Scuba Diving French Polynesia – Tahiti
Maeva! Welcome! The islands of Tahiti offer world-class diving and are famous among divers for the large marine life, drift dives, warm and pristine waters, and uncrowded dive sites.
The word evokes visions of an island paradise. With 118 islands boasting high, rugged mountain peaks, coral reefs, turquoise-blue lagoons, white sand, palm-fringed beaches, and luxuriously intimate resorts, each island paradise has something for everyone. Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Taha’a, Raiatea, Manihi, Tikehau, Rangiroa, Fakarava, The Marquesas and the other exquisite Islands of Tahiti cover more than two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean and is comprised of 118 islands and atolls spread over five great archipelagos.
SCUBA DIVING TAHITI
The islands of Tahiti are home to many incredible diving spots around the islands. High quality diving centers are found on more than 12 islands today, on 4 archipelagos.
The islands of Tahiti offer world-class diving and are famous among divers for the large marine life, drift dives, warm and pristine waters, and uncrowded dive sites. The clear lagoons, coral gardens, underwater passes, and oceanic drop-offs all create an abundant aqua-culture with infinite sea life.
The best 6 Islands for scuba diving in French Polynesia: Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Fakarava, Rangiroa, and Mahini.
Tahiti – The lagoon and ocean waters surrounding the island of Tahiti offer spectacular underwater attractions as well as a variety of diving sites. There are sunken shipwrecks,breathtakingly steep drop-offs covered with colored coral fans, coral gardens and much more. Of course there’s an equally rich fauna.
Divers at all levels will easily find plenty to satisfy their curiosity.But Tahiti also offers the opportunity for divers to take advantage of different levels of instruction courses ( CMAS,PADI and SSI…).And,there’s diving for children.
Tahiti Nui is the Big Island,where all international and domestic flights arrive and depart.Tahiti Iti is the Small Island, or peninsula,less known,still very undeveloped and unspoiled.Both the big and the small islands remain little known as visitor destinations.So they’re worth discovering because they still have many surprises to offer.
Moorrea – Tahiti’s sister island,is a 7-minute flight from the Tahiti Faa’a International Airport. Famous for its warm and clear waters, Moorea will surprise you with its abundant underwater fauna. There are turtles, moray eels, triggerfish and much more. The manta rays are often found solitary, but it’s not uncommon to encounter groups of up to 10 swimming in the shallow as well as deep waters and in strong currents running in and out as they feed through the passes in the coral reef. Moorea is internationally known for its shark-feeding. And it’s a special place for watching humpback whales.
Bora Bora – Where nature offers a marvelous underwater world, allows for very specific dives. There are the manta rays and leopard rays that can be visited inside the lagoon. For the more adventurous and experienced, there are spine-tingling dives in the ocean, where one meets a variety of lemon-sharks, black-tipped and gray sharks.
Regardless of your diving level, you can discover in all tranquility an amazing underwater world. Most of the land or water activities offered on Bora Bora allow non-divers to discover the magic of this unforgettable universe. And be sure not to miss one of the world’s most unique sights : the manta rays in Bora Bora’s lagoon all year-round.
Fakarava – Also known as Havaiki Nui is one of the largest atolls in the Tuamotus. Fakarava is a place where you must not forget to dive in Polynesia. It is an untouched world where nesting birds and marine life live in harmony with the land and water. The rich ecosystem is home to rare birds, plants, and crustaceans while the dive sites are virtually undiscovered.
Rangiroa – is the largest coral atoll in French Polynesia (and the second largest in the world) encircling a luminous turquoise and jade-green lagoon and is one of the world’s greatest dive destinations. Rangiroa’s lagoon is world famous for unsurpassed diving, offering exceptional dives to view an underwater world of manta rays, hammerhead sharks, schools of jack fish, barracudas and much more. Far from the hustle and bustle of urban life and situated between the sky and the sea, Rangiroa is a world by itself!
Mahini – The birthplace of the Tahitian cultured pearl, is a diving destination that’s off the beaten track. Among the numerous species of underwater life are the famous marbled rock cod that willingly show up each year after reproducing. Several factors make Manihi an ideal diving site for experienced as well as beginning divers—private sites; a current in its coral reef pass that’s not strong; impressive underwater settings; and a great density and variety of species.
DIVE SEASON: Diving is available, fun & consistent all year round in Tahiti & her islands!
DIVE LEVELS: Note that it all happens within 5 to 25 m (30 – 80 ft) below the surface, for the enjoyment of everyone! However, extreme diving is available (caves, coral tunnel, intense drift diving) for the more experience divers.
