You’ll need at least four days to enjoy the wealth of treasures to be found in this beautiful atoll in the Tuamotu Islands. With 683 square miles of sea for 10 square miles of land, Fakarava is the second biggest lagoon in French Polynesia, after Rangiroa. It is the perfect destination for those who like to explore the underwater world and a veritable paradise for divers.
The transfer from the airport to your accommodation is by ‘truck’, the traditional Polynesian bus. Once you’ve settled into your room at the Tahitian Guesthouse (or your tent at the campsite), go for a stroll. The main village of Rotoava is the best place to start. The piles of fishing buoys at the entrance are a good indication of the way of life of most of the inhabitants. This is a land of fishermen. A small church, a bakery, a police station, some snackbars, several shops and a pearl farm…hardly a big city center, but enough to deal with the daily needs of the islanders.
Dive right in
Fakarava is one of the best places in the world to go scuba diving. There’s so much to see down there that you’ll want to dive every single day. If you’re not a diver, don’t worry; swim out in your mask and tuba and you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about!
The pass in the south of the atoll is close to the ancient village of Tetamanu. The current is gentler here than in the northern pass and makes it suitable for divers of all levels. The narrow pass (124 miles), has an astonishing concentration of marine life: sharks, cornetfish, moray eels, parrotfish, surgeonfish, fusiliers, anthias, priacanthidae, red snapper and many, many more! There are tropical fish everywhere you look., and, at an estimated 700 individuals, the gray shark population is the densest in the world.
Pink sand motu
The dive in the southern pass is a full day’s excusion, because it takes 1.5 hours to get there from the village of Rotoava. (There is accommodation available in the south of the atoll if you don’t mind being far away from the main village.) After your dive, you’ll go to a magnificent motu where the beach is of soft pink sand, so don’t forget to take your camera with you. You’ll be served a delicious picnic of poisson cru and fried fish at the water’s edge. Then you can have a siesta on the beach before the boat trip back.
You’ll probably want a beer and something to eat by the time you get back to Rotoava. Go to one of the seaside restaurants or snackbars and enjoy the sunset over the lagoon. Some of the restaurants have internet access, so you can post your photos on Instagram to make the folks back home jealous!
At 994 miles wide, Garuae pass in the north of the atoll is the biggest in French Polynesia. It can sometimes be difficult for divers because of the strong current, but a drift dive does give you superb views over the colorful coral and multitudes of tropical fish. You can take a half day excursion in the morning, afternoon or even in the evening. Book your dives in advance to avoid disappointment.
To finish a day of underwater exploration in fine style, go to the ‘Requin Dormeur’ snackbar for a delicious meal. Sitting at your table, which is literally in the water, you’re just a few feet away from a colony of sleeper sharks. The more timorous can eat at a table on the beach. The food is excellent, the setting is magnificent, and the sharks are… sharks! If you don’t like the idea of eating with the sharks, you can also see them from the quayside in the main village.
Picnic at PK9
The warm sun and cool ocean breeze make ideal conditions for a bike ride. Road distances in French Polynesia are measured from the town hall of the main town. The magnificent beach at PK9 is therefore just a 5.5 mile bike ride from Rotoava. Don’t forget your baseball cap, suncream (eco-friendly of course) and camera. And stop at the bakery for sandwiches and drinks.
Fakarava is not just a Mecca for scuba divers. The constant winds and glorious sunshine also make it a promised land for kitesurfers.
Plan Your Dream Vacation in Fakarava
To ensure that you make the most of your stay in Fakarava, it’s a good idea to reserve your activities in advance. Picture postcard scenery, sailing trips, diving and snorkeling will fill your days with unforgettable souvenirs. Fakarava, along with six neighboring islands, is classed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, The crystal clear waters of the second biggest lagoon in The Islands of Tahiti are an underwater wonderland for you to explore. Bon voyage!
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