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Worth a visit
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Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu

Listed under Snorkelling in French Polynesia.

  • Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
  • Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
  • Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
  • Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
  • Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
  • Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
  • Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
Photo of Snorkel with Humpbacks in Rurutu
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Rurutu is a small but lush and bountiful island with a colourful barrier reef edging on to the lagoon. If you like seeing bigger fish and sharks in clear water then this, and Tahiti in general, is the place to come. I’ve seen hammerheads, white tipped sharks and the fluidly moving manta rays who look like they’re flying amongst the coral of the flat topped reefs. When you’re swimming with larger fish it’s best to stay still and out of their way to get the closest.

Rurutu is also on the Humpback whale migration path, and whales flock here to calve in the safe warm waters, usually between July and October, before returning to Antarctica. It’s amazing to see the mother whales rest on the shallow ocean floor (they have their eyes open and they only sleep for short periods so don’t think you can get too close.), and the calves, who can’t hold their breath for as long have to keep returning to the surface alone where motionless snorkelers will get truly amazing opportunities to meet them. I’ve been as little as three feet from a humpback calf just off Rurutu.

Obviously you don’t have to be as close as that to see the whales, you can see them from boats or even the shore. Last time I visited I saw whales on each day of my stay.

As well as the marine life, Rurutu has caves to explore. The island is an interesting shape, the whole things been eroded by water over time and the cliffs are riddled with caves. While the weather here is lovely by most people’s standards, 20 - 26 degrees even in winter, you may need to bring warmer clothes to wear in the evenings if you’re coming between June and October. It can be cold in the water too so I’d recommend you snorkel with a 5mm suit minimum.

The food here is all fresh and very memorable. I come here every couple of years I enjoy the experience so much.

Written by  Daniella May.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

getting to Rurutu?

I am trying to figure out how to get there from Northeast USA. What is the best/most economical way to get there? And is there a recommended place to stay once there? Or snorkel guides to contact? Thanks!! (snorkel only please, no diving)(celebrating 30 years anniversary this yr)

1 Reply

You'll most likely have to fly in to Tahiti and take a tiny charter flight, or boat out - while you're there. If you're not sold on Rurutu as a destination it might be worth checking out some of the places some of World Reviewer's snorkelling experts work and having a chat to them about what you'd like to see on your underwater adventure. Johnny Singh: is working in Fiji, at the Jean-Michel Cousteau resort, Mel and Judy are in Hawaii, and Joel Simon travels all over :

Let us know how it goes!

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