French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls that span over 2,000 kilometers, promising some incredible diving sites. A territory that belongs to France, it is divided into five archipelagos with endless stunning coral reefs and rich marine biodiversity. If you are looking for some of the best dive sites in the world, diving in French Polynesia should be on your bucket list.
Its top diving spots are concentrated in its most popular islands, including Tahiti, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Ahe, Hiva’Oa, and Moorea, among others. Whether you would like to experience scuba diving with sharks, cave diving, or night diving, among other experiences, there is a destination that is worth exploring.
Ready to plan diving in Bora Bora and other parts of French Polynesia? Read on and we’ll list down the best places that should be on your list!
The list of the best spots for diving in Bora Bora won’t be complete without a mention of Tapu, which is a private island with a size of only .010 square miles. If you are looking for a secluded hideaway that promises an underwater gem, this is where you should head.
Tapu is a popular spot for those who would like to have an up-close encounter with sharks during their dive. Blacktip reef sharks and lemon reef sharks are not uncommon to spot in this location. Aside from sharks, the rich and diverse marine life also includes sea turtles, moray eels, lionfishes, tuna, eels, rainbow jacks, and giant wrasses.
As for the dive conditions, visibility is often clear. Nonetheless, your masks can affect the clarity of your vision, so be sure that you know how to clear a scuba mask. For depth, it is usually anywhere from 30 to 130 feet.
It is important to note, however, that Tapu is not a place that is known for colorful corals. If you are looking for the latter, you will end up in disappointment. Nonetheless, what it lacks in beautiful corals, it makes up with the diverse species of sharks and fishes.
Known for an authentic village island experience that it provides its visitors, it is not as crowded as its neighbors, which is perhaps one thing that makes it attractive for diving in Bora Bora. It is also known as a good jump-off point if you want to experience jungle treks.
This location sits on a shallow lagoon, which is also the reason why it is a great dive spot for beginners. As long as you know the basics, such as diving signals and scuba diving safety tips, you are good to go. Even beginners will not have a hard time discovering its underwater beauty.
Here, you can expect the average depth to be 22 meters with decent visibility. It is a popular site for spotting manta rays. In fact, most people reported seeing at least five to ten manta rays during their dive. You can see most of them in the colorful coral garden.
To protect the dive site, the government limits diving only in the morning, so make sure to book early, especially during the peak season.
This is known for being picture-perfect, which will make it reminiscent of one of the postcards of French Polynesia that you often see. It is quite far, so be ready to spend a couple of hours on the boat before you can finally access its dive spots.
Once you are under the water, prepare to revel in the sight of parrotfish, sharks, and rays. The average depth of the water is 30 meters with good visibility. If you go from August to September, it is also possible that you will see humpback whales swimming around your diving group.
Caves, swim-throughs, and over-hangs are plentiful in this dive site. It is not the easiest to explore. If you are a beginner, you might want to skip this and head to those locations that are friendlier for novices.
For those who do not have a scuba class certification, there is no need to worry. You can still enjoy Tupitipiti. Get your snorkel masks ready and explore the shallow water of Matira Point, which is known for its bright and colorful marine life without the need to go deep.
When it comes to the best places to take your surfboards in French Polynesia, Haapiti is one name that you should not miss. With no odd barrel and a powerful wall, it has excellent reef breaks and challenging waves. However, since we are talking about diving in Bora Bora, let’s not talk more about surfing.
Whether you are a newbie or an expert, Haapiti is a good dive site. The maximum depth of the water here is 30 meters. It has gentle slopes, beautiful rocks, and colorful corals that are sure to be visually stunning. Make sure to get your diving camera ready to capture its stunning underwater beauty.
As for marine life, this is where you can see three types of sharks – lemon sharks, grey sharks, and blacktip reef sharks. You will also most probably end up spotting a Napoleon wrasse and triggerfish, among others.
The best time to go here for diving is from June to October. Most days, the visibility is excellent, but the current can be strong, so always stay safe.
5. Teavanui Pass
This is another destination that you might want to consider as you plan to go diving in Bora Bora. It is the only navigable pass in the area, which means that the fish easily travel in and out of the lagoon. The average depth is anywhere from 5 to 40 meters.
Like the other destinations that are included in our suggestions, your eyes will be in for a treat as you have a close encounter with diverse marine life. The highlight of most dives here is the opportunity to spot white tip and blacktip sharks. There are also sightings of barracudas, moray eels, tunas, scads, and even manta rays.
