Snorkeling at Coral Garden Tiahura Moorea [Reviewed + Rated] 

by | Last updated Jun 29, 2024 | Best Snorkeling French Polynesia, Moorea

My husband and I do many types of vacations, but one of our favorites are what I refer to as “snorkations.” From the Maldives to Bonaire, we have snorkeled quite a few places. We traveled all around French Polynesia searching out the best snorkeling sites. The snorkeling at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea was a solid favorite. Here’s my full review of what to expect.

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Moorea Snorkeling Rating Sytem

I created a snorkeling rating system for all the destinations we have visited. This system is subjective because what you see will depend on factors such as ocean conditions and time of day.

I hope this helps you determine if a snorkeling spot is worth visiting.

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!

Snorkeling at Coral Garden Tiahura

Snorkeling at Sofitel Moorea

Snorkeling with a school of convict surgeonfish at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

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RATING: 🤿 🤿 🤿

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HOW TO GET THERE

How to get to Temae Beach to snorkel

Map of how to get to Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Coral Garden Tiahura cannot be accessed by snorkeling from the shore in Moorea. You will need a means of transportation since it is located off the main island of Moorea.

There are three ways to get there: 1) Coco Beach Restaurant boat, 2) snorkeling tour, or 3) kayak.

We snorkeled at Coral Garden Tiahura twice using options 1 and 2.

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01- Coco Beach Restaurant Boat

Boat ride to Coco Beach

Boat ride to Coco Beach

Coral Garden Tiahura is sandwiched between two motus: Motu Tiahura and Motu Fareone.

Coco Beach Restaurant is located on Motu Tiahura.

A super fun day is to go to Coco Beach, have lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Moorea, and snorkel in the adjacent Coral Garden Tiahura.

Coco Beach Restaurant will arrange a boat to take you from mainland Moorea to Motu Tiahura. They will also drop you back off once you are done.

You need reservations, which can be booked on Coco Beach’s official website.

Check out my guide on How to Plan a Perfect Day at Coco Beach for all the details!

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02- By Snorkeling Tour

Riding in the boat with Alex Lagoon Tours in Moorea

Riding in the boat with Alex Lagoon Tours in Moorea

We also enjoyed Coral Garden Tiahura by joining a snorkeling tour.

So yes, we visited this snorkeling site twice!

I HIGHLY recommend Alex Lagoon Tours if you LOVE small group tours. He only takes a max of 6, so you don’t have a bunch of people smacking you in the face with their fins.

In addition to Coral Garden Tiahura, Alex also takes you to several other fantastic sites including the Sharks & Rays Sandbar. You will love this tour!

See my full tour review for all the details on this excursion.

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03- By Kayak

You can kayak to the site.

We did not do this option. The distance felt a bit too far for my comfort, and I was uncertain about the strength of the current.

Tip Nautic at Hotel Les Tipaniers rents kayaks by the hour.

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Mao of where to Snorkel at Cora Garden Tiahura

Mao of where to snorkel at Coral Garden Tiahura

If you choose the Coco Beach Restaurant boat, they will drop you off at the Coco Beach Restaurant. 

To access the best snorkeling, walk clockwise from the restaurant and head north up the beach.

Once you are about halfway, jump in the water and swim over towards the middle. There are plenty of coral heads to explore.

Some of the best snorkeling though is behind the rocks on the far northern end.

If you choose a snorkeling tour, the boat with dock about a third of the way at Coral Garden Tiahura. When you jump in, you’re right where you need to be.

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SNORKEL ENTRY

Walking along Coco Beach

Easy sandy entry to Coral Garden Tiahura

Entry is easy to get in and out. The bottom is sandy. No sea urchins.

I still wear dive booties because I just feel more protected in case I accidentally step on something sharp. 

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FISH WE SAW

We saw one blacktip reef shark from a distance (in the deeper middle section) and multiple stingrays (by the rocks on the northern end and around Coco Beach Restaurant).

Fish sightings included a school of convict surgeonfish, humbug damselfish, blue-green chromis, brick soldierfish, bird wrasse, whitespotted puffer, redfin butterflyfish, speckled butterflyfish, reticulated butterflyfish, picasso triggerfish, six bar wrasse, lemon peel angelfish, yellow strip goatfish, and blue clams.

You’ll want a GoPro for this snorkeling adventure. Here are all the reasons why this is my favorite underwater camera!

Snorkeling with a sting ray at Sofitel Moorea

Humbug damselfish darting in and out of the coral

Getting caught in a bait ball at Bari Reef in Bonaire

Snorkeling with a school of blue-green chromis at Coral Garden Tiahura

Super close up of bait ball at Bari Reef

Brick soldierfish and blue-green chromis

Feeding stingray at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Feeding stingray 

Whitespotted puffer blending into the coral at Coral Tiahura in Moorea

Whitespotted puffer blending into the coral 

A blacktip shark at Sofitel Moorea

Pair of redfin butterflyfish 

Orangelined triggerfish at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Orangelined triggerfish

Speckled butterflyfish at Coral Garden Tiahura

Speckled butterflyfish 

Spotted moray eel at Bari Reef in Bonaire

Sixbar wrasse 

Snorkeling with a stingray and multiple blacktip sharks

Picasso triggerfish 

Snorkeling with a sting ray at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Stingray cruising the ocean floor 

Beautiful pockets of coral at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Beautiful pockets of coral at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Final Thoughts

We loved snorkeling at Coral Garden Tiahura. The water was shallow with plenty of coral heads to maneuver around, which is ideal for snorkelers.

You can see a variety of fish as well as larger marine life such as blacktip sharks and stingrays.

If I were to compare, the coral garden at Sofitel was a little better, but Coral Garden Tiahura was still a lot of fun to explore.

Enjoy it as one of the sites with Alex Lagoon Tours or make a day of it and book a Coco Beach reservation.

If you are looking for more activities to do in Moorea, do not miss my list of favorite things to do!

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