Sail Tahiti: The Tuamotu Archipelago

The remoteness of the Tuamotu Archipelago makes it a quite different charter destination to most. This is primarily a crewed-charter destination that requires a flight from Papeete, taking you into another world. These atolls are so far from the usual tourist crowds and commercialism that a sailing holiday here is the epitome of a tropical island escape.  

Sailing in the Tuamotos presents some challenges. Besides the natural hazards of navigating an area strewn with coral atolls, idylic though it is, provisioning is also an issue for a sailing holiday in the Tuamotus. The best and easiest way to experience this part of French Polynesia is by crewed charter. A number of larger catamarans with permanent crew are based in the archipelago.

As well as flying from Papeete to pick up your charter in the Tuamotus, it may be possible to sail from the main island of Tahiti, depending on availability. Crewed charter boats stationed in the Tuamotus are in strong demand and not always available as advertised on the Internet. For the experienced blue-water sailors wishing and qualified to sail bareboat to the Tuamotus, charters start from the base at Raiatea, to where the boat must be returned. 

Talk to us first if considering a Tuamotus boat charter. And for more on boat charters in French Polynesia, read about sailing holidays in the Society Islands and Marquesas Islands.  

The Tuamotu Archipelago comprises a low-lying string of atolls at the heart of French Polynesia between the Society Islands to the south and the Marquesas to the north. The main gateways to the Tuamotus are Rangiroa (population around 3,000) and Fakarava (1,000). Both these destinations offer good navigation aids into and within their lagoons, and are the most developed atolls onshore.   

The scale of the Tuamotus is vast. Rangiroa, to the western edge of the archipelago, offers a full sailing holiday experience in itself, all within the world's second largest lagoon. For a sample of real blue-water sailing, it's 35 nautical miles between the centre of Rangiroa Atoll and that of its nearest neighbour, Tikehau. Fakarava, to the centre of this well spread-out collection, offers good anchorages, and a choice of several nearby smaller atolls for some variety and total seclusion. 

Getting to the Tuamotus

Internationally, Tahiti is served through Fa'a'ā International Airport, Papeete. Air Tahiti has scheduled flights to Rangiroa, Tikehau and Fakarava, including multi-island passes. Flights from Papeete take about 75 minutes. Flight schedules allow planning of both return and one-way charter itineraries. Bareboat charters out of Tahiti's Society Islands may also be arranged for suitably qualified skippers, on enquiry.

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