Best Snorkeling in French Polynesia: Our Top Snorkel Spots!

Best Snorkeling in French Polynesia

Best Snorkeling in French Polynesia: Our Top Snorkel Spots!

French Polynesia is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, pristine beaches, and vibrant marine life. With its crystal-clear waters and abundant coral reefs, it’s no wonder that it is considered one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world. In this article, we will explore some of the top snorkel spots in French Polynesia, including Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea, and Fakarava.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of France located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is made up of 118 islands and atolls, each offering unique snorkeling experiences. From vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful reef fish to encounters with majestic marine creatures, snorkeling in French Polynesia is a dream come true for underwater enthusiasts.


Moorea is a picturesque island located just a short distance from Tahiti. It is known for its lush mountain peaks, turquoise lagoons, and diverse marine life. Snorkeling in Moorea offers the opportunity to explore coral gardens, encounter reef sharks, and swim alongside turtles. One of the best snorkeling spots in Moorea is Tiahura, where you can marvel at the vibrant coral reefs and the abundance of marine life.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is undoubtedly one of the most famous islands in French Polynesia. Its iconic overwater bungalows and stunning lagoon make it a popular honeymoon destination. But Bora Bora is not just about luxury resorts; it is also a paradise for snorkelers. The coral gardens surrounding the island are home to a myriad of colorful reef, butterfly fish, turtles, and even manta rays. Snorkeling in Bora Bora is an experience like no other, and it is perhaps the greatest snorkeling spot in the area. The only minor drawback is that this area is very touristy.


Huahine is often referred to as the “Garden of Eden” of French Polynesia. This tranquil island is known for its unspoiled beauty, rich cultural heritage, and pristine snorkeling spots. The coral reef surrounding Huahine is home to a wide variety of marine life, including reef sharks, moray eels, and vibrant tropical fish. Snorkeling at Huahine’s public beach is a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts.


Raiatea is the second-largest island in French Polynesia and is often called the “Sacred Island.” It is known for its ancient temples, lush green valleys, and secluded snorkel spots. The coral gardens of Raiatea offer a kaleidoscope of colors and are home to an array of reef fish and coral species. Snorkeling in Raiatea is a unique experience that combines history and natural beauty.


Fakarava is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known for its exceptional biodiversity. It is one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and is a haven for snorkelers and scuba divers alike. The pristine coral reef surrounding Fakarava is teeming with marine life, including schools of colorful reef fish, sharks, and even humpback whales during the migratory season. Snorkeling in Fakarava is an unforgettable experience for nature lovers.


Tahaa is an island northwest of the main island. Many people opt to take a boat tour to this dive site. In this area there are beautiful coral gardens, fish species, but also some strong currents as well.  If you’re a strong swimmer, or are comfortable with currents you’ll be fine. Many visitors have described it as some of the best snorkeling in French Polynesia.

Snorkel Spots

In addition to the aforementioned islands, French Polynesia offers numerous other snorkeling spots that are worth exploring. Tiahura in Moorea is known for its vibrant coral garden, while the Public Beach is a great spot for snorkeling among turtles and reef sharks. Iti, an islet near Huahine, boasts crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, making it a snorkeler’s paradise. Opunohu in Moorea and Coral Garden in Bora Bora are also popular snorkel spots that offer breathtaking underwater scenery.

South Pacific

The South Pacific is home to some of the world’s most stunning snorkel spots, and French Polynesia is no exception. The Motu islands offer secluded snorkeling experiences, where you can swim through vibrant coral gardens and encounter a variety of reef fish. Temae Beach in Moorea is another fantastic snorkel spot, with its calm, turquoise waters and diverse marine life. The main island of Tahiti also has some hidden snorkel gems waiting to be explored.


Papeete is the capital city of French Polynesia and serves as the gateway to the archipelago. While it may not be known for its snorkeling spots, Papeete offers convenient access to some of the best snorkeling destinations in the region. From Papeete, you can embark on snorkeling tours to nearby islands like Moorea, Bora Bora, and Raiatea, where you can explore stunning coral reefs and encounter marine creatures like mantas and stingrays.

Kia Ora

Kia Ora is a phrase commonly used in French Polynesia to greet others and is also the name of a luxury resort in Rangiroa. Snorkeling in Rangiroa is an extraordinary experience, with its crystal-clear lagoon and abundance of marine life. From colorful reef fish to curious turtles, Rangiroa offers a glimpse into the vibrant underwater world of French Polynesia.

Best Place to Snorkel

When it comes to choosing the best place to snorkel in French Polynesia, it’s hard to pick just one. Each island and atoll offers its own unique snorkeling experiences, and the best spot will depend on your preferences. However, if we had to choose, Bora Bora stands out as one of the top snorkeling destinations in French Polynesia. With its pristine lagoon, abundant coral reefs, and close encounters with marine creatures like reef sharks and manta rays, Bora Bora offers an unforgettable snorkeling experience.

