Luxtripper Travel Editor
Bora Bora is known first and foremost for its luxury accommodation, but the island is also a wonderful place for snorkelling and diving. Conrad Bora Bora Nui combines the best of both worlds, with colourful coral reefs located directly beneath the overwater bungalows so guests can snorkel to their hearts’ content just metres from their rooms. Families with children will enjoy snorkelling near Matira Beach (known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world) where they can rest on the pristine white sand after snorkelling in the beautiful water.
Bora Bora is also an excellent place for both beginning and advanced divers. For beginners, The Aquarium is a protected site offering easy access to hundreds of colourful tropical fish and beautiful coral heads. For those seeking a bit more adventure, Tapu is one of the most famous sites in Bora Bora and has a coral drop-off where divers can encounter hundreds of black tip reef sharks, lemon sharks, moray eels and sea turtles. For advanced divers, a private dive can be arranged at the legendary Tupitipiti, where colourful coral has shaped into a dramatic underwater landscape or caves, grottos and canyons home to many species of marine life.
Often overlooked in favour of the more popular islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, Moorea is a stunning holiday destination with many excellent sites for snorkelling and diving. Snorkellers can visit the Lagoonarium, a protected site near Motu Ahi that is home to turtles, rays and countless tropical fish. Visitors to the Lagoonarium can also learn about marine life, join a dolphin-spotting cruise, and even nurse baby sharks. Another beautiful snorkelling site is between the two small islets of Motu Tiahura and Motu Fareone, just off the northwest coast of Moorea.
Moorea is also home to many beautiful dive sites and is particularly popular for divers wishing to swim with sea turtles. For beginners, the Rays Corridor is a beautiful and accessible site with coral and reef fish, along with white tip sharks and eagle rays. Tiki Point is another popular dive site which is known for its crystal-clear water and the wide variety of marine life found there, including huge lemon sharks. Tiki Point is an especially good site for underwater photography. Advanced divers can visit the Garden of Roses, a world-famous dive site known for its magnificent coral “roses” that seem to stretch on forever.
Tahiti is the main island in French Polynesia and the most populated. While the island is better for diving than snorkelling, there are still many places around Tahiti where snorkellers can see coral and tropical fish. A good option for beginners is the Lagoonarium containing sharks, sea anenomes, turtles, eels and more, while Matavai Bay is a wonderful place to see fish as well as wrecks on the ocean floor. In the fall, from August to October, humpback whales visit Tahiti to mate and give birth - if the timing is right, visitors can even snorkel with the whales and their young.
For divers, Tahiti has many unique and unforgettable sites. The Aquarium is good place for beginners, and also an ideal snorkelling site. The Wrecks is a famous dive site where divers can explore the wrecks of a plane and an old schooner. Another popular and exceptionally beautiful site is Papa Whiskey, a vast underwater amphitheatre home to a wide variety of beautiful and brightly-coloured coral.
Tahiti, Mo'orea and Bora Bora are certainly the most popular islands in French Polynesia, and the best options for those seeking luxury accommodation. However, for divers willing to venture off the beaten path, there are many other islands in French Polynesia with absolutely stunning sites for snorkelling and diving. The fact that these islands are less popular with tourists means that the underwater landscapes here are virtually untouched.
One of the best islands for diving in French Polynesia is Rangiroa, a stunning natural aquarium home to the second-largest lagoon in the world and plenty of exciting diving opportunities. Fakarava is another beautiful and pristine diving destination, that has been classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of the incredible richness of the marine life there. For divers wishing to swim with manta rays, Tikehau is an ideal diving site, and was once called the richest atoll in the world by explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau because of the variety of marine life found around the island.
With so many islands and such stunning underwater landscapes, the potential for diving in French Polynesia is endless. While it's the perfect place for beginners to try diving for the first time, it's also ideal for experts wishing to test their limits and experience new challenges. Either way, diving in French Polynesia is sure to be a unique and unforgettable experience.