Tikehau is one of the most beautiful atolls of the Tuamotu archipelago. It is the coral-covered crown of an ancient, 65-million years submarine volcano.
Its white and pink sand islets, fringed with coconut trees, shape a 177 square-mile lagoon that opens onto the ocean through a single pass, which is why it is one of the most marine rich atolls in the world! Tikehau has only around 500 inhabitants, making a living from coprah, tourism and pearl farming.
One of our favorite days during our time in Tikehau is when we did a full day lagoon tour with Hititemanava Lagoon Excursions and it was absolutely incredible! From snorkeling with manta rays, to exploring Puarua (bird island of Tikehau), to eating a delicious local lunch in a fisherman’s village, to discovering more unspoiled motus – this is a must do activity in Tikehau.
Tikehau is truly spectacular – both above and below the water. If you are an avid diver, this is paradise for you! And even if you dont dive, I highly recommend doing a lagoon tour. The only way to really get a taste of everything this unique atoll has to offer is by venturing out into the lagoon. If you do a lagoon excursion with Hititemanava, they would either pick you up from your hotel/pension or have you meet them at the main village dock. It was an incredible experience filled with so many bucket list activities! Here are some of my favorite stops along the way :
STOP 1 : Snorkeling with Manta Rays
I have gone snorkeling in the past with sting rays and sharks before but never manta rays, so this was something I was so looking forward for! We saw atleast 10-15 of them all around us, a total pinch me moment. It was such an incredible experience to get up close and swim with these gracious ocean giants.
STOP 2 : Exploring Motu Puarua ( the bird island )
Motu Puarua is a rocky island that lies in the middle of Tikehau lagoon and has a unique ecosystem of flora and fauna here. The island hosts several species of ground-nesting birds, including brown noddies, white terns, frigate birds and uaau (red-footed boobies).
I have never seen this many number of nesting birds so up close anywhere else in the world! There were birds everywhere, at every turn and corner, thousands of them and so close by ( some at head height!). It was absolutely incredible to observe this wild paradise.
STOP 3 : Local lunch at a fisherman’s village
Tikehau has around 500 inhabitants, making a living from coprah, tourism and pearl farming. But fishing remains the main activity, and visitors can discover the world-famous fish traps, where catches are kept alive before being shipped to the market in Tahiti. Our next stop was a local fisherman’s village. This is where our boat captain lives too. And he told us that only 7 people lived in that village!
I love encounters like this where we spoke to the friendly locals and got a feel for this quaint life in the village. The captain and his crew cooked us a delicious local lunch with fresh lagoon fish and other Polynesian delicacies. This was my favorite meal of the entire trip – everything was so so good!
STOP 4 : Discovering unspoilt motus
From the village we had some free time and we explored nearby uninhabited motus! This is what I love so much about Tikehau – that you can literaly walk across one motu to another by wading through the calm lagoon.
Tikehau is easily one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to in my life! And I have traveled to a LOT of remote islands, this one truly stands apart. Pink sands, a turquoise lagoon, palm fringed motus , incredible marine life – the perfect recipe for my definition of PARADISE!
STOP 5 : Snorkeling in Tuheiava pass
Lastly we had to go snorkeling in Tuheiava Pass – the only pass in all of Tikehau. This dive/snorkel site is suitable for all levels, with an endless variety of sealife swimming in the cavities and cracks of the reef: napoleons, tuna, moray eels etc. With the help of an experienced guide you can literally glide along with the current ( when the current is coming into the lagoon ) and observe a ton of marine life! We saw so many colorful fish and eagle rays too.
Overall this was such a unforgettable experience and I highly recommend adding a lagoon tour with Hititemanava if you ever visit Tikehau. Check out all the activities you can do in Tikehau here.
Looking for accommodation in Tikehau – check out our recap of our amazing stay at Le Tikehau by Pearl Resorts.
Thanks for stopping by! xo
Disclaimer : Thank you to Tahiti Tourism North America for sponsoring our trip to Tikehau. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.