Ruled by the rhythms of the wind and sea, the Tuamotu Archipelago is the largest collection of coral atolls in existence – of which Rangiroa is the most immense. The second largest atoll in the world, Rangiroa boasts an incredibly vast lagoon of incomparable brilliance and color. Here, visitors can dive into nature’s most extraordinary aquarium and appreciate the complete harmony of the elements.
From the sky, Rangiroa emulates a giant pearl necklace laid delicately upon the pristine waters of the Pacific. Creating this illusion is a string of 240 tiny islets scattered across more than 110 miles of open sea. These secluded motu encircle and protect the atoll's infinitely deep lagoon. At 42 miles long and 16 miles wide, her lagoon is so large that the entire main island of Tahiti could fit inside.
Beyond its size, Rangiroa is highly renowned for its world-class diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. This immense, natural aquarium is home to an impressive variety of marine life and offers an outstanding selection of dive sites. The Avatoru Pass boasts some of the most exhilarating diving in the world and is the ideal spot for dolphin sightings.
While the main attraction is surely its lagoon, Rangiroa offers enjoyable land-based experiences to complement the many water activities available. Alongside her roads are beautiful coral churches, quaint local restaurants and tiny shops worthy of a visit. And unlike the soaring, lush mountain peaks that are characteristic of many of the other Tahitian islands, these tiny motu are no more than three feet in elevation. This flat layout provides a unique opportunity to stand on a thin strip of island and see both the lagoon on one side and the vast ocean on the other.
Regardless of what draws you to Rangiroa, you will discover an appreciation for nature that runs as deep as its lagoon.
In ancient times, the many islands of Polynesia formed a platform made of fish at the bottom of the sea. The god Maui had the idea to gather these fish and craft them into one piece of land, so he and his brothers set out in their outrigger canoe to complete the task. Once out to sea, they fished for a long time without catching anything. When his brothers fell asleep, Maui decided to cast his line and he began to sing. Miraculously, he caught many fish; until Tahiti came to the surface and his brothers awoke and cried, "That is not a fish, it's an island!" And with that, all the fish that had been caught escaped across the ocean, explaining why the islands of Polynesia are spread across such a large expanse of water.