Tikehau, French Polynesia
If the only sound you want to hear is the rhythmic lap of gentle waves, Tikehau is the place for you. Part of French Polynesia’s Tuamotu Islands, this tiny (population 400) coral atoll is the ultimate antidote for modern-day stress. You'll find just one village, two small resorts, talcum-soft beaches, and a lagoon so filled with sea life, it was heralded by none other than Jacques Cousteau.
What We Love
The Sand: Tikehau’s beaches, covered in either pure white or rosy pink powder, are superphotogenic, especially at dawn and dusk when the light adds extra power to the pink hues.
Getting Around: There are only a few miles of paved surfaces on this oval-shaped atoll, but you can always explore the sandy pathways by bike.
Best Known For
Sea Life: The diving here is exceptional, both in the placid lagoon, which is teeming with fish, and in Tuheiava Pass, where sharks, manta rays, and jackfish are known to congregate.
Bird Island: This palm-tree-studded motu is populated by bird colonies that make their homes in miki miki bushes. A guided excursion with binoculars is a must for amateur ornithologists.
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Who It's Best For
Solitude Seekers: Tikehau is the perfect spot to opt for a quiet day with your feet in the sand and that book you haven't had time to read.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It’s Really, Really Chill: If you’re a diver or birder, there’s plenty to keep you occupied, but if you're not, you won't find much to do beyond walking, biking, and visiting the tiny village of Tuherahera.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.