Over one thousand miles southeast of Tahiti are the Gambier Islands. Mangareva, the largest island of the region, is home to most of the population and the center of the region's pearl industry. There are a number of interesting places to explore in Mangareva.

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About the Gambier Islands

General Information About the Gambier Islands and Mangareva

Over one thousand miles southeast of Tahiti are the Gambier Islands. The cradle of Catholicism during the nineteenth century following the arrival of the first missionaries to the region, hundreds of stone buildings from that era survive including churches, convents, schools, and watch towers.

Mangareva, the largest island of the region, is home to most of the population and the center of the region's pearl industry. The island's only small family pensions are located here in the town of Rikitea.

In Rikitea, you will found the St Michael's cathedral dating from 1848 richly decorated in pearls. The lagoons of Mangareva are known for their pearl oysters. The largest and most famous pearl farms are located here.

Things to do in Mangareva

Mt. Duff – Named for the European ship belonging to explorer Captain James Wilson, this mountain is the highest point in the entire Gambier Islands group.

Rikitea Ruins – At Mangareva's main village, Rikitea, visitors will find a number of ruins. Among these archeological relics are a convent, a triumphal arch, several watchtowers, a prison and a court. These abandoned remains have been noted for their dark, eerie feel.

Rikitea Rectory – Across the path from St. Micheal of Rikitea Church is a well-maintained 140 year-old rectory, occupied by the parish priest.

St Michel of Rikitea Church – Constructed of fired limestone, this neo-gothic Catholic church was built under the auspices of Father Honoré Laval. The church, which is still in use today, is inlaid with iridescent mother-of-pearl.

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Pacific Tourism Guide and NZTG.

 

 

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