Deemed a true South Pacific paradise, divers have ample opportunities to see many favorites such as loads of beautiful reef fish to friendly sea turtles in Tahiti

Clear Waters, Big Animals and Bright Reefs

The Islands of Tahiti deliver an enticing combination of topside beauty and underwater excitement. Reef life and dramatic walls are in the mix, but the big draw for many are sharks. Encounters are common, but not threatening. Whitetips and blacktips are often joined by lemon sharks on feeding encounters within lagoons, while walls and current-washed channels attract gray reefs, silky, bulls, hammerheads, silver tips and more. These same spectacularly clear waters hold manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles and swirling schools of jacks, tuna and barracuda. Divers less interested in the ocean's apex predators can relax in sheltered coral gardens, where rays and reef fish gather.

Highlights

  • Best for: Both easy diving and exciting big animal encounters
  • 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

The Islands of Tahiti Information

About Diving in the Islands of Tahiti

The Islands of Tahiti are either volcanic peaks ringed by coral reefs, or low-lying atolls made up of coral reefs. Either way, dive sites will fall into one of the several general categories. Sand-bottomed lagoons sprout coral heads that harbor colorful tropicals and provide relaxing, current-free dives. This is also where many shark feeds take place. The inner slopes of fringing reefs provide more structure and habitat for resident marine life but remain largely current free. Outer reef slopes provide dramatic drops in exceptional clear waters, while the channels that cut through the reefs attract schooling fish and sharks on tidal changes, creating exciting opportunities for drift dives and big animal viewing.

Diving in the Islands of Tahiti Tips

Most divers know that shark diving is not the daredevil sport the general public perceives it to be. Follow a few simple rules such as wearing non-contrasting dive gear, and you are not going to attract attention. In fact, your bigger challenge will be finding the right vantage point to get in close and capture the action. Fortunately, the clear, light-filled water found at many feeding sites will allow you to create well-exposed shark portraits without complicated strobe lights.

Best Places to Dive in the Islands of Tahiti

At Tahiti's Shark Valley and Bora Bora's Motu Tapu, blacktip reef sharks are the appetizer, and big lemon sharks the main course. Miri Miri adds roving bands of large Napoleon wrasse to the mix of reef dwellers and schooling fish, while similar-sounding but distinctly different Muri Muri is known for  turtles, tuna and the occasional pod of dolphins. Milder currents at Avatoru Pass allow all divers to enjoy the drift, while Tiputa Pass ramps up the excitement on a high-voltage drift that begins at a shark-filled cavern. For a relaxing break from the feeding action, join the schooling snapper and sergeant majors on the coral heads of the Aquarium, or follow eagle rays along the reef at Too Pua. Year-round water temperatures remain in the mid 80s at most sites.

What to Pack for Diving in the Islands of Tahiti

On any dive where currents are present, bring the surface marker and deployment reel. Include an underwater camera with a medium-wide lens for shark portraits. Add a light hood and non-contrasting gloves to blend in on feeding dives—it's actually not the sharks but the little reef critters that might nip annoyingly at a pale, waving hand that resembles a fishy bit.

Specials

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The Islands of Tahiti

French Polynesia Master

TUAMOTU ARCHIPELAGO ITINERARY - LIVEABOARD PACKAGE FAKARAVA DEPARTURE includes 7 nights air-conditioned stateroom, up to 4 dives per day, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and tax. Valid for departure 8/18/18,11/14/18 12/8/18, 12/29/18. Not included is dive insurance, Nitrox, alcoholic beverages, gear rental and gratuities and hotel accommodations enroute (if necessary) are additional. Pre and post stays are available.
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From $4,525 per person double diver

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French Polynesia Master

TUAMOTU ARCHIPELAGO ITINERARY - LIVEABOARD PACKAGE RANGIROA DEPARTURE includes 7 nights air-conditioned stateroom, up to 4 dives per day, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and tax. Valid for departure 11/14/18. Not included is dive insurance, Nitrox, alcoholic beverages, gear rental and gratuities and hotel accommodations enroute (if necessary) are additional. Pre and post stays are available.
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From $4,525 per person double diver

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Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa

