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The Islands of Tahiti Celebrates 20 Years as One of the Largest Marine Sanctuaries in the World

It’s easier than ever for visitors to learn where to meet mantas, whales, turtles, and more in the wonderland that is French Polynesia.

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Visitors to the Islands of Tahiti have an incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with a vast array of marine life. Frédérique Legrand

There is scuba diving and snorkeling in the places in the world where the water is tropical, warm, and an appealing hue of blue. And then there is doing these same activities in French Polynesia, aka The Islands of Tahiti, where the experience really is an entire underwater world apart. 

Walls of sharks and playful dolphins that patrol the outside of lagoon passes in the Tuamotu Archipelago, mother humpback whales and their calves that migrate through the waters of Raitea and Moorea, and sea turtles galore off the waters of the main island of Tahiti—these are just a few of the marine wonders that await when you journey to this part of the world.

To celebrate 20 years as one of the largest marine sanctuaries in the world, the Islands of Tahiti just launched its Dive the Treasures campaign, a handy microsite that takes you through some of the main and lesser-visited islands and the incredible marine life encounters you can hope to see there. 

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Browsing the site is the next best thing to being underwater in these magical parts—with videos that take you into the marine realm and alongside some of the most magical marine animals that exist on the planet and are abundant in these Pacific waters. 

The website is also great inspiration for planning your next scuba diving or snorkeling adventure, with links for transportation tips for reaching the islands (some of them are pretty far flung from the main island of Tahiti, where you’ll likely land from your international flight) and advice on other activities to get up to on land, too, during your visit. 

Fakarava, for example, is all about drifting through a wall of sharks. While manta rays are among the megafauna you might encounter when you venture to Maupiti (while you’re there, be sure to climb up Mount Teurafaatiu for a 360-degree view of the incredible atoll lagoon—just one of the great tips the site dishes up for non-divers). 

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“The Islands of Tahiti have a proud tradition of Rahui, protection of sensitive marine environments,” says Kristin Carlson, managing director, Tahiti Tourisme North America. “These long-held traditions have led to some of the most diverse and healthy marine ecosystems found anywhere in the world.”

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