Moorea is a small island in French Polynesia that is rather unknown compared to other famous destinations in the South Pacific Ocean such as Tahiti or Bora Bora. Moorea is a true hidden gem! In this travel guide, I will tell you 10 reasons why a visit to Moorea should be on your travel bucket list. In addition, this article contains information on the best places to visit and the best things to do on Moorea. So, without further ado, let me tell you why Moorea is worth visiting…
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Moorea – Quick Tips
Best Places to Stay | Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort
Best Time to Visit | May – October
How to Get Around | Rental Car, Scooter, Bicycle, Guided Tours
Top Places to Visit | Les Tipaniers Beach, Belvedere Lookout Point
Best Tours & Experiences
➤ Lagoon Kayak Tour (guided tour including snacks)
➤ Whale Watching Tour (swim with humpback whales)
➤ Sunset Sailing Cruise (an unforgettable experience!)
➤ Sea Scooter Snorkeling Tour (snorkel with stingrays, turtles, and sharks)
➤ 4×4 Island Tour (Moorea highlights tour)
➤ ATV Tour (explore Moorea by ATV)
How to Get to Moorea?
When traveling to French Polynesia, you will first arrive at the international airport in Tahiti. From Tahiti you have two options: you can either take a ferry or fly to Moorea. We opted for the ferry because it’s the much cheaper option (about $22 for a return ticket per person). It takes around 30 minutes to travel to Moorea by ferry. Alternatively, you can fly to Moorea in only 10 minutes but it will be a lot more expensive compared to taking the ferry.
You may also be interested in: Best Things to Do in Tahiti in 3 Days
How to Get Around Moorea?
The best way to get around on the island of Moorea is by scooter or rental car. We decided to rent a scooter for a couple of days because it’s our favorite way of transportation in tropical island destinations. The price was around $45 per day.
In case you don’t feel comfortable driving a scooter, it might be better to rent a car (Tip: it’s cheaper to rent a car in Tahiti and take it with you on the ferry to Moorea) or to join guided tours that include transport from/to your accommodation. For shorter distances, another option is to rent a bicycle (which we also did).
Best Time to Visit Moorea
The best time to visit Moorea is from May to October when the weather is more cool and dry. From November until April it’s wet season, so you can expect many rainy days during these months but the prices for visiting Moorea will be lower during this time. If you want to go whale watching, the ideal time to visit Moorea is between August and October.
Looking for the best hotels in Moorea? Click here!
10 Reasons Why Moorea is Worth Visiting
1. Tropical Beaches
Moorea is the definition of a breathtaking exotic island getaway. Think white sand, palm-fringed beaches, and tropical turquoise lagoons. Moorea has it all! Next to the resort beaches, its worth visiting the free public beaches in Moorea. Make sure to check out Les Tipaniers Beach, Tiahura Beach, Ta’ahiamanu Beach and Temae Beach.
2. Swimming with Stingrays and Sharks
Swimming with reef sharks and stingrays is such a bucket list experience! It has been one of my favorite moments of our French Polynesia trip. I couldn’t get the smile off my face when hanging with these gentle giant puppies of the sea. We met so many stingrays, black tip reef sharks, and turtles in the waters of Moorea like in no other destination. It was truly amazing!
We did a private sailing tour that included a stop for swimming and snorkeling with rays and sharks (without feeding or touching (!) the animals, please respect the marine wildlife!).
3. Amazing Overwater Bungalows
French Polynesia is known for luxurious accommodation options including amazing overwater bungalows. Moorea certainly is one of the best places to enjoy a memorable overwater bungalow experience in French Polynesia. You can take in the unparalleled views of the lagoon from your balcony and swim or snorkel right off your private deck.
We stayed at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa and had such a memorable time there (not only because Carsten proposed to me at this place).
To read my detailed hotel review about our stay at Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, click here.
The following resorts also offer over-water bungalows in Moorea:
4. Dreamy Sunsets
This point probably doesn’t need any further explanation. The sunsets (and also the sunrises) on Moorea are simply breathtaking! Imagine watching the sky slowly changing its color from dreamy pastel shades to vibrant orange tones while the glowy tropical lagoons look like liquid gold. The sunset mood on Moorea truly creates a magical experience every day. It’s not without reason that Moorea is one of the most romantic destinations in the world.
5. Incredible Island Views
Mother Nature outdid herself when she created the picture perfect island of Moorea. Moorea offers an unparalleled scenery with lush tropical landscapes, azure lagoons, and dramatic volcanic peaks. One of the best views over Moorea, you have from the Belvedere Lookout Point. From there you can soak in the panoramic views of Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay as well as the iconic mountain peaks. This view point is definitely a must see!
6. Sailing In Crystal Clear Lagoons
When visiting Moorea, you should not only explore the island itself but also the crystal clear, turquoise lagoons around Moorea. I can highly recommend doing a boat trip there. Our sailing trip was hands down one of my favorite experiences in French Polynesia. We sailed along beautiful tropical bays, passed small islands (called ‘motus’), swam and snorkeled with stingrays and sharks, enjoyed fresh fruit on board, and soaked in lots of sunshine. I will never forget this day!
Instead of doing a sailing trip, you can also explore Moorea’s lagoons in a traditional Polynesian outrigger canoe.
7. Snorkeling with Colorful Fish
I’ve already snorkeled in many coral reefs around the world, so you can believe me when I say that French Polynesia is one of the best snorkeling spots I’ve ever seen. The conditions here are incredible! The water is as clear as it can get, the temperatures are pleasant and you can see plenty of colorful tropical fish (next to stingrays, turtles, and sharks, as already mentioned). Snorkeling in French Polynesia feels like exploring a giant aquarium!
8. Fun Water-Sports Activities
Moorea is the perfect destination for water-sports activities of any kind. I absolutely loved exploring Moorea’s beautiful lagoons on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) while watching the marine life from above. Other popular water related activities on Moorea include kayaking (with a glass-bottom kayak), jet skiing, surfing, parasailing, kite surfing, and scuba diving. It’s a dream for any water-sports lover!
9. Friendly Locals
The locals on Moorea are very warm and welcoming. Although French is the official language in French Polynesia, most people will try to help you using gestures and signs or even speak some English. I truly felt the kindness of the locals on Moorea. Next to the people, chances are good that you will also make some furry friends on the island as there are many dogs and cats on Moorea.
10. Delicious Local Food
French Polynesia has a unique cuisine with French and Polynesian influences. A popular local dish is ‘Poisson Cru’ which is only made of fresh local ingredients. It consists of fresh fish, lime, coconut milk and veggies (like cucumber, tomato and carrot). Most restaurants on Moorea are rather expensive, so we mainly went to the local ‘roulottes’ which are food trucks that serve a variety of different dishes. It’s not only a gastronomic but also a cultural experience.
Other Things to Do in Moorea Include
- Pineapple Route and Plantations
- Lycee Agricole Opunohu
- Ancient Temples (‘marae’)
- Afareaitu Waterfalls
- Magic Mountain
- ATV Tour
- Tiki Village Cultural Centre
- Moorea Tropical Garden
- Moorea Lagoonarium
- Get a Resort Day Pass
I hope you liked this mini Moorea travel guide. Have I convinced you that Moorea is worth visiting? 🙂
For more French Polynesia travel guides click HERE.
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