With its lush vegetation, azure oceans, and white sand beaches, French Polynesia is a captivating tropical paradise. There are 118 islands in the archipelago, each with its own characteristics and allure. Tikehau and Fakarava are two of the islands that are most frequently visited by tourists. Each island have unique personalities and attractions of their own.
Two of the most visited atolls in the Tuamotu archipelago of French Polynesia are Tikehau and Fakarava. An atoll is a lagoon-surrounded ring of coral reef. Tikehau is a tiny atoll with a population of about 500 people and a land area of 27 square kilometers. The atoll is around 200 kilometers northeast of Tahiti, the French Polynesia nation’s capital. The lagoon on the island is renowned for its beauty, abundance of marine life, and pure waters. 20 motus, or little islets, form a ring around the lagoon, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore and unwind in a serene environment. The main village of the atoll, Tuherahera, can be found on the western side of the lagoon and has a few little stores and eateries.
Fakarava, on the other hand, is 1,112 square kilometers and is the second-largest atoll in French Polynesia. The atoll has a population of about 850 people and is situated roughly 450 kilometers northeast of Tahiti. Fakarava is shaped like a ring with a lagoon in the middle, just as Tikehau. The lagoon in Fakarava, however, is far bigger and has a richer variety of marine life. There are a number of communities on the island, including Rotoava, which serves as the main village and the center of tourism.
Accommodation and Tourist Facilities
Tikehau and Fakarava provide a selection of lodging options to fit various spending limits and tastes. There are a few high-end resorts in Tikehau, namely the Ninamu Resort and the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort. A 4-star resort, the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort has 37 bungalows and villas, each with a private patio and easy access to the lagoon. In addition, the resort offers a restaurant, a bar, and a spa. Only nine bungalows make up the luxurious eco-resort The Ninamu Resort, which provides visitors with a private and unique experience. The resort also provides a variety of activities, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.
The Tikehau Village and Pension Coconut Beach are two additional mid-range and low-cost lodging options on Tikehau. A mid-range resort with 37 bungalows, The Tikehau Village is situated on a small motu. Visitors can explore the lagoon and its surroundings while dining at the resort’s restaurant and drinking at its bar. Budget-friendly Pension Coconut Beach gives visitors the chance to stay in a typical Polynesian hut. The pension provides activities and guided tours in addition to having a small restaurant and bar.
In comparison, the selection of lodging options is relatively constrained in Fakarava. The Maitai Dream Fakarava, the only luxury resort on the island, has 30 bungalows and villas that are situated on the beach or above the lagoon. A restaurant, a bar, and a spa are all features of the resort. A few low-cost options are also available, such as the Pension Paparara and the Havaiki Lodge. A modest inn called The Havaiki Lodge gives visitors the chance to stay in a traditional Polynesian setting. The pension provides a restaurant and bar as well as activities and guided excursions for guests. Another inexpensive lodging choice that gives visitors the chance to experience traditional meals is the Pension Paparara. The pension provides activities and guided tours in addition to having a small restaurant and bar.
Tikehau has a more advanced infrastructure in terms of tourism amenities than Fakarava. A post office, a few little churches, a few small businesses, and eateries can all be found on the island. Moreover, Tikehau features a diving school where visitors can learn about the abundant marine life in the lagoon. A few tour companies also provide guided tours and excursions on the island, including trips to the Bird Island bird sanctuary.
On the other hand, there are fewer tourist amenities in Fakarava. A post office, a few little churches, a few small businesses, and eateries can all be found on the island. The protected marine reserve at Fakarava is renowned for giving tourists the chance to witness a variety of marine creatures, including sharks, dolphins, and rays. Also, the reserve offers a variety of dive spots that are appropriate for both novice and expert divers. A few dive shops on the island provide PADI training and guided dives.
Visitors can discover some of French Polynesia’s most breathtaking natural sights in Tikehau and Fakarava, which are both known for their natural beauty. The lagoon in Tikehau, which is alive with marine life and has waters that are crystal pure, is one of the island’s main draws. Visitors can explore the lagoon’s several motus, each with its own allure, and the lagoon is perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The pink sand beach, a rare natural occurrence caused by the abundance of minute shells that give the sand a pink colour, is another location where visitors can go on guided tours.
