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Best snorkeling spots in Bora Bora

Thousands of fish coming to kiss your mask, graceful rays swimming in 82.4°F water of the Pacific Ocean as if they are flying through the sea, reef sharks on the lookout observing the corals in search of a potential prey movement; and hundreds of colors, frozen or moving, in waves of unreal clarity?

You are not dreaming, only enjoying one of the best snorkeling spots in the world : Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Moorea and Fakarava are just a few of the most amazing snorkeling locations you can find here. Put on your mask, your snorkel and your flippers to meet Polynesian sharks, Tuamotu dolphins, and the gorgeous manta rays of Bora Bora!

In Polynesia, tourists are generally astonished by the water quality - especially by the rich, diversified, and prevalent underwater life. 

Polynesian waters are healthy - it is a fact. These resources are protected, particularly since they can suffer from pollution spreading from the other side of the world.

Are there snorkeling spots that are more interesting and exceptional than others? Where are the sharks and fish ? What are the best parts of the reef in each island? What are the best snorkeling spots in Bora Bora? Before introducing them, let me take you on a quick tour of the 5 archipelagos to better understand their interaction with marine life.

Pure water of the lagoon

Snorkeling requires slightly cloudy water to increase depth and field of vision. There is no reef in the Marquesas. This means that the land ends in underwater cliffs or drop-offs. Diving and snorkeling are less common there than in the other archipelagos, even if unexpected sights can surprise you.

Dream beaches and snorkeling are not synonymous 

The Society (Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Taha’a…) and Austral islands (Rurutu, Tubuai…) have lagoons, reefs, passes, and drop-offs with extensive marine life : fish, reef sharks, rays, and many other wonders. But it might happen that during a snorkeling excursion, you see nothing, despite being on a beautiful beach. It's normal. Sand, however delicate and white as flour, is not favorable to the emergence of life. For abundant wildlife or beautiful flora/fauna, nutrients, oxygen, and hiding places are needed. Before swimming, always identify the presence of madreporic rocks (coral heads) where you wish to go snorkeling. 

Air Tahiti Nui Snorkeling

Travel to Bora Bora, the pearl of snorkeling 

In Bora Bora, the most famous spot is the Aquarium, a popular name in the diving area. It is located south of Motu Pitiuu, and its fauna is magnificent and diversified. At Motu Toopua, on the west coast of Bora Bora, a coral garden is home to a few hundred extravagantly colored tropical fish.  

In Anau - at the eastern tip of the island of Bora Bora - another coral garden offers a fascinating spectacle for those who enjoy the exploration. It is often considered the most beautiful snorkeling spot in Polynesia due to the number of manta rays present in the drop-off below. Finally, the area around Motu Tapu, located in the south of the Teavanui Pass, benefits from a high density of fish due to the proximity of the currents.

Many lagoon tours around the island take you on a snorkeling journey by boat to guide you to the best locations of Bora Bora. The boat stops to give you the time to snorkel near the reef, in the coral gardens of Bora Bora, or in the manta rays cleaning stations. You will be able to encounter various species of fish, admire beautiful corals, dance among stingrays, watch a school of spotted eagle rays pass by, meet some big manta rays, and swim with beautiful reef sharks, all in a single day! Let the magic of the ocean guide you for a few moments to explore one of the most incredible ecosystems in the world. The tour guides will explain what to do while snorkeling, where to go, and will teach you more about Polynesian underwater life in Bora Bora.

The other best snorkeling spots of the Society Islands

Travel to the west coast of Tahiti for its magical landscape

In Tahiti, the best spots are located in the south of Papeete.

From Faa’a, the wide variety of fish will surprise you. To safely snorkel, the lagoons of Punaauia and Paea are the most suitable. The most famous snorkeling spots are the lagoon of Sofitel Ia Ora (PK 15) and the lagoon from Vaiava Beach to Mahana Park (PK 17 to 19). At the Pointe des Pêcheurs, the spot is a real paradise but very dangerous due to the pass and its currents. Always be accompanied by someone who knows the area well.

Travel to Moorea island to snorkel in the lagoon

At Motu Temae, starting from the public beach, a coral garden with hundreds of fish will provide a crazy show for snorkeling enthusiasts. The same show is guaranteed on the other side of the island, towards Motu Fareone (north of Haapiti). 

For seeing eagle rays, nothing beats strolling above the Ta’ahiamanu beach drop-off. To swim and dance with rays and blacktip sharks, dive into the school of reef sharks in Tiahura. In Papetoai, the underwater sculptures in perfectly transparent water - made by the artist Tihoti and called the world of Mu - are worth a visit. 

As in Bora Bora, many tours by boat or jet ski with guides will allow you to discover the most beautiful snorkeling locations in the Moorea lagoon to encounter many fish, sharks and rays.

 Travel to the coral garden of Huahine 

In the island of Huahine, right by the beach of the old Sofitel - where only the ruins of concrete structures remain - you can reach one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots, a preserved coral garden with plenty of fish. The second spot is the coral garden of Motu Vaiorea, at the entrance of Port Bourayne. There you will be spending hours, do remember to protect your back with ocean-friendly sunscreen!

Taha’a is perhaps the most beautiful snorkeling spot for your vacation 

The coral garden - located behind the Relais Château Taha'a Island Resort & Spa - is a masterpiece of nature. Go straight to the end of the path, walk on the feo (large blocks of dead coral) with shoes, then enter the water and just let the current guide you. The show is spectacular! Both for the corals and the number of diverse fish that will play with you.

Travel to Maupiti to see the dance of the rays

But there are not only sharks and fish in French Polynesia, with your mask and snorkel, go to the island west of Bora Bora, Maupiti. There is no need to go very far: in the lagoon, manta rays gather by dozens to be carried by the current. Their scales are cleaned by many helpful and greedy small fishes. It is a great diving spot where rays can be seen from below. At Motu Pae'ao, in the Pass, an interesting show awaits you even if you only have a mask.


French Polynesia enjoys strong sunshine with a generally very high UV index. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a light top, bodysuit, Lycra, or anti-UV t-shirts, which will also reduce the feeling of cold in the case of windy conditions.

In places with strong currents and lots of coral, do not hesitate to wear a thin neoprene wetsuit - perfect to avoid friction. In this regard, be careful never to walk on living corals. Do not touch them either!

They are not rocks but an extremely fragile and sensitive living ecosystem. The surface of the corals is abrasive, sometimes sharp. Don't hurt yourself, don't damage them.