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Avea Bay is one of the must-visit sites during a trip to Huahine. It is known for its stunning lagoon and its white sand beach fringed with coconut trees, a perfect postcard setting. Snorkelers will find this location very interesting as it allows exploring both a sandbank visited by stingrays and deeper coral reefs teeming with tropical fish.

Hotel Le Mahana snorkeling area, Avea Bay
Avea Bay Beach and the jetty of Hotel Le Mahana.

How to get to Avea Bay snorkeling spot?

West-facing Avea Bay extends for more than a kilometer along the southern tip of Huahine. By car, it takes around 30 minutes to reach the beach from Fare (the main village of the island) by the most direct route (45 minutes by scooter). You can park in several places along the beach.

If you stay at Hotel Le Mahana, you will have direct access to the spot. Avea Bay is also a very pleasant and popular anchorage in Huahine, where you can spend a night or two if you visit French Polynesia with your own boat.

Avea Bay - Le Mahana Hotel Huahine snorkeling map
Avea Bay & Hotel Le Mahana snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Avea Bay

If you are staying at Hotel Le Mahana, you can enter the water from the pontoon or from the hotel beach. Otherwise, get into the water from the public beach located a little further south (see map above) then snorkel to the corals.

Avea Bay snorkeling exploration tips

Avea Bay is divided into two areas, which can easily be explored at the same time.

1. The small reefs facing Hotel Le Mahana (zone 1 on the map).

To the north (and to a lesser extent to the south) of Hotel Le Mahana jetty, several small coral reefs are found, around which fish and invertebrates gather.

Coral reef at Avea Bay
A diversity of fish live in the anemone gardens.

In this area, the corals have grown on a fairly steep reef slope, and their depth varies from 3 to 20 feet/1 to 6 meters.

You will particularly notice anemone gardens where dozens of orangefin clownfish live, as well as damaged coral areas visited by schools of emperors, wrasses, regal angelfish, and small groups of bannerfish. The pillars of ghe jetty provide refuge to snappers and batfish, schooling by dozens near the bottom.

School of batfish at Mahana Hotel, Huahine
A school of batfish under the jetty.

2. The sandy areas facing the public beach (zone 2 on the map)

About a hundred meters south of the pontoon lies an extensive shallow sandbank, where the water height does not exceed 3 to 6 feet/1 to 2 meters.

Here, the underwater landscape is quite monotonous, consisting of stretches of white sand punctuated by a few patches of coral. If you see a few fish around the corals, the pink whiprays that frequently cross the flat are the main attraction of this area.

Orangefin anemonefish in Huahine
Orangefin anemonefish.

Restaurants and accommodations nearby

This spot is the house reef of Hotel Le Mahana. Vairai Sunset Grill is located on the public beach, approximately 350 meters south of the pontoon. This is a good option for lunch near the spot if you are visiting Avea Bay for the day.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth6 ft / 2 meters on the sandbank, 20 ft/6 meters in the reef area
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach or a jetty
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree

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.