French Polynesia is composed of about 118 islands spread over five archipelagos in the South Pacific Ocean, including Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea. The territory is renowned for its pristine waters and coral reefs, as well as for its abundant marine life.
The waters around the islands offer various types of dive sites, including walls, caves and drop-offs. Divers will encounter sharks, dolphins, manta rays and a huge variety of reef fish.
The largest atoll in the Tuamotu Islands, Rangiroa is surrounded by beaches and green vegetation, creating a stunning contrast against the turquoise waters of its massive lagoon, which houses pristine coral reefs. Divers will see hammerheads, manta rays, dolphins and lots of colourful reef fish.
This popular dive site promises schools of barracuda, eagle rays, dolphins and congregations of grey reef sharks.
The large coral formations here are quite stunning and divers can expect
to encounter dolphins, eagle rays and the occasional manta ray.
The Blue Lagoon
This is a shallow dive site that is home to beautiful coral gardens and small reef fish.
Ideal for novice divers, this aptly named site is brimming with schools of reef fish, moray eels and octopuses.
Here, a wall covered in white corals forms the perfect backdrop for hammerhead sharks, manta rays and dolphins.
Pink Sand Beach
This is a shallow dive site known for its pink sand and crystal-clear waters. Expect a variety of colourful fish and lovely coral formations.
Famous for its beaches and luxury resorts, Bora Bora is also surrounded by a stunning reef that shelters a beautiful lagoon. The dive sites here offer wonderful experiences for divers of all levels, from easy, shallow dives to more challenging drift dives.
This shallow site with a sandy bottom is ideal for novices who can enjoy the colourful reef fish and coral formations.
Located just off the southern coast, this is a favourite site to spot lemon and blacktip reef sharks.
Divers drift in the currents here to spot large pelagics like eagle rays, tuna and sharks.
Located on the island’s west side, this site contains a large number of black coral trees where large schools of snapper and jacks like to hang out.
On the northwestern side of Bora Bora, you’ll find large schools of barracuda, jacks and snapper that hover around a big coral-encrusted wall full of smaller reef fish.
This private atoll was once the summer home of legendary Hollywood icon, Marlon Brando. It is surrounded by a barrier reef, creating a lagoon with crystal-clear waters that attract diverse marine life.
This deep underwater trench is filled with corals and schools of fish. Various shark species like blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, hammerheads and tiger sharks are spotted here.
Motu Nao Nao
This sloping coral reef drops off into a deep channel where divers can expect to see schools of jacks, barracudas and snappers.
Located on the southern side of the atoll, this site features large populations of lemon sharks and blacktip, whitetip and grey reef sharks.
The largest island in French Polynesia, Moorea is situated just a few miles from Tahiti. In addition to diving, the island has beautiful beaches, visitors can go hiking in rainforests, or go on safari to see the island’s wildlife like junglefowl, red-vented bulbuls, Tahiti kingfishers and a variety of lizards and geckos.
This shallow, sandy area is great for diving with sharks in a safe and controlled environment. This experience is both thrilling and educational, as divers can learn about the behaviour and biology of sharks.
Garden of Roses
This advanced dive site is known for its stunning coral formations. Expect to see blacktip reef sharks, morays and barracuda during the dive.
Divers can swim through a canyon and meet large schools of resident snappers, jacks and surgeonfish.
The Three Coconuts
Great for both snorkellers and beginner divers, this easy dive offers a variety of corals and reef fish to enjoy.
This series of deep canyons feature large gorgonian fans and black coral trees. Look out into the blue for eagle rays, barracuda and other pelagics.
This atoll is formed by a ring of coral reefs that encompass a large lagoon of about 426 square kilometres. Besides diving, visitors can go snorkelling, fishing and kayaking. The waters are known for their exceptional visibility, which can reach up to 50 metres!
Manta Ray Alley
As the name suggests, large populations of manta rays can be seen all year round. There are also various shark species, including blacktip and whitetip reef sharks.
This natural hole in the reef is visited by a host of shark species, including blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, lemon sharks and the occasional tiger shark.
This is the main inlet to the lagoon and is characterised by strong currents. Advanced divers can enjoy the large schools of fish, sharks, rays and the occasional dolphins and whales.
The pink corals covering the wall made this site easy to name, but don’t forget to look into the blue for sharks, rays, turtles and dolphins.
This site brings in large schools of jacks, tuna and sharks riding the strong currents.
Breathtaking above the water as they are below the surface, this group of 12 volcanic islands is remote and relatively untouched. The topside landscape typically features soaring volcanic peaks, deep valleys and lush tropical forests, while the local people are known for their traditional art, music and dance.
One of the best dive sites in the area, this site has strong currents bringing in large pelagic life including barracuda, reef sharks, eagle rays and hammerhead sharks.
Divers flock here during the humpback whale mating season, from July to November.
This site boasts stunning coral formations, schools of reef fish, manta rays and eagle rays.
The underwater rock formations here attract reef sharks, barracuda, and schooling fish. The site also has several caves that can be explored by certified cave divers.
Cover image courtesy of Aaron Wong.
Do you want to find out about more amazing dive destinations around the world? Click the link below to subscribe!