Rangiroa Island in French Polynesia - 8 things to do and see (2023)

Do I really need to introduce this?Wyspa RangiroaAs a matter of fact? This mythical place, lost at the end of the world, is famous for "some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world". These are the words of Commander Cousteau, who at the time spoke of incredible wealth, amazing marine life and a real natural aquarium. I'm talking about the island of Rangiroa, which is not true as it is actually an atoll.

At the time of writing this article, I have been living in French Polynesia for 4 years and have had the opportunity to discover many islands and atolls in French Polynesia on a professional and personal level.RangiroaThis is one of those places I was able to visit individually over a long weekend in early 2018. Just an hour's flight from the island of Tahiti, getting to this enchanting destination is really easy.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see all the points mentioned in the article, but I hope to return there early in the year to see the hammerhead sharks (which I missed this year). Here are 8 things you shouldn't miss if you spend a few days there, in my opinion. At the end of the article you will find all the information you need to know to visit the atoll in French Polynesia. If you want to visit another atoll this is the oneDuring Tikehau.

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Rangiroa Atoll: Heaven on earth in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

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I always find it interesting to learn a little more about where you're going, don't you think? Maybe it's a professional matter (I'm a qualified geographer/geologist), but it would be nice to know some information about the atoll:

(Video) Things to do in Rangiroa, French Polynesia

  • Rangiroa is about 1 hour north of the island of Tahiti.
  • This coral atoll is part of the Tuamotu Archipelago, which consists of over 75 atolls.
  • The other archipelagos are the Society Islands, Gambier, Australes and Marquesas.
  • The place is actually an atoll, i. H. around an old volcano that is now submerged and only a motu (sandbar) sticks out of the water surface.
  • Around the atoll there are many inhabited islets. Polynesians use them to grow copra (coconuts) and pandanus,
  • It would be a great idea to explore this place by catamaran or sailboat.
  • It is the second largest atoll in the world,
  • The atoll was discovered in the early 17th century.
  • Today, diving and pearl farming are the two main activities of this paradise island.
  • Many tourists spend their honeymoon discovering this idyllic place as there are many wonderful places to stay

More information!

More information about Rangiroa Atoll

Here is some information from a geographic and geological point of view. Like all Polynesian islands, Rangiroa wasn't always a tropical paradise of white sand beaches and coconut palms. Geologically, the island is an ancient volcano that has disappeared over millions of years due to land/sea erosion and the island's subsidence under its own weight. The current boundaries of the atoll roughly correspond to the area of ​​the island at the time of its formation. Over time, coral develops around the island (under ideal conditions like here) and then a coral reef emerges. In the long run, therefore, the atoll (like all these tropical oases) is doomed.

FYI: The atoll is so impressively large that you cannot see the other side of the atoll from above. They will tell me that the atoll is not high, but it is a real inland sea, sandwiched between two coasts. The atoll is about 80 km long and 32 km wide. On the other hand, the atoll has numerous small areas at shallow depths where you can discover all the underwater fauna and flora.

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With both feet out - Mélanie and Sylvain

Hello, this is Mélanie and Sylvain! We have lived in French Polynesia for many years! you are looking forlocal agencyto organize a tripworkin the itinerary an exact opinion about the trip? Don't hesitatecontact usWe can definitely help you!

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(Video) 16 Days in French Polynesia | Tahiti, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, and Fakarava

This is not to be missed on Rangiroa Island

As promised, based on my weekend there and the information I gathered, here is what to do or see in the atoll, both in terms of things to do in Rangiroa, visits etc. To get it straight from the start: The atoll can be visited all year round, although the best time of year (as on all Polynesian islands) remains the cool season or low season (roughly May to September).

1) Diving excursion to Rangiroa Atoll

This is of course the main reason why most tourists visit the atoll. Not all of them take part in a scuba diving trip, but if you like clear, shallow water and underwater life then of course this is a must.

When you join a dive cruise, everything is managed by your organization. If you come on your own and visit other islands in the region, you can book dives yourself by calling the dive clubs on the island (there were 7 in 2018). I personally chose thatYaka Tauchzentrumand everything was fine.

Best time to dive: Bear in mind that whales are generally present from August to October and the best time to see hammerhead sharks is from January to March (possibly during the rainy/cyclone season).

On the program: plenty of sharks (tiger sharks, gray sharks, hammerheads, white tip sharks, etc.), manta rays (which you can get very close to if you are lucky) and classic eagle rays, dolphins, various tropical fish, etc. If you are not a fan of diving ( but only on white sandy beaches), don't hesitate to put on your mask and go snorkeling to discover the wonderful underwater world.