Best Beach

If you’re looking for the best beach to snorkel in French Polynesia, it’s hard to beat the stunning beaches of Moorea. Temae Beach, with its calm waters and beautiful coral gardens, is a snorkeler’s paradise. The beach is easily accessible and offers the perfect setting to relax and explore the underwater world at your own pace.

Best Spots

While Bora Bora is often hailed as one of the best snorkeling spots in French Polynesia, it is worth mentioning that the Conrad Bora Bora and Hilton resorts also offer exceptional snorkeling opportunities. These luxurious resorts have their own private islands and pristine snorkel spots, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding coral reefs and marine life.

Scuba Diving

In addition to snorkeling, scuba diving is also a popular activity in French Polynesia. The waters surrounding the islands are home to an incredible array of marine life, including sharks, manta rays, and colorful reef fish. Exploring the coral reefs and underwater caves is a thrilling experience that allows you to witness the true beauty of the underwater world.


French Polynesia is known for its encounters with sharks during snorkeling and scuba diving excursions. From reef sharks to magnificent tiger sharks, these majestic creatures can be found near the French Polynesian islands. Snorkeling or diving with sharks is a unique and exhilarating experience that allows you to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.


The lagoons of French Polynesia are a paradise for snorkelers and divers. The calm, crystal-clear waters provide excellent visibility, allowing you to fully appreciate the vibrant coral reefs and marine life. Whether you’re exploring the lagoons of Moorea, Bora Bora, or Tahiti, you’re guaranteed to be awe-struck by the beauty of these underwater wonderlands.

Coral Reef

The coral reefs of French Polynesia are truly breathtaking. These delicate ecosystems teem with life, with colorful coral formations and a variety of reef fish. Snorkeling or diving among these coral reefs is like stepping into another world, where every corner reveals new wonders to behold.

Manta Rays

Encounters with manta rays are another highlight of snorkeling and diving in French Polynesia. These graceful creatures can be seen gliding through the water with their impressive wingspan. Snorkeling with manta rays is a surreal experience that will stay with you long after you’ve left the enchanting waters of French Polynesia.


During the migratory season, French Polynesia becomes a playground for humpback whales. These gentle giants can be spotted breaching, tail-slapping, and singing their haunting songs. Snorkeling or diving with humpback whales is a truly magical experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Sting Rays

Stingrays are another iconic marine creature found in French Polynesia’s waters. Snorkeling with stingrays allows you to observe these graceful creatures up close as they glide along the sandy seabed. The southern pass of Fakarava is a popular spot for stingray encounters, where you can witness their elegant movements in their natural habitat.

French Polynesian Islands

French Polynesia is home to a myriad of stunning islands, each offering its own unique snorkeling experiences. From the lush landscapes of Moorea Island to the bustling capital city of Papeete in Tahiti, there is something for everyone in French Polynesia.

Moorea Island

Moorea Island is often described as one of the most beautiful islands in French Polynesia. Its lush green mountains, pristine beaches, and turquoise lagoons make it a popular destination for snorkelers. Snorkeling in Moorea allows you to explore vibrant coral gardens, encounter reef sharks, and even swim alongside turtles.


Tahiti is the largest and most populous island in French Polynesia. It is known for its vibrant culture, stunning waterfalls, and black sand beaches. While Tahiti may not be as renowned for snorkeling as some of the other islands, it still offers fantastic opportunities to explore the underwater world. The coral reefs and diverse marine life found near Tahiti are not to be missed.

Bora Bora Lagoon

Bora Bora Lagoon is famous for its crystal-clear waters and iconic overwater bungalows. Snorkeling in Bora Bora Lagoon allows you to witness the beauty of the coral reefs up close and personal. From colorful reef fish to curious turtles, the lagoon is teeming with marine life waiting to be discovered.


French Polynesia is made up of various archipelagos, each with its own charm and snorkeling opportunities. Whether you’re exploring the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, or the Marquesas Islands, you’re sure to find beautiful snorkeling spots and an abundance of marine life.

Humpback Whales

French Polynesia is a popular destination for humpback whales during the migratory season. These majestic creatures can be seen breaching, tail-slapping, and singing their haunting songs. Snorkeling in the waters of French Polynesia during whale season offers a unique chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Beautiful Islands

French Polynesia is synonymous with beauty, and its islands are no exception. Whether you’re exploring Moorea, Bora Bora, Tahiti, or any of the other enchanting islands, you will be greeted with stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters. Snorkeling in the waters surrounding these beautiful islands is an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders.

Reef Sharks

Of all the marine creatures found in French Polynesia, reef sharks are perhaps the greatest snorkeling draw. These graceful and often misunderstood creatures can be encountered in various snorkeling spots across the islands. Snorkeling among reef sharks is a thrilling and unforgettable experience that allows you to witness these ocean predators up close.

Conclusion: Best Snorkeling in French Polynesia

French Polynesia is a haven for snorkelers, with its picturesque islands, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life. From swimming alongside reef sharks in Moorea to exploring vibrant coral gardens in Bora Bora, there is something for every snorkel enthusiast in French Polynesia. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, the diverse snorkel spots and warm waters in French Polynesia will leave you with lifelong memories of underwater adventures.

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