After Pitcairn Island, the Oceania Marina headed to Fakarava in French Polynesia. Fakarava is the second largest atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia. The Tuamotus are located several hundred miles northeast of Tahiti and the Society Islands. The narrow ring of rectangular shaped land forming the Fakarava atoll is 37 miles long (60 km). Cruise ships visit Fakarava by entering the lagoon and anchoring off Rotava, where passengers are tendered to the pier. There were no organized shore excursions, so we headed out for a Fakarava Shore Excursion on our own. Less than 800 people live in the main village of Rotoava.
Local Greeting, Rotoava, Fakarava, Tender Pier
Fakarava Shore Excursion – Swim, Dive & Snorkel
At the dock for the ship’s tender, a welcome group was dancing and singing. Most of the ships passengers strolled the main street in Rotoava. It extends for miles along the lagoon. Fakarava is an atoll, so it’s less than a 5 minute walk to cross from the lagoon side to the outer reef. We checked out the small catholic church. Then we picked our own spot on the giant extended public beach. We enjoyed the chance to swim and snorkel in the warm waters. Others rented bikes and continued to Topaka Lighthouse along the only road on the island.
Main Street, Rotoava
Locals sold black pearls and shells at the road side. There were also several more permanent shops on the main boulevard. Pearls with imperfections were very inexpensive. Diving is popular at Garuae Pass and Tamakohua Pass. You can see hammerheads, tiger sharks and lemon sharks. Top Dive has a location on the main street of Rotoava.
Fakarava Shore Excursion – Access
For those who want to visit, but don’t want to cruise, Air Tahiti flies to the Rotava Airport from Rangiroa. There are no taxis on Fakarava, but on days that cruise ships are in port, locals offer tours at the pier for US$ cash.
Fakarava Shore Excursion – Weather
The weather was perfect for our late January visit. In fact, you can expect very little variation in temperatures throughout the year. The rainy season extends from November to April, but there are usually sunny breaks almost every day. June through October are more popular tourists months, because the days are dry and warm.