Scuba Diving in Rangiroa and Fakarava: A Guide to Diving in Paradise

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Found within the Tuamotu Islands, Rangiroa and Fakarava are world-renowned for their sensational dive sites, beautiful coral reefs, and large lagoons.

Hidden in the depths of French Polynesia, this cluster of remote islands offers, in our opinion, some of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. Also waiting for you on these unique islands are adventures, activities, snorkeling, and wonderful weather.

If it’s not on your bucket list already then keep reading. Let us guide you through these beautiful islands in Tahiti as we explore “Scuba Diving Paradise”.

A Quick Overview:

  • What are the Rangriora and Fakarava Islands?
  • Learn about Rangiroa Island
  • The Best Time to Visit Rangiroa
  • Scuba Diving in Rangiroa
  • Learn about Fakarava Island
  • The Best Time to Visit Fakarava
  • Scuba Diving at Fakarava

What are the Rangriora and Fakarava Islands?

Rangiroa is a huge atoll and is a mecca for scuba diving. The lagoon surrounding the atoll has a depth of up to 80 meters, making it a perfect place for diving enthusiasts to explore the diverse marine life available.

Fakarava, on the other hand, is often called the ‘biosphere reserve of French Polynesia,’ for good reason. It is protected in order to conserve its natural beauty, rare marine life and resources that can be found there. This atoll is home to a large variety of fish, coral, and other marine life.

With over 50 dive sites between them, these two idyllic islands offer something truly unique and special for all abilities.

Learn about Rangiroa Island

Views of fish from Scuba Diving underwater

Rangiroa is the world’s second largest atoll, located in French Polynesia’s Tuamotu Islands. “Tuamotu” translates as a “remote island”, and it holds true to its name. You get the full Robinson Crusoe experience here.

It’s so large, in reality, that you could place the whole island of Tahiti within and still have plenty of space left. The lagoon can be reached through the Tiputa and Avatoru mountains. It is so big that it has its own climate and horizons (now that’s impressive!).

The atoll comprises around 400 tiny Motu (islets) connected through passages to gain access. With almost 3,000 people residing in communities along the crossings that are linked via the passages. It really is a unique area to visit.

The crystal clear water makes the visibility below exceptional for diving. The water temperature in Rangiroa is warm and perfect for swimming, making it a great place for divers and snorkelers to explore.

There is an abundance of tropical fish and marine life to be found, including manta rays, sharks, turtles, and a huge variety of reef fish. Divers of all levels can find something to enjoy here. From your first dive in easy shallow water to more challenging deep-water dives for experienced divers.

The Best Time to Visit Rangiroa

Scuba diving with a large brown turtle

We all want to get the best weather when heading on our dream vacation, however, as we all know, the weather can’t always be predicted. However, visiting Rangiroa at the best time of year gives you a really great chance of getting it perfect.

The months of April through November are the most pleasant in Rangiroa, with visibility and conditions being the best at this time of year.

The weather is generally hot, with December, January, and February being the wettest months. Although if you don’t mind a little rain, this can be a great time to visit as there are fewer tourists around

Scuba Diving in Rangiroa

Scuba diving images of white sea anemone

Called “The Lost Paradise” by the 1000 Trek team and others around the world, diving here is one of the most popular tourist attractions with multiple dive sites waiting to be explored.

The number of sharks, eels, dolphins, and other reef species in this region is astounding. With coral reefs in abundance, the wildlife is some of the best viewing in the world.

In Rangiroa, tourists get this opportunity to swim with sharks in the open water. However, feeding or baiting is banned to preserve their habitat. Although it is permissible to lure them by dispersing a fish “scent” in the sea at a fixed distance from the shore making sightings sustainable for both the sharks and tourists.

Rangiroa is one of the few spots on the planet where you can swim with dolphins in their natural habitat. This is our idea of a perfect vacation!

After a long day of diving, Rangiroa is the perfect place to head back to your hotel for a beer, fresh fish, and a chat with other guests about your top dive of the day.

About Fakarava Island

Scuba diving views of a turtle out at sea

Fakarava island is also part of the Tuamotu archipelago, these islands are famous worldwide because of the presence of different Shark species!

Ever laid on a pink sand beach? Fakarava is home to beautiful beaches that offer a relaxing space after a busy day in the water. With coconut trees on every corner, and delicious fresh cuisine, this area of French Polynesia is unique with the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.

Fakarava is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is home to a huge variety of marine life. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to dive here; not only does it have a huge variety of marine life, it has an extremely interesting internal lagoon. (Can you tell how much we love the Tuamotu islands?)

As previously noted, the lagoon here is actually so large it has its own climate and horizons. It is a popular spot for divers because of the abundance of marine life, including sharks, manta rays, turtles, and dolphins.

The Best Time to Visit Fakarava

A scuba diving photo of marine species under water

The coral reefs of Fakarava are a treat due to the wonderful marine life we mentioned above, but depending on your marine interests, there are times of the year that boast the best sightings of marine animals.

You can dive in Fakarava year-round, however, manta rays are more common from July onwards (in case you’d like to catch a sight!). So if you’re after viewing a manta ray, July could be your month of adventure and great diving.

Fancy a day trip viewing some of the fantastic breeds of sharks such as black-tipped reef sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, and grey reef sharks? Then head to Fakarava in June and July as the sharks flock in their hundreds to the grouper breeding. Now that’s an exciting dive.

Scuba Diving at Fakarava

A scuba diving photo of tasselled wobbegong in a coral reef

Fakarava, AKA Shark Paradise, is a diver’s paradise that is visited year-on-year due to its well-protected marine activity across multiple dive sites.

Fakarava houses some fascinating species of plankton. The plankton that grow inside the lagoons escape through organic gateways and attract a large variety of marine species such as sharks and fishes of all shapes and sizes, making it a marine lover’s heaven.

It has two beautiful passes and a vast and diverse lagoon. The lagoon’s primary gate, Passe Garuae, and the lagoon’s southern doorway, Tumakohua, are the two most significant crossings in French Polynesia. The Garuae Pass and The Tumakohua Pass are on opposing sides of Fakarava’s internal lagoon.

Let’s take a look at our two favorite sites for diving in Fakarava:

The Garuae Pass

The Garuae Pass stretches for almost a mile and is known worldwide for its biodiversity. Due to the high currents of this area, divers must have prior experience diving in tides, due to shallow water and depths ranging from 20 to 40 meters.

The diving experience at this spot often holds a surprise, and large pelagic fish, like the famed Raira (grey reef shark), might emerge at any time.

Sharks, reef sharks, rockfish, wrasses, and pilot whales might all be visible to scuba divers in the Garuae pass.

If you want to experience something a little different, night dives are also available. They are a great way to see the nocturnal marine life that comes out to play once the sun goes down.

The Tumakohua Pass

The shark population in this spectacular pass near the atoll’s southern end is well-known. At 28 meters, scores of grey reef sharks (up to 300 sharks on single dive!) may be spotted along the top right of the pass while the tides begin flowing in.

Many tiny and large freshwater fish, notably bigeyes and marbled groupers, may be found at the pass’s opening. Other specialties are white-sand gullies, which are frequented by white-tipped reef sharks, and flourishing coral structures in the shallow area near the completion of the dive.

The Tumakohua Pass provides spectacular underwater views in addition to fun drift diving, allowing the power of the sea to take you on your diving adventure.

Whether you’re interested in diving in the Garuae Pass or the Tumakohua Pass, both offer unique experiences that you won’t soon forget.

With such an array of diving experiences on offer and remarkable sea life, Fakarava is one diving destination that should be on every scuba diver’s bucket list!

In a nutshell, Rangiroa and Fakarava are really some of the best scuba diving spots in Tahiti you can see! Both locations are at the top of the list to experience the marine biodiversity, the clear blue lagoons, and the general calm and serenity of the area.

So if you’re looking for an amazing and memorable diving experience, head to Rangiroa and Fakarava in French Polynesia – you won’t regret it!

So, what are you waiting for?!

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