Rangiroa Atoll is 300 kilometers northeast of Tahiti, near the northwest end of the Tuamotu Islands of French Polynesia. It's one of the largest atolls in the South Pacific, and the lagoon is so broad it's hard to see the other side. Avatoru and Tiputa, next to the two main passes into the lagoon, are the only villages.
Rangiroa is renowned among scuba divers, and a drift dive through Tiputa Pass on the incoming tide reveals a fantastic array of marinelife. You'll see numerous manta rays, humphead wrasses, barracudas, dolphins, and sharks, but it's a rather deep dive, not for beginners.
Snorkelers can also ride the strong current back into the lagoon, provided someone with a boat can be found to guide them (many of the dive shops don't cater for snorkeling).
Boat trips across the Rangiroa Lagoon are another favorite activity. The snorkeling at the Blue Lagoon and Ile aux Recifs is superb, and the pink sand of Sables Roses is an experience. Tiny Motu Paio, a bird sanctuary in the center of the lagoon, is also visited.
Rangiroa features several good hotels, including the Kia Ora Rangiroa and the Novotel Rangiroa Beach Resort, but honeymooners and those uninterested in nautical activities could get bored here.
The small pearl farm between Avatoru and the airport is one of the few sightseeing attractions above the waterline.