South Pacific Specialists

Manihi – Island of Pearls

Manihi, lost in the vastness of the South Pacific, conjures up castaway dreams of a tropical isle.

Far from the modern world, the crystal-clear lagoon was once filled with mother-of-pearl and is the site of Tahiti’s first black pearl farm. Today, Manihi is still the leading supplier for the Tahitian cultured pearl industry.

This is “farm country” South Pacific style. Instead of crops, over 60 farms here produce the world’s most sought after gem: pearls. Manihi’s lagoon waters are among the most perfect on earth for cultivating pearls because of the temperature, density, salinity, light, and overall climate.

Besides the pearl farms, visitors enjoy exploring the lagoon and the main village of Turipaoa. There are few cars here so walking around the town square and along the coral paths is as peaceful and romantic as the lagoon itself.

Walk through Manihi and be thrust back to a time when simplicity was the order of the day.

Manihi Village
The homes here are surrounded by handsome yards adorned with shells, shrubs and flowers. The village boasts one main concrete dock, a flagpole and a square where older residents gossip under the shade of a huge tree.

Turipaoa Village
This modest village is home to many of Manihi’s 769 inhabitants. The colorful homes here are shaded by breadfruit trees and ornamented with frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea. Other citizens reside on the pearl farms built on struts beside the lagoon.

Getting To and Around Manihi

Manihi is served by Air Tahiti with frequent flights from Papeete with most connecting through Rangiroa.

The non-stop flight time from Papeete is one hour and fifteen minutes and the flight time for flights connecting through Rangiroa is one hour and fifty five minutes. The flight time for direct flights from Rangiroa is thirty five minutes.

The airport is located close to the primary resort on a motu or islet. There is no regular transport between the islet and the main village or resort and transport to and from the airport must be reserved in advance by your travel arranger or with the resort.

With only a few miles of roads, there is little need for public transportation. For venturing around area, walking, scooters, or bicycles are typical and enjoyable. Rental cars are also for hire. For exploring the lagoon and surrounding motu, motorboat, canoe, and sailboat rentals or charters are available from the resort or in the village.


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