishing, copra farming and tourism. Since 2006, Fakarava has been included in UNESCO’s classification as “biosphere reserve” along with 6 neighboring atolls (Taiaro, Toau, Aratika, Kauehi, Niau and Raraka), in recognition of their particular fauna and flora. This program, aimed at durably reconciling the preservation of the environment and the development of human activities, allows travellers during a jaunt to live in total harmony with the stunning nature of Fakarava…
Things to do
Nautical activities :
- scuba diving,
- deep sea fishing,
- excursions on the lagoon and on the various “motu” (islets),
- excursions to the ancient village of Tetamanu.
Inland activities :
- Pearl farm visit,
- bicycling in the village,
- bike or scooter rental
- Surface area : 432.82 sq miles (lagoon)
- Districts : Rotoava and Tetamanu
- Population : approx. 797 inhabitants
- Tourist information : in Rotoava
- Bank(s) : banking service at the post office during the week
- Post office(s) : in the main village
- Public phone(s) : a few telephone booths in Rotoava village.
- Shop(s) : a few small grocery stores at the village, as well as handicraft shops and tiny pearl boutiques.
- Restaurant(s): There are a few snacks and restaurants serving nice food in the village.
- Medical services : 1 infirmary at the village.