Moorea Snorkeling Guide: 5 Best Sites [Reviewed + Rated] 

by | Last updated Jun 28, 2024 | Best Snorkeling French Polynesia, Moorea

Love snorkeling? Us too! My husband and I love to “snorkation” from the Maldives to Bonaire! French Polynesia has some of the best snorkeling in the world, and one of the best islands is Moorea. It is a quick ferry ride from Tahiti. Once we arrived, we hopped in our rental car and drove all around Moorea scoping out the best snorkeling sites! Here is what we discovered to create this ultimate Moorea Snorkeling Guide. 

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Moorea Snorkeling Rating Sytem

My snorkeling guides are rated from 1-5 🤿, 5 being the absolute best.

These guides are subjective because you cannot predict what you will see on a given day.

It all depends on the ocean conditions, the time of day, and even the time of year. My hope though is that this guide will give you a little snapshot of what you might see.

Please see the rating key below.

OVERALL SNORKEL RATING KEY

🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿   =   World-class snorkeling and worth traveling just for the snorkeling alone!

🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿   =   Incredible snorkeling and should be on your list of top things to do!

🤿 🤿 🤿   =   Decent snorkeling and worth the effort!

🤿 🤿   =   Worth consideration if you are running out of things to do!

🤿   =   Not worth it!

Map of Moorea Snorkeling Sites

Here is a map of our top 5 snorkeling sites. A summary of each location is provided below.

I have written comprehensive mini guides on each site detailing how to get there, where to snorkel, the entry to the site, and what fish we saw.

So if one location sounds really interesting, click on my mini guide for all the juicy details.

The mini guides also have all of my snorkeling photos of what I saw at that site. All the pics were taken with my favorite underwater camera.

A snorkeling map of best snorkeling sites in Moorea

Moorea snorkeling guide: map of 5 top snorkeling sites

SUPER IMPORTANT

If you are going to French Polynesia and love being in the water, I strongly advise bringing your own snorkeling gear.

We started doing this many years ago, and it makes such a big difference in the quality of your underwater experience when you have a snorkel mask and fins fitted to your unique shape.

Because we have snorkeled so many places around the world, I have had a lot of practice testing out gear. All of my favorite recommendations are listed below.

01- Sharks & Rays Sandbar

Swimming with blacktip sharks and stingrays in Moorea

Swimming with blacktip reef sharks and stingrays in Moorea

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿

Besides Shark Ray Alley in Belize, there are not too many snorkeling experiences in the world that allow you to be this close to sharks as a snorkeler.

When we snorkeled with blacktip reef sharks in the Maldives and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, they were very skittish and kept their distance. Normally, they swim away as soon as they see you.

Not the blacktip reef sharks at the Sharks & Rays Sandbar in Moorea!

These sharks were much more comfortable and curious and would get rather close but never too close where I was nervous. They were never aggressive. We respected them, and they respected us. It was a very unique interaction.

Also, you are only standing in waist/chest deep water, and the water is crystal clear!

The stingrays, on the other hand, had no personal space boundary. They were like little puppy dogs wanting attention. Super friendly and fun to be around.

We also saw a few different types of fish, but the real reason you are going to this site is for the blacktips and stingrays.

I highly recommend Alex Lagoon Tours to take you to this site if you like small group tours!

Click on my mini guide below for my map and all of my snorkeling photos, which were taken with the GoPro Hero 12.

02- Sofitel Coral Garden

Snorkeling with a large school of convict surgeonfish at Sofitel Moorea

Snorkeling with a large school of convict surgeonfish at Sofitel in Moorea

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿 🤿

Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort is located on Temae Beach, one of the best beaches in Moorea.

The snorkeling here is top notch!

Expect to see a huge variety of marine life including blacktip reef sharks, stingrays, possibly eels, and a wide variety of fish. This was truly one of our favorite sites in Moorea!

There are a few sections to snorkel.

One is a drift snorkel if you swim out to the far northern edge of Temae Beach. The second location is adjacent to the Sofitel.

We did the drift snorkel independently and then explored the reef adjacent to the Sofitel with a super fun sea scooter tour!

All the details can be found in my mini guide below!

