Snorkeling in Tahiti

Sunlit Shallows and Easy Drifts

Sun rays dance off the white sands of the lagoon bottom, highlighting clumps of brightly-colored coral reefs decorated by purple and pink anemones. Blue tanks and butterfly fish flit about, and an eel peers warily from a dark crevice. This is Finding Nemo—but for real. Want more excitement? Let the currents carry you away on a drift through a pass in the lagoon wall, where you will be met by schools of fish, hump head wrasse, mantas, leopard rays and sometimes a shark. For the ultimate photo op, sign up for a lemon shark feeding that puts you in the center of the action.

Highlights

  • Best for: All travellers, watersports and spa enthusiasts and adventures ranging from soft to rugged
  • Best season to visit: Year round
  • Weather: North America's summer and early fall are the coolest and driest months in Tahiti, with temperatures ranging from 70 to 82 degrees. November to March is a bit warmer, with more chance of rain, but there is no bad time for a visit

Tahiti Information

Snorkeling in Tahiti Overview

The majority of snorkeling takes place in calm waters inside the fringing reefs that surround the islands. Drift snorkels take place in the channels that cut through the reef line, and a limited number of snorkel sites lay outside the reef.

Snorkeling in Tahiti Tips

If you are nervous about snorkeling with sharks, don't be. Several species will show up for a free meal feeding encounters, but otherwise, they tend to keep their distance.

Best Places to Snorkel in Tahiti

The coral gardens within the Bora Bora Lagoon are home to hundreds of dazzling tropical fish species, along with sting rays, manta rays and reef sharks. A favorite site is The Aquarium. In addition to numerous shallow sites close to resorts, Moorea offers great snorkeling in the channel between Motu Tiahura and Motu Fareone. Rangiroa's Tiputa Pass provides exciting drift snorkels with schooling fish, rays and sharks.

What to Pack for Snorkeling in Tahiti

A waterproof fish ID slate to keep track of your finds. A waterproof shirt or surfer's rash guard will prevent a sunburned back. Buy a bottle of mask defog and learn how to use it.

Specials

Dive

The Islands of Tahiti

Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa

RANGIROA - 6-NIGHT 20 DIVES includes Beach Bungalow accommodations, 20 boat dives shared between two divers, free Nitrox, free use of rental gear, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers and hotel tax.

Valid through 6/30/20 and 11/1/20-3/31/21. Add $197 per person for travel 7/1/20-10/31/20 (Hotel CLOSED for annual renovations 2/10/20-3/8/20
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From $2,234 per person double diver

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Hiking
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The Islands of Tahiti

Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort

MOOREA - BUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE includes 6 nights luxury gardenview accommodations, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add-on Offroading Excursions, Outrigger Canoe Adventures, Walking Tour and Culture Tours.
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From $ per person double occupancy

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The Islands of Tahiti

Maitai Polynesia Resort

BORA BORABUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE includes 6 nights Garden Bungalow accommodation, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Options to add-on Offroad Excursions, Hiking Tours, Tahitian Pearl Adventure and Kitesurf Lessons.
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Resorts

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The Islands of Tahiti

Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort

MOOREA - This luxury resort offers a wide variety of accommodations including overwater, beach and garden bungalows, all situated for maximum privacy and views. Two restaurants, a stunning infinity pool, So Spa and onsite Ia Ora Diving Center offer all of the indulgences necessary for a perfect dive escape. Combination packages with Sofitel resorts in Tahiti and Bora Bora are also available.
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Animal Interactions
Spa and Wellness
All adventures

The Islands of Tahiti

Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea

MOOREA - This charming "boutique hotel is a perfect blend of luxury and serenity making it an ideal destination for couples, honeymooners, divers and families...This traditional Polynesian style resort offers 94 rooms and bungalows. It features 28 Over Water Bungalows, 8 Beach Bungalows, 28 Garden Bungalows and 26 Garden Rooms & Family Rooms. Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea offers garden bungalows with private plunge pool, but guests may also enjoy the clear water of the hotel's infinity swimming pool, the largest one of the island. In addition, all bungalows offer a direct access to the lagoon. Premium overwater bungalows are set right above the reef drop off that allows fabulous snorkeling.
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The Islands of Tahiti

