Rangiroa is known as the ‘vast sky’. Whether you’re a scuba diving enthusiast or not, the biggest atoll in The Islands of Tahiti has plenty of treasures for you to discover both at sea and on land. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a three day visit. Consider it a taster, because you’re sure to want to come again!
Rangiroa, or Ra’iroa in the language of the Tuamotu Islands, means ‘vast sky’ and you’ll understand why when you see the size of its lagoon – you could fit the island of Tahiti inside! World renowned for diving, there are plenty of activities to try and sights to see on land as well.
Life beneath the waves
Many visitors come to Rangiroa just to go diving in its world renowned dive sites. There are many dive centers proposing a large choice for divers of all levels. You’ll encounter tiger, gray, hammerhead and whitetip sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins and a host of other marine species, including multitudes of colorful tropical fish.
For those who don’t like scuba diving, the waters of Rangiroa are ideal for snorkeling. Gliding on the incoming current at Tiputa pass is like swimming in an aquarium. If you don’t want to get wet, you can also enjoy the spectacle in a glass -bottom boat.
A little R & R
Close to Tiputa pass on the quayside at Ohotu, you’ll find Chez Lili. Take a seat under the wooden pavillion next the water’s edge, and give your taste buds a treat. The good humor and vitality of your hostess, the delicious food influenced by her origins in the Indian Ocean, and the superb view, make this the perfect choice for a long lunch and a little recuperation from the morning’s efforts.
Fishing or surfing?
Unsurprisingly, the diet of the islanders of Rangiroa is mostly fish, and they are experts at catching it. Embark on a fishing boat for an afternoon’s deep sea fishing with rod and line. If you’d rather go surfing, the hosts of your Tahitian Guesthouse will be able to point you in the direction of the best spots, such as Avatoru, the site of an annual surf and bodyboard competition.
Dolphins at sunset
At the end of the afternoon, return to the quayside opposite Tiputa pass. As the sun goes down, the dolphins come out to play in the waves, and you can watch this moving spectacle from dry land. A fairytale ballet that you’ll want to enjoy each evening of your stay in this remarkable atoll.
A bike ride round the atoll
As a break from the lagoon, rent a bike, or e-bike and go for a tour round the atoll. Starting in the village of Avatoru ride as far as the second canal at Tiputa pass. The villages along the way are simple, and the villagers friendly and welcoming. Feel free to stop for a chat whenever you wish. It’s a peaceful island, so enjoy the pleasures of cycing and admire the views over the lagoon and the ocean. From time to time you can refresh yourself with a dip in the crystal clear cool water of a hoa, (little pass).
Visit to a pearl farm
A visit to a pearl farm is an educational experience and the Tuamotu Islands are the home of the Tahitian pearl. Ride to Gauguin’s Pearl Farm, which is one of the biggest black pearl producers in the Pacific. You can’t miss it, right in the heart of Avatoru motu. The price of pearls is naturally much lower when you buy them directly from the producer.
A little wine tasting
Surprising as it may seem, there is a vineyard in Rangiroa! The Domaine de Dominique Auroy is not only unique in French Polynesia, it is also the only winery on a motu in the world. The coral soil gives the white and rosé wines a distinct, refreshing flavor. The Cave de Rangiroa welcomes visitorsall year round to taste the wines and rum!
Visit to Reef Island
The size of Rangiroa atoll is grandiose, even by the standards of the Tuamotu Islands. There are 240 motu, most of which are uninhabited except for a few copra farmers andseashell collectors. Take an excursion to visit some of these idyllic islets with pristine white (or pink), sandy beaches and warm clear sea.
Our recommendation this time is the ‘île aux recifs’ (reef island). Located in the south of the atoll, it takes about an hour by boat to get to this strangely lunar landscape. The coral reef, emerges up to 2 meters from the water. You’ll need adequate footwear, such as plastic sandals, to explore the jagged coral, where you’ll find warm clear pools to bathe in. Lunch will be typically Polynesian with animation supplied by local musicians.
The blue lagoon
As an alternative, take an excursion to the blue lagoon. Situated about an hour from the main village, five motu surround a mini sea of about 2 acres on the coral reef, making a lagoon inside the lagoon. A real picture postcard setting with inoffensive blacktip sharks swimming in the distance. The excursion is for the whole day and a picnic lunch is included.
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