whale watching in moorea
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Whale Watching in Moorea A Bucket List Thing To Cross Off The List

Bora Bora, Oceania

by Coco Tran On September 10, 2023

whale watching in moorea

Whale watching in Moorea, Tahiti French Polynesia, is an unforgettable experience that I can finally cross off my bucket list! you the chance to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about whale watching in Moorea, including the types of whales, the best times to go, how to book the best and most ethical tour and travel information. Let’s dive in!

Coco Tran — Curated Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/whale-watching-in-moorea/

Tahiti French Polynesia oceans have the most incredible water clarity I’ve ever seen. Snorkeling in the water, you can easily see 100ft down! It’s also a part of the world where the massive and majestical Humpback whale visits in the warm tropical waters. This has been on my bucket list of experiences for the longest time!

So I finally had a chance to do this my last trip to Bora Bora. If you are wanting to experience humpback whale watching and or swim with humpback whales in French Polynesia, this is all you need to know to prepare for an amazing experience.

In This Article: Table of Contents

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Whale watching in moored bora bora

Whale Watching In Moorea Tahiti

Swimming With Whales in French Polynesia

Types of Whales in Moorea

Moorea is home to several species of whales, but the most common and sought-after are humpback whales. These gentle giants are known for their acrobatic displays, intricate songs, and incredible migration patterns. You might also spot other cetaceans such as spinner dolphins, melon-headed whales, and short-finned pilot whales.

Humpback whales are huge, the maximum length of a mature whale is 60 feet (a whole size of a semi-truck!) weighing more than 40 tons. The calves, baby humpback whales (which you have a high chance of seeing during this time as they come to the warm waters to breed and give birth) are

Best Time for Whale Watching in Moorea & When Can See Whales in Moorea

The best time to go whale watching in Moorea Tahiti is during the humpback whale migration season, which runs from July to November. During this time, the whales travel from Antarctica to the warm waters of Tahiti to breed and give birth. The most frequent humpback whale sightings in Moorea are between August and October.

The best time of day to see whales in Moorea is during the early morning times when the water conditions are calm and the weather is ideal.

French Polynesia is classified as an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a wildlife sanctuary where drift fishing is not allowed. Hence why these majestic creatures roam free and seek refuge birthing their young in the Tahitian waters.

What are the odds of seeing whales in Moorea French Polynesia?

The odds of seeing whales during the migration season are very high! The chance per tour operator in Moorea is 95% (which is pretty high!)

bora bora vs the maldives

The Best Whale Watching Tours Moorea Tahiti

The Maldives Vs Bora Bora

Booking a Whale WatchingTour

Several Moorea whale-watching tour operators are specially licensed and have the best ethical practices that offer whale watching excursions in Moorea. I only recommend reputable companies that focus on responsible and ethical practices. Tour operators with experienced guides, smaller group sizes, and a commitment to conservation efforts. This is the whale watching tour operator in Moorea that I went with and 100% recommend them.

The tour group were small, which is one of the reasons why I picked this tour. There were 6 persons on the boat including us (me and Thomas) and the tour guides were so kind and made sure everyone was a safe distance from the whales.

French Polynesia is the only place in the world you can swim with humpback whales! There is an option to book a private tour to see the whales, if we had another couple with us I would definitely go this route! The tour guide shared so many interesting facts about these majestic creatures. It was an awe-inspiring privilege to be in the water with these creatures.

In an effort to be fully in the moment, I only took a few photos, although I wish I took more but, I’m glad didn’t because I know it would be too distracting and I wanted my full attention watching the whales. We even got to see a pod with a baby humpback whale!

It was such a surreal experience, one I’ll carry with me forever. I mean, growing up watching National Geographic and seeing these creatures on TV, but seeing the whales in front of my eyes in the water with me was amazing.

swim with whales moorea

What to Expect on The Whale Watching Tour in Moorea French Polynesia

The Whale watching tour usually last between 3 to 4 hours and includes a hotel pickup boat ride to the whale-watching spots, guided commentary, and the opportunity to snorkel with the whales if you want to and when conditions allow.

Moorea and parts of Tahiti are the only place in the world you can swim with whales! That makes it a pretty special and unique experience. You can watch the whales in Moorea instead of swimming with whales if you’d like to admire them from the boat.

You are instructed on all the safety practices. You cannot chase, touch, or approach the whales. You do have to know how to swim, lifevests, fins, masks, and snorkels (this is the full mask snorkel we used and I highly recommend it!) are provided.

You can bring your own (we brought our own snorkels). You have to stay at distance from the whales. If you don’t spot whales on your trip, the tour operators I recommend will let you go on a different day again. Although I’m almost certain you will see them!

swim with whales moorea

Tips on What To Bring and How To Prepare For your Whale Watching Tour

  • Book your tour ahead of time (they will sell out) since it’s a limited amount of space with reputable operators. As soon as you know your itinerary I’d recommend booking this tour first!
  • Book your tour for the middle of your trip: just in case of high winds or the need to reschedule due to water or weather conditions, you have at least a day for a buffer.
  • Bring your own snorkel: leave the fins at home
  • Bring snorkel defogger: a small bottle of baby shampoo does the trick or you can buy this snorkel defogger.
  • Bring a Go-Pro: if you’d like to document this experience you can opt to bring an underwater camera!
  • Bring cash for tips! not required but much appreciated by the guide.
  • Bring reef-safe subblock: The sun is strong so spf 50+ reef safe sunblock is a must!
  • Take Dramamine: If you get seasick, it may be a good idea to take nondrowsy Dramamine ahead of time just in case! Don’t let seasickness ruin this experience. I always take some the night before just in case.
  • Bring Water: bring a refillable water canteen with water in it already.
  • Rash Guard: if you tend to burn easily (and in Tahiti you will!) it’s best to wear a top rash guard as snorkeling in the water will expose the very sensitive area of your back, neck, and shoulders. Don’t make the same mistake I did! This one is a zip up one that’s easy to take off.
Whale Watching in Moorea Tahiti


No, you don’t need a special permit. However, it’s crucial to book a tour with a licensed and responsible operator.

Both are beautiful, Bora Bora is the more picturesque location and offers better views while the Maldives offers more hotel options.

Swimming with the whales is generally safe when done under the guidance of an experienced tour operator who follows responsible practices.

Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing, a hat, and sunglasses. Wear a swimsuit underneath your clothes, if you plan on snorkeling and a towel to dry off.

Yes, whale watching is a family-friendly activity. However, it’s essential to consider your child’s age, attention span, and comfort with swimming and on boats before booking a tour. There is a minimum age with most tour operators.

Moorea and Tahiti are the ONLY place in the world you are allowed to swim near these magnificent creatures. It is a bucket list experience worth making the trip to Tahiti for.

During the migration season of the Humback whales, this is typically mid August-mid October

The best place to swim with whales in French Polynesia is Moorea, Tahiti, and Rurutu.

The best time is during their migration season mid August- mid October.

Bora Bora doesn’t offer these excursions as whales migrate in the deeper parts of the waters in Tahiti. From August to October, it’s best to go on a whale watching/swim tour in Moorea and Rurutu.

Still have questions?

If you cannot find an answer to your question in our FAQ, you can always ask in the comments below!

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