Manihi is a tiny string of islets surrounding a small, emerald lagoon. Her secluded, white sand beaches and swaying palm trees conjure up dreams of being cast away on a tropical isle, while her gentle trade winds and endless sunshine create a unique fairytale ambience.
Just 6 miles wide and 12 miles long, Manihi sets the stage for an intimate deserted island getaway. Isolated from the modern world, the merely 800 Tahitians who call this place home are primarily pearl and copra farmers or talented artisans. With its leisurely lifestyle and extremely small island feel, places like this cannot easily be found anywhere else in the world.
Manihi's warm lagoon is the ideal environment for cultivating the rare and precious Tahitian black pearl. The site of Tahiti's first black farm, Manihi is still the leading supplier of exotic cultured pearls. Known for their high quality and rich hues, the true beauty of these pearls can be seen in their variety of sizes, shapes and colors – from the darkest of black to many shimmering shades of green, blue, bronze and even pink. You can visit one of the atoll’s family-owned pearl farms to learn the steps involved in the cultivation process, witness their unique grafting technique, and purchase one of these beautiful pearls directly from the source as a memento of your journey.
Manihi has just one navigable pass to the ocean, providing natural protection for the lagoon and its vibrant marine life. Here, leisurely water activities such as snorkeling, drift diving, and hand-line fishing are very popular. An idyllic escape beyond explanation, Mahihi's natural surroundings – like her black pearls – are beautifully unique.
Legends say that pearls were the very first instances of light. Presented to Tane, god of harmony and beauty, they illuminated the heavens with their radiant shine. Inspired by their brilliance, Tane decided to create the stars. After he dotted the sky with constellations, he brought the pearls to Rua Hatu, god of the ocean, to add their brightness to the seas. Next, the gods decided to share these rare gems with humankind. They gave women the first pearls as a token of love, then entrusted them with the "Te Ufi" – a special oyster with which to enclose their precious pearls. Ever since, the "Te Ufi," or the Pinctada Margaritifera, has thrived in the lagoons of French Polynesia, producing the infamously beautiful Tahitian black pearl.