The lagoon at Fakarava is particularly well-known since it is significantly bigger than the one in Tikehau and has a wider variety of marine life living there. Visitors can explore the reserve’s unique environment, which includes coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests, as the lagoon is protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The major entrance to the reserve, the south pass, where visitors can also take a guided tour, is home to a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, dolphins, and rays.
Tikehau and Fakarava, in addition to being naturally beautiful, are also rich in cultural legacy and give tourists the chance to learn more about the distinct culture and history of French Polynesia. A few little churches may be found in Tikehau, including the Saint Joseph Church, which was built in the first decade of the 20th century. Also accessible is the islet of Bird Island, which is home to a traditional Polynesian community and a bird sanctuary. Visitors have the opportunity to observe local life in the village and learn about the customs and traditions of the inhabitants.
Many historic marae, or sacred sites, can be found in Fakarava, which is also rich in cultural history. The Tetamanu Marae, which dates to the 12th century and was formerly a focal point of governmental and religious power, is the most well-known of these. The Rotoava Church, the oldest church in French Polynesia and dating back to the 19th century, is another place that tourists can go. The church is a beautiful example of French colonial architecture and is where a number of antiquities and religious treasures can be found.
Accessibility and Transportation Options
When deciding between Tikehau and Fakarava, accessibility and transit alternatives are also crucial elements to take into account. From Tahiti, a quick local flight that lasts around an hour can take you to Tikehau. Visitors can go to the main island by boat after departing from the little airport on a motu. Once on the island, guests have the option of going on foot, by bicycle, or by boat to explore the lagoon and the nearby motus. A few rental cars are also available on the island.
Another option is to take a quick domestic flight, which takes about an hour, from Tahiti to Fakarava. Visitors can explore the island on foot, by bike, or by renting a car, and the small airport is situated on the main island. Visitors should make travel plans in advance because there are only a few local buses available and they don’t run very often.
Both Tikehau and Fakarava provide a variety of possibilities for traveling within the islands. Tourists can either hire a local guide to take them on a guided tour or rent bikes or scooters to explore the islands on their own. Other well-liked activities include boat tours and snorkeling excursions, which tourists can book through regional tour companies.
As a result, Tikehau and Fakarava are two lovely and distinctive islands in French Polynesia that give tourists the chance to see some of the area’s most breathtaking natural landmarks and cultural traditions. While there are numerous parallels between the two islands, there are also some significant distinctions to take into account while making a decision.
Visitors can find a more developed infrastructure in Tikehau, as well as a greater selection of tourist attractions and activities. The lagoon on the island is likewise smaller but no less beautiful, with clear waters and a variety of motus to discover. Fakarava, on the other side, has a wider lagoon that is protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, providing visitors with a more relaxed and natural experience. The oldest church in French Polynesia is located on the island, which is particularly rich in cultural heritage.
The decision between Tikehau and Fakarava ultimately depends on your particular interests and the type of vacation you’re seeking. Both islands provide a wide range of possibilities to fit the demands of any traveler, whether they are seeking a tranquil retreat or an exciting adventure.
Our Top FAQ's
The best time to visit Tikehau and Fakarava is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. The weather during this time is typically warm and sunny, with less rainfall and lower humidity levels.
Visitors to both islands can enjoy a range of activities, including snorkeling, diving, fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. There are also opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring the local culture and history of each island.
The cost of visiting Tikehau and Fakarava varies depending on a number of factors, including the time of year, the type of accommodation chosen, and the activities chosen. Generally, both islands are considered to be relatively expensive destinations, with prices for meals, accommodation, and activities being higher than in other parts of French Polynesia.
Tikehau and Fakarava are both known for their stunning natural beauty and unique cultural heritage. While they may be less well-known than some of the more popular islands in French Polynesia, such as Bora Bora and Moorea, they offer visitors a chance to experience a more authentic and off-the-beaten-path side of French Polynesia. Additionally, Tikehau and Fakarava are known for their exceptional diving and snorkeling opportunities, making them a popular choice for those looking to explore the underwater world of French Polynesia.