03- Coral Garden Tiahura

Feeding stingray at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Stingray at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿

You can’t shore snorkel to Coral Garden Tiahura because this site is located adjacent to a motu off the mainland of Moorea.

It requires a boat, a tour, or a kayak.

Coral Garden Tiahura is located off of Motu Tiahura, which is the site of the famous Coco Beach Restaurant. 

An incredibly enjoyable day is to have lunch at Coco Beach, enjoy some Ti’ punches, and then snorkel at the coral garden. Do not miss How to Plan a Perfect Day at Coco Beach if this sounds like your style!

As a snorkeler, I appreciated the snorkeling at Coral Garden Tiahura is shallow, which makes it easy to poke your head around the coral. Visibility was great.

We saw multiple stingrays, schools of fish, and a few blacktip reef sharks from a distance.

Alex Lagoon Tours also takes you to this incredible site as part of their small group tour!

We enjoyed the snorkeling here twice! Check out my mini guide below.

04- Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi

Snorkeling with multiple stingrays at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi

Snorkeling with multiple stingrays at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿

Moorea has yet another coral garden!

Jardin de Corail is located off a private island called Motu Ahi. The owners of the motu allow certain operators to take guests over for snorkeling.

We enjoyed this snorkeling site twice!

This was the last site on our Sea Scooter Tour. We also explored this site independently, when we booked with the family run operation who boats you over for the day.

The current at Jardin de Corail can be strong, so bring your snorkel fins! For this reason, they have put in a rope system around the best sections of coral if you need assistance.

In addition to the roped-off section, there is also a great area to snorkel along the northern edge of the motu. It’s right at the reef drop-off.

We saw several schools of fish, multiple friendly stingrays, a turtle (which is not common), and a few blacktip reef sharks.

One of the highlights was seeing a whitetip reef shark! They are very distinctive with their long slender bodies. These sharks are not aggressive and will move quickly away once they see you.

All the details including maps, photos, etc. can be found in my mini guide below!

05- Hilton Moorea

School of blue-green chromis swimming around the coral heads at Hilton Moorea

School of blue-green chromis at Hilton Moorea

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RATING: 🤿 🤿

You may be surprised by this snorkel rating, but let me explain.

Everywhere I read said some of the best snorkeling was at the Hilton Moorea.

Expectations were high.

Unfortunately, the only day we had a chance to explore this site was on a day when the wind kicked up, and it was a little choppy.

As I said before, this snorkeling guide is subjective, and I can only rate it based on my experience in the water for that day and time.

Because of the ocean conditions, the visibility was not ideal over the high-density coral adjacent to the Hilton. It did get better though as we approached the overwater bungalows.

We enjoyed our time snorkeling and saw one blacktip reef shark and a few smaller schools of fish like blue-green chromis and humbug damselfish.

However, when you compare the Hilton to the snorkeling experience at other sites like the Sofitel, Coral Garden Tiahura, and Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi, it fell short.

Like I said, I’m sure the ocean conditions played a role and I need to give it another chance on a better weather day.

It was fun to explore, but I think if you are short on time, there are better snorkeling sites to check out.

By the way, you do not have to be a Hilton guest to snorkel here. Click my mini guide below for all the details.

Moorea Snorkeling Tours

Playful stingrays in Moorea

Playful stingray at Sharks & Rays Sandbar

We did most of the snorkeling on our own, but there were two small group snorkeling tours we really enjoyed.

They both took a max of 6 and stopped at both popular sites (without the crowds because they timed it right) and sites only accessible by boat.

These two tours do not overlap sites. One takes you to the best sites on the western side of the island, and the other stops at all the best sites on the eastern side. 

Links are below!

→     01- Alex Lagoon Tours: 4 snorkeling sites on the western side

→     02- Moorea Water Games: 3 snorkeling sites on the eastern side

Final Thoughts

We loved Moorea! It reminded me a little of St. John USVI. A DIY island where you find your own adventure. Rent a car, snorkel and hike to your heart’s content, and enjoy some incredible Polynesian food along the way.

Happy snorkeling! 🤿 🐠

If you love this type of detailed snorkeling guide, click on the icon below for all of my snorkeling guides around the world.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

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