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Looking for a reef full of colorful tropical fish? Head to the Aquarium, one of Rangiroa’s most famous snorkeling locations. Fringing Motu Nui Nui, a coral islet located at the entrance of the Tiputa Pass-, it is within easy reach from the atoll’s main villages. Whether you are a beginner or advanced snorkeler, don’t leave the atoll without a visit to this irresistible “open water aquarium”.

Aerial view of the Aquarium - Snorkeling in Rangiroa
Aerial view of the Aquarium (the reef fringing Motu Nui Nui) and the Tiputa Pass.

How to get to The Aquarium snorkeling spot?

The Aquarium is just a 5 minutes boat ride from Rangiroa’s main villages, Avatoru and Tiputa. There are two main options to snorkel the Aquarium:

  • Booking a 1-hour snorkeling tour to the Aquarium only (from euro 20pp.).
  • Booking a drift snorkeling tour in the Tiputa Pass (euro 30-40pp. for 2 hours). As the Aquarium is located at the exit of the pass, most of the guides will let you drift from the pass to the motu at the end of the last drift. Check with your tour organizer if the tour includes snorkeling at the Aquarium.

The Aquarium (Motu Nui Nui) snorkeling map, Rangiroa

Water entrance for snorkeling The Aquarium

Whatever option you choose (the Aquarium snorkeling tour only or Tiputa Pass drift snorkeling), you will enter the water from a boat.

The Aquarium snorkeling tips and recommendations

The snorkeling area covers the healthy coral reef (mainly made of hard coral) fringing the western side of the motu. Depth ranges between 3ft/1m on the top of the reef and 12ft/4m on the slope.

Snorkeling reef fish at the Aquarium, Rangiroa
The Aquarium is home to thousands of colorful fish. In the center of the picture, an Achilles tang, which very common in the area.

This spot boasts an abundance and variety of reef fish, that can be seen in a small area. Schools of hundreds of humpback red snapper and convict tangs teem above the coral, while sergeant major, double-saddle butterflyfish and sixbar wrasse abound just under the surface of the water. Blacktip reef sharks are also a regular sighting at the Aquarium.

Snorkeling boats at the Aquarium, Rangiroa
Snorkeling boats at the Aquarium.

Underwater visibility is generally perfect on this spot, with moderate currents, but sea conditions may vary. Follow the advice of your guide.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

The closest facilities are located in Avatoru and Tiputa, the two main villages of Rangiroa.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth3-12ft/1-4m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsSnorkeling tour price (from €30pp.)
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.