The lemon sharks will make the dive exciting. Divers reported spotting these sharks at an average length of 10 feet. Some might be scared by the thought of being surrounded by sharks, but there is no reason for you to be afraid. Make sure to pack your dive safety gear for your peace of mind.
6. Tiki Point
With great water visibility, this is another must-have in your list of the top destinations for diving in French Polynesia. It is a popular diving site for photographers, so don’t forget to bring your lenses for underwater photography to capture the most stunning shots.
Fish activity here is plenty, so you will not run out of interesting subjects to shoot during your dive. Because of the huge population of reef fish, you can also expect that there will be lots of predators around the area, including lemon sharks, grey sharks, and blacktip sharks. Dolphins and whales are also occasionally spotted, but the sighting will depend on what time of the year you are doing your dive.
So, how exactly will you be able to attract sharks in your exact dive spot? The divemaster will carry frozen or fresh fish and hand it out to sharks. If you are thinking of doing this yourself, we suggest that you let go of such a thought. It can be dangerous, so let the experts handle the fishing and focus on the beauty of the sight of the sharks instead.
You can reach the Taotoi Pass via Moorea through a short boat ride. It will take only a few minutes before you are finally ready to dive in and revel in its beauty. There is a strong and steady current, which can easily intimidate most new divers. We recommend that you learn about the buddy system to stay safe.
If you want to go diving with stingrays, this makes a great choice. To stay safe, one of the most important things you need to do is to keep your eyes open, which is great for situational awareness, Keep an eye on the ground, making sure that you won’t step on and disturb a stingray.
It is also worth noting that the water here tends to be shallow, so you need to be extra cautious with your movements. You might end up stepping on the sand and when you kick, the particles can affect underwater clarity.
Aside from stingrays, there are also Napoleon wrasses, jackfish, and moray eels that you will see around the area.
8. Garuae Pass
With a length of over a mile, this is the longest pass not only in Fakarava but in the entire French Polynesia. The first recorded cross in the pass was in 1888 and it still currently remains one of the most popular sites for diving in French Polynesia.
The average depth is 15 to 22 meters, which is quite reasonable for most divers. However, the problem is that the currents can be strong, which is why divers are required to have previous experience for your safety.
It is also recognized as one of the best destinations for pelagic enthusiasts. Aside from pelagic fish, it is also a popular spot for grey reef sharks, great hammerhead sharks, and silvertip sharks. As recommended by experts, it is best to go scuba diving with nitrox in this pass to avoid plenty of decompression stops. This way, you will be able to stay under the water longer and appreciate the beauty it has to offer.
9. Tiputa Pass
Located in Rangiroa, it is recognized as one of the top spots for diving in French Polynesia. The pass is a collection of about 15 diving sites, which include shark caves and canyons, making sure that there is something for every diver.
It is especially a great destination if you want to experience diving with dolphins. If you are going here to swim with gentle dolphins, the best time of the year to go is from August to October. Grey reef sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, leopard rays, tuna, and hammerheads are also regulars in the area.
There are many spots to explore depending on your skills and certification. For all levels, one spot worth checking out is the Shark’s Cave, which has a depth of about 35 meters. For those with advanced certification, on the other hand, the canyons of The Valley are worth it. Meanwhile, if you have open water certification, you won’t regret seeing The Crossing, which is divided into different parts before you can finally cross it.
10. Tumakohua Pass
If you are looking for gentle currents that are suitable for all types of divers, this is where you should go. It is a part of Fakarava, which is a UNESCO protected reserve. This is already one great reason to see this place if you want the best of diving in French Polynesia.
Also called the South Pass, this underwater pass has a unique charm that is sure to make you fall in love. It is also an isolated pass, so this will be worth exploring if you hate diving in crowded spots. The great visibility of this destination makes it a good choice if you want to try nitrox diving. For your safety, be sure to know nitrogen narcosis so that you won’t end up compromising your safety as you dive.
This is also popular for its shark population, so head here if you are looking for a thrilling dive experience. When there is the incoming tide, there were reports of seeing up to 300 grey reef sharks in just a single dive. You can see this at a depth of 28 meters.
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Whether you are looking for the best destinations for scuba diving for beginners or you are a pro searching for challenging dives, French Polynesia is an exceptional place to visit. Diving in Bora Bora and other islands in the country is surely one for the books. Regardless of your skills or budget, there is a place you are guaranteed to love!
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