Snorkeling with Shark and Rays in Moorea [Reviewed and Rated] 

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

The hubby and I are avid snorkelers. We have been all over the world discovering the best sites from the Maldives to Bonaire, and French Polynesia is one of our favorite destinations! Snorkeling with sharks and rays in Moorea is one of the more unique experiences we have done. It was one of our favorite things to do in Moorea! Here’s our firsthand account of this incredible encounter.

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Moorea Snorkeling Rating Sytem

I have created a snorkeling rating system that rates all of the sites we visit from 1-5 🤿.

Of course, the rating system is subjective because what you see depends on a lot of factors such as the ocean conditions and time of day.

Hopefully, though this gives you a sense of the overall experience of a specific snorkeling site.

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 with Sharks & Rays in Moorea

Snorkeling at Sofitel Moorea

Snorkeling with blacktip sharks and stingrays 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 where to snorkel with Sharks & Rays in Moorea

One thing to know is the Sharks & Ray Experience is located on a sandbank in the middle of the lagoon on the northwestern side of the island.

On Google Maps, it’s labeled as “Banc de sable Raies et requins.” See the map above.

You can actually stand in the water! I’m 5’2” and the water was about chest deep.

There are two ways to access this sandbank: kayak or snorkeling tour. 

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01- By Kayak

You can kayak to the sandbar from Hotel Les Tipaniers.

Rent a kayak from Tip Nautic, which is the Water Activities Center on the hotel property.

A single kayak costs 1000 xpf per hour (~$9 USD), and a double kayak costs 1500 xpf per hour (~$13 USD). Once you kayak to the sandbar, there are buoys where you can attach a kayak.

Yeah, so my husband and I did not do this option.

We have done a few ocean kayaking experiences: Petite Clef in St. Martin and Benagil Cave in the Algarve, Portugal. Kayaking to Benagil Cave and navigating the waves to get in and out was challenging.

I wasn’t sure how the Benagil Cave experience was going to compare to kayaking to the sandbar, so we passed on this option.

If you have done the kayak option, please let me know in the comments below!

Was it difficult? How easy is it to get in and out of the kayak to snorkel once you get there? I heard you kayak with the current going out and against the current coming back.

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02- By Snorkeling Tour

Temae Beach parking in Moorea

Close-up of a friendly stingray

We chose this option!

My husband and I booked a small group snorkeling tour with Alex Lagoon Tours. Best decision ever!

Alex keeps it to a max of 6, which is so important for a great experience.

There’s nothing worse than those big snorkeling tours where you are getting smacked in the face by someone’s fins because everyone is on top of each other.

Alex takes you to several other incredible snorkeling sites, but the Sharks & Rays Sandbar is one of them. I also appreciate that he times the tour just right, so there are very few boats during your experience.

He knows how to avoid the crowds. Don’t miss my full review of this incredible tour.

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WHERE TO SNORKEL

Map of where to snorkel at Temae Beach near Sofitel

Sharks & Rays Sandbar in Moorea

Alex drops you off right where you need to be. You can see fellow snorkelers standing on the sandbank in the photo above.

We were instructed on proper behavior when interacting with the sharks and rays.

For example, keep your hands close to your body when the blacktip sharks are close. You do not want them mistaking your hand for a floppy distressed fish. Obviously, do not chase them. Just observe and enjoy the experience!

There are a few coral heads to poke your head around, but you are really going for the unique close encounter with the sharks and rays.

If you are looking for beautiful coral, then check out the snorkeling at Sofitel!

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SNORKEL ENTRY

Snorkeling entry at the northern end of Temae Beach

Walking along the sandy bottom and interacting with playful stingrays in Moorea

The entry is easy when you go on a snorkeling tour.

Just hop off the boat and walk/snorkel along the sandy bottom. I still wear dive booties because I like to keep my feet protected, but plenty of people go barefoot.

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FISH WE SAW

My husband and I saw multiple blacktip sharks and sting rays. I was continuously turning around because there was one after the other.

The blacktip sharks got surprisingly close, but I never felt nervous and worried. They were curious but never aggressive. We were clearly not on their menu.

The stingrays, on the other hand, were like little puppy dogs. They were constantly in need of attention and brushing up on us in a friendly way.

We also saw several types of fish including banded sergeants, threadfin butterflyfish, leatherjacks, long nosed emperors, and surgeonfish.

I’m glad I had a full battery on my GoPro because every time I turned around there was some great action shot by a curious shark or friendly ray!

I hope my personal pics give you a sense of what you can expect from this magical encounter.

Snorkeling with a sting ray at Sofitel Moorea

Snorkeling with blacktip sharks and stingrays in Moorea

Getting caught in a bait ball at Bari Reef in Bonaire

A friendly stingray

Super close up of bait ball at Bari Reef

These stingrays had no sense of personal space, lol

Adorable white spotted puffer at Sofitel Moorea

Close up snorkeling with a blacktip shark 

Filefish at Bari Reef in Bonaire

Snorkeling with stingrays, banded sergeants, and threadfin butterflyfish 

A blacktip shark at Sofitel Moorea

Snorkeling with blacktips and fish in crystal clear water

Pair of ornate butterflyfish at Sofitel Moorea

Snorkeling with friendly stingrays and sharks

Beautiful blacktip reef shark at the Sharks and Rays Sandbar in Moorea

Curious blacktip shark 

Spotted moray eel at Bari Reef in Bonaire

Swimming with multiple stingrays in Moorea

Snorkeling with a stingray and multiple blacktip sharks

Snorkeling with a stingray and multiple blacktip sharks

Final Thoughts

The Sharks & Rays Experience was so much fun and not to be missed!

Kayak or join a highly-rated snorkeling tour. If you decide on a tour, book Alex Lagoon Tours if you love small groups without the crowds.

After your tour, grab lunch at Snack Mahana, which is one of our favorite Moorea restaurants! Order the poisson cru or seared tuna. One of the best meals we had in French Polynesia. 

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Questions about our experience snorkeling with sharks and rays in Moorea?

Let me know in the comments below!

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