Mangareva, French Polynesia
Mangareva is the central island pictured in this image, but we can also see Aukena to the east and part of Taravai in the west. These small islands are home to a limited population; Mangareva has an estimated population of 1,200, and Taravai has less than a dozen.
The island is approximately 8 kilometres long and constitutes 56% of the land area of the whole Gambier archipelago. Rikitea, the largest village on the island, is also the chief village of Gambier Islands.
Thanks to its tropical climate and remote location, Mangareva is a popular tourist spot and can be reached by boat from the nearby airport on Totegegie Island across the lagoon. Tourists enjoy pearl farms and tours of the island by road or boat, and travellers can also explore the surprising number of historic churches, lush green mountains, convents, watchtowers, and schools constructed in the 1800s. Some structures are still in use such as St. Michel of Rikitea Church "where the altar is inlaid with iridescent mother-of-pearl shell", according to the Tahitian tourism organisation.
View the full resolution image.