Fodor's Expert Review Gauguin's Pearl Farm
The farm is an easy walk from the airport on the edge of the lagoon. A guide, who explains the long and laborious process of cultivating Tahitian black pearls, shows around small groups. Tours take 30 minutes and are fascinating; you'll learn about the Pinctada margaritifera or black-lipped oyster, and watch technicians insert a nucleus (a small shell bead) into the oyster and attach it with a graft of oyster muscle tissue to begin the pearling process. There's a jewelry boutique but it's not a hard-sell experience: a single top-grade pearl can cost 41,000 CFP (about US$530).