RANGIROA, FRENCH POLYNESIA - 30% OFF includes 6 nights beach bungalow accommodations, 20 dives shared between two divers (5 days of 2-tank boat dives), free Nitrox, free use of rental gear, breakfast daily, roundtrip transfers from airport and hotel tax. Valid 11/1/17-12/21/17. Add $165 pp for travel 1/1/18-3/31/18
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From $2,106 per person double diver

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Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa

BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA - 30% OFF includes 6 nights garden pool bungalow accommodations, 5 days of 2-tank boat dives, free Nitrox, including dive gear rental, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 11/1/17-12/21/17. Add $165 pp for travel 1/1/18-3/31/18
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From $2,138 per person double diver

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Maitai Polynesia Resort

BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA - 1 FREE NIGHT includes 6 nights garden bungalow accommodation, 10 boat dives, free use of rental gear, free nitrox, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Valid 11/1/17-12/19/17. Add $165 pp for travel 1/1/18-3/31/18.
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From $1,361 per person double diver

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Havaiki Lodge Fakarava

FAKARAVA, FRENCH POLYNESIA - DIVE SPECIAL includes 6 nights premium beach bungalow accommodations, 20 dives shared between two divers (5 days of 2-tank boat dives), continental breakfast and dinner daily, use of bikes and kayaks, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 11/1/17-12/21/17. Add $146 pp for travel 1/1/18-3/31/18.
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From $1,867 per person double diver

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InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa

MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA - includes 6 nights lanai room accommodations, 10 boat dives, free use of dive gear, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.Valid: 11/1/17-12/19/17. Add $165 per person for travel 1/1/18-3/31/18.
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From $1,639 per person double diver

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Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea

MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA - 25% OFF includes 6 nights garden view room accommodations, 20 dives shared between two divers (5 days of 2-tank boat dives), free use of rental gear, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 11/1/17-12/21/17. Add $165 pp for travel 1/1/18-3/31/18.
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From $1,610 per person double diver

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Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort

MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA - includes 6 nights luxury gardenview accommodations, 5 days of 2-tank boat dive, free use of rental gear breakfast daily, free mini-bar including water, soft drinks and beer, free WiFI, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid11/1/17-12/31/17
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From $1,815 per person double diver

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Maitai Rangiroa Resort

RANGIROA, FRENCH POLYNESIA -TWO FREE NIGHTS includes 6 nights garden bungalow accommodation, 10 boat dives, free use of rental gear, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Valid 11/1/17-12/19/17.
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From $1,387 per person double diver

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Packages

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The Islands of Tahiti

Maitai Polynesia Resort

BORA BORA - 6 nights garden room accommodations, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add on Off Roading Tours, Culture Tours, Tahitian Black Pearl Dive and Kitesurf Course.
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Resorts

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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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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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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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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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Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa

MOOREA - Nestled between two bays on the heart-shaped island of Moorea and set against a beautiful mountain backdrop which melts into a crystal clear lagoon, Hilton Moorea Resort & Spa is the perfect setting for a relaxing vacation. The resort's white sandy beach is perfect for a spot of sunbathing or sports with family and friends, while the scenic lagoon is teeming with friendly tropical fish and a gentle water playground for guests.
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InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa

MOOREA - InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa is nestled between mountains and a lagoon on a stunning French Polynesian island. Right on the resort grounds is Moorea’s widest range of activities, which includes the Moorea Dolphin Center, tennis, kayaking, canoeing, skiing and Jeep tours. The Arahurahu Marae temple is also worth a visit.
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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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Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora 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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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.
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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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Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort

TIKEHAU - Located on the Tuamotu Island atoll of Tikehau, this intimate resort offers 24 suites and overwater bungalows, and 13 beach bungalows and 1 beach villa on a carefully kept 10-acre property. The bar and restaurant are located in an impressive “fare potee” (communal house) overlooking the infinity pool and lagoon. Incredible scuba diving is offered with PADI 5-Star TOPDIVE Tikehau Dive Center. Pearl Resorts signature Manea Spa provides extraordinary traditional Polynesian massage and spa services.
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Liveaboards

