Why go to Rangiroa?
Crystal-clear waters of the Blue Lagoon are a dream for divers, snorkelers and swimmers.
Town facilities are limited for passengers who want to explore independently.
This atoll's remoteness and pink-sand beaches spell 'Paradise in the South Seas'
Rangiroa Cruise Port Facilities?
There is no dock large enough to accommodate a cruise ship in the French Polynesian port. The ships often drop anchor in the busier part of Avatoru, and sometimes ferry you straight to shore after dropping anchor close to the Tiputa Passage.
Both Avatoru and Tiputa are on the same island, just a couple of miles away from each other. Although there is not much going on in either township, do take the time to talk with the locals about life in the Tuamotus. Both towns have shops, island handicrafts for sale, a limited range of local tours and places to eat and drink.
Good to Know?
There's no public transportation on Rangiroa, and few taxis. And there's only one proper road -- it's about 10 kilometres long and runs along the island of Avatoru, connecting the village of Avatoru to a wharf at a place called Ohotu. From Ohotu, there's a water taxi service across the pass to Tiputa village. The best bet for those who want to explore the area independently is to hire a bicycle; the road is flat, and bikes can be taken on water taxis.
As Rangiroa is surrounded by water, it's not surprising that boats and water taxis (the latter are limited) are the best modes of transport. As there isn't much to do in town itself, it's advisable to sign up for ship-sponsored tours or book an excursion with a locally based activities company, in advance if possible.
By Car: Local car hire companies Arenahio Location (40-96-82-45) and Rangi Rent a Car (40-96-08-28) are the two operators; if you want to rent a car, you'll have to go to Avatoru island (Motu Avatoru) where these agencies are located.
By Taxi: Few taxis are available at the pier, however, there is likely to be a mini-bus running scheduled trips to Avatoru. As is the case on other islands in French Polynesia, all available transport tends to turn up at the pier on ship days offering shuttle trips for around US\$5 (about A\$7) a one-way ride. Locals will take French Polynesian Franc and US dollars, but it's very unlikely they will take Australian dollars. Water taxis, run by private operators, are also available to take you to various swimming and snorkelling sites.
By Bike and Scooter: Some local hotels and guest houses rent bikes and scooters to tourists as do some dive operators.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The French Pacific franc is the local currency. A good rule of thumb is that 100 francs equal US$1 (or about A$1.30) -- but you'll want to check XE.com for the latest exchange rates. There are two banks in the small village of Avatoru, but their ATMs are only accessible during the banks' limited operating hours. It's best to exchange currency onboard your ship or on one of the larger islands before arriving in Rangiroa.
The official languages are French and Tahitian, but many French Polynesians, especially those in the tourism industry, also know English. When in doubt, refer to an English/French phrase book.
Where You're Docked?
Ships anchor right inside Rangiroa's interior lagoon, most often near Tiputa Pass. Depending on the weather conditions, you'll be tendered to either Tiputa or Avatoru, but most likely Tiputa. (Please note that Avatoru is both the name of the main village and also the name of the coral island on which it stands.) Both have long piers where market stalls and local tour operators will gather to greet arriving passengers. Private boat owners may also turn up and tout for business.