My wife and I returned to the US after spending three weeks in French Polynesia. It was our third visit to the islands and it was truly a fantastic trip. We stayed five nights at the Hilton Moorea, six nights at Fafarua Lodge in Tikehau and seven nights at LeTahaa on Tahaa. We had stayed at both the Hilton and LeTahaa on our previous visit in 2021, but the wildcard in our trip was our planned stay at Fafarua Lodge on Tikehau. We were excited about going, but had no idea what to expect.
Fafarua Lodge is owned and managed by Patrick and Evaline and is located on a private motu on Tikehau. When you stay here, you are the only guests on the motu. Fafarua Lodge is not as well known as the Hilton or LeTahaa, but we were intrigued by the idea of having an entire island to ourselves so we booked six nights there. Upon arriving inTikehau, we were met at the airport by Patrick and after a 30 minute boat ride, we arrived at Fafarua Lodge.
Now, If you’re looking for a five star resort with shopping, sugar sand and a staff of waiters waiting to take your drink orders, then Fafarua is probably not the ideal place for you. Instead, what you will find is a wonderful opportunity to learn about what it is like to live as a local on a remote island in the Pacific. The lodge is self sufficient. The electricity is solar generated and the water is collected from rainfall and then filtered and UV purified for drinking and showering. It tastes every bit as good as the water from my tap here at home in the US.
Tikehau is an atoll, so the beach at Fafarua is not sugar sand, but composed of sand mixed with hard coral, so we really recommend sandals and/or water shoes with a very sturdy sole for walking the beaches. Small black-tipped sharks frequent the beach, but typically scurry away if you enter the water. At night, the hermit crabs come out in droves and you really have to watch carefully where you step so that you don’t step on them. One morning, I found two of them competing with me for space in the outdoor shower as well! 😂
The house in which you stay is a traditional island style home that is very comfortable, nicely furnished and immaculately clean. They have a very well stocked wine chiller with a nice selection of local and French wines, champagne as well as soft drinks and beer.
Each morning, Eva cooked us a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, toast, fresh fruit and a selection of breads which was served to us outdoors in the Fare Potee, an open sided building with a palm roof. Lunch was typically light…a salad or light stir fry and dinner was most often an entree of fish purchased from a local fisherman and prepared with either French or Polynesian recipes. The food was fantastic and I know both of us gained weight eating here!
Each day included a different boat excursion to see some of the sights on Tikehau. At breakfast, Patrick would stop to discuss the options available for the day's excursion and we would agree upon a plan - which in great part depended on wind and weather. Our first day's excursion was a visit to the marine bird sanctuary on an island in the Tikehau lagoon which was fascinating and we were impressed with Patrick’s knowledge of the birds and their habitat. Other excursions included snorkeling in some truly fantastic places and some visits to some of the more beautiful beaches on Tikehau that Patrick shared with us.
The isolation you experience here and its accompanying sense of privacy on the island is amazing. As I mentioned, you are the only guests on the motu.You can walk the beaches from motu to motu in either direction for a couple of miles and likely not run into anyone so if you feel the urge to sunbathe au natural, skinny dip or just run naked down the beach you could certainly do it here, although Patrick requested that if you want to do that, go to the motu next door 😂…(the lodge has three motus).
One of the highlights of our day was after dinner when we could grab a bottle of wine and go down to the beach and watch the most amazing sunsets that you have ever seen!
I could go on here forever, but the best way to learn about this place is to experience it. We recommend it to anyone looking to experience what it’s like to live as the locals do on a motu. The big difference being, of course, that we didn’t have to do any of the work. We just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. Patrick and Evaline were wonderful hosts and Jill and I will be visiting here again on our next visit to FP.