Rangiroa, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia
Truly remote and pristine, this giant atoll is the largest in the Tuamotu Chain. Rangiroa means "vast sky," and indeed the uninterrupted panorama seems almost unearthly, impossibly vast. The skinny, white, coral coast stretches for miles towards the horizon, until it is impossible to tell where sea and land meet the great vast overhead. The shifting shades of Rangiroa's massive lagoon fluctuate from enviable emerald to the purple of royalty. Not surprisingly, the scuba diving is out of this world, with deep channel passages between ocean and lagoon sheltering creatures like manta rays, sharks, dolphins, and turtles.