An atoll is a ring of coral that originally grew completely around the shoreline of an island, and which continued to grow upward on top of itself as the island subsided or eroded away. If you recognize yourself here, maybe you will be curious to see what are the ten most beautiful atolls in the world.
1. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Surrounded by sand-fringed motus and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, it’s known for its scuba diving. It’s also a popular luxury resort destination where some guest bungalows are perched over the water on stilts. At the island’s center rises Mt. Otemanu, a 727m dormant volcano. The island of Bora Bora rises from the velvet blues of the deep water up through the softer hues of the lagoon and into the air that surrounds the island. Its touch of the sea breeze tingles the skin. Its power fills each beat of the heart. Bora Bora, with a lagoon of turquoise waters resembling an artist’s palette of bright blues and greens, will make you feel love at first sight. Romantics from around the world appreciate Bora Bora, where the lush tropical slopes and valleys of Mount Otemanu blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate pearl necklace from the islands of French Polynesia. The perfect white-sand Bora Bora beaches leading to Matira Point give way to blue waters where tropical-colored fish animate the coral gardens and giant manta rays glide leisurely past. Simply put, Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
2. Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Rangiroa or Te Kokōta is the largest atoll in the Tuamotus and one of the largest in the world. It is part of the Palliser group. The nearest atoll is Tikehau, 12 kilometres to the west. It is about 355 km northeast of Tahiti. Rangiroa is home to about 2,500 people on almost 80 km². Also the world’s second largest atoll, Rangiroa is a place where land and sea form an unexpected truce. The beautiful loop of islands is surrounded by different kinds of ocean: Moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean), which defines the lagoon, and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean), where whales, manta rays, dolphins and sharks put on a show for the lucky few who come to experience their world. Back on land, the main villages of Avatoru and Tiputa offer the visitor a unique look at the South Pacific. Along the few roads that exist, you’ll encounter coral churches, craft centers, local restaurants and boulangerie, along with a few tiny shops operated by locals. Wine lovers can also enjoy wine tasting at the Dominique Auroy Estate nestled within a coconut grove, which produces three grape varieties. Jewelry lovers will appreciate the black pearl farms, which dot the lagoon.
3. Aitutaki Atoll
Aitutaki is one of the Cook Islands, which are in the South Pacific. It consists of a main island, a turquoise lagoon and a surrounding barrier reef. The lagoon’s waters teem with marine life, including rays, bonefish and turtles. Near the main town of Arutanga, trails lead to the top of Maunga Pu hill. Boats run to small uninhabited islands called motu, including tiny Tapuaetai, known for its white sand beaches. Aitutaki Atoll is volcanic in origin and rises to about 450 feet (140 metres). Its 12 offshore islets, however, are low coral formations. The main settlement is Arutanga. There are several smaller island in the lagoon Akaiami is a small, elongated islet at the opposite end of the lagoon from Aitutaki’s main island around 20 minutes across the lagoon from Aitutaki. Akaiami is remote, quiet, charming, unspoiled and surrounded by pristine turquoise lagoon and coral reef, and there is a small lodge there. One Foot Island is a popular stopping spot for lagoon cruises. The classic picture postcard of small palm tree fringed tropical island, with shallow, warm turquoise waters, corals, tropical fish and blue skies is taken here. The lagoon is large, taking about an hour in a boat to cross it. Tourism facilities are well developed, but are still low key enough not to intrude on the nature of the island.
4. Los Roques, Venezuela
Los Roques National Park is a Venezuelan archipelago around 160 kilometers north of the capital Caracas in the Caribbean Sea. The protected area contains more than 300 islands and cays surrounding a 400-sq.-km lagoon. The archipelago’s coral reef is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers. The park is renowned for its isolated, white-sand beaches, windsurfing, fishing and sailing. Los Roques islands are usually calm, quiet, and usually deserted, which makes it great to be with your family alone. It has the main island, Gran Roque, which is a collection of small villa-style hotels which are small but comfortable. Los Roques is full of natural pools and beautiful fish. The flora and the fauna of Los Roques Archipelago are the coral reefs that host some of the most beautiful underwater fauna and flora of the Caribbean. The park has exceptionally beautiful beaches of white sand and multicolor, crystalline warm waters which make it a diving, sailing and fishing paradise. Hot and unforgiving. There is very little shade on the cays, and even sun umbrellas don’t stop all the sun’s rays. If you burn easily, be sure to slap on protection at all times.