There is a recurrent Polynesian cliché figuring a crystal clear lagoon less than one meter deep in which swimmers are surrounded by small black-tip sharks, common stingrays and hundreds of bright yellow butterflyfish. More than a dream, it is actually a must-do in Society Islands such as Bora Bora and Moorea (in particular at the Sharks Sandbank).

Snorkeling the Moorea Lagoon, Society Islands
Moorea’s gorgeous lagoon (left: picture taken from Magic Mountain, from where one can catch sight of the Hilton Moorea’s overwater bungalows) notably boasts the Sharks Sandbank (right), a spot where snorkelers can freely swim with rays and sharks.

But Society Islands are not all about splashing about with sharks. Dozens of delightful snorkeling spots await you at the foot of the green peaks; whether you are a beginner or an experienced swimmer. The sites to explore range from shallow lagoons teeming with colorful fish to gorgeous reefs bordering unexplored motus (sandy islets grown on coral) or atoll passes where manta rays and turtles meet in the deep blue.

Snorkeling the Coral Garden of Tahaa, Society Islands
Dive in the Coral Garden, inside Tahaa lagoon, and quickly find yourself amidst a swirling school of Pacific double-saddle butterflyfish (chaetodon ulietensis).

When to go snorkeling Tahiti and the Society Islands?

French Polynesia is a huge territory and each of its archipelagos has its own climate. A tropical rainforest climate rules over Society Islands and sets a two-seasons rhythm. Summer (November to April) is wetter while winter (mid-April to mid-October) brings a dryer climate.

During summer, temperatures can rise as high as 86°F/30°C and the air is damp. Showers occur frequently, they can be particularly intense in December and January. Hurricanes are less frequent than in many South Pacific areas, but they are more likely to happen during these months.

During winter, humidity lessens and showers are scarce. The sun shines a lot and temperatures are easier to cope with (81°F/27°C in average). It is the best moment to pay a visit to the Islands and go snorkeling, even though trade winds sometimes shake the otherwise quiet ocean. August and September are said to be the best months to visit Tahiti and its archipelago.

Hot and humid
Warm and sunny

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More than 220 spots have already been published on Snorkeling Report, but there are still many spots to be added! You too can contribute to populate the map by sharing your favorite snorkeling spots around the world. The more snorkelers will contribute, the easier it will be for you, and other snorkelers, to find sites and enjoy the underwater world!


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