Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Mahana Park is one of the best spots to explore Punaauia’s lagoon, the most extensive of Tahiti island. The beach opens up to calm, crystal clear waters that are ideal for snorkeling. Underwater, you may come across stingrays, small sharks, angelfish and dozens of other Polynesian reefs colorful species.
Mahana Park is located in Paea, on Tahiti Nui’s West Coast, about 18km south of Papeete. There is free parking nearby. From there, walking to the beach takes a few minutes.
Enter the water anywhere you like from the salt-and-pepper beach.
You can snorkel the whole inner lagoon, but we recommend to stay in a 200m stripe along the beach.
The closest areas to the beach (↕3-6ft/1-2m) are covered with sand, rocks and seaweed patches. Coral is poor here. You will have to swim a bit to find a coral-covered seabed (↕6-12ft/2-4m).
Coral health is variable on this spot, but the sealife is varied and abounds from a dozen of meters from the shore. Juvenile blacktip reef sharks and spotted eagle rays like this lagoon, as well as small stingrays that often rest over sandy areas.
Many reef fish species can be seen on the coral reef area, such as the bright yellow lemonpeel angelfish, about a dozen of different butterflyfish species, parrotfishes and rather inquisitive sixbar wrasses. Look into sea anemones for orangefin anemonefish, the most common clownfish in French Polynesia.
Like many lagoons in Polynesia, this one is perfect for snorkeling with its calm, shallow waters. However, never try to swim past the coral reef into the open sea: strong waves and currents make the outer reef very dangerous.
This spot attracts few snorkelers, hence it is very preserved. Take part in this preservation and don’t damage corals nor leave anything behind you.
Snacks and food carts are set on the beach. If you’re looking for accommodation close to the spot, several family pensions are located inland.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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Shallow lagoon with coral and reef fish
Free shore access
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