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2) Raf Island („Riffinsel“)

This is one of the excursions I didn't get to do there over the weekend. It was my choice because I have already done many of these types of boat trips to other islands and atolls of French Polynesia, but mainly because I actually came to dive...

Then what can you expect? This is a location south of Rangiroa Atoll (1 hour by boat) where coral reefs lie out of the water and can reach 2m in height. The result is seemingly beautiful and you can walk and swim among canals, open plains and turquoise waters. This is clearly known as one of the most beautiful spots on the atoll. As a bonus, you'll sunbathe on the boat all day, usually eat a good local meal, and return in the late afternoon. Overall, you never come back disappointed!

3) The Blue Lagoon, a change of scenery guaranteed

This is another must-have in Rangiroa that is known almost all over the world. Imagine a postcard: this is a place made up of 5 sandbanks (motu) surrounding a sort of mini-sea of ​​almost 30 hectares, all on the atoll's coral reef.

Tourists know this place very well, but I have to admit that the place is great, if only to rest among the hundreds of black tip sharks that guard this place (the fins can be seen from afar!). It takes an hour to get there by boat and the sea can be rough at times! As with Reef Island, several providers offer this tour. Just ask the B&B you're staying at. They will arrange it for you. This is an opportunity to meet sharks up close 🙂

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4) Surfing and Fishing

Among the things to do in Rangiroa, fishing and surfing are very nice on the atoll. You can actually surf at Tiputa Pass, famous for its dolphin parades! Some service providers organize deep sea fishing days for those who are interested!

5) Dolphin Watching at Ohotu Point

Among other very enjoyable things to do in Rangiroa, take some time such as a bike ride to Ohotu Point, which overlooks the Tiputa Pass. Enjoy a drink at Maitai Rangiroa Terrace or at Teina and Marie Guest House. If you're lucky, you'll have the chance to see a dolphin broom in nice light. A magical show 🙂

6) Walk around the main motu

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(Video) Scuba diving in French Polynesia: Tikehau - Rangiroa - Fakarava

Even if the Rangiroa Atoll is particularly well-known for diving, I recommend getting on your bike and circling the main motus. It's very pretty even when it's hot and you have a great view of the lagoon and the sea. You can also swim in the beautiful "hoas", the water channels between the shore of the lagoon and the sea. Take advantage of the beautiful day to bring back local souvenirs that are sold along the street.

7) Swimming in the turquoise water

And yes, because spending a few days on the atoll also means enjoying the white sand and coconut trees, right? Whether you are at the lagoon or at the sea, you always have the opportunity to swim in the crystal clear waters. As in all South Pacific atolls, the best bathing spots are of course always on the lagoon side! However, there are not many sandy beaches on the atoll.

One of the nicest places I've had a swim is at the end of Avator, down the street. The water is an unusual color and an hour's walk is paradise!

8) Visit to Tiputa and Avatoru villages

There's nothing great to do or see in the villages, but if you're cycling, take some time to stroll the streets of both villages. There is a ghost village atmosphere under the scorching heat of the middle of the day.

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9) Taste the local wine

And yes, in case you didn't know, there are many vines on the atoll that produce wine. Isn't that too rare to mention? This famous Tahitian wine is made on a small motu near Avatoru Pass. Only white and rosé wines are produced. Depending on the season, there is the possibility of visiting the winery with tastings!

So much for the attractions and things to do in Rangiroa Atoll. If you have time and you find yourself in French Polynesia, don't hesitate and spend a few days there! Here are some practical tips on how to prepare for your trip on the spot. Would you like to discover something different? Here it isduring Mataiva!

Practical advice to prepare your trip on the spot

How to get to Rangiroa

Rangiroa Island in French Polynesia - 8 things to do and see (17)Looking for a flight without breaking the bank on your trip? Did you know that I also offer cheap airline tickets on my blog?

Check out good deals!

The trick is to lookthe best flight comparison siteand enter "cheapest month". Now all you have to do is set your holiday dates for French Polynesia. Cheapest flights to Tahiti from USAYou are herefrom $500/$600. Four main airlines fly here: Air Tahiti Nui, Air France, Frenchbee and United Airline. Please note that there is currently no international airport.

