Snorkeling at Hilton Moorea Lagoon [Reviewed + Rated] 

by | Last updated Jun 27, 2024 | Best Snorkeling French Polynesia, Moorea

My husband and I are avid snorkelers and have enjoyed many “snorkations” all over the world. We drove around the island to discover the best snorkeling sites. Snorkeling is our #1 thing to do in Moorea! We kept hearing that snorkeling at Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa was one of the best spots on the island, so we checked it out. Here’s our review if it lived up to the hype.

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Moorea Snorkeling Rating System

All of my snorkeling guides have my personal snorkel rating. This rating system of course is subjective. You cannot predict what you will see. Ocean conditions, time of year, and time of day will all influence your marine life sightings.  

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!

Hilton Morea Snorkeling

Popping out of the water while snorkeling at Hilton Moorea

Popping out of the water while snorkeling at Hilton Moorea

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RATING: 🤿 🤿

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HOW TO GET THERE

Parking to snorkel at the Hilton Moorea

Parking to snorkel at the Hilton Moorea

Before our trip, I researched how to snorkel the reef near the Hilton WITHOUT being a hotel guest.

You may find it interesting to know you do not have to stay at the Hilton to snorkel the reef.

We stayed in an overwater bungalow in French Polynesia before, which is beautiful! This time, however, we decided to stay at an incredible Vrbo rental.

Since we were not Hilton guests, I contacted Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa to see if we could walk through the property with our travel snorkeling gear to snorkel for a few hours. We did not want to use their facilities.

Guest Services reached back out and said it was possible by reserving a Day Pass, which was available Monday – Friday (not on weekends).

The Day Pass included access to the swimming pool, snorkeling gear, kayaks, paddle boards, towels, a two-course lunch, and a soft drink. The cost was 10,300 xpf (~$92 USD per person).

We have done these day passes before for reef access like when we snorkeled Bari Reef in Bonaire, but that only cost $25 per person. Since we just wanted to snorkel, $180+ for 2 was a steep price.

Was it possible to snorkel to the reef from a public access point?  

Yes!

If you are driving towards the Hilton from the airport, the ocean will be on your right. 

Before you reach the Hilton, there is a wide sandy patch on the right side of the road with plenty of room for several cars to park.

See the parking photo above and the satellite map below.

You will see Hilton’s overwater bungalows in the distance to the left as you are facing the ocean.

Park here and remember to take everything with you to avoid any break-ins. I bring my Ugo anytime I shore snorkel to store my keys, credit card, and phone.

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

A map of our snorkel path at Hilton Moorea

A map of our snorkel path at Hilton Moorea

I love satellite views because you can see where the highest density of coral is located. 

If you look at a satellite view of the Hilton, you’ll notice the densest area of coral is to the right of the overwater bungalows if you are facing the ocean.

Once we parked, we walked down a set of stone steps into the water.

Then we snorkeled straight out and veered left towards the overwater bungalows.

We made a little circle back to our starting point.

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SNORKEL ENTRY

How to enter to access the Hilton Moorea reef

How to enter to access the Hilton Moorea reef

It was a little rocky where we entered, so definitely wear dive booties!

We had to walk through some sargassum, which isn’t the most pleasant, but it was a windier day.

Other than that, the entry was easy.

Because it was a little windy, snorkeling out to the bungalows was a workout but doable. If you have the choice, picking a day with less wind is always going to be best.

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FISH WE SAW

As we chatted about earlier, what you see in our beautiful underwater world depends on several factors like ocean conditions and time of day.

There was only one day when we had the chance to snorkel at the Hilton Moorea, and that day happened to be a little windy.

Wind causes choppier water which then causes fine sand particles and sargassum to float around. These conditions affect visibility.

Although this wasn’t the ideal day, we still enjoyed snorkeling around the coral heads and around the overwater bungalows.

We saw a lot of blue -green chromis, humbug damselfish, butterflyfish, a white spotted puffer, and a blacktip reef shark.

The white spotted puffer loves to hang out around the pillars of the overwater bungalows. That’s usually where we saw them too when we snorkeled at Le Meridien and Reethi Faru in the Maldives.

Snorkeling with a school of humbug damselfish and blue-green chromis at the Hilton Moorea

Snorkeling with a school of humbug damselfish and blue-green chromis at the Hilton Moorea

A white spotted puffer hanging out by the overwater bungalows at Hilton Moorea

White spotted puffer hanging out by the overwater bungalows at Hilton Moorea

A whitespotted puffer at Hilton Moorea

White spotted puffer 

Snorkeling with a blacktip shark at Hilton Moorea

A blacktip shark seen in the high density of coral to the right of Hilton Moorea’s overwater bungalows 

Pair of butterflyfish at Hilton Moorea

Butterflyfish at Hilton Moorea

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

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

Snorkeling over coral heads at the Hilton in Moorea

Snorkeling over coral heads at Hilton Moorea

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed our snorkeling experience at the Hilton Moorea, but I’m sure it would have been much better on a less windy day.

As we got closer to the overwater bungalows, the water clarity was a little better since there was less chop.

However, visibility by the high density of coral heads (where we saw the blacktip shark) was not great. You can see the silty water and sargassum in the last snorkeling photo.

If I were to compare the Hilton and the Sofitel, the snorkeling at Sofitel was much better! But again this may not be a fair comparison since our snorkeling conditions were not ideal at the Hilton.

I’ll have to give the Hilton another try on a better day! Or if there’s a better area to snorkel that I missed, please let me know in the comments below.

If you are looking for more snorkeling sites on Moorea, do not miss the Sharks & Rays Sandbar!

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