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The Islands of Tahiti

French Polynesia Master

TUAMOTU ARCHIPELAGO ITINERARY - The highly-anticipated French Polynesia Master will start service in December 2016 offering 7 and 10-night itineraries including UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Tuamotu Islands of Tahiti. This 138’ (42 meters) steel-hulled super yacht has been custom designed to provide extraordinary diving experiences and luxurious liveaboard accommodations in one of the most spectacular archipelagos on Earth. Click below to explore 7-night Tuamotu Archipelago departures. See separate listing for 7-night Fakarava and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve departures. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability.
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The Islands of Tahiti

French Polynesia Master

FAKARAVA AND THE UNESCO BIOSPHERE RESERVE - UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Tuamotu Islands of Tahiti. This 138’ (42 meters) steel-hulled super yacht has been custom designed to provide extraordinary diving experiences and luxurious liveaboard accommodations in one of the most spectacular archipelagos on Earth. Click below to explore 7-night Fakarava and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve departures. See separate listing for 7-night Tuamotu Archipelago departures. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability.
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Diving in the Islands of Tahiti

Tahiti is actually just one of many islands in the group that were historically known as French Polynesia. Today, the name Tahiti is often used to refer to the entire 118 island group, which is spread out across a million square miles of ocean. But that's OK because of the answer to “how's diving in Tahiti?” applies equally to all of the islands. And that answer is “really good.” The excellent water clarity that is a hallmark of many sites allows sunlight to penetrate and bring out the full colors of fish and corals, and to illuminate steep slopes and walls down to vertigo-inducing depths. The tidal forces that cause these waters to ebb and flow through island lagoons nurture a dynamic food chain that begins with small reef dwellers and ranges up to mantas, sharks and pelagic fish. Tahiti and the other islands of the Society Group feature tall, green-clad mountains surrounded by reefs. In the open ocean far to the east, five large coral atolls encompass dozens of small islands and thousands of acres of shallow reefs, all surrounded by coral walls that plunge into the depths. Divers can experience the islands from land-based resorts or by liveaboards. After flying into Faa'a International Airport, travelers might consider spending a day or two on the island of Tahiti to take in the topside sights and the underwater action at Shark Valley. or perhaps take a tune up dive on a shallow World War II wreck. An easy ferry ride brings divers to the resorts of Moorea Island, where sharks, turtles and rays patrol coral canyons and valleys, and schools of blue-lined snapper, bigeye and cardinal fish gather on the hard coral slope of the outer reef. Operators stage feedings that attract gray reef sharks, blacktips and lemons, but these sharks are often in evidence even without the enticement of a free meal. Even divers accustomed to shark encounters will be impressed by the swirling tropical fish and the ways colors are accentuated by bright sunlight. Moorea also offers a number of good snorkel sites, including a sandbar where stingrays gather. A domestic flight brings divers to Bora Bora's wide lagoon, which shelters groves of boulder and antler coral that are the home waters of large lemon sharks. Purple and yellow corals line the walls of Teavanui Pass, and manta rays glide into the lagoon to gather at the site known as Anua. The twin islands of Raiatea and Taha'a share a lagoon and reef line that encompasses a number of seamounts, caverns and grottoes, along with a unique site covered in fields of montipora coral that resemble a garden of roses. Inter-island air service also gives access to the low-lying Tuamotu Atolls. Rangiroa is the second-largest atoll in the world, and with each tide change, the entire inner lagoon funnels through a pair of deep passes in the reef wall. Avatoru Pass offers spectacularly clear water and moderate currents that allow divers of all skill levels to enjoy a drift past coral-covered walls and into the open ocean, where sharks, tuna and turtles gather at the outflow. At Tiputa Pass, the action starts deeper and the water runs faster, propelling divers into a swarm of gray reef sharks. This site also provides a chance for manta ray sightings, and meetings with pods of dolphin outside the pass. In the Tuamotus, divers encounter a school of sharks at the mouth of Fakarava’s south pass that is so thickly packed it resembles a solid wall of gray. Liveaboard cruises offer a chance to visit even more remote venues, with adventures that can include seasonal humpback encounters with humpback whales.

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).