Black, white, and yellow fish above lush coral in the lagoon of the French Polynesia.

Moorea Snorkeling: Top Tours, Spots & Info

Looking for the best Moorea Snorkeling spots?

We spent two entire months living in French Polynesia, and the first place we spent significant time was the island of Moorea.

Moorea is a huge island just a few kilometers from Tahiti. While living there, we loved hiking, eating local food, and staying in our first overwater bungalows. Still, one of our favorite things about the island was under the ocean’s surface.

The snorkeling spots in Moorea provide unreal visibility and tons of marine life, making it one of the best places in the world to go snorkeling.

Watching Down The Road In Cook's Bay Moorea

Whether you want to book a professional snorkeling tour in Moorea or jump into the lagoon right outside you’re overwater bungalow, we can help.

We’ll share all the best snorkeling spots in Moorea and which snorkeling tours are worth the price. Here’s everything you need to know for a successful Moorea Snorkeling experience.


Snorkeling In Moorea

Whether it’s your first time exploring under the sea or you’re a seasoned snorkeler, you should absolutely put snorkeling on your Moorea travel itinerary.

It’s one of the best places in the world to go snorkeling, and Moorea caters to all skill levels.

If you’re a beginner, booking a snorkeling tour is a good idea. The tour guide can help you get the hang of using the gear and show you the best parts of the reef for seeing fish and incredible coral formations.

Snorkeling tours in Moorea also provide all snorkeling equipment, hotel pick-up, and sometimes a meal, so you’ll have less to worry about logistically and can spend more time enjoying the ocean.

Either way, in the lagoons around Moorea, you’ll get to swim alongside friendly black-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and an absurd amount of other tropical fish.


Best Snorkeling Tours In Moorea

If you’re hoping to book a guided snorkeling tour, we’ve included a few of the highest-rated options in Moorea. Here is the best full-day snorkeling tour in Moorea, a half-day tour, and even a night snorkeling option for a more unique experience.

Best Overall Tour – 6 hour Snorkeling & Lunch Tour

The best overall snorkeling Tour in Moorea is this full-day tour with Moorea Miti Tours.

Once aboard the boat (a traditional Polynesian Outrigger Canoe), they will take you to either Cook’s Bay or Opunohu Bay, two of Moorea’s most coveted snorkeling spots.

The underwater experience is incredible, but so many people love this tour because of the hospitality and care along the way. Each tour group has multiple guides known for their humor, engagement, and helpfulness, which creates a unique and memorable experience.

snorkeling in moorea near overwater bungalow

They even cap the tour at 12 people to ensure you can get a personalized experience.

The full-day excursion lasts for 6 hours. You’ll have the chance to swim with stingrays, black-tip reef sharks, and loads of fish.

After snorkeling for a couple of hours, you’ll take a break on a small private motu (islet), where the tour guides will give you a private cooking lesson on French Polynesia’s traditional dish, Poisson Cru.

The cost of the tour includes a BBQ lunch, all required snorkeling equipment, and free hotel pickup and drop-off.

Ratings = 5/5 (1,024 Reviews)
Duration = 6 hours (Full-Day Tour)
Hotel Pick up/Drop off?
= Yes

Best Private Tour – Private Half-Day Tour

This private Half-Day Tour with Voila Moorea offers an intimate and personalized snorkeling experience in Moorea.

On board a private catamaran, you’ll explore the vibrant underwater coral gardens and swim alongside manta rays, tropical fish, and sharks. You’ll also get to see a one-of-a-kind underwater tiki stone.

The tour provides all of the necessary snorkeling gear, and an experienced captain knows where to find the most active marine life each day, depending on the current, so you’re sure to see a lot of fish and genuinely enjoy the day.

The tour has all snacks and drinks (including cocktails), plus complimentary transfers to/from your hotel.

Although there are no meals on this tour, the private atmosphere and tailored service make it ideal for couples on a romantic holiday to honeymoon in French Polynesia.

Ratings = 5/5 (55 reviews)
Duration = 4 hours (half day)
Hotel Pick up/Drop off? = Yes

Best Night Snorkel Tour – Night Snorkeling

Of all the snorkeling tours in Moorea, this is the most unique experience, allowing you to explore the lagoon after dark and encounter night active sharks, eels, various species of fish, and intriguing crustaceans.

It’s not for beginners, but for those who’ve snorkeled before, this tour is awesome.

You’ll go with an expert guide and have an underwater flashlight to help you see how the ocean comes to life at night.

People snorkeling at night in Moorea

The tour provides all necessary snorkeling gear and refreshments, including water and tea or coffee, and it’s always a small group tour, so you’ll feel safe throughout the tour.

The tour starts at 6:00 pm each night on Temae Beach, which is easy to reach from most resorts in Moorea and runs for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. So you’ll still have time for dinner afterward.

Ratings = 5/5 (82 reviews)
Duration = 1 hour 30 minutes
Hotel Pick up/Drop off? = No


Top Snorkeling Spots In Moorea

If you prefer snorkeling in Moorea without a tour,  there are plenty of beaches and snorkeling spots in Moorea you can visit on your own.

Just remember to bring your snorkeling gear because there are no rental shops on the beach (sometimes the resorts have free rentals).

It’s also worth noting that all the best places to snorkel are in Nothern Moorea, where the water is calm and clear. Here are a few of the best Moorea snorkeling sports.

Temae Beach

Temae Beach is one of the island’s most popular public beaches and snorkeling spots.

It sits on the northeastern coast of Moorea and has a beautiful landscape of palm trees and lush mountains in the distance. People love this beach because the best parts of the reef aren’t far offshore (just 50 meters).

The best part of the reef is on the southeast end, near Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort’s overwater bungalows. You’ll encounter lively anemones, intricate coral, and many tropical fish here. The fish aren’t shy either, so they’ll swim right up to you, giving an exceptionally immersive snorkeling experience.

Temae Beach is pretty rocky, so we recommend water shoes, and you should be aware that the current will likely cause you to drift down the beach. Instead of fighting it, just get out of the water and walk back to the other end of the beach every 30-40 minutes.

Lagoon at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort

The Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Moorea, and its lagoon is an ideal destination for travelers seeking the best snorkeling in French Polynesia.

The coral reef’s main section is between Opunohu Bay and Cooks Bay, just outside the resort’s overwater bungalows and near its private beach.

A View of Opunohu Bay In Moorea.

This snorkeling spot is known for having a huge variety of tropical fish, including clownfish, damselfish, uniquely shaped boxfish, and more. But you won’t see a lot of sharks or manta rays in this area.

Guests staying at the resort have full access to the lagoon area for snorkeling, but being one of the most expensive resorts in Moorea, we were glad to know that they offer a guest pass for $90. Not only does this give you access to snorkeling in the lagoon, but you’ll also receive a complimentary lunch pass and all-day pool access.

For the best snorkeling, head to the eastern side of the lagoon (near the overwater bungalows). This area has the highest density of coral and is relatively shallow.

Motu Tiahura

Motu Tiahura, also known as Coco Beach, is a popular public beach located a few hundred feet off the coast of mainland Moorea and a coveted snorkeling spot for people traveling to Moorea.

The motu is known for having crystal clear waters and is almost always full of fish like clownfish, angelfish, wrasses, and even rare crown-of-thorns starfish.

There is also a small section of the reef (close to Motu Fareone Beach) where you can spot turtles, eagle rays, and reef sharks.

To get to the Motu, you can rent a paddleboard or a kayak and paddle yourself, or you can reserve a spot on the water shuttle with Coco Beach Moorea Restaurant, which is about 500XPF ($5) per person.

Unfortunately, there aren’t places to rent snorkeling gear at the beach, so like most places in Moorea, you’ll need to bring your own equipment or borrow a mask and snorkel from your hotel.

Ta’ahiamanu Beach

Ta’ahiamanu Beach, also known as Mareto Beach, is a gorgeous white sand beach that offers excellent snorkeling and, unlike Temae Beach, soft sand for sunbathing after you finish exploring the lagoon.

Situated at the cusp of Opunohu Bay, Ta’ahiamanu is a public beach, so it’s completely free to visit and explore.

The lagoon is very shallow, and the coral reef starts less than 20 meters offshore, meaning you don’t necessarily need fins and won’t have to spend too much energy swimming out to the reef.

Ta'ahiamanu Beach With Palm Tree Over The Ocean Moorea

This snorkeling spot in Moorea is well known for its rich aquatic life, including parrotfish, butterflyfish, and even the occasional sea turtle or stingray elegantly gliding through the water.

If you’re up for it, you should swim out to the drop-off (about 150 feet offshore) for the most beautiful parts of the coral reef and the most diverse marine life.

Again, be sure to bring your own snorkeling gear since there is nowhere to rent a snorkel and goggles on the beach.

Tipaniers Beach

Tipaniers Beach, situated in the island’s northwest corner, is another wonderful destination for snorkeling in Moorea.

Hotel Les Tipaniers manages the beach, so you will have to pay a fee for access to the lagoon, but it’s significantly cheaper than the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort.

For a fee of just $15, you can enjoy an entire day enjoying the pristine white sands, vibrant coral reefs, and crystal clear waters off of Tipaniers Beach. The area is well known for black-tip reef sharks (which are completely harmless).

Tipaniers Beach also provides access to Moto Foreone Coral Garde, which has a bunch of beautiful underwater flora, fauna, and sea life.

Sharks Sandbank

Sharks Sandbank is the final lagoon you should consider for snorkeling in Moorea, but it’s certainly not the easiest to reach without a tour.

Located on a shallow sandbank about 1000 feet (300 meters) off Tipaniers Beach, you’ll have to rent a kayak and paddle out to the feeding spot.

The journey takes about 15 minutes but is well worth the effort.

The clear, warm waters and abundant marine life make Sharks Sandbank one of the most popular places to snorkel in Moorea. Hundreds of sharks find haven in this azure lagoon, along with many stingrays and colorful schools of tropical fish.


Where To Stay In Moorea

No matter where you choose to stay in Moorea, you’ll find lush jungles, beautiful ocean views, and great beaches, but if you want to be close to the best snorkeling spots and beaches on the island, we recommend staying in northern Moorea.

The island’s northern shore is where you’ll find the ferry port, the airport, and almost all of the island’s top hotels, restaurants, and other amenities.

Here are three options for every type of travel budget.

📍Best Budget Spot: Moorea Beach Lodge

Moorea Beach Lodge is one of the most affordable places to stay on the island and still provides a comfortable space with all the amenities you could need.

Located in Ha’apiti, the resort has its own beach, an on-site bar, free bike rentals, and kayaks. Most resorts charge for these amenities, so it’s an awesome perk. They also offer a daily breakfast and half-day kitchen access for guests to cook meals.

Moorea Beach Lodge is well known for its exceptional hospitality and value for your money, so if you are traveling on a tight budget, this is the best option for you.

📍Best Mid-Range Spot: Manava Beach Resort & Spa

Manava Beach Resort & Spa is a perfect mid-range option for people traveling to Moorea who want the best of both worlds for luxury and affordability.

With overwater bungalows ranging from $400 to $600 per night, you can enjoy this bucket-list experience for a few nights without breaking the bank.

This 4-star resort also has full private beach access, an on-site spa, and plenty of other excursions and activities for its guests. It’s also in the center of the Maharepa neighborhood, so you’ll have plenty of dining and shopping options nearby.

📍Best Luxury Spot: Sofitel Kia Ora Resort

Sofitel Kia Ora is one of the top luxury resorts on the island. For about $800 per night, you can book an overwater bungalow with amenities such as breakfast, snorkel gear, and private beach access included.

You’ll love their attentive hospitality, from the traditional Polynesian leis to the dinner and drinks delivered directly to your room. And every overwater bungalow has a connected deck with lounge chairs and a shower.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable luxury experience in Moorea, this is the place to be.


Visiting Moorea FAQs

In case you still have questions about visiting Moorea, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from people planning a trip to Moorea.

Is Moorea Good for Snorkeling?

Yes, Moorea is excellent for snorkeling. The island is surrounded by a shallow coral reef, clear water, and active marine life. It’s one of the best places to swim with black-tip reef sharks and manta rays, too.

person snorkeling moorea

Is It Worth Going to Moorea?

Yes, Moorea is worth visiting. It’s a tropical paradise offering pristine beaches, stunning lagoons, and an array of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling. The island also has a rich cultural heritage, welcoming citizens, and delicious local cuisine.

Is the Water Safe in Moorea?

Yes, the water in Moorea is safe for swimming and snorkeling. The lagoon waters are almost always calm and have a weak current. The fish, sharks, and rays that call Moorea home are also very friendly and don’t pose a threat to humans. In some areas, you can even swim with the whales during their annual migration.

Are Mosquitoes a Problem in Moorea?

Yes, mosquitoes can be present in Moorea, particularly during the rainy season (November to April). It’s advisable to bring insect repellent and wear long sleeves after dusk when mosquitoes are most active.


Wrap Up: Moorea Snorkeling

Exploring the underwater wonders of Moorea is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and if you’re traveling all the way to French Polynesia, it’s one you shouldn’t skip.

From the vibrant marine life to the stunning coral formations, snorkeling in Moorea is still one of our most treasured memories from the island.

Staying in an overwater bungalow in Moorea is a bucket list adventure.

If it’s your first time snorkeling, or you’re looking for a guided experience, the best overall tour to book in Moorea is this Full-Day Snorkeling tour with Lunch.

And don’t forget that French Polynesia is renowned for its luxury overwater bungalows, where you can wake up to breathtaking views of the lagoon and step directly from your room into the clear turquoise waters.

If you’re looking for luxury then the Hilton Moorea and the Sofitel Moorea are where you should be staying.