Best Diving in Rangiroa

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While Tahiti and Moorea are everyone’s dream of the South Pacific, the diving is a notch below many other islands in French Polynesia. The best place to go for diving is the island of Rangiroa. Approximately an hour flight from Tahiti. Rangiroa is the largest atoll in the South Pacific and one of the largest in the world. It’s lagoon is gigantic (40 miles long and 20 miles wide, a depth up to 150ft), communicating with the pacific ocean by the Avatoru and Tiputa channels. Through these flows a phenomenal quantity of water from the ocean into the lagoon and vice versa; following the tides are hordes of fish, jacks, tuna, barracuda, manta rays and eagle rays, turtles, dolphins, etc. A short distance out into the lagoon, the reef drops to a depth of 1200m.

During six hours, the incoming current carries the clear water of the ocean into the lagoon. Ideal for a drift dive, one can see schools of sharks, squadrons of eagle rays, or maybe a great hammerhead cruising with the schools of fish. Six hours later, the lagoon empties itself through the passes to the ocean. For a better visibility, one may dive on the outside reef next to the pass. You will find small and big fauna: schools of jacks, barracudas, manta rays, as well as several species of sharks, and numerous pelagic fish. Although Rangiroa always has divable sites in any weather, the average conditions are not for the inexperienced. The ocean normally has a moderate swell near the passes with a 5 knot current entering in rhythm with the rise and fall of the tide.

Best Diving Destinations in Rangiroa

Avatoru Pass

This area has at least 5 dive spots: Napoleon, Sharks & Manta point, Tuna point, small caves, small channels.

Motu Fara

Moray eels point, Mahuta point: convergence of two submarine channels where considerable sea life aggregates: barracuda, jack, surgeons, grouper, etc. Tiputa Pass, 3 different areas:

  • The wall
  • Barracudas point
  • Sharks point

The Nuhi Nuhi motu or the Aquarium: snappers, barracudas, rays, nurse sharks, multicolored corals.

When to Visit Rangiroa

Rangiroa is diveable year-round, with water temperatures of 79¬83°F. There are really only three seasons of interest to the global diver: the manta ray season, from early September to mid-October; the hammerhead shark season, January – February; and the rest of the year, during which an assortment of fish may be seen, with the general exception of the two just mentioned. If you are particular about land weather conditions, you should know that the rainy season is November – December, and the windy season is July – August.

Dive Sites Reviews in Rangiroa

Tiputa Pass is well known for a number of reasons. Known as a secret spot for divers, this is a ...

Liveaboard Reviews in Rangiroa

Been diving here with a liveaboard? Please share your experience using the comment section!
MADISON CORBRIDGE December 30, 2019

Short story- The Rangiroa Dive Center diving company cancelled our diving reservation and kept our money. We flew out to rangiroa to dive here. Had been planning for months. The morning we were waiting for them to pick us up at the hotel, we called them when they were just 6 min late and they told us they cancelled us, wouldn’t come get us even though we still had 30 min before the dive. Also refused to refund us until hours of conversation and emails later where they agreed to refund half. But we had to forfeit the whole reason we flew to rangiroa (because these dives book out months in advance) , the cost of it all, and the experience. Wish we’d gone with Top Dive or 6 passenger.

Long story- I’ve waited a month to leave this review so that I could do so calmly, out of the heat of the moment. We received Arnauld’s email saying we were “secured” for 10am on Friday and that he’d pick us up at 9:20. There isn’t a language barrier there, that word means we are in the schedule, confirmed. I emailed Arnauld and inquired on my own how long we needed to wait to fly and never implied that our ability to dive was based on his answer; it was only an inquiry on my end. He responded in his email and said 12 hours. He never asked me anything further, and so that was the end to the conversation. I did what was necessary to make sure we got a flight for Saturday so that we would wait long enough after the dive. On the day before our dive, Celine sent us an email that we didn’t receive, asking that if we didn’t get a flight atleast 12 hours later we couldn’t dive. We only got spotty WiFi in the lobby of the maitai hotel and weren’t sitting around the lobby checking emails. She supposedly called the maitai and tried our room two times but we also weren’t sitting in our room waiting for any kind of phone call, we were enjoying our vacation and enjoying the island. We woke up in the morning to be picked up at 9:20. We called them at 9:26 just to make sure everything’s okay and Celine speaks loud and disrespectfully to tell me she cancelled our dive because we didn’t REconfirm. This didn’t make any sense as we had already confirmed. I asked her to just come get us that there’s still plenty of time, but she said that she told everyone not to come in today because they cancelled us. Come to find out she wasn’t even on the island, she was in Papeete and so she couldn’t rally anyone together from there. No where on the website or through emails or confirmation emails does it say anything about diving and flying in the same day, and so I don’t understand what basis Celine had to cancel our dive. We made necessary arrangements for our own safety, but those were never requirements on their end so I did not expect an email asking us to reconfirm. She knew we were on the island because the maitai hotel staff confirmed this and it was told to her that we were checking out Saturday (more than 12 hours later)- I spoke with the receptionist and it was in the schedule that we check out Saturday. The minute we got on the phone with Celine, she was extremely rude, had a raised voice, and talked over everything I said very hastily. She was not willing to help in any way even though this was still 30 minutes before our dive. She took no blame or sorrow in her cancelling our dive. She was very disrespectful, calling my husband crazy when he tried to explain the lack of sufficient WiFi at maitai.