WATER TEMPERATURE: The water is warm (26°C = 79°F to 29°C = 84°F)
VISIBILITY: from 30m to 50m, ie 70ft up to 150ft),
CLIMATE: There are two seasons: from November through April the climate is warmer and more humid, with daily high temperatures of about 85 F and lows of 70F at night. More rain falls during the warmer season, but there are also many lovely sunny days with refreshing trade-winds during these months. From May through October the climate is cooler and drier with daily high temperatures of about 82F and lows of 70F at night
LANGUAGE: Tahitian and French are the main languages spoken throughout French Polynesia. English is widely spoken is tourist areas.
TIME ZONE: Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawaii, and is two hours behind the West Cost during Pacific Standard Time, and is located south of the Equator
ELECTRICITY: Hotels use either 110 or 220 volts, depending on the location. A converter/adapter is often required for appliances you bring, including computers.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The Pacific French Franc (CFP) is the currency used in French Polynesia. US dollars and euros are widely accepted in the islands, although at a less favorable exchange rate than at banks. For exchange and cash advances, international banks can be found in downtown Papeete, at Fa’a Airport, and throughout the frequently visited islands. Hotels will also exchange US dollar, but at a less favorable exchange rate. Major credit cards (American Express, Visa and MasterCard) are accepted at hotels, most restaurants and shops on larger islands. However, you may find that credit cards are not widely accepted on smaller islands such as Huahine, Rangiroa, Tikehau, and Manihi. Traveler checks are widely accepted. Generally, a better exchange rate is given for traveler checks than for cash. There are a few ATM machines available on the main islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, which you may use with your debit or major credit cards.
TAXES: There is no sales tax in Tahiti. However, a special 6% reduced rate Value Added Tax (VAT) applies to all rented accommodations (hotel rooms, pensions and family stays), and room and meal packages — both American Plan (3 meals) and Modified American Plan (breakfast and dinner). A 5% VAT is added for room tax. A 16% VAT rate applies to purchases in shops, stores and boutiques. A 10% VAT rate applies to bars, excursions, car rentals, snacks and restaurants involving meals not included in a room-meal package.
GRATUITES: Tipping is not customary in Polynesian culture and is not expected. However, tipping is welcomed for exemplary service.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Direct dialing international calls is available in most hotels and phone booths. Phone cards are easily purchased in Tahiti. When calling from the U.S. to Tahiti, dial 011 and then the country code of 689 along with the local number. Your cell phone with U.S. service may not work in Tahiti depending on the type of phone you have and your service provider. Internet is widely available but speeds may be slow.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: All travelers must present a valid passport to board a flight to French Polynesia. Your first and last name on your passport must match your international air tickets. You will also be asked to present your passport to clear “Customs” in French Polynesia and upon return from French Polynesia. Your passport must be valid for 180 days beyond your return date. U.S. and Canadian citizens only need a valid passport and do not need a VISA to enter French Polynesia. Citizens of all other countries may need a VISA in addition to a valid passport and should consult the nearest French Consulate or French Embassy as early as possible. It can take several weeks to obtain a VISA. It is solely the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that all needed documents are complete and up to date for valid entry into the country.
DEPARTURE TAX: No departure tax in French Polynesia
CUSTOMS: All items brought in by travelers for their personal use are duty-free, provided they are non-prohibited items and are re-exported out of French Polynesia within six months. These include 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars; 50 grams of perfume; 500 grams of coffee; 100 grams of tea; 2 liters of alcohol.
GETTING THERE: French Polynesia is easily accessible by air from most parts of the world including the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Easter Island. Air Tahiti Nui is the primary flight carrier servicing Tahiti from North America, including daily flights from Los Angeles and weekly flights from New York. Weekly flights are also available from Los Angeles on Air France and from Honolulu on Hawaiian
Airlines. All international air traffic pass through Faaa Airport in Papeete on Tahiti. Flying time is approximately 8 hours from Los Angeles, 13 hours from New York, and 5 hours from Hawaii
Transportation Between The Islands Of Tahiti: Air Tahiti, a sister company to Air Tahiti Nui, offers the primary mode of service between the islands, including regular inter-island flight service to 46 islands from Tahiti. Inter-island travel by boat is less common and frequent. The islands of Moorea and Huahine can be reached by ferry or catamaran service from Tahiti. Weekly departures are offered to Huahine and daily service is offered between Tahiti and Moorea. Travel time between Tahiti and Moorea by ferry is approximately 30 minutes one way.
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