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Aquatic activities

Scuba diving in Polynesia

What should you bring?

  • The ocean temperature is approximately 25°C from May to October (pack a 5.5 mm wetsuit) and 30°C during the rest of the year (3 mm diving shorts are sufficient but a full wetsuit is recommended for better protection against coral cuts).
  • Your diver certification card, proof of medical insurance and scuba certifications: Before you leave, we recommend that you take out an additional personal injury insurance policy that will cover the costs of repatriation if the need arises.

Most diving centres provide diving gear free-of-charge. We recommend that underwater photographers bring a camera with a wide-angle lens for close-ups of sharks, manta rays, dolphins, whales, etc.
Air Tahiti, the local air carrier, allows 5kg of excess baggage per diver upon presentation of a certification card at check-in.

Required diver level

Most dives can be made by divers with a Level 1 or Open Water certificate, authorising you to dive to depth of 29 metres. For beginners or non-certified divers, try-dives or training courses are available at all diving centres (it takes 2 to 3 days to achieve Level 1 or Scuba Diver and 4 to 5 days for Open Water certification).

More experienced divers will find things to satisfy their curiosity at every depth and in every island, as French Polynesia offers a wide variety of diving sites. However, it is important to know how to control buoyancy, especially in the Tuamotus where the point of entry is often deep ocean with potentially strong currents.


Any internationally recognised certification (AOI, CMAS, ANMP, CEDIP, FFESSM, SSI, NAUI, etc. ) is acceptable. Divers must present their training certificate, proof of medical insurance (not compulsory but highly recommended) and a diver certification card when signing up at a diving centre. Most diving centres offer training at all levels as well as CMAS and PADI specialities.

Diving Centre Practical information

Free transfer between the hotel/guest house and the centre. Most diving instructors are bilingual French/English and some speak a little Japanese, German and Spanish. A few diving centres offer dives using Nitrox or Trimix breathing gas or closed circuit rebreathers. The diving centres as well as their divers have insurance cover against third-party liability.


Tahiti has a multiple bed hyperbaric chamber at Taaone Hospital in Tahiti. A specially trained emergency team is constantly standing by. Should an emergency arise on one of the islands, rapid response medical evacuation is provided by a special aircraft.
All diving centres are licensed by the Government of French Polynesia and equipped with oxygen therapy devices. Diving centres are also equipped and trained for emergencies.
For reasons related to decompression, divers cannot board an aircraft after scuba diving for at least 12 hours (24 hours are required before boarding an international flight, irrespective of the aircraft used).

Fish and marine mammals sighted all year round

Pelagic thresher sharks, reef sharks, sandbar sharks, lemon sharks, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, rainbow runners, sea turtles, Napoleon fish, spotted eagle rays, common eagle rays, barracudas, moray eels, manta rays and other tropical fish.

  • June: Grouper spawn in Fakarava.
  • June to October: Abundance of manta rays.
  • July to November: Humpback whales.
  • December to March: Abundance of hammerhead sharks and schools of eagle rays.