French Polynesia Diving

French Polynesia Diving

The South Pacific country of French Polynesia is a paradise both above and below water offering pristine diving in clear waters with a variety of marine life.

French Polynesia is a mix of islands and atolls covering 2000km (roughly the size of Europe) in the South Pacific. It is a tropical scuba diving destination with 800 species of fish resident in the fringing reefs, lagoons and channels.

Large pelagic species such as hammerheads, tiger, silky and reef sharks along with manta rays and dolphins are found in the clear blue waters.

If you decide to take your liveaboard cruise from mid-July to October, there is a possibility to see the migrating humpback whales on the way to Antarctica. These gentle giants come here to reproduce, calve and nurse their young. If you have the chance for whale watching in French Polynesia, you’ll be left humbled for life.

French Polynesia diving has been protected since 2002 when the marine park was established. There are also various shark, turtle and coral reef monitoring systems that have been put in place.

Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.

French Polynesia Diving - 3 LIVEABOARDS

From $2,734 / day

Aqua Tiki III Liveaboard in French Polynesia

A charter only private sailing catamaran offering French Polynesia Diving for 10 guests

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From $566 / day

French Polynesia Master in French Polynesia

A luxury French Polynesia liveaboard offering the best diving in the area.

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From $478 / day

Aqua Tiki II Liveaboard in French Polynesia

An ideal sailing catamaran offering French Polynesia Diving for just 8 guests

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Diving in French Polynesia

With varied topography, French Polynesia diving is unique. There are shallow lagoon reefs, caverns, drop-offs and seamounts in mineral-rich water. Excellent visibility and coral diversity along with warm water and abundant marine life and variety make French Polynesia a place for every level of diver to visit.

The French Polynesia liveaboard trips will concentrate on the Rangiroa to Fakarava atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago and offer unusual sightings in the busy nutrient-rich waters.

Best Places to Dive in French Polynesia

A French Polynesia cruise can cover a vast area for scuba diving. The archipelago is usually split into the following areas.

Fakarava  -  This is a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 2006, and the second largest atoll in French Polynesia. The reserve has been used as a model for sustainable tourism and nature protection. French Polynesia diving takes place in the lagoon area and Garuae Passage, which can be a little challenging but very rewarding with the highest density of fish life.

Your French Polynesia liveaboard will visit the Tikehau area offering a richness of life both underwater and while on land, it is unique with its pink sand and bird life. During one of his expeditions, Jacques Cousteau declared Tikehau "the richest atoll on the face of the earth".

Rangiroa diving takes place in the largest atoll in the Tuamotus islands and is noted for the sightings of sharks, marlin, manta rays dolphins and schooling barracuda and jackfish.

Other areas known in French Polynesia diving are

    • Apataki Island dive sites
    • Toau Island dive sites
    • Kauehi Island dive sites
    • Avatoru Pass dive sites

Best Dive Sites in French Polynesia

Garuae Pass

This site can only be dived at slack tide due to the strong currents that occur here, but it is worth the wait. A daily occurrence of the “wall of sharks” can be seen here. Hundreds of greys congregate here and are often joined by hammerheads, black and white tip reef, silky, oceanic and even tiger sharks.


A submerged plateau on the outer edge of the pass, which also has shark activity along with a cleaning station for manta rays and eagle rays. Schooling barracuda and snapper are also seen here.

Tehere Pass

Here there are strong currents. Reef hooks are required to stay in one place and enjoy the sight of hundreds of grey reef sharks hunting fusiliers. Tuna, dolphins and swordfish are also seen here along with other pelagic life.

Tiputa Reef

A site for all level of divers with a fantastic coral plateau that drops off into the deep blue waters. Often bottlenose dolphins are here to impress divers. Leopard Rays and Manta Rays often come from this area to join the cleaning station above the hard coral reef. White tips and grey reef sharks can be seen on the plateau and often are joined by a turtle or two. Schools of barracuda and blue jackfish are also common at the site


This site requires calm conditions to dive on the incoming current. Divers drift into an underwater valley covered in coral formations with surgeonfish, snappers and fusiliers. Manta or leopard rays can be spotted here in the currents, which lead divers to a dune area with coral blocks full of macro life and a few white and black tip reef sharks.

With plenty of shark diving and nutrient-rich water, French Polynesia diving is growing in popularity. Liveaboard cruises visit the fantastic Rangiroa and Fakarava Atolls. For more information about French Polynesia Dive Sites, please click on the photo.

Frech Polynesia destination dive sites

French Polynesia Scuba Diving Highlights

  • Common sightings – Grey reef sharks, hammerheads, manta rays
  • Special sightings – Dolphins, tiger sharks, migrating humpback whales
  • Topography - Seamounts, caves, walls, lagoons and reefs
  • Visibility - 30 to 50m
  • General information - French Polynesia is suitable for all levels of divers
  • Onboard options - Pearl farm and land visits

Best Time to Go

French Polynesia is a year-round destination but has two seasons.

Rainy season is November to March, with January to March being the warmest water at 28C.

The dry season is April to November with water temperatures at 24C.

Humpback whales and spawning Marble groupers are seen in the colder season of June to July.

Cyclones can occur in January to April, but the area can be storm free for years between occurrences.

How to Get There

International flights are to the Faa’s airport on Tahiti, and direct flights are possible from Tokyo, Los Angeles and Auckland.

Local flights to other islands are frequent and reliable with Air Tahiti Nui. There are also ferries.

Country Information



Local time vs GMT




What to pack

Average temperature

Food and drink

French Pacific Franc (CFP or XPF)

On entry for most nationalities

-10 hours

French and Tahitian

Faa'a International Airport (PPT)


Suncream, lightweight and beach apparel

28 - 30 C daytime, 23 - 25 C evenings

Polynesian with a French twist