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NASA picture of Fakarava Atoll
Fakarava is located in French Polynesia
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 16°3′5″S 135°39′31″W / 16.05139°S 135.65861°W / -16.05139; -135.65861
Archipelago Tuamotu archipelago
Area 1,112 km2 (429 sq mi) (lagoon)
16 km² (above water)
Length 60 km (37 mi)
Width 21 km (13 mi)
Commune Fakarava
Largest city Rotoava
Population 855 (as of 2007)
View of the inner lagoon of Fakarava from Rotoava
View of the inner lagoon of Fakarava from Rotoava
Location of Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Location of Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Coordinates: 16°03′05″S 145°39′31″W / 16.0515°S 145.6585°W / -16.0515; -145.6585Coordinates: 16°03′05″S 145°39′31″W / 16.0515°S 145.6585°W / -16.0515; -145.6585
Country France
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
 • Land 100.5 km2 (38.8 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Population1 1,578
 • Population1 density 16/km2 (41/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 98716
1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Fakarava, Havaiki-te-araro, Havai'i or Farea is an atoll in the west of the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia. It is the second largest of the Tuamotu atolls. The nearest land is Toau Atoll, which lies 14 km to the northwest.

The shape of Fakarava Atoll is roughly rectangular and its length is 60 km and its width 21 km. Fakarava has a wide and deep lagoon with a surface of 1,112 km² and two passes. The main pass to enter the lagoon, located in its north-western end, is known as Passe Garuae and it is the largest pass in French Polynesia; the southern pass is called Tumakohua (also known as Tetamanu[1]). It has a land area of 16 km2.

Fakarava has 855 inhabitants; the main village is called Rotoava.


The Pōmare Dynasty originated here before ruling the island of Tahiti.

The first recorded European to arrive to Fakarava Atoll was Russian oceanic explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen on July 17, 1820 on ships Vostok and Mirni. He named this atoll "Wittgenstein".

Fakarava's inhabitants were evangelized by Belgian Jesuit priest Honoré Laval in 1849. The church at Rotoava was dedicated in 1850.

There is a territorial (domestic) airfield in Fakarava which was inaugurated in 1995.

Fakarava is presently being classified by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve.


This atoll is the capital of the commune of Fakarava, which consists of Fakarava, as well as the atolls of Aratika, Kauehi, Niau, Raraka, Taiaro and Toau.

Island Population (2007 census) Area (km²) Area of lagoon (km²) Postcode
Fakarava 855 16 1112 -
Kauehi 553 15 320 -
Aratika 233 8.3 145 -
Niau 171 20 30 -
Raraka 67 7.2 342 -
Toau 24 12 561 -
Taiaro 0 6 12 -
TOTAL 1903 84.5 2522 -


  1. ^ Based on the French edition of Wikipedia and local knowledge


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