Rangiroa, a string of coral encircling a luminous turquoise and jade-green lagoon, appears from the air to be a pearl necklace laid upon the water. More than 200 tiny motus wind along the fragile reef. Inside, infinite schools of marine life fill the iridescent waters of the world's second largest atoll.
Tahiti Travel Packages
Featured Rangiroa Hotel
It’s hard to tell exactly where the sea ends and the sky begins on Tahiti’s largest atoll, the second biggest in the world, Rangiroa. Even its name means “endless skies.” Looking a bit like a lovely necklace from the air, Rangiroa’s stunning coral reefs surround bright turquoise lagoons. There are more than 200 miniature motus, or tiny islands, set along this delicate reef, providing some of the planet’s best scuba diving and snorkeling. Located about 220 miles from the island of Tahiti, it is part of the Palliser group of islands, named in honor of Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser by Captain James Cook in 1774. Unlike many other Tahitian islands, Rangiroa is flat with no mountains.
The water means everything in this diver’s paradise. It comes in nearly every shade of blue you can imagine, and even some you have to see to believe. Here, the serene lagoon moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean) meets the open waters of moana-uri (Wild Ocean), where whales, dolphins, sharks and manta rays roam. In between dives, vacationers can wander through Rangiroa’s charming villages of Tiputa and Avotoru, learn about the dance and culture of these enchanting French Polynesian isles, or search for the perfect black pearl.
What To Do
Visit the world’s only vineyard on an atoll at Vin de Tahiti, only ten minutes from Avatoru village via boat. Its delicious white and rosé wines are produced from delicate coral soil. Stroll through the lovely town, with its colorful churches, boutiques, petite boulangerie, restaurants and friendly locals.
Explore Les Sables Roses (The Pink Sands), a deserted beach to the east, or Ile aux Récifs (Reef Island) with raised coral formed over the past 4 million years resembling tiny towns. Tour a pearl farm and discover the South Pacific’s mysterious black pearl.
Take a glass bottom boat tour of the ultimate Lagon Bleu (Blue Lagoon), which is actually a lagoon within a lagoon, formed when a necklace of motus (atolls) and coral reefs created a natural pool on the edge of the larger reef. There’s even a bird island nearby to explore. Parasail, or go deep-sea fishing for marlin and mahi mahi. And dive into some of the most spectacular waters in the world.