The island of Maupiti lies to the northwest of Bora Bora. It is a very small island, authentic and full of surprises. For example, it is reputed to be the best place in French Polynesia for swimming with manta rays. These majestic creatures can be found along the coral reefs, and in Maupiti, you can swim with them in the shallow, turquoise lagoon.

In The Islands of Tahiti, there really are a lot of activities to choose from. And if you like scuba diving or snorkeling, then Maupiti is certainly an island you should visit, especially for the magical experience of swimming among the manta rays. You can get to Maupiti by plane from Papeete or Raiatea and by ferry from Bora Bora. An island with magnificent beaches, superb unspoiled motu and beautiful scenery on land and in the lagoon. The local population is very friendly and welcoming, as you’ll discover if you take a tour round the island by bike. There are no big hotel complexes in Maupiti, but there are plenty of clean and comfortable, family run Tahitian Guesthouses, where you’ll get a true taste of the local lifestyle. Take a boat trip to one of the motu and you’ll see some manta rays and blacktip sharks At the end of the day, you can watch the glorious sunset over the lagoon.

Exceptional diving in Maupiti

The best way to observe manta rays is to go swimming underwater with them, and the best place for this activity is the Maupiti Diving Club. The club is situated in the north of the island, but they’ll pick you up from your Tahitian Guesthouse. There are many diving clubs in The Islands of Tahiti, but the Maupiti Diving Club is reputed for diving with manta rays. You can choose to go scuba diving or snorkeling and you’re guaranteed to see manta rays, sharks and a host of other marine species.

Although they are very inquisitive creatures, manta rays, like most marine species, are also very fragile. Avoid the temptation to touch them. Stay calm and they’ll approach you eventually, to observe you up close. It is a precious moment of exchange for both of you. Humpback whales also come to the waters of Maupiti, but not into the lagoon. You can take a boat excursion to observe them during the mating season, from July to November. 

Explore the lagoon and the motu

After your diving session with the manta rays, go to one of the many, superb beaches around the lagoon, to soak up the sun and swim in the crystal clear water. One of the best beaches is Tereia, also known as Point Puoro beach, on the west coast. It has a magnificent view of the mountain.

Motu in Maupiti ©_Michael Runkel
Motu in Maupiti ©_Michael Runkel

At low tide, you can walk across the lagoon to motu Auira, which is a perfect end to any day. Motu Pitiahe and motu Tiapa’a are also idyllic settings for a day on the beach. Maupiti is a tranquil island that has turned its back on mass tourism. Instead, you’ll have an authentic experience and the opportunity to discover traditional Polynesian culture and values.

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