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Rangiroa, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia
Rangiroa, meaning ‘Vast Sky’ in Puamotu, is the largest atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago and one of the largest in the world. Surrounded by two legendary bodies of water, Moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean) and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean), the atoll consists of about 250 islets and sandbars, with approximately 100 narrow passages in the fringing reef. The lagoon covers 618 square miles (1,600 square km), large enough that it has its own horizon.
The main villages are Avatoru and Tiputa located in the north-western part of the atoll, where the majority of Rangiroa’s residents live. At the western end of a string of connected islands are most of the businesses, hotels, shops, and banks.
Tourism is the island’s principal source of income. Daily flights from Tahiti, an exceptional lagoon and good sites for scuba diving draw a steady number of tourists. With only a few miles of roads, there is little need for public transportation. To venture around the populated part of Rangiroa, scooters or bicycles can be rented.
A unique feature of Rangiroa is its vineyards. The vines, producing two harvests per year, grow on the edge of a lagoon next to coconut palms. The grapes are brought to the winery in Avatoru by boat. The creation of the vineyard came after a variety of tests for the best suitable site to host the vines. Thirty varieties were imported from different parts of Europe, beginning in 1992. While not exactly famous for its wines, Rangiroa is the only atoll in French Polynesia where both red and white wines are produced despite the salt air and lack of land.
Please Note: Due to Rangiroa’s remote location and limited infrastructure, the rustic transportation is the best available; most guides’ command of English is very basic.
The ship is scheduled to anchor off Rangiroa. Guests are taken ashore via ship’s tenders to the Ohotu pier, 5 miles (8 kilometres) from the main village of Avatoru. Local transportation is very limited; only one taxi is available, offering shared rides into Avatoru.
Avatoru and resort hotels offer limited shopping opportunities. Black pearls, woodcarvings and local souvenir items may be of interest. The local currency is the Pacific Franc (XPF). Euros and U.S. dollars are generally accepted. The Post Office is closed on Saturdays.
Small restaurants in Avatoru offer local fare, while resort hotels serve French and international cuisine. Reservations are required.
Main activities include exploration of the lagoon waters, snorkelling, diving and visiting one of the pearl farms or the winery in Avatoru. However, be aware that local transportation is in limited supply. Rental scooters and bicycles are a good way to get around. Diving tours can be booked locally.
Silver Shore Privato
is unavailable in Rangiroa, due to the very limited number of qualified guides and suitable vehicles. Guests wishing to consider any private arrangements should enquire at Concierge@silversea.com for availability and price.