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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”.

Aerial view of the Aquarium - Snorkeling in Rangiroa

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.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 to the motu at the end of your tour. Check with your tour organizer if the tour includes a stop on the Aquarium when booking.

The Aquarium (Motu Nui Nui) snorkeling map, Rangiroa

How to get into the water?

Whatever the option you choose (the Aquarium snorkeling 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) 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.

Snorkeling reef fish at the Aquarium, Rangiroa

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.

Snorkeling boats at the Aquarium, Rangiroa

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