French Polynesia is full of natural riches. Its landscapes are among the most beautiful in the world. At the foot of the marvelous mountains and facing the turquoise waters of the lagoons, you will live an unforgettable waking dream. Tahiti and her islands are a paradise on earth. However, for the moment you only see the surface of this beauty. Scuba diving takes you even further, into the heart of a fantastic and unsuspected universe. The aquatic life of the islands impresses by its biodiversity and its intensity. Expect an explosion of colors in a world where the shark is king. Let’s discover the best of diving in French Polynesia.
1. Garuae Pass in Fakarava
Renowned for its incredible biodiversity, the atoll of Fakarava in the Tuamotu Islands is a must-see destination for diving in French Polynesia. Its waters are recognized as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO and guarantee the most beautiful discoveries and encounters. The most impressive dive is at the Garuae pass, in the north of the atoll. With a width of 1.6 km, this immense pass is also very deep, allowing the ocean to penetrate the lagoon completely. Thousands of fish, big and small, solitary and in schools, create an incredible density.
This drift dive is a journey in contact with many sharks, grey reef sharks, white tips and black tips. Sometimes even the great hammerhead shark creates a surprise. Tropical fish, schools of snappers, jacks and trevallies swim above the magnificent multicolored corals. At a depth of about 20 meters, the aquarium of Alibaba canyon ends the adventure in apotheosis. All nature is in motion for the greatest pleasure of the eyes. With a visibility of about 50 meters, the Garuae pass is the dive spot not to be missed in French Polynesia.
2. The Tiputa Pass in Rangiroa
The atoll of Rangiroa is also located in the Tuamotu archipelago. Its lagoon is among the largest in the world and allows some of the most beautiful dives in French Polynesia. The most famous one is at the Tiputa pass. With an ingoing current, you will swimm from the mouth of the pass to the interior of the lagoon. This drift dive goes to meet black tip sharks and grey sharks, even dolphins and Manta rays that invite themselves to the aquatic show. You almost forget to contemplate the walls of the pass, where the reef life is carried by a multitude of tropical fish.
The experience is very impressive. Each new dive brings its share of surprises with an aquatic fauna always changing, according to the current. At the end of the dive, you will drift in the heart of a magnificent coral garden with a breathtaking density of fish. A true signature dive of Rangiroa, the Tiputa pass requires a certain ease and technical mastery. Close to the inhabited areas, it is a must for diving in French Polynesia.
3. Tumakohua (Tetamanu) Pass in Fakarava
Back to Fakarava for a second unforgettable dive: towards the south of the atoll and the Tumakohua pass (Tetamanu). Unless you stay close to the pass, you will have to wait about 2 hours by boat before reaching your destination. Because of its narrowness (200 m), the current is less powerful, making this drift dive more tranquil than at Garuae pass. The natural spectacle is no less exceptional. The coral gardens are beautiful, the biodiversity is fantastic: napoleon fish, parrots, in short all the reef fauna.
Above all, there is the “wall of sharks”. The density of grey sharks has never been so high. Hundreds of individuals are circling and twirling above our heads. With them, black and white tip sharks participate in this fascinating aquatic ballet. This impressive and abundant fauna makes the experience one of the most memorable and sought-after dives in French Polynesia.
4. Tuheiava Pass in Tikehau
Still in the Tuamotus, Tikehau Atoll offers an equally ideal setting for diving. Its only pass to the ocean is shallow. With its moderate current, the pass of Tuheiava seems less sporty, but it is still demanding. In the surrounding tranquility, this drift dive leads to the discovery of all the Polynesian aquatic fauna. Predators are present. However, the sharks fade away in front of thousands of tropical fish.
Each dive is a new source of wonder. The very high density of fishes produces a real explosion of colors. Next to schools of blue and grey trevallies, napoleons or butterflies, the encounter with green turtles, leopard rays and even dolphins will not fail to surprise you. This magnificent aquatic picture is completed by a unique and extremely rich coral flora.
5. The Anau Cleaning Station in Bora Bora
Far from the tumultuous passes in the Tuamotu atolls, the Leeward islands often offer more contemplative experiences in the calm waters of the lagoon. The outings are more peaceful and accessible to the youngest and to novices for their baptism. On Bora Bora, you will discover the cleaning station of Anau, east of the main island. From now on, no more sharks, the manta rays will ensure the aquatic ballet.
Flying over the coral spats, the huge rays are cleaned by tiny fish. Indeed, these wrasses rid them of the parasites that cover their skin. Each ray passes majestically, in turn, over the multicolored corals with a fascinating amplitude. If the site is now preserved, it is still accessible under certain conditions.
Diving in French Polynesia is a Must
Whether you are a certified diver or a beginner, you will not miss your visit to French Polynesia to indulge in diving. If you are neither, then we recommend you to take your first dive on site. The prices are quite reasonable and do not add too much to the overall cost of a trip to Polynesia. The experience can be enjoyed by two people or in a group, in a sporty, contemplative or adventurous way. This activity is one of the best things to do in French Polynesia.