Fakarava is the second-largest atoll in French Polynesia and was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 2006, making this an island paradise of epic proportions.
White and pink sand Motu (islets) are scattered around the island, and an aquamarine lagoon hugs the coastline. The island is flat, covered in coconut trees, and supports a community of 800 people that rely almost entirely on tourism and coconut or pearl farming to make a living.
There are 48 species of birds that call this island home, as well as turtles, hammerheads, grey sharks, manta and eagle rays, groupers, loaches, dolphins, and much more. Flourishing coral gardens carpet the lagoon-bed and provide shelter for hundreds of marine creatures. As a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Fakarava delivers some of the best diving experiences in the world.
Quiet and relatively unknown, you will feel like you have the whole island to yourself. This beautiful atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean will leave you with memories and experiences that last a lifetime.
The climate in Fakarava is tropical; however, due to it being a flat island with no mountains, it has lower rainfall throughout the year.
Wet Season: October to April
High daily temperatures and a large amount of moisture in the air contribute to an increase in humidity. Average daily temperatures sit at 29°C, dropping to 24.5°C overnight. Rainfall is the form of short, sharp showers throughout the day, which burn off quickly and make way for an average of 8 hours of sunshine throughout the day.
Dry Season: May to September
Daily temperatures remain at 28.5°C and dip to 23°C overnight. As the amount of rainfall decreases over these months, the humidity dies off as well, making for a comfortable, pleasant climate
Two passes feed into the lagoon at Fakarava – the Garuae passage on the north and the Tumakohua passage on the south. These passes contain a vast abundance of marine life and promise some amazing pelagic encounters.
Discover a wall full of sharks, fantastic coral gardens brimming with life, challenging drift dives with grey sharks, turtles and rays, and sheltered, shallow dives with sharks and an abundance of fish.
Currents in some areas can be strong and unpredictable – good buoyancy and control of movement are key on these dives
26-28°C – 3mm wetsuit, 3mm shortie or rashie
Diving is conducted throughout the year; however, conditions are calmer, and the visibility is higher during the dry season. For one hour, on the night of the full moon in July each year, over 15,000 Marbled Grouper gather to spawn. This fantastic event attracts pelagics in their hundreds for a veritable feeding frenzy! If you are looking to dive with humpback whales, visit between August and October. Hammerhead season is between February and March.
This is the widest pass in Polynesia and is famous for its biodiversity and strong currents. The amount of marine life in this pass is astonishing! Swim with dozens of grey sharks through a blanket of brightly coloured fish. Keep an eagle eye out for napoleon wrasse, and don’t miss Ali Baba canyon where a multitude of fish shelter from the strong currents. This dive is done in slack water for reasons of safety and visibility; however, currents can still be strong, and excellent buoyancy control is needed. Recommended for AOW and above. Max Depth: 21m
Sheltered and shallow, this is the ideal dive site for beginners and those wanting to do supplementary dives, as well as snorkellers. Luminous white sand and proliferation of fauna and flora make this a photographer’s dream. You’ll be surrounded by various species of reef sharks, lazily making their way through the water and enjoying the warming rays of the sun. Max Depth: 15m
This dive site is located to the left of Garuae Pass and contains a channelled reef-flat at 20m which ends abruptly in a sharp drop-off. Due to its location, marine encounters are varied and change from day to day, so keep your eyes open for all sorts. A constant feature of this underwater landscape is the table and soft corals that attract a myriad of fish. Due to strong and unexpected currents, this is a dive recommended for experienced divers only. Max Depth: 29m
Located on the south side of the island, this pass is world-renowned for one thing - sharks! Narrower, shallower and calmer than the Garuae Pass, this is an excellent site for all levels of divers. Contained within this pass is a narrow valley known as Shark’s Hole which is teeming with lemon, hammerhead, and oceanic whitetip sharks. There are various observation points along the wall where you can stop to appreciate the sheer concentration of shark species making their way along this pass. Max Depth: 30m
The church of Tetamanu was constructed entirely of coral in 1874 and is still standing today. You can also see the ruins of the school and city hall which were built at the end of the 19th century.
Book a tour to explore the pearl and coconut farms of Fakarava and discover how the people of this island make the most of the limited natural resources available to them. Learn about how their way of life respects and nurtures this protected biosphere and maintains its integrity. Learn how to weave a basket out of palm leaves, take part in traditional Tahitian dancing, and visit the ancient ‘marae’ - Polynesian
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