The largest and most visited atoll in the Tuamotus, Rangiroa is, in fact, among the largest atolls in the world. It lies 185 mi/300 km northeast of Papeete. It consists of approximately 240 thin motus, or islets, that completely surround an enormous lagoon measuring 42 mi/67 km long by 14 mi/22 km wide.

The name Rangiroa comes from a Polynesian word that means "huge sky," and that's appropriate. The expanse of blue sky and blue water dominate the island. Any land you see is flat and covered by palm trees.

Most visitors plan three nights, and that should be sufficient unless you're a dive fanatic. Wine lovers can also enjoy wine tasting at the Dominique Auroy Estate. Those who don't dive and aren't fond of lazing by the water may want to skip Rangiroa.

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