Surrounding one of the world’s greatest destinations for scuba diving, the 240 islets of Rangiroa string together in the ocean for more than 110 miles (177 km), completely encircling a deep lagoon. This is Rangiroa Tahiti, a place that is simply beyond human imagination. Also the world’s second largest atoll, Rangiroa is a place where land and sea form an unexpected truce. The beautiful loop of islands is surrounded by different kinds of ocean: Moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean), which defines the lagoon, and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean), where whales, manta rays, dolphins and sharks put on a show for the lucky few who come to experience their world.
Back on land, the main villages of Avatoru and Tiputa offer the visitor a unique look at the South Pacific. Along the few roads that exist, you’ll encounter coral churches, craft centers, local restaurants and boulangerie, along with a few tiny shops operated by locals. Wine lovers can also enjoy wine tasting at the Dominique Auroy Estate nestled within a coconut grove, which produces three grape varieties. Jewelry lovers will appreciate the black pearl farms, which dot the lagoon.
Rangiroa is the largest atoll of the Islands of Tahiti, and the second-largest atoll in the world. To give you a sense of the lagoon’s scale, the inside of the lagoon is so large it could hold the entire island of Bora Bora. Rangiroa, or Ra’iroa, means “endless skies” which makes it the perfect name. The local people in Rangiroa mostly live on two of the hundreds of motu circling the atoll: Tiputa and Avatoru. These communities are also home to most of Rangiroa’s hotels.
Rangiroa is renowned worldwide for its breathtaking dive spots. Whether you take an intro dive or just a fun dive exploring the lagoon, passes and reefs, beginners and experienced divers will be blown away by the abundance and colors in this natural aquarium. Schools of multicolored butterflyfish, turtles, dolphins, manta rays and hammerhead sharks swim just beneath the surface, just waiting for divers to visit them in their underwater paradise.
Even if you’re not a diver, you can still discover the beauties of the lagoon from above the water’s surface. The possibilities are endless on Rangiroa. You can opt to go for a picnic on a desert motu, go snorkeling above the incredible coral gardens, visit untouched islets where wild birds nest or, if you’re feeling adventurous – have fun with small, friendly sharks.
If you’re planning a diving trip, a few of the must-sees include the “blue lagoon,” where nature gave birth to a small lagoon within the larger main lagoon. Reef Island, an above-water fossilized coral garden, is a stunning reminder of Rangiroa’s unique geology.
Rangiroa is composed of 240 islets, known as motus, that each have their own charm. One of the most picturesque of these is Le Sable Roses, the pink sand beach. This dreamy motu with white and pink sand is located on the southern rim of the atoll. The pink sand dunes emerge from the reef, and naturally-crushed seashells have given this amazing pink hue to the area.
Rangiroa is an atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago and is about 220 miles northeast of the island of Tahiti. Like other destinations in French Polynesia, the simplest way to visit is by direct flight from Papeete to Rangiroa. Regular air service is also offered from Bora Bora and Fakarava. Once you arrive, a rental car or boat taxi can help you arrive at your final destination.