Pearl Beach Resort at Manihi.
Take a dip.
Laze about on your private deck.
Stroll along the shores.
Close your eyes and imagine crystal clear water, palm trees, beautiful white sand and hammocks for lazing in you have the picture and it is perfect.
Five archipelagos make up French Polynesia, and they are broken into 77 atolls stretching 1500km north-west to south-east and 500km east to west.
Manihi, one of the Tuamotus, is just 28km long and 8km wide, with a population of 800 and no roads. It is picture perfect, and its main village, Paeua, has a couple of churches, a hospital, post office and a little store selling canned goods.
Pearl Resorts are sprinkled across the Pacific Bora Bora, Huahine, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Raiatea, Tikehau and Aitutaki all have one, as does Manihi. In fact, The Pearl Beach Resort is Manihi's only resort. They go to great lengths to ensure their properties blend with the natural surroundings and they have become very popular with Italians, French, Americans, Japanese and a small percentage of Australians and New Zealanders. Many of the visitors are honeymooners seeking the romance of a Pacific island, but of course, this appeals to almost everyone. If you imagine crystal clear water, palm trees, beautiful white sand and hammocks for lazing, you have the picture.
There are four levels of accommodation five Standard Beach Bungalows with shower, phone, refrigerator, safe and fans. The 17 Superior Bungalows are also on the beachfront, have the same amenities and slightly better views. There are 14 Deluxe and five Premium Overwater Bungalows with sundecks and a glass table in the floor so you can see into the lagoon below. The Premium Bungalows are a little more private and have a CD player. Breakfast is delivered to the Overwater Bungalows by canoe.
The restaurant, Poe Rava, serves European and Polynesian cuisine, and there is a little bar called Miki Miki. There aren't any restaurants in the village, so all meals are taken at the Resort.
There are boat trips to the other end of the lagoon three days a week, stopping for lunch on a coral islet, snorkelling and hand fishing. On the other three days, (Sunday is a day of rest) you can join a boat trip to a black pearl farm. There are around 25 large pearl farms and 50-60 small family-run farms on Manihi. They are very closely guarded and controlled and not many are open to visitors, but those that are show the pearls at every level of their growth. The process is long and painstaking, but the right pearl can fetch thousands of dollars.
Diving and snorkelling are excellent, with loads of large sea life such as sharks, jackfish, perch, barracuda and manta rays to swim with. The Resort's dive shop, Manihi Blue Nui, is a well-respected dive centre, and they can take you to four nearby sites. Le Tombant the Drop Off is on the ocean side of the pass. There you will see grey sharks, napoleons, jackfish, perch and barracuda.
Tairapa Pass is a 70m- wide, 20m-deep pass, which just sucks you in with the tide and you slip past an amazing array of marine life. It ends inside the lagoon at the Circus, an entanglement of pinnacles from 20m deep reaching the surface. The visibility isn't great but you will see manta and eagle rays, triggerfish, moray eels and unicorn fish.
La Faille is outside the pass and fish feeding takes place there. You will see grey reef sharks, whitetip sharks, trevallies, snapper and triggerfish.