The Best of the Tuamotus is the ideal way to enjoy a beautiful tropical paradise beach vacation. The Tuamotus Islands dream South Seas snapshot: the 77 atolls – narrow coral rings encircling turquoise lagoons – that make up this stunning archipelago are flung over an immense stretch of indigo-blue ocean.
Life in the atolls is equal parts harsh and paradisiacal: hardly anything grows, so there’s little fruit and vegetables, and the only drinking water is collected from the rain. Yet the silence, starry skies, coral beaches, blue lagoons, idyllic coral islets and languid pace of life captivate nearly everyone who makes it here. Most tourists visit Rangiroa, Tikehau and Fakarava, which have the bulk of the tourist infrastructure, but it’s also possible to explore lesser-known beauties such as Ahe, Mataiva and Makemo.
Anyone who loves the water will adore enjoying Tuamotus Vacations. The vast, pristine marine area offers unparalleled opportunities to encounter the menagerie of marine life. For non divers, fantastic lagoon excursions beckon. The main islands of the Tuamotus Islands are Rangiroa, Fakarava, Manihi, Tikehau, Makemo and Mataiva. For more information on the different islands and beaches of Tuamotus, click here, or visit us on Pinterest.
The Tuamotus Weather – When to Visit
The Tuamotus get more sunshine than any other archipelago in French Polynesia. The shoulder seasons (April to May and October to November) are the best times to visit. From December to March is the when storms and rain are more likely. Between June and September, the prevailing trade winds produce pleasantly mild weather but rough seas – not ideal for boat excursions. Diving is excellent year-round, but the seas are calmer from October to May. As the archipelago is farther north than the Society group, it tends to be a little hotter than the average 85°F in the summer and the average 80°F in winter that other islands experience. The wet season can be wetter, too. The upside is more sunny days and a constant lagoon temperature of around 78°F.
The Tuamotus Best Islands
Stunningly beautiful and refreshingly laidback, Ahe is one of the lesser known atolls in the Tuamotu that is a favorite vacation spot for native Tahitians. This charming atoll enchants travelers with unspoilt nature, crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and amazing underwater scenery. Arguably the main draw of this small atoll is its beautiful interior lagoon. Visitors will be mesmerized by the beauty and the vivid colors as they fly over the atoll on their arrival flight. The lagoon is sprinkled with shallow sandbanks that lie just underwater, creating idyllic picnic spots in this pristine tropical swimming pool that is filled to the brim with abundant marine life and vibrant coral gardens.
The best activities in Ahe are all centered around their spectacular lagoon. It is very easy to fill your days with swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and fishing. The lagoon has one main pass, Tiareroa Pass, that connects the lagoon to the ocean beyond. Surrounding the pass are numerous coral drop-offs which make for spectacular diving with a diverse array of turtles, rays, sharks, lagoon fish, barracudas and more.
Fakarava is Mother Nature’s ultimate sanctuary. This protected coral atoll is a natural reserve for many rare species of birds, plants and crustaceans. Just as these exotic creatures have discovered their safe haven, you too can find refuge here. Fakarava is one of the world’s best diving destinations. There are two notable passes that feed into the lagoon. The first is the Garuae Pass, located on the north side, which is the widest navigable pass in French Polynesia. The second is the Tumakohua Pass, located on the south side. This pass is home to a narrow underwater valley known as Shark’s Hole, which is heavily populated with lemon, whitecap and hammerhead sharks.
Peaceful and serene, Manihi appears to have invented the simple life. Being the least developed of the primary Tuamotu Atolls, this secluded locale is covered in white sand beaches and swaying coconut palms—and not much else. Travelers come here mainly to snorkel by day and stargaze at night.
Manihi’s inner lagoon is the ideal environment for the cultivation of the highly prized Tahitian black pearl. Blessed with all the right attributes including temperature, light, density and salinity, coupled with the abundant population of the Pinctada margaritifera—the only oyster in the world capable of creating the rich hues characteristic of the black pearl—the lagoon in Manihi is a natural jewelry box for these precious gems.
Rangiroa is quite possibly the world’s most immense natural aquarium. Blessed with an accessible yet secluded appeal and a large abundant lagoon, this renowned destination should be at the top of every eager diver’s list.
The Avatoru Pass and Tiputa Pass, both located on the northern side of the atoll, produce currents that are ideal for drift diving or snorkeling. They are also known to attract schools of wild dolphins. The Blue Lagoon, located on the western side of Rangiroa, is a shallow lagoon carved into the reef inside the central lagoon, creating a small natural aquarium no more than 16 feet (5 meters) deep. Boasting a continuous supply of fish, deep-sea fishing is also a popular water activity in Rangiroa.
Tikehau encapsulates the meaning of going off the grid. This small, cherished atoll consists of countless tiny white and pink sand islets engulfed in coconut groves and hidden alcoves. In Tikehau, which actually means “peaceful landing,” you will find nothing but absolute serenity on her calm and graceful shores.
As you can imagine, diving and snorkeling are the two main attractions in Tikehau. The best diving is found on the western shore around the Tuheiava Pass, the only navigable entry into the lagoon. You will encounter reef sharks and the occasional manta ray, but the appeal here is the enormous population of colorful fish. Some of the more common species include tuna, snapper, barracuda, lionfish, clownfish and parrotfish.