We finally did it, almost two years later; after four modifications, canceled flights, lockdowns, border closures, and lack of PCR tests… we made it; We were able to go to French Polynesia again, and finally know the Tuamotus archipelago, Rangiroa to be exact. This island pleasantly surprised us and left us enchanted and somewhat bewitched.
Where are located the Tuamotus Islands ? How they are?
The Tuamotus Islands form an archipelago to the east of Tahiti, it is made up of about 80 islands, all of them are atolls, that is, basically rings, without mountains, since these islands are older than the Society Islands. Rangiroa is the largest atoll of all of them, this Tuamotus Island is so large that it is not possible to see the other side of the ring, and it is seen only as a great infinite lagoon.
Upon arrival, the emotion is infinite, as much as seeing the lagoon, also seeing that great ring under your feet excites and intrigues you, at least for us who until now had only known the mountainous islands of French Polynesia.
AS told, all the Tuamotus islands are rings that surround an old and extinct volcano, those rings are basically just a very long narrow band, and it is easy and quick to move from the calm and placid lagoon side to the ocean side which is constantly battered by the force of the waves.
Where to sleep in Rangiroa?
Rangiroa has a wide range of family-type accommodations. There are few chain hotels, and having tried both types of accommodation, we definitely stick with the family type. The price-value ratio is much better.
The chain hotels are the Maitai Rangiroa which does not have a beach and the Kia Ora Rangiroa with a nice infrastructure and good common areas but with bungalows that urgently need renovation. Therefore, and from experience, we tell you that you will pay a lot for bungalows that are not in optimal conditions. However, do not forget to visit the Kia Ora, because it has a spectacular pier during sunrises and sunsets, especially when the lagoon is calm and the waters become a mirror.
Among the other options are family pensions, there are some of all types and sizes. Some are on the edge of the beach (ocean side or lagoon side) and this is something to keep in mind. The ocean side is much more ventilated and is good when you don’t have air conditioning frequently the case with this type of accommodation. On the other hand, we highly recommend that you verify that the bungalows or rooms have mosquito nets, in that case, ventilation and repellents will be enough to avoid bites.
We stayed in a pension called Vaai Te Moana and we felt very well, we were a little doubtful about being in French Polynesia without air conditioning because we know how hot could be. It is also noteworthy that we went in a relatively cool and dry time, September (although the climate of the Tuamotus Islands is usually dry).
Generally, pensions put bicycles available to their guests for free. This is the case of Vaai Te Moana. And this is important and great in Rangiroa, which is easy to enjoy with a bicycle, and especially when the accommodation does not have a beach or pool to cool off.
What to do in Rangiroa?
Enjoying the quiet island life on a bike
As I said before, one of the activities to enjoy a Tuamotus Island, especially Rangiroa is cycling. It is super nice to get around by bike and enjoy the ocean air, as long as you avoid the hours when the sun is extremely inclement. The best time is very early in the morning and after 4 in the afternoon.
Remember that the Polynesian islands live to the rhythm of the sun, they start very early when it dawns, and you will be surprised to know that many businesses open at 5 in the morning and close at 5 in the afternoon. The good thing is that there is very little traffic on the island and you can go down the street at your leisure and relatively calmly.
Enjoying a public beach only for you
We visited several public beaches in Rangiroa, and during the week we never found anyone, we enjoyed one of those immense beaches to ourselves. It was just amazing.
There are beaches going towards Avatoru, and others that are wilder but need more pedaling time on the Tiputa side. But with more beautiful and wild landscapes that will pay for the effort. Paradise on earth guaranteed!.
Polynesian people customarily gather with family and friends on the beach on Sundays and have a big barbecue. Therefore, it is very likely that on weekends the beaches are not for you alone. But the good thing about being on vacation is that you have time to go at any time and especially during working days.
Do an Excursion to the Lagoon Blue
The Lagoon Blue is the highlight of Rangiroa, you cannot go to this Tuamotus island without visiting this place. It is necessary to cross the Lagoon by boat for a good hour of navigation to enjoy an idyllic place.
I recommend you read my post dedicated to the Lagoon Blue Excursion
Getting started on scuba diving or enjoying the most incredible immersions if you already are an expert
Rangiroa has a worldwide reputation in the world of diving. The Tiputa pass is one of the most coveted places for people who do scuba diving because this pass concentrates a large number of fish, dolphins, and sharks.
It is possible to do several types of excursions that include the Pass de Tiputa and the Aquarium. You will judge which one to do based on your level. The excursion of the Pass can consist of immersions in key points of this spot, or letting yourself be dragged by the current towards the pass while admiring the bottom.
You have to consider that the current is not only incoming (when it will be calmer) and depending on the direction, the pass can become a real washing machine, with waves enjoyed by dolphins to play with.
Enjoying Dolphins playing with waves at the Tiputa Pass
As I explained before, if the current in the Pass is outgoing, then there will be waves that will become the pass in a dolphins’ playground.
Close to sunset, around 5 in the afternoon you can see the dolphins jumping and playing again and again in the current. A beautiful way to spend a sunset in Rangiroa, in a super calm and idyllic spot.