A former volcano that has slowly disappeared under the water, Tikehau is now an atoll. Its surrounding coral reef, which marks the extent of the former volcano, has a 17 mile diameter. The emerging islets, formed by an accumulation of coral, are planted with coconut trees, agohos and Indian almond trees. Preserved and simply splendid, the atoll is reputed for its pink sand beaches and lagoon, which has one of the highest populations of fish in Polynesia. Visitors stay on Motu Tuherahera (where the airport is located) in one of the dozen guesthouses on the island. That is, unless they stay on Motu Aua (on the western end), where the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort (the only hotel on the island) is located.
Hiring a bike in the village of Tuherahera to discover the motu. From one end (airport side) to the other (public beach side), the road is 3 miles long and half of it is tarmacked. For the way back, follow the coral track along the water.
You can also ask to be driven around the motu by Laurina Natua, who works at the Panau Lagon guesthouse. This way, you will learn about the legends and history of this superb atoll. Tel: 00 689 96 22 99.
Hina's Bell, Motu Tuherahera. If you are staying at one of the guesthouses on this motu, it is possible to reach it on foot or by bicycle. This natural site is located on the ocean side of the atoll and consists of a lagoon framed by two columns of black rock.
The village of Tuherahera, which stretches to the tip of the motu of the same name. There are 4 very colourful churches here, as well as a public beach on the western side.
There are no banks or ATMs on the atoll. Make sure, then, that you have enough Pacific Francs in cash to cover all your expenses during your stay. There is also no Internet access on Tikehau for the moment.
Remember that the tap water in Tikehau is not suitable for drinking, so you will have to count bottled water into your budget (less than £1 per bottle at the store in the village.
For dining possibilities, besides the fixed meals at the guesthouses and the restaurant at the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort, there is just a little snack bar open during the day in the villagae of Tuherahera. At all of these places you will enjoy the local cuisine: Tahitian-style raw fish, mahi-mahi, salmon of the gods, poe desset (cassava in coconut cream).
There are no souvenir or crafts shops in Tikehau and that's actually a good thing! You will, however, find local products like tropical preserves and bottled water at the grocery store in Tuherahera, where the airport is located.