Manihi is just one of the 78 Tuamotu Atolls. It's a quick 30-minute flight from Tahiti, yet you will feel like you've travelled to the very ends of the earth. If you're looking for a small, almost "deserted" island feel, Manihi is the perfect little escape. The atoll is just 6 miles wide and 12 miles long and home to only 800 Tahitians. These locals are primarily pearl farmers, copra (coconut) farmers and talented artisans.
is known as the "Island of Pearls" because its lagoon is the ideal environment for the cultivation of the Tahitian black pearl. The water's temperature, lighting, salinity and density, coupled with the abundant population of the Pinctada Margaritifera - the only oyster in the world capable of creating the rich hues of the black pearl - provide the perfect conditions for these rare and exotic gems.
Home to Tahiti's First Black Pearl Farm
Manihi is the site of Tahiti's first black pearl farm and many are still in operation today. We highly recommend visiting one of these family-owned pearl farms. They will teach you the steps involved in the cultivation process and also demonstrate their unique grafting technique, which makes it possible to produce up to four pearls over the course of one oyster's natural lifespan. And of course, you can purchase these beautiful pearls directly from the source and take them home with you as a memento.
Manihi has just one navigable pass to the ocean, which helps provide natural protection for the lagoon and its rich marine life. Leisurely water activities are very popular here. A favorite is drift diving
. Other activities include snorkeling, cruising in glass-bottom boats and hand-line fishing. Outside the pass, the deep-sea fishing is exceptional....
On land, you can take a bike ride to the main village of Turipaoa and explore the local shops and restaurants. You can also visit the atoll's two ancient marae (ceremonial temples) or find a private motu (islet) beach for a peaceful island picnic.
This quaint little paradise has only one resort accommodation: The Manihi Pearl Beach Resort and Spa. Conveniently located on a motu near the southeast end of the atoll, it's within walking distance of the island's airstrip. The resort features 39 private beach villas and overwater bungalows built in a traditional Polynesian style. The staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming, adding to the relaxed ambiance of this property. And because it has its own luxurious spa, you can indulge in a massage treatment for the ultimate in relaxation.
Manihi, its people and its surroundings are as rare and unique as the black pearls it produces. One visit to this atoll and you will get a sense of what life is like on an island paradise, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. You'll learn from the locals how to live off the land and discover a whole new appreciation for nature.