Fakarava, Tuamotus


Fakarava, Tuamotus



UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 
The Tuamotus are a unique string of coral ringlets that form protective circles around interior lagoons, allowing for the proliferation of rare species of both plant and marine life. Their ecosystems are so pristine that UNESCO designated the atoll of Fakarava a Biosphere Reserve. Snorkel or drift-dive the Garuae Pass to see some of the world’s most beautiful coral formations. Snorkeling and diving excursions are available from The Gauguin.

One of the liveliest towns in the Tuamotus, Rotoava, on the northern coast of Fakarava, is also home to most of this atoll’s population. You can easily explore it on foot or by bicycle. Here, you’ll find two churches, a few shops, the town hall, and the village school.

Phare de Topaka 
Just outside of town, on a spit of land jutting into the ocean, stands this unique stone lighthouse, shaped like a pyramid. Although no longer operational, it is distinctive as one of the oldest lighthouses in French Polynesia. The lighthouse lies on a dirt track reached from PK3.1 off the road to the airport. “Rue Flosse” Nicknamed for former French Polynesian President Gaston Flosse, this 18-mile stretch of roadway parallels the coast and passes some beautiful beaches. Rent a bicycle and go exploring!

Located at the southern tip of the atoll, Tetamanu, now a tiny village, was once the capital of the Tuamotus. Built in 1874, the remarkable Catholic church here is the oldest in the archipelago and was built by European missionaries entirely of coral. Tetamanu is also the gateway to Fakarava’s other iconic pass, Tumakohua Pass. The south pass is accessible only by boat.

St. John of the Cross Catholic Church
Located off the main road 1km south of the wharf, this lovely white-washed church is worth pulling your bicycle over to check out. It’s roof and shutters are painted a vivid red and if you peek inside you’ll see a lovely lagoon-blue vaulted ceiling adorned with coral and shells. Not the oldest church on Fakarava (the oldest is in the village of Tetamanu) its cheerful interior is full of music and locals on Sunday mornings.

Click to enlarge
Fakarava Port Map

Population: 806 (2012)

Language: French, Paumotu

Currency: XPF

Scheduled Docking Location:  Anchored, tender to the pier in the village of Rotoava.

Shopping: Local vendors are set up on the pier upon the ship’s arrival.

Banks / ATMs:  There is no bank on Fakarava, but there is an ATM just outside the post office. 

Internet/Wi-Fi: Internet is available at the tourism office.

Post Office: The Rotoava post office is located just up the road from the pier. Open Mon-Fri 7:30am to 11:30am.

Airport Transportation: The airport is located at the north end of the island; daily flights to Papeete are available.

Taxis: 1 available at the pier, Fakarava Yacht Services: +689 (87) 75-34-84

Bicycling: Rental available on the pier, Fakarava Yacht Services: +689 (87) 75-34-84

Port Agent Contact
City Hall: +689 (40) 93-40-40

ATV Guided tour
1.5 Hours - $169

Depart from the pier of Rotoava Village for a guided tour of the northern part of the island. Pass by the airport on the way to the North Pass and visit the small ancestral temple, Teinoka. Along the way, you'll also visit the old sea cucumber oven.

Please note: For insurance purposes, each driving participant must present credit card details and a valid driver's license and be at least 18 years of age. The minimum age to ride as a passenger on this tour is 6 years old. During the tour, one bottle of water per person is offered. After the tour, guests will be offered a beverage of beer or juice per person.When pre-requesting this tour, please select only one ticket.

Excursion Code:
E-Bike Tour of Rotoava & the North Shore
2 Hours - $65

View the village of Rotoava on a beautiful scenic guided tour by e-bike. Explore the surrounding area which includes viewing the Topaka lighthouse, airport, and Catholic Church. Cycle inside the verdant coconut grove, along the ocean side of the island; the overall distance is approximately 15km.

Please note: The level is easy to moderate and pedaling is required! E-bike is a bike with electric assistance. The tour includes one bottle of water and complimentary use of a helmet.

Excursion Code:
Fakarava Pinnacle Snorkel
1.5 Hours - $93

Experience the abundant marine life for which Fakarava is famous during this memorable snorkeling adventure.

Board your Zodiac® (or similar boat) for a 30-minute ride (each way) to the north pass in the lagoon. Your guide will give you safety instructions and information about the site before you enter the water from the boat.

