Laid back diving wonderlands. The Tuamotu Atolls are a collection of 76 unspoiled isles dotted across 20,000 square kms (7700 sq mi) of blue-green South Pacific. There are no mountains. Just reef, sand and sky. Come here to get off the beaten path, mix with friendly locals and swim in clear, bath-warm waters with rays, dolphins and huge schools of fish.
The “land of the long sky” is huge by atoll standards. It’s the largest in the southern hemisphere and the second largest on the planet. It’s tropical lagoon is crystal clear with underwater visibility stretching to 150 feet. Emerge from your dive to hang with locals on land. There are few tourists here so the place still runs on island time. Grab a drink, meet new friends, then plunge back into the warm sea.
Top Activities in Rangiora:
Diving with unbelievable clarity
Speaking island French and broken English with the locals
Visiting a pearl farm
In a region of epic diving, Manihi stands apart. The lagoon’s still waters are breeding spots for manta and eagle rays. Grab your gear and paddle among huge swarming schools of cod, barracuda and flying fish. Spot a sea turtle or hammerhead shark up close. Surface for a visit to one of the island’s terrific pearl farms. Dry out on land and enjoy the laid-back island vibe.
Top Activities in Manihi:
Visiting a pearl farm
Seeing the island’s ancient stone temple ‘maraes,’ or meeting houses
The “island of dreams” is an untouched eco-paradise. Starring rare birds, plants and crustaceans, it remains largely undiscovered by the tourist world. Its diving holes are vibrant, fascinating and far away from the rest of the tourist track. There are no hotels available on this island, so you can enjoy a family hosted stay.
Top Activities in Fakarava:
Catching a glimpse of rare wildlife
Diving pristine reefs
With nearly a perfectly circular blue lagoon and pink sand beaches, Tikehau looks like a giant swimming pool filled with fish. Feel the relaxed Polynesian island vibe, visit Tuheiva Pass for marine life, and watch for birds occupying Tikehau’s many bird colonies.
Top Activities in Tikehau:
Dive into Tuheiva Pass for dancing rays and an unbelievable number of fish
Relaxing on the pink sand with a cocktail