Level: Resort nearby
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Located in Fakarava Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Tumakohua Pass is famous for its “wall of sharks”, which attracts scuba divers from all over the world. For snorkelers, it is also a beautiful site to discover, both in the pass (which can be explored in drift snorkeling) and on the reef flat (which can be snorkeled freely from the island shore). In the area, you will discover coral reefs inhabited by Maori wrasse, blacktip reef sharks, and a myriad of colorful fish.
Tumakohua Pass and Tetamanu Island are located south of Fakarava Atoll, about 1h30-2h by boat from Rotoava and the airport.
To visit Tetamanu, you can book a stay in one of the island’s guesthouses (Tetamanu Village, Tetamanu Sauvage or Motu Aito), or make the day trip from Rotoava (from euro 100pp.).
The reef flat (zone 1 on the map) can be snorkeled freely from the shore. To explore the pass (zone 4 on the map), you’ll have to book a drift snorkeling tour. Do not engage in drift snorkeling without being accompanied by a guide.
To snorkel the reef areas (zones 1, 2 and 3 on the map), the water entrance is made from Tetamanu island’s shore, taking care not to step on coral. For drift snorkeling (zone 4), you will enter the water from your tour boat.
Two areas are recommended for snorkeling around Tetamanu:
1/ The coral reef edging Tetamanu Island (zones 1, 2 and 3 on the map).
The “pool”, a small natural lagoon found just near the jetty (zone 1 on the map), is a perfect start for beginners. Here, you’ll swim with almost tamed Maori wrasse and other reef fish, that come here to enjoy the leftover food.
Up north, you’ll find a second shallow and sheltered area (zone 3 on the map), freely accessible from the shore. Here, you’ll discover the diversity of Polynesian marine life, including around 10 species of butterflyfish, triggerfish, parrotfish, schools of yellowfin goatfish, and Moorish idols.
Advanced snorkelers can also drift snorkel along the island’s reef (itinerary 2 on the map), accompanied by a guide.
2/ Fakarava South Pass, which borders Tetamanu Island’s western shore (zone 4 on the map).
The exploration of the pass consists of letting yourself drift by the current, between the entrance of the pass and the inner part of the atoll. The boat will then pick you up at the exit of the pass.
If you are lucky, you may spot in the blue green sea turtles, manta rays, and several species of sharks. It is sometimes even possible to spot the “shark wall” (↕20-30m) near the water entry point.
On the drop-offs that border the pass, you’ll spot many fish around dense and colorful corals. Local sea life includes the Maori wrasse, Tetamanu snorkeler’s favorite sighting. Peaceful and inquisitive, swimming with this unique fish will leave you with an unforgettable memory.
Three guesthouses, Tetamanu Village, Tetamanu Sauvage, and Motu Aito are set up along the reef.
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.
Tetamanu Village, Fakarava, French Polynesia
Tetamanu Village & Sauvage offers the best services with traditional bungalows all merged in an exceptional environment be Tetamanu between coconut trees and lagoon. You will also find a restaurant deck where you may admire the sunset all while sipping a beverage.
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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.
Steep drop off with coral, reef fish and sharks
Shallow sandy lagoon with reef fish and sharks
Coral patches with colorful fish
Level: Free shore access
Drift snorkeling in a deep pass visited by sharks, rays and dolphins
Coral reef with a vibrant marine life
Drift snorkeling in a deep pass visited by sharks, rays and turtles