The small motu Ofetaro is located in the Raiatea lagoon, on the edge of Teavapiti pass. This public motu is appreciated by families during the weekend, who come and spend the day around a barbecue. The very well preserved coral reef bordering the motu is a real jewel: in less than one meter of water, you can meet clownfish, lionfish, bannerfish and hundreds of another species. Due to its proximity to Uturoa and its accessibility, it is a snorkeling spot not to be missed if you are staying in the island.

Aerial view of Motu Ofetaro - Snorkeling in Raiatea

How to get there?

The motu Ofetaro is generally found in kayak, and more rarely in boat, during an excursion. If you choose the first option, inquire about the rental possibilities with your pension or your hotel. One of the most practical launch points is just in front of the Sup’Tepua supermarket, located less than 2km south of the city center of Uturoa. From here, you will have to row for one kilometer to reach the motu. Once you arrive, hoist your kayak on the beach, near the pontoon.

Motu Ofetaro snorkeling map, Raiatea

Water entrance

You can enter the water from the motu beach. The reef is practically facing the pontoon.

Exploration

The exploration area covers the reef about 100 meters wide, extending from the west point of the motu, where the pontoon has been installed. The water depth is less than 1.50m over the entire area. The southern edge of the reef (island side) is the richest in corals and fish. It ends in a slight drop towards the lagoon.

Lionfish at Motu Ofetaro - Raiatea snorkeling

By joining the reef, you can stop on the first coral outcrops located 20 to 30m from the beach. This area is populated by orangefin anemonefish (amphiprion chrysopterus), the only species of clownfish found in French Polynesia. Present in colonies of dozens of individuals, they usually share their anemones with juveniles domino damsels (dascyllus trimaculatus).

Keep exploring the reef by reaching the richest areas in corals, along the reef edge. This area is inhabited by colorful giant clams, which close their shells when disturbed. Nearly a dozen of species of butterflyfish are present in the area. Some of them a quite intrepid, and seems to pose for a photo shoot. Lionfish, Moorish Idols, bannerfish, colonies of blue damsel and sergeant majors also populate the reef. With a little luck, you will perhaps cross the road of a stingray, but these are far more fearful than on other spots of French Polynesia.

Motu Ofetaro snorkeling, Raiatea

Restaurants and accommodation

There is no snack or restaurant on the motu, but you can take your picnic with you.

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth2-10ft/0.5-3m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersLionfish
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow to medium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.