Having been to 8 islands so far in French Polynesia, you must know by now how deep my love runs for this destination. The island that had been on the VERY top of my bucketlist here was Fakarava and I am so glad we were able to visit it this time around! It is without a doubt one of my favorite places in the world and I am already itching to revisit.
We love the Tuamotu archipelago in general! Last year we fell in love with the Tuamotus when we visited Tikehau, so this year we knew we had to go back to explore more. We did both Rangiroa and Fakarava this time around and it was absolutely incredible. I wanted to share a quick guide on all that you might need to know if you visit Fakarava in this blog post.
Fakarava is one of the most beautiful lagoon atolls in French Polynesia and in the world! It has been deemed as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve due to its particularly rare flora and fauna. The rectangular reef encloses such a rich unique ecosystem and the protected coral atoll here is a natural reserve for many rare species of birds, plants and crustaceans.
Fakarava is Mother Nature’s ultimate sanctuary. This is a diver’s haven and is the one place in the world known for its “wall of sharks” – where you can dive with over 500 sharks! Diving enthusiasts come from all over the world to swim with the majestic gray sharks in the waters of Fakarava, explore the coral reef and drop-off, and admire the sea turtles, rays, barracudas and a host of other marine species.
We aren’t divers and even with just snorkeling you can see a ton of marine life! And if you are a sucker for idyllic lagoon and remote islands of the beaten path – Fakarava is truly the island of dreams!
Here are all the reasons to visit and more :
Air Tahiti has a direct flight option to Fakarava from Papeete as well as from Rangiroa. It was so convenient for us to get here from Rangiroa. If you get one of their multi-passes you would be able to save a ton on your internal flights.
Once you land in Fakarava airport, the local truck-buses will drop you off in your different pensions and accomodations in North Fakarava. If you are going to the South, its a 1.5 hour boat ride from the North and your accomodation would usually arrange this for you.
Fakarava dosen’t have any car rental or bike agencies, Most accomodations have cycles to rent or you can reserve ebikes or escooters from some too. Bikes or foot is the best way to get around for the most part since you are going to be out on the lagoon for the most part.
Fakarava dosen’t have any major resorts or big accomodations. Infact I feel like the absence of any major resort is truly a blessing in disguise as it only helps to maintain the atoll’s pure surroundings, secluded appeal and authentic nature.
Havaiki Lodge is the best place to stay in all of Fakarava. Located in north Fakarava, it sits on the most beautiful beach in town and has a couple of accomodation styles to choose from – beach bungalows, garden rooms, etc. We loved staying in a garden room, it had a clean basic bedroom, bathroom and balcony.
They have the best snack bar in town – Snack Du Requim Dormeur is a feet in the water kind of snack bar where you can enjoy delicious fish specialties. They also have another restaurant for in house guests where daily breakfasts and dinners are served. The dinners here were so so good, all dishes were part of a set menu and made from fresh local ingredients.
Havaiki’s beachfront is stunning, with plenty of snorkeling right at the shore. You will see tons of nurse sharks in the shallow here! You can also rent kayaks from here to go out into the lagoon.
Havaiki also organises tours in Fakarava atoll and you can also book this directly at the lodge. While you are here also don’t miss out on visiting their Pearl Farm to try the Pearl Lottery. More on that in the activities section below.
Since we were only in the North for this trip and since we don’t dive, I will only cover the activities we did. We booked all of these with Havaiki.
Motu Teahatea or commonly known as Green Lagoon in Fakarava is an idyllic lagoon sheltered by palm fringed motus all around. It is like a natural swimming pool of crystal clear waters filled with fish, black tip sharks and so much healthy coral.
We spent half a day at Green Lagoon – snorkeling , exploring all the little motus around, snacking fresh tropical fruit, hopping on sandbars and more. This place is straight outta. a dream and without a doubt both Anush and my new fave corner in the world! Its just so pristine and magical in every way. Here are some photos :
In and around Green Lagoon
So many sharks and fish in the shallow!
We rented an escooter on one of the afternoon to drive to whats been known as one of the most stunning beaches in all of French Polynesia. There really aren’t any facilities here and its a long dirt road to get there but well worth the effort to go to this untamed wild beach!
Pk 9 beach is drop dead gorgeous and what you would imagine a wild Tuamotu beach would look like. As the name suggests it is 9km west of Rotoava (you would need to go past the airport and follow the dirt track on the left at the PK9 marker). It’s a thin, laid-back stretch of white coral sand backed by tall leaning palms and lapped by sparkling turquoise waters.
Quick tip – check the tides when you come here. We ended up coming during high tide so we hardly had a beach. If you visit at low tide, you will have a proper beach and calmer waters. Also on your way back near PK2, dont miss out on the ancient Topaka Lighthouse.
Pearl Farming is very popular in the Tuamotus and Havaiki has the oldest pearl farm in Fakarava! It has also been featured in several articles including National geographic. A must do activity in Fakarava is attending a presentation at the farm where they show you everything about how they harvest pearls, demonstrate grafting and so much more.
Best souvenir! So special and meaningful.
You can also get to try your luck at the Pearl Lottery where you can pick an oyster and harvest your own pearl where it can be made into a simple bracelet or necklace. This was our absolute favorite souvenir, so special!
The picturesque village of Rotoava with its nicely decorated Catholic church and its small craft shops is a pleasure to explore on foot. We loved the slow easy pace of island life here.
We had this tour booked with Havaiki but unfortunately it was cancelled. Boats only go out in good weather and if there are enough number of people ( unless its private) as the South is very far. That just means we will 100% be back cos we are dying to explore the lagoons and pink sand motus of South Fakarava.
Check out my travel guide to French Polynesia for guides to other islands.
Thanks for stopping by! xo