Gambier Islands (aka Mangareva Islands) are a populated archipelago in French Polynesia (overseas territory of France in the Pacific). The island group has population under 2,000 and covers a total area of 30 km2 (12 mi2). The archipelago is of avolcanic origin (caldera of an acient volcano) and consists of central high islands and smaller islets located on a fringing reef.
Gambier Islands are at Tuamotu archipelago's southeastern terminus, but are considered a separate archipelago from Tuamotu because their Mangarevan culture and also due to their proximity to the Marquesas.
Rikitea (Mangareva Island)
The small port town Rikitea is also the island's tourist center. The port is located on the Mangareva Lagoon, and approx 1650 km (1030 mi) southeast of Tahiti. Most of the island's population (around 1,000) live in Rikitea.
The landscape is marked by 2 mountains, with highest elevation points Mount Duff (482 m / 1580 ft)) and Mount Mokoto (39 m / 130 ft). Both mountain peaks are easily approachable by walking trails, and located north of Rikitea. The only road encircles the entire island and has length of 28 km (17 mi).
Most of the island's economy is centered around tourism - and engraved black pearls (cultured on platforms built on both sides of the lagoon). Other sources of revenue for the locals are agriculture and some fishing.
Rikitea can be accessed by sea (ship) and air. Its airport is located approx 9 km (6 mi) to the northeast. From the airport, the town can be accessed only by boat. Flights from Papeete (Tahiti) to Rikitea are the only option (travel time is ~4 1/2 hours). Travel to Rikitea by ship is also from Pepeete. Ship travel time is 21 days, and the itinerary also visits 4 other islands before Rikitea.
Gambier Islands cruise terminal
Most cruise ships to Gambier Islands dock (anchor) at Rikitea - port town located on the eastern coast.
The following map of Gambier Islands shows all isles, atolls and ports.