There it is very easy to hop from island to island, regardless of how much the ticket costs in relation to the distance. The cost of a flight from Tahiti to Rangiroa is around €250 return with Air Tahiti (the only one so far!). The island is served several times a week. You can also book a Multi Island Pass trip with other islands in the archipelago -> Want to know all about it?Transportation in French Polynesia? Air travel is definitely a big expense when vacationing in French Polynesia.

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How to get around in Rangiroa Atoll?

Although Rangiroa is the second largest atoll in the world, you'll spend most of your time on the main motu, where the airport, shops, restaurants and all the dive shops are located. In short: on a very hot day, walking around the motu is not an option, but cycling is definitely possible. There is no need to rent a car in Rangiroa. When renting bikes you can often ask directly about your pension.

The rest of the time you either go scuba diving and the club will pick you up from your guesthouse/hotel or eat at a local restaurant a stone's throw from where you sleep. The same applies to journeys where you are picked up by service providers.

Where to stay in Rangiroa?

Rangiroa Atoll offers a wide variety of local accommodation options, from a small local guesthouse to Airbnb to luxury hotels. Having stayed there once, I can only recommend this small, unpretentious guest house (just how I like it) 1000 times: atOlga(Guesthouse Turiroa). It offers bungalows, double rooms and even shared rooms for small budgets. The area on the edge of the lagoon is magical, a stone's throw from small local restaurants.

(Video) 10 Days on Rangiroa and Tikehau, French Polynesia

For lovers of comfort, luxury and bungalows you will find at ulMaitai Rangiroaand above all very well knownKia Ora Resort & Spa.

Alternatively, if you are there during the Travel Fair (or know someone here in Tahiti), you can book your flight + guest house through “Séjour dans les îles”, which is cheaper than booking both separately. But you must be in Tahiti to book this.

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Where to eat in Rangiroa?

There are no 30 options for dining on the atoll. Or you have a big budget and want to eat in the restaurant of your guesthouse or hotel. Or be a little careful and cook your own dishes. At Olga's you have access to a kitchen where you can cook directly yourself. This is one of the tricks that make a trip to French Polynesia cheaper. A good little raw fish on the edge in this lush setting still doesn't go bad...

Is Rangiroa Atoll worth it then?

That's a valid question, isn't it? To be honest I only spent four days in Rangiroa Atoll but was pleasantly surprised. At first I was afraid to be in a big tourist place, mainly because of the diving. But actually the main motu is big and you don't really see a lot of people.

At the same time I was (theoretically) in the middle of the rainy season in French Polynesia. So maybe that changed something. Despite this, I really enjoyed my stay, especially in the guest house, which is very quiet and has great surroundings. Spending a few days on the island is a real treat and I will definitely come back for diving. I don't know if it's better to choose Rangiroa than Fakarava for diving. I know Fakarava, but I was only there for two days on business. I didn't have time to soak up the atmosphere. The main motto of Fakarava is huge and it is impossible to reach everything by bike. Many choose “Fak” because of the famous shark wall, which can still be a reason to go there! By the way, do you want to know more about it?Diving in Fakarava?

That's it, I'm coming to the end of this article with a tropical flair. I personally really enjoyed the weekend spent there with relaxation, diving and boat trips. I will definitely return to diving (as well as to Fakarava). In my opinion, a visit to the Tuamotu is a must when traveling to Tahiti, if only to feel the tranquility of the place and enjoy the lagoon. Does this article make you want to live in Rangiroa? Play Robinson Crusoe on site? Would you like to discover another paradise? These areGambier Islands, on the archipelago of the same name!

I look forward to meeting you at another Polynesian discovery soon.


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What is Rangiroa known for? ›

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.

Why visit Rangiroa? ›

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.

What can you see at Lagon Bleu Rangiroa? ›

The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular attractions in Rangiroa. Small palm tree-covered islets border this natural pool, sometimes described as a “lagoon within a lagoon”. Snorkeling with blacktip reef sharks and sicklefin lemon sharks in the surrounding waters of the islets is an amazing experience.

When should I visit Rangiroa? ›

The Austral Winter May the Best Time to Visit Rangiroa. From May to November, the Tuamotu archipelago has a dry season and August and September are an ideal time to discover Rangiroa.


1. French Polynesia Travel Guide: Top 5 Things To Do
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2. ISLANDS OF TAHITI - Travel Guide To All 5 Archipelagos Of French Polynesia
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4. French Polynesia - TOP 10 Things to do
5. Rangiroa, a hidden diving paradise in French Polynesia!
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6. The Ultimate Guide to Diving in French Polynesia


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