We spent over a thousand dollars in rangiroa alone to come to his dive center. Celine explained she didn’t have any instructors come in for the 10h dive because it was cancelled. That means we paid for their morning off. Bottom line is this- they confirmed our dive only two days prior. There was no need for reconfirming. We were two miles down the road, Celine knew we were there. I’m thinking maybe a better opportunity came along and they decided to cancel our reservation to take theirs which makes this feel like a scam. This company refused to give us a full refund.

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Chase Corbridge December 30, 2019

To this day, Rangiroa Diving Center is the WORST interaction I’ve ever had with any business of any kind in any country. Arnauld and Celine are conniving, incompetent, and incredibly unprofessional. There are several other diving companies in Rangiroa. Trust me, find another.

Imagine booking a trip to Tahiti for a week, with the bulk and highlight of your vacation being a scuba diving excursion in Rangiroa. You spend months preparing, and thousands of dollars to get there. You take an additional expensive flight from PPT to Rangiroa, knowing the only purpose in going to Rangiroa is to dive. The morning of your dive you wait out on the road only to never have then pick you up. You find out that the diving company you chose decided to cancel your reservation the night before. That’s exactly what happened to us.

The summary of the story is this: We had a reservation confirmed for Nov. 29th at 9:20 am. They confirmed this; the day and time (email photo attached). We flew to Rangiroa on the 28th to dive on the 29th, with a return flight back to PPT on the 30th. The morning of the 29th, we find out that Celine cancelled our reservation because she reached out on the night of the 28th to RECONFIRM, not confirm, but to RECONFIRM our dive. Well…we didn’t get the message. Celine was very hostile and rude. She defensively explained that she called our hotel (Maitai) and emailed to reconfirm. The Maitai has very poor wifi; you can’t even upload an email. Plus, we weren’t checking our emails. We were out exploring…on our vacation…not checking emails. Again, see below. They had already confirmed our dive, and we had already paid for it. There was no reason to think our dive was at risk. Celine says she called the hotel. She explained that the hotel staff confirmed to her that we were on the island and were planning on diving the next morning. They also confirmed our checkout date on the 29th, again implying that we were there only to dive. Celine and Arnauld still proceeded to cancel our reservation because they didnt speak to us directly. I asked Celine why she didn’t just walk/drive over to the hotel (2 minute drive) to talk to us or leave a note or something. She said because she wasn’t even in Rangiroa!!! She was in Papeete for school. (Note: Arnauld later lied to us saying Celine came looking for us, but he didnt know Celine had already told us she wasn’t even in Rangiroa.) We were absolutely shocked that our diving trip had been cancelled while we were on the island. When we realized our diving pickup was 6 minutes late, we called them just to make sure everything was ok. That’s when we found out they had cancelled our dive. We said “Ok…but we’re right here ready to go… you’re 2 minutes away and the reservation isn’t for another 30 min.” Celine rudely explained that they had already allocated our divers to other trips, which suggests that they found a better and more lucrative opportunity than taking 2 beginner divers out. So they cancelled our dive. Here is the craziest part of this story, Rangiroa Diving Center wouldn’t even offer a refund! After weeks of fighting, they agreed to a partial refund. We spent thousands of dollars to come dive, to which they cancelled, and they kept our money??? There are no words to explain the experience (or lack of) that we had with this company.

RDC will likely respond to this review with a fabricated story of their own. They tried to tell us they came looking for us at the hotel – LIE. They claimed they had to cancel unless we confirmed we had a return flight the day after our dive – LIE. I spoke to other diving companies on the island, and they confirmed that’s not true AND the Maitai Hotel confirmed our checkout date of the 30th.

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