A 55-minute flight from Tahiti will land you in the region’s scuba-diving capital, Rangiroa. Known as the “infinite lagoon,” it’s the largest atoll in Polynesia, and the second largest in the world, with spectacular colors ranging from jade green to turquoise to deep purple. With 240 islets and more than 100 channels, there’s no shortage of opportunities to marvel at the sea life surrounding the island. But the main areas for dives occur in the two largest passes, Avatoru and Tiputa, where drift dives will bring divers up close with many varieties of wildlife: grey reef sharks, sea turtles, humphead wrasse, shoals of barracudas, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and, if you’re lucky, friendly dolphins that sometimes come to play.
To get around the island, rent bikes (your hotel or guesthouse may even provide them complimentary.) Stay at a Tahitian Guesthouse, also known locally as a pension, such as Les Relais de Josephine
whose seven comfortable bungalows face Tiputa Pass, where the dolphins can be spotted dancing in the waves. Or try Pension Loyna, an affordable family-run pension offering friendly advice, free bicycles, and delicious home-cooked meals. Pension Bounty has some of the best views in the world and just a matter of feet from the white, sandy beaches of Ohotu Bay, a prime location for scuba divers.
Start your tour with a full-day snorkeling excursion at the remote Blue Lagoon, an hour boat ride away. Snorkel in pristine waters, and then dig into a picnic lunch. It’s a gentle way to start your week in the water.