You will then start your snorkeling experience around the coral head, where you will discover a wide variety of species. Fish common to the area include sharks and tropical fish, including groupers, parrot fish, triggerfish, and others.

Following your tour, you will be transferred back to the ship.

Please note: This deepwater activity is recommended only for experienced, strong swimmers in good physical condition who are comfortable wearing snorkeling equipment. Lifevests will be available on the boat if needed. Although marine life is widely present in this region, sightings cannot be guaranteed, and tickets are non-refundable should sightings not occur. For your own safety and to help us preserve the environment, do not touch or step on the coral reef while snorkeling.

Excursion Code:
Full Day Tour to South Pass with Snorkeling
7 Hours - $249

Discover the South Pass and Tetamanu by boat, starting with a short transfer to the pier. The first stop will be at a Pension (guest house) where you will have the opportunity to snorkel off the restaurant platform in deep water and see an impressive array of marine life, including turtles and sharks. A buffet style lunch will be served including fresh fish; poisson cru, grilled fish, rice, and coconut bread. Beverages are available for purchase.

Continue your adventure to the famous Pink Sands and briefly stop to take in the beauty of the place. Your tour will conclude with a cruise back to the northern part of the island and to Rotoava Village.

Please note: The long boat ride from and to the South Pass can be bumpy depending on the weather and sea conditions. Not recommended for guests with back or neck problems or susceptible to seasickness. Please bring your snorkel gear, beach towel and cash from the ship.

Available for onboard booking only, cannot be pre-reserve.

Excursion Code:
Half Day to Teahatea Beach
3.5 Hours - $126

Depart the ship by small local boats across the beautiful UNESCO biosphere reserve of Fakarava to the white sand beach of Teahatea just after the Garuae Pass. The boat is (8m) 50 long, special for excursions. It is equipped with all safety equipment and with a covered top and sides. The boat ride takes approximately 30 minutes depending on the weather conditions. You will have 2-2 ½ hours of free time to relax on the beach, enjoy a swim in the crystal clear lagoon or go snorkeling. Iced coconuts will be offered to you directly on the white sand beach and refreshments (fresh fruit juices, ice tea, and water) will be served. You can relax and enjoy the tranquility of this heavenly site.

Please note: The boat ride maybe bumpy and rough depending on the sea conditions. No facilities are available on the beaches: no restroom, nor beach chairs or umbrellas. Bring your snorkeling gear, provided by the ship, along with a towel and sun protection: sunscreen, sunhat and sunglasses. The excursion is weather dependant, and the beach may be substituted with a different one.

Excursion Code:
SCUBA Fakarava Outer Reef Experienced Certified Divers
2 Hours - $120

Depart the marina platform aboard a zodiac where you will receive your safety briefing during the 20-minute ride to the outside reef of the Garuae Pass of Fakarava.

Once on site, you will be helped to gear up and when the whole group is ready, you will enter the water and admire immediately the untouched beauty of the reef protected by UNESCO. You will dive along the edge of the drop off among the big schools of fish, grey reef sharks, tunas and may have the chance to spot a manta ray of a turtle feeding quietly. The maximum depth of this dive will be around 70 feet (20 meters). After the dive, you will be transferred back to the marina platform.

Please note: Guests must present a dive certification card and proof that they have dived several times within the last year. Wear a swimsuit under a cover-up, and bring a hat, sunglasses, and a towel from the ship. This tour is for guests in good physical condition and experienced divers with a minimum of 50 dives and recent diving experience. The surface condition can be rough and there is no mooring line to go down so you will need to feel confident clearing your ears. Depending on your experience, you may be asked by the dive instructors to do one dive in Bora-Bora prior to dive in Fakarava.

Available for onboard booking only, cannot pre-reserve due to special dive conditions. Please visit the Dive Desk once onboard. For more information about our dive program, visit www.pgcruises.com/scuba.

Excursion Code:
Waverunner & Snorkeling
1.5 Hours - $299

Depart from Rotoava village for a short drive to the Waverunner Base. Commence your tour with a safety briefing, then continue your guided tour with a ride along the scenic coast. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to snorkel and one of the stops will be a visit to the black pearl shell lines. One bottle of water per person is offered.

Please note: Bring your snorkel gear from the ship. Operation of this tour is dependent upon weather and water conditions. This tour is priced per-waverunner, which will accommodate two average-sized adults (weight limit 500 lbs). When pre-requesting this tour, please select only one ticket.

Excursion Code: