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Rangiroa is the largest atoll in French Polynesia with its beautiful turquoise lagoon and thrilling passes Tiputa and Avatoru.

Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

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Rangiroa, locally called Ra'iroa or Te Kokota, is the largest atoll in French Polynesia and about 45 miles long and 15 miles wide. This turquoise lagoon is world famous for its beauty, pristine colors, white coral beaches and tranquility. It is translated to Long Sky, pointing at the endless lagoon that goes on and on without seeing its border. There are more than 250 different islands, islets and sandbars that make up Rangiroa but only a few are inhabited. Its total population is slightly less than 3000 inhabitants. Its capital Avatoru lays on the northern side and the second largest village Tiputa only a few kilometers eastward. You can visit the bird sanctuary on Motu Paio or the world famous blue lagoon near Toeo'o. Other highlights for tourists include beaching, game fishing, snorkeling tours and other water sports.

Most dives are done at the northwest side of Rangiroa, near or inside the two famous channels called Avatoru Pass and Tiputa Pass. Both passes offer extremely fierce currents, ripping and pushing divers, together with all sorts of aquatic life, through the pass. You can find hammerhead sharks, lemon sharks, grey reef sharks, tuna, barracuda, manta rays, dolphins and even whale sharks. It is often called "shoot the pass" or "world's greatest adrenaline rush". And not only divers can do this. Many snorkelers and glass bottomed boat tourists join this trip during incoming tide. There are also plenty of smaller channels called hoa and fringing reefs providing for colorful marine life. Currents are strong, most dives are done drifting and the marine life is huge with plenty of sharks, mantas and other pelagic species. Dolphins, eagle rays and coral fish are plentiful as well.

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- e-Tahiti Travel, bp42692, Papeete

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