The Island of Rangiroa
Rairoa, “immense sky” is the ancient Paumotu name of Rangiroa atoll. This name characterizes well the extent of this atoll of the Tuamotu archipelago. Indeed, Rangiroa is the largest atoll in French Polynesia and the second largest in the world. With a length of 75 km and a width of 25 km, it could contain the entire island of Tahiti in its center.
The air connection is one hour from Papeete. The 3,016 inhabitants are spread over the two main villages of Avatoru and Tiputa, which are two islets separated by a channel. The rest of the atoll is almost uninhabited except for the coconut groves where copra is grown (the sector). The inhabitants go there a few days a week to work and spend the rest of the time in the village. But a small part of the population lives on the spot far from the modernization and closer to the knowledge of our old and this pure nature.
Rangiroa is a real natural aquarium, ranked by Captain Cousteau as one of the most beautiful and richest sites in the world. Various excursions are offered to admire the beauty of the lagoon’s dazzlingly colored waters: discovery aboard a glass-bottom boat, the classic and renowned excursion to the blue lagoon that embodies the Polynesian dream, an excursion to the island of reefs and pink sands to admire the coral formations and their residues with their pinkish reflections depending on the angle of the sun. It is also possible to go to the bird island to observe interesting and sometimes rare species in their natural environment.
History of Rairoa
As tradition has it, the island was first populated by hermit crabs… Legend, however, says that Oio came to settle in Vahituri, in the east, where the great marae Ra’ipu was built by his son Tutehoua. Tutehoua had three children: two boys and that is how the atoll was populated.
Originally, Rangiroa encompassed several villages: Tereia, Fenuaora, Otepipi, Tevaro, Avatoru and Tiputa, in which there were many marae where the Polynesians of old held their social and religious celebrations. Later, a cataclysm (Spanish flu, European diseases) led to the disappearance of almost all the inhabitants of the motu. In the 15th century, the population, at war with Kaukura and Anaa, regrouped in the villages of Tivaru, Avatoru and Tiputa, near the main passes, in order to protect themselves from Anaa’s attacks.
Following this regrouping, the inhabitants created links with Tahiti, Makatea and Mehetia which contributed to a considerable increase in the number of inhabitants. The inhabitants of Rangiroa. The villages of Avatoru and Tiputa are organized around their churches and wharves in a peaceful atmosphere.
For divers, The richness and diversity of the underwater world will give those who are lucky enough to discover it, unforgettable moments.Their passes offer spectacular drift dives and the thrills begin with the encounter with the omnipresent sharks. Each dive is different and offers its own surprises: grey sharks, turtles, napoleons, manta rays, hammerheads… not to mention the bottlenose dolphins that you can sometimes play with! AMONG THE MOST SPECTACULAR DIVES, THOSE OF THE TWO PASSES… In the Avatoru pass, drift dives are to be discovered: the current carries you from the ocean to the lagoon! Accessible to all levels of certified divers, this dive starts in the middle of the pass where it is possible to meet some species of sharks such as the white-finned shark, among a multitude of fish species. It is not uncommon to meet a manta ray going upstream to feed.
Pearl farming, which, along with tourism and fishing, is part of the daily life of the atoll’s inhabitants. It is possible to visit the Gauguin pearl farm which will reveal the mysteries of the manufacture of the most beautiful pearls of Tahiti and her islands.
Discover a unique vineyard in the world, located in the middle of a coconut grove on the edge of the lagoon and of course to taste its production. Rangiroa is a real paradise.
Private deep-sea fishing trips, jig fishing, visits to the vineyards and pearl farms of the atoll, private cruises, are also unique experiences that are a must!
Located about an hour’s boat ride from Tiputa harbor, this motu is prized for its beautiful natural pools. It is also bordered by volcanic rocks which, sculpted by erosion, form an idyllic landscape.
Just as beautiful as Reef Island, Rangiroa’s Bird Island is home to some fine specimens. Located in the middle of the lagoon, this place is also a real natural aquarium, a must for all wildlife lovers.
Taste the local wine
You have to see it to believe it, the vineyard is located only a hundred meters from the lagoon, about 300 meters from the huge ocean that surrounds the atoll. After a few futile attempts in the Austral and Marquesas Islands, he planted his vines in Rangiroa. This dry white wine, called Blanc de Corail, is known throughout Polynesia and is renowned for its freshness and citrus notes.
If you wish to dive in Rangiroa but have not yet taken a first dive, no problem! The dive centers offer first dives with very good instructors, an unforgettable experience.