The atoll of Anaa is part of the Tuamotu archipelago in French Polynesia. It’s most known for the legendary cruelty of its soldiers who reigned during the period of the 1600s. It was first sighted by conquistadors from Spain beginning with Pedro Fernandes de Queirós who named it Conversión de San Pablo when he reached the island in February of 1608.
French explorers sighted it over 150 years later. Famed explorer James Cook also made a sighting soon after, calling it Chain Island. At the beginning of the 19th century, control officially passed from the French to the Pomaré of Tahiti who turned it into a thriving commerce and trade center.
It suffered a defeat first when a revolt happened because of increasing competition between North American Mormon groups and the French Catholics, a conflict which required intervention from France.
It suffered a second devastation in 1878 and 1906 when it suffered damage from two hurricanes. It was unable to recover its former glory, and a 1983 hurricane caused enough damage that the only remaining town on the island was moved.
It currently has only one year-round town, Tukuhora, with a population of about 350, plus a few other cities with seasonal populations. It has a land size of roughly 38 square kilometers with a single lagoon fed from underground basins.
It has a tropical climate with blue water and white sand beaches. One distinct feature of the atoll is the greenish tint of the cloud cover due to the reflection from the lagoon. The lagoon itself is only about five meters deep, perfect for casual swimming.
Another distinct feature of the atoll is something called the Feo, dark formations of fossilized coral that dot the lagoon. There are ancient grottos and caves caused by heavy tectonic activity during the creation of the atolls. Fishing is incredible and is the heart of daily life for most of the permanent population.
It’s the second largest atoll in the island chain with several offshoots of its own. Its stunning beauty attracts visitors year round.