Best Outdoor Activities
Maupiti is an excellent underwater playground and a good place to learn to dive, with a couple of very safe dive sites in the lagoon, including Le Petit Bleu and Coral Garden, which are perfect for beginners. Maupiti's signature dive site is Manta Point, where you can observe manta rays in shallow waters. There are also outstanding dive sites outside the lagoon, but they aren’t easily accessible due to the strong currents and swell in the pass.
Snorkelling & Lagoon Excursions
Maupiti’s magnificent lagoon is crystal clear, bath-warm and filled with all manner of tropical marine life, from schools of butterflyfish and parrotfish to manta rays and banks of flame-coloured coral. The best snorkelling sites are the reefs stretching north of Onoiau Pass (but beware of the currents) and Motu Paeao to the north.
Pensions run lagoon tours; figure between 5000 CFP and 6000 CFP for a full-day trip in a pirogue (outrigger canoe), gliding through the blue and stopping periodically to snorkel and free dive. In season, the pensions also offer snorkelling trips to the manta rays’ cleaning station (about 2500 CFP).
Sea kayaking is a popular activity of the DIY variety. Paddling around the quiet lagoon is very safe. Most accommodation places either rent or offer free sea kayaks for guests’ use.
Whale- & Dolphin-watching
Apparently, humpback whales find Maupiti attractive too. Every year during the austral winter, from mid-July to October, they frolic off Maupiti’s barrier reef. Whale-watching trips are available through the pensions. You may have the privilege of swimming right alongside these graceful giants, but don’t stress them and always follow the guide’s instructions. Dolphins can be spotted all year round along the reef. A three-hour excursion costs 7500 CFP.
Fishing outings can be organised with Tautiare Village and Teheimana pensions, which offer affordable boat charters: from 6000 CFP to 10,000 CFP (depending on distance travelled) for a half-day at sea, including gear.
Climbing Mt Teurufaatiu
The ascent of Mt Teurafaatiu (380m) is vigorous, but the 360-degree panor-ama at the summit is worth the effort. Ribbons of blue water flecked with turquoise and sapphire, islets girdled with brilliant scimitars of white sand, lagoons mottled with coral formations, and Bora Bora in the background… hallucinogenic. The track starts virtually opposite Tarona snack and the climb is shaded for most of the way. The most difficult part is towards the end, with a climb up steep rock to reach the ridge. Allow three hours for the return trip and be sure to bring plenty of drinking water.
The track is not properly marked, so it’s not a bad idea to go with a guide – contact your pension to organise one (about 3000 CFP).
Maupiti by Bike
Maupiti is small (and flat) enough to be explored by bike, which is by far the best – and most enjoyable – way to get around the island. A 10km coast road hugs the shoreline almost all the way around the island and rarely rises above sea level. Most pensions can arrange bike hire for about 1000 CFP per day.