Snorkeling at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi [Reviewed + Rated] 

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

My husband and I are snorkeling enthusiasts! We travel to snorkel. Ok, and maybe to drink wine too. Our latest adventure brought us to French Polynesia to find the best snorkeling sites. The island of Moorea has some of the best. Here’s my personal experience of what to expect snorkeling at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi. 

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Moorea Snorkeling Rating Sytem

When you start snorkeling at so many sites, you cannot help but compare them. I created a snorkeling rating system to help differentiate the spots we have visited.

The rating system is subjective because what you see can vary on ocean conditions, time of year, and even the time of year. It should give you though a general sense of what to expect.

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 Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi

Snorkeling at Sofitel Moorea

Snorkeling with a stingray, threadfin butterflyfish, and banded sergeants 

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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 Jardin de Corail in Moorea

Jardin de Corail (Coral Garden) is not located on the mainland of Moorea. It’s located adjacent to Motu Ahi, which is a short boat ride from the eastern side of Moorea.

There are two ways to get to Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi: 1) by personal boat or 2) by snorkeling tour.

We did both.

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01- By Personal Boat

Boat ride to Coco Beach

Boating over to Motu Ahi to snorkel Jardin de Corail

One thing to know is Motu Ahi is a private island, but the owners allow certain companies to take tourists over to the motu.

Type in “Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi” on Google Maps.

Google will take you where you need to park and jump in the boat.

There’s a sign on the side of the road labeled “Jardin de Corail” alerting you where to park.

Boat ride to Coco Beach

Jardin de Corail roadside sign 

Once you park, walk inside the adjacent building, and a very nice French lady will complete your booking.

Boat ride to Coco Beach

Pay at the building and then boat over to Motu Ahi

Hours are 9 am – 4 pm. Cost is 3800 xpf per person (~$34 USD). Cash only.

This snorkeling operation is family-owned and run by a father and two sons. Once we paid for transport, the nice French lady called one of the brothers to boat us over.

One brother was the boat’s captain, and the second brother was our guide for the day. They were super nice and took good care of us.

Ten minutes later we arrived on Motu Ahi’s boat dock ready for our snorkeling adventure!

Boat ride to Coco Beach

Motu Ahi as seen from the Moorea mainland

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02- By Snorkeling Tour

Riding in the boat with Alex Lagoon Tours in Moorea

On our Moorea Water Games Sea Scooter Tour

The second way to snorkel Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi is by joining a snorkeling tour.

My husband and I booked a really fun sea scooter snorkeling tour that started from the Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort.

By the way, do not miss the snorkeling at the Sofitel too! I have written a full snorkeling guide of what to expect that’s worth a read.

One of the stops on the sea scooter tour is Motu Ahi.

This was my first time snorkeling with a sea scooter. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we had so much fun jetting around the coral.

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Mao of where to Snorkel at Cora Garden Tiahura

Map of where to snorkel at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi

There are two sections to snorkel.

One is an area clearly marked with ropes and buoys (see photo below) on the eastern side of the motu. The ropes are there if you need help pulling yourself against the current.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Bouys marking where to snorkel at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi in Moorea

When we went with the brothers, I definitely needed to use this rope. We happened to pick a day and time when the current was quite strong. I was very thankful for the extra assistance.

Our safari ranger and tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge

Rope comes in handy on a strong current day

The water was super calm and easy to navigate during the second time we went on the sea scooter tour.

Of course, we had the sea scooters, which made snorkeling seamless. It’s kinda like an E-bike but for the water.

Too bad we didn’t have the sea scooters on the strong current day!

The second snorkel section is along the northern part of the island by the reef drop-off. Snorkel counterclockwise along the reef drop-off until you reach the boat dock.

See the snorkel map above for orientation. 

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SNORKEL ENTRY

Walking along Coco Beach

This stingray couldn’t get enough of my husband

Entering the water is easy, but it is a little rocky.

I wore my dive booties.

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FISH WE SAW

We saw several blacktip reef sharks and one whitetip reef shark, which I was super excited to see! Whitetip reef sharks are so distinctive with their long slender bodies.

If you love sharks, do not miss the Sharks & Rays Sandbar, which is yet another great snorkeling spot to check out in Moorea.

We also saw several stingrays, which are like little puppy dogs following you around. Super friendly. I think my husband was their favorite because they would not leave him alone.

Our guide also pointed out a turtle near the reef drop-off, which was a big surprise. He said that’s not a common sighting there, so we felt lucky to see one.

Fish sightings included threadfin butterflyfish, banded sergeants, scissor tail sergeants, checkerboard wrasse, six bar wrasse, convict surgeonfish, blue-green chromis, whitespotted puffer, picasso triggerfish, bluefin trevally, Moorish idol, and yellowstripe goatfish.

Do not forget your GoPro for this snorkeling adventure. Here are my reasons why this is my favorite underwater camera!

Snorkeling with a sting ray at Sofitel Moorea

Blue-green chromis at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi in Moorea

Getting caught in a bait ball at Bari Reef in Bonaire

Whitetip reef shark cruising around

Super close up of bait ball at Bari Reef

Beautiful coral at the reef drop-off at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi 

Feeding stingray at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Threadfin butterflyfish and banded sergeants 

Whitespotted puffer blending into the coral at Coral Tiahura in Moorea

Blacktip reef sharks 

A blacktip shark at Sofitel Moorea

Swimming with stingrays 

Orangelined triggerfish at Coral Garden Tiahura in Moorea

Whitespotted puffer

Speckled butterflyfish at Coral Garden Tiahura

Bluefin trevally

Spotted moray eel at Bari Reef in Bonaire

Convict surgeonfish and turtle swimming along the reef drop-off at Jardin de Corail 

Scissor-tail sergeants at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi

Scissor-tail sergeants

Snorkeling with multiple stingrays at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi

Snorkeling with multiple stingrays 

Snorkeling with a stingray at Jardin de Corail

Sea Scooter Tour with a stingray

Final Thoughts

We loved our time snorkeling at Jardin de Corail du Motu Ahi, but I would strongly advise only snorkeling when the water is calm. It was a little rough when we went out the first time, which made me thankful for those ropes and my longer fins.

There were some schools of fish, but the highlight was the sharks and stingrays.

On the way back, stop at Restaurant La Grande Voile for a delicious poke bowl, one of my favorite restaurants in Moorea.

If you are looking for more fun activities, don’t miss my article on all the best things to do in Moorea!

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