The Fakarava Atoll is an ideal destination for scuba diving. Fly to the Tuamotus to discover an incredible aquatic biodiversity. Each trip to the lagoon is full of surprises and wonder. Quite sporty and emotional, diving in Fakarava is for experienced divers.
Diving in Fakarava in short
What to See During a Dive in Fakarava?
The Fakarava atoll is world famous for its intense underwater activity and the beauty of its coral reefs. Above all, the aquatic fauna impresses by its number and size. The multicolored fishes are numerous and so dense that you will have the impression to evolve in a real natural aquarium. The spectacle of all the colors is appreciated in a permanent movement. You will not know where to turn.
Near the passes overlooking the Pacific Ocean, predators are more numerous, especially sharks. You will meet the inevitable black and white tip sharks, but also more imposing specimens such as the tiger shark and the hammerhead shark. Alongside them, other more persistent species such as the gigantic napoleons or the rays make their way.
In the middle of this aquatic court of miracles, the grey shark reigns supreme. Its kingdom is located in the shallow passes, where you can observe the famous “shark walls”. On some occasions, the concentration of sharks exceeds several hundreds of individuals that fly over the heads and brush against the wetsuits.
Which Level is Required for a Dive in Fakarava?
Diving in Fakarava requires a PADI/Open water or Advanced level. Many dive clubs recommend a minimum of 15 to 30 dives before tackling the dives in the passes. Indeed, in Garuae, where the whole ocean penetrates the lagoon, the currents are very strong: control and coolness are required! For obvious safety reasons, dives are only made when the tide is coming in.
The biggest challenge remains self-control in an aquatic environment where sharks are numerous. Expect to be surrounded by hundreds of sharks, some of them not hesitating to push you in their way. The emotions are very strong, especially during the night trips to observe the sharks hunting and even during a drift snorkeling.
These memorable dives are therefore best suited for advanced divers. Beginners can turn to quieter sites in the lagoon, for their first dive or to improve their skills. What better place than Fakarava to discover diving?
Essentials of Diving in Fakarava
Northern Pass at Garuae
In the north of the atoll, near the village of Rotoava, the Garuae pass is the largest in French Polynesia. With a margin of 1600 meters, it allows the entire oceanic fauna to enter the Fakarava lagoon. The pass is also very deep, exceeding 200 feet, and reveals a breathtaking relief.
The dives start on the outer wall, in the ocean waters. Thus, the incoming current will transport you to the interior of the lagoon. You will fly over the magnificent canyons of Garuae and admire the multicolored reefs of all beauty. The trip ends in the coral gardens amidst intense aquatic activity.
The impressive topography and the incredible biodiversity of the site invite you to multiply the underwater trips for a renewed pleasure each time. This dive is one of the most impressive in French Polynesia.
Southern Pass at Tumakohua
Narrower and shallower, the Tumakohua pass is also more peaceful, at least regarding the strength of the current. Therefore, the site seems more suitable for observation and accessible to less experienced divers. In fact, the dives are very different, more contemplative, but the adrenalin is still present.
This time, no more gigantism: an intimate ecosystem plunges you into the heart of the aquatic world. You will never be so close to trevallies, napoleons and of course sharks. This time, grey sharks are waiting for you at a depth of about 60 feet. This universe overflowing with life stirs above a pink coral bottom giving the scene an unreal aspect.
The site is particularly famous for the reproduction of groupers, every year in June. For several weeks, fish, prey and predators, gather by thousands in a magnificent aquatic ballet. This is the time to go for a dive.
Diving Centers in Fakarava
To make the most of the magnificent underwater trips in Fakarava, be sure to be with the best professionals. Because of the particularity of the sites, the fauna and the potentially violent currents, the expertise must combine competence and pedagogy.
On Rotoava, where most pensions in Fakarava are, divers have plenty of choice. We recommend the O² Fakarava and Dive Spirit centers, two high quality addresses where conviviality and professionalism go hand in hand. The famous Top Dive also offers a very convincing service with the addition of Nitrox dives: a real added value. These centers organize day trips to the Tumakohua pass
For a diving trip focusing exclusively on the south of the atoll, go to Tetamanu where a dive center organizes both your accommodation and your dives, including superb night trips. However, there are no excursions to the Garuae pass.
Discover Diving in Fakarava!
Diving in Fakarava is one of the most impressive experiences in a diver’s life. Seabed lovers will not miss at least five trips. Getting to Fakarava requires thinking about a complete itinerary in French Polynesia. Find out when to go to Fakarava and contact us to start organizing your stay in this Polynesian paradise.