The Aquarium is a delighting spot for anyone on the lookout for snorkeling a reef full of colorful tropical fish. Located at Motu Nui Nui – a coral islet stretching in Rangiroa’s lagoon, just across the Tiputa Pass-, it is within an easy reach from the atoll main villages. Whether you are a beginner or advanced snorkeler, don’t leave the atoll without a visit to this irresistible “open water aquarium”.
The Aquarium is just a 5 minutes boat ride from Rangiroa’s main villages, Avatoru and Tiputa.The first option to snorkel it is to book a 1-hour snorkeling tour to the Aquarium only (from euro 20pp.). The second is to take part to a drift snorkeling tour in the Tiputa Pass (euro 30-40pp. for 2 hours): the Aquarium being located at the exit of the Tiputa Pass, most of guides will let you drift from the pass until the motu at the end of your tour. Check with your tour organizer if the tour includes a stop on the Aquarium when booking.
Whatever the option you choose (the Aquarium snorkeling only or Tiputa Pass drift snorkeling), you will enter the water from a boat.
The snorkeling area covers the healthy coral reef (mainly made of hard coral) running along the western edge of the motu.
Depth ranges between 3ft/1m on the top of the reef and 12ft/4m on the slope.
The big attraction about this spot is the abundance and variety of reef fish that can be seen on such a small area. Schools of hundreds of humpback red snapper (lutjanus gibbus) and convict surgeonfish 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.
Underwater visibility is generally perfect on this spot, with moderate currents, but sea conditions may vary. Follow the advices of your guide.
The closest facilities are located in Avatoru and Tiputa, the two main villages of Rangiroa.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Drift snorkeling in a deep pass visited by sharks, rays and dolphins
Drift snorkeling in a deep pass visited by sharks, rays and turtles
Drop-off with blacktip and lemon sharks
Shallow sandy lagoon with reef fish and sharks
Steep drop off with coral, reef fish and sharks
Shallow reef and deep pass with sharks and Maori wrasse
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