French Polynesia



French Polynesia in a Nutshell

Its stunning underwater diversity makes French Polynesia one of the best diving destinations in the world, boasting colorful tropical fish, manta rays, and an array of sharks. Consisting of 118 incredible islands and atolls that host many varied dive sites, French Polynesia provides adventure for both the most and least experienced scuba divers, offering a special experience for everyone.



Intro to French Polynesia

French Polynesia, casually referred to as Tahiti, is one of the world's top dive destinations, boasting at least 16 species of shark. The shark population is very high--estimated to range into the millions--which means divers have the potential to see hundreds of sharks in the clear French Polynesian waters. 

Watch this 40 minute webinar to learn about Fakarava/Rangiroa, the marine life,  and some of the great accommodation options, to see if this destination is right for you!

Underwater Video from Rangiroa, French Polynesia



Underwater Video from Fakarava--Grouper Spawning Frenzy




Diving Rangiroa

Rangiroa offers great diving with dolphins, gray reef sharks, and silvertip sharks. They also have schools of jacks and barracuda, eagle rays, turtles whitetip and blacktip sharks. Manta Rays are sighted occasionally. Visibility is excellent. The bigger sharks can be quite deep, 35 - 50 meters deep. Macro life is limited.


In a week stay, you can usually get dolphins to make a few close passes, and they have been known to play with divers. 


Diving Fakarava

Fakarava is a great place to dive with sharks - including gray reef, lemon sharks, blacktip and whitetip sharks. There are also many schools of fish, barracuda, and eagle rays. Visibility is excellent.


Best time to dive Tahiti

December and January are the rainy months. Any other time is excellent, although it can be crowded during french holidays and school holidays. Water temps are 81 degrees Fahrenheit.


Reviews (2)

  • Top Reviewer
Larkspur, CO
United States


I didn't go to Bora Bora mainly to dive, but was pleasantly surprised the day I did. I wouldn't recommend it if you're mainly interested in diving, but if you do go, plan to do at least one day of diving. Inside the lagoon there are places where you can see giant manta rays. Outside the lagoon, the coral seems quite dead, but there are lots of lemon sharks and a surprising amount of beautiful tropical fish. The visibility in the lagoon was 30-40 ft, outside in the ocean more like 100+ ft, with little current in either place. The topside accommodations are outstanding, especially if you stay in an over-the-water bungalow. We were at the St. Regis, and it is a phenomenal resort, but very pricey. Bora Bora is the ultimate destination for honeymooners, and a wonderful place for relaxation, where you can just "assume the position" by the pool or beach.

Visited on 07/2011 - Submitted on 07/30/2014

French Polynesia (FP) is my favorite destination for diving as it consistently delivers big animals, great visibility, and beautiful top side scenery. I also like that it isn't yet "touristy" and has much fewer people than most places.

If you are into sharks, then FP is the place to go. It is one of the few places left in the world where you can see lots of sharks on pretty much every dive. Dives can be either baited or non-baited, and you will see sharks either way. There is also a diversity of marine life and other common animals include dolphins, eagle rays, turtles, manta rays, barracuda, tuna, eels, and schools of jacks.

Coral is pretty healthy throughout the Tuamotu chain (Fakarava and Rangiroa) but not so much around the Society islands (Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora).

For photography, wide angle and portrait will give the best opportunities and macro is limited.

Dive operators are plentiful and professional. Diving is land based and most dive sites are just minutes from the dive shop.

Food includes lots of fresh fish and fruit and has a French flair.

Beaches and top side scenery are breath-taking with the infinite multi-hued turquoise lagoons and white sandy beaches.

In my opinion, the only downside is that FP can be a bit pricey, especially on airfare.

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 07/25/2014