Rangiroa, a one-hour flight from Tahiti, is the world’s second largest atoll. From the air it appears as a large pearl necklace gently placed on the water. Known as “The Infinite Lagoon,” Rangiroa’s coral ring creates a seemingly endless display of deep turquoise and lapis blue. Because there’s no island runoff, the visibility in the lagoon is over 150 feet and the temperature a constant 80 degrees.
The famous Tiputa Pass, which provides an opening to the ocean, is rich with sea life. It’s known as one of the world’s greatest shark dives, and those who “shoot the pass” find themselves in the deep blue with literally scores of gray, black-tip, white-tip, lemon and nurse sharks. Non-divers can try some world-class snorkeling and see schools of dolphins that gather in the pass. For the true adventurer, a two-hour boat ride across the lagoon leads to the Kia Ora Sauvage, a luxurious way to “rough it.” There’s no electricity at this remote property, but it offers spectacular scenery and complete solitude. Torchlit nights add to its exotic and romantic appeal.