Moorea is a small island in French Polynesia that is rather unknown compared to other famous destinations in the 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 things to do and the best places to visit on Moorea. Are you ready for tropical paradise?
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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). It takes 30 minutes to get to Moorea by ferry. Alternatively, you can fly to Moorea in only 10 minutes but it will be a lot more expensive compared to the ferry.
How to get around on 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 transport 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 (which is more expensive) or to join guided tours that include transport from/to your accommodation. For shorter distances, another option can be to rent a bicycle (which we also did).
Looking for the best hotels on Moorea? Click here!
Here we go with a list of 10 reasons why you should visit Moorea …
#1 Tropical Beaches
Moorea is probably 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, it´s worth visiting the public beaches of 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 so 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. Isn´t it fantastic? We stayed at 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 (click on the hotel names to check them out):
InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa
#4 Dreamy Sunsets
This point probably doesn´t need any further explanation. The sunsets (and also the sunrises) on Moorea were just breathtaking. The sky slowly changed its color from dreamy pastel shades to vibrant orange-red tones and the gloomy tropical lagoons looked like liquid gold. The sunset mood on Moorea truly creates a magical experience. 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 a stunning scenery with lush tropical landscapes, azure lagoons and dramatic volcanic peaks. One of the best views over Moorea, you have from Belvedere Lookout. From there you can soak in the panoramic views of Cook´s Bay and Opunohu Bay as well as the iconic mountain peaks. Definitely a must see!
#6 Sailing 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 here. 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 could 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 Water-Sports Activities
Moorea is the perfect destination for water-sports activities of any kind. I loved to discover Moorea by stand-up paddle board (SUP) and to watch 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 on 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
– Resort Day Pass
Looking for more French Polynesia Travel Guides? Click HERE.
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