Ran­giroa is a coral atoll in the Tuamotu Arch­i­pel­ago of French Poly­ne­sia. This atoll is an hour north of Tahiti by air­plane and much more remote than any areas in the Soci­ety Islands. The land mass is only 15 square miles but it sur­rounds the sec­ond largest lagoon in the world — 633 square miles which could con­tain the entire island of Tahiti. The lagoon is beau­ti­ful and filled with fish. You will find sev­eral scuba shops since Ran­giroa has incred­i­bly clear warm water and abun­dant sea life. You will see trig­ger­fish, ham­mer­head sharks, bar­racuda and 5 foot long mahi-mahi. If you are not a cer­ti­fied scuba enthu­si­ast be sure to at least try our the snorkeling.

There is a 3.8 mile string of islets that are the only inhab­ited part of Ran­giroa. You can stay at a lux­ury resort in the sour­th­ern part of the atoll but it is only acces­si­ble by boat. The sleepy ham­let of Ava­toru con­tains sev­eral high-end resorts, many small pen­sions and sev­eral scuba cen­ter cen­ters.  Tiputa, across the bril­liantly named Tuputa pass from the east­ern edge of Ava­toru, is even quieter.

Besides div­ing and snorkling, there are plenty of excur­sions by boat avail­able from var­i­ous small tour oper­a­tors to var­i­ous loca­tions such as Les Sables Roses (Pink Sand Beach, the Reef Islands (a series of eery-looking coral spires rem­i­nis­cent of the Trona Pin­na­cles in the south­ern Cal­i­for­nia desert), and the Blue Lagoon, a large lagoon within a lagoon on the west­ern edge of the atoll.

Don’t expect to find a TV, or at least not one receiv­ing much of a sig­nal. How­ever,  Ran­giroa is home of the only inter­net access point in the entire Tuamotu archipelago!

The locals are friendly and incred­i­bly nice, and all together this is an atoll you should not miss if you plan to visit French Polynesia!

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