Havaiki Lodge Fakarava

FAKARAVA - Located on one of the largest of the Tuamotu atolls, this small family-owned and operated resort has its own pearl farm as well as beachfront and garden bungalows, a restaurant/bar, beach snack bar and of course, black pearl boutique. Great snorkeling is available right off the pier where a lagoonarium also offers views of resident marine life. Diving services are available from TOPDIVE Fakarava with free transportation between the resort and dive shop nearby.
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The Islands of Tahiti

Maitai Polynesia Resort

BORA BORA - Located at the south tip of the main island of Bora Bora, near Matira Point and its gorgeous beaches, Maitai Polynesia is nestled on a hillside overlooking the lagoon in lush tropical gardens. A variety of accommodations from well-appointed hotel rooms to some of Tahiti's most affordable overwater bungalows are available.
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The Islands of Tahiti

Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa

RANGIROA - Offering 60 Polynesian bungalows nestled in tropical vegetation among coconut groves on a white sand beach, this 5-star resort offers luxurious accommodations and the highest level of guest satisfaction from an incredible staff. TOPDIVE Rangiroa is located right onsite and provides daily dive excursions to the famed Tiputa Pass as well as Rangiroa's many exciting dive sites nearby. (Hotel CLOSED for annual upkeep and renovations Feb10-Mar 8, 2020)
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The Islands of Tahiti

Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa

BORA BORA - A member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World and located on its own private white sand “motu” and covered with palms, this resort offers an unsurpassed view of Bora Bora’s famous Otemanu.
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The Islands of Tahiti

Manava Suite Resort Tahiti

TAHITI - The Manava Suite Resort Tahiti offers a superior level of luxury service for leisure travelers, with a unique Polynesian welcome. Situated on the West Side of the island, Manava Suite Resort Tahiti boasts one of the largest infinity pool on the island, complete with the popular Taapuna Pool Bar, where a sunset cocktail is the highlight of the day, as the rich reds and oranges light up the ocean and spread spectacularly across the sky. Manava Suite Resort, Tahiti offers a wide selection of 121 luxury rooms and suites to suit every budget, including spacious garden suites and multi-bedroom duplex apartments. Each has been designed by Tahitian architect/designer Bruno Hervochon, to reflect authentic Polynesian decor, and fitted to the very highest standard to ensure your complete comfort and relaxation throughout your stay.
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The Islands of Tahiti

InterContinental Resort Tahiti

TAHITI - Located on the main island, near the airport and city shopping, this is your first stop in French Polynesia, welcoming you into a lush tropical garden, surrounded by clear, cerulean seas. With overwater bungalows, lagoon-view and garden-view rooms, accommodations provide panoramic views over beautiful Moorea, showcasing the sparkling ocean and the volcanic mountains of the sister island. Boasting two superb infinity pools and offering a diverse range of activities and top-notch facilities, with locally renowned restaurants and vibrant tropical bars, each offering their own unique ambiance. With a luxury spa, lush overwater bungalows, tropical gardens and a wide range of water sports, the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa is the quintessential island escape, with everything you need for a true French Polynesian getaway.
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The Islands of Tahiti

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort

BORA BORA - Beachfront privacy on dazzling Matira Point - the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort occupies what most people say is the most beautiful site in French Polynesia. Two white sand beaches, a wide array of water sports, intriguing cultural activities and unique bungalows stationed over the water are the ingredients for the ultimate island escape.
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The Islands of Tahiti

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

BORA BORA - An eco-friendly jewel in the South Pacific, InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is located between the “two hearts” of Motu Piti Aau, a coral island on the barrier reef. The Deep Ocean Spa is the centerpiece, but the resort offers lots of cultural and recreational activities to fill your days including canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, stargazing and handicraft demonstrations
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The Islands of Tahiti

Maitai Rangiroa Resort

RANGIROA - This beautiful resort is situated amid coconut palms and features 38 Polynesian style bungalows set among exotic gardens and palm trees or overlooking the beautiful lagoon. The resort offers a lagoon front pool, restaurant and bar serving exceptional cuisine including fresh seafood and Tahititian and French specialties. Diving services are available from either TOPDIVE Rangiroa or The Six Passengers, both located nearby and providing transportation between the resort and dive shop.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

A valid U.S. passport is required for entry into Tahiti which must be valid for 3 months beyond your date of entry. Your passport needs to have at least 1 blank page for the Tahiti entry stamp. Proof of return or onward ticket is required. No visas are required for tourist stays of less than 90 days.

Exit Requirements: There is a departure tax of 1822 XPF approx $17 U.S. which should be included in your international ticket.

Immunizations

No immunizations are required for entry into Tahiti, but we would always suggest that you check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel to Tahiti at Traveler's Health CDC.

Culture and Customs

Tahiti and the Society Islands loom large in our collective images of tropical paradise. These are the islands that seduced the crew of the Bounty to mutiny, inspired the works of Gauguin and Melville, and now entice celebrities, newlyweds and dreamers to escape the every day for a thatch-roofed bungalow perched over an electric-blue lagoon. As a semi-autonomous territory of France, the islands combine Continental flair with the ancient traditions of Polynesia. Evidence of this blending begins at breakfast, where a bowl of cafe au lait and a buttery croissant are accompanied by fresh papaya, mango and breadfruit, served with a spray of tropical flowers. Tattoo is a Tahitian word, and body art is considered a sign of beauty. Dance has always played an important role in island life, with performances for everything from welcoming visitors to challenging an enemy or seducing a mate. Traditions are kept alive at the annual gathering of Heiva i Tahiti, when islanders from across the archipelago gather at Papeete for celebrations that include elaborate spectacles of song and dance, along with arts and crafts fairs and traditional sporting events such as canoe races and strong man contests. A year-round staple of Tahitian culture are flowers, which grow in abundance across the islands. Bright blossoms are worn in floral crowns or as single displays behind the ears, denoting either one's availability or commitment. The same long-standing traditions of hospitality that welcomed early European explorers and subsequent generations of sailors are now lavished on arriving vacationers, who will discover not only some of the friendliest people in the world, but also some of the most seductive landscapes, where sea, sky and island come together in riotous shades of blue and green.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity in Tahiti is 220 Volts, 60 cycles. Hotels may use 110 or 220 Volts depending on your location, so a converter/adapter is often required for appliances you bring, including computers.

Direct dialing international calling is available in most hotels. When calling from the U.S. to Tahiti, dial 011 and then the country code of 689 along with the local number. Check with your cell phone provider to see if they have an international plan that is compatible in Tahiti for voice, text and data.

Internet access is available in many hotels and resorts.

Water Quality

Tap water is safe to drink in Papeete and Bora Bora. Elsewhere bottled water is recommended and readily available.

Language & Currency

French and Tahitian are the official languages, but English is spoken and understood in tourist areas.

The currency of Tahiti is the French Pacific Franc (XPF). Bank notes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000, and coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100.

Credit cards are readily accepted in most tourist destinations. Most guests exchange money at the airport upon arrival or at their hotel, but the best exchange rate should be at a local bank.

Time

There are three time zones in Tahiti. The Society Islands including Papeete and Moorea and the Leeward Islands including Bora Bora, and the Tuamotu Islands including Fakarava and Rangiroa are all 10 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-10 GMT). The Gambier Islands are 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9 GMT). The Marquesas Islands are 9.5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-9.5 GMT). Tahiti does not use daylight savings time.

Location, Size and Population

Tahiti is located south of the equator halfway between California and Australia. The islands of Tahiti, known as French Polynesia, consist of 5 island groups. There are 118 islands with a total land mass of 1,544 square miles.

The population of French Polynesia is 285,699 (2016).