Moorea is one of the Windward French Polynesia islands which are part of the larger Society Islands. It’s just off the coast of slightly better-known Tahiti towards west, northwest. This pearl of the Pacific stretches across 134 square kilometers or 52 square miles. Unlike most of neighboring islands, Moorea boasts rather a high elevation of 1,207 meters or 3,960 feet.
It has a little over 16,000 inhabitants, and its largest settlement is Pao Pao which houses a quarter of the island’s total population.
The world’s largest coral reef eco-system actually consists of 3,000 separate reefs. The island of Moorea serves as the perfect base camp for snorkelers and scuba divers seeking to come face-to-face with the diversity of life that darts among the coral. Non-swimmers can enjoy the same parade of astounding creatures from the dry perch of a glass-bottomed boat. Formed when half of a monolithic volcano crumbled to the blue-green sea, Moorea is an achingly exquisite heart-shaped island that is simply paradise found.
French Polynesia embraces a vast ocean area strewn with faraway outer islands, each with a mystique of its own. The 118 islands and atolls are scattered over an expanse of water 18 times the size of California, though in dry land terms the territory is only slightly bigger than Rhode Island. The distance from one end of the island groups to another is four times further than from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Every oceanic island type is represented in these sprawling archipelagoes positioned midway between California and New Zealand. The coral atolls of the Tuamotus are so low they’re threatened by rising sea levels, while volcanic Tahiti soars to 2,241 meters. Bora Bora and Maupