French Polynesia is made up of several groups of islands, the largest and most populated of which is Tahiti. The island groups are:
- Austral Islands
- Bass Islands
- Gambier Islands
- Marquesas Islands
- Society Islands, including Tahiti and Bora Bora
- Tuamotu Archipelago, including Rangiroa (also known, in the diving community, as Rangi) and Tikehau
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. It is diveable year-round, with water temperatures of 79°83° F.
Bora Bora, the most famous of the leeward islands, is well-known for its abundant marine life - pelagics in general, manta rays in particular. 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 considered to be the top spot for diving in the Society Islands. Moorea's coral reefs are well preserved with abundant marine life and the visibility is often greater than 130 feet.
Raiatea/Tahaa and Huahine diving is excellent within the large Raiatea-Tahaa lagoon. The size of the lagoon and the numerous passes offer plenty of diving opportunities. There are many good dive sites just off-shore from Uturoa, with trenches, reefs, caves and walls.
Tahiti has clear, shallow waters; steep oceanic drop-offs; sunken vessels; walls of bright coral; and schools of smaller species. Although there are fewer larger species here, Tahiti offers an excellent variety of dive sites.
- Tikehau for the pristine lagoon and magical corals
- Raiatea for the wrecks, deep lagoon, and octopus dives
- Bora Bora for the annual migrating humpback whales during August to late October
- Rangiroa - the Tiputa Pass, renowned for encounters with Manta Rays (from early September to mid-October), huge Eagle Rays, Hammerhead sharks (in January and February), Grey Reef sharks, White Tip reef sharks, families of Dolphins and a lot more (occasionally Whale sharks, Humpback whales and Tiger sharks).
- Tikehau, declared to contain the most fish by Jacques Cousteau in 1987.
- Manihi, famous for its black pearls, has an array of sites offering frequent encounters with Manta Rays, drift dives or the Pass Entrance. 'Grouper City' has a loads of marbled grouper.
- Medical treatment is generally good. Two major hospitals as well as several private clinics provide 24-hour medical service.
- Hepatitis A, typhoid
|Language:||French, although the "unofficial" language, Tahitian, is spoken as much, if not more|
|Natural hazards:||Occasional cyclones or typhoons|
|Diving season:||Year round but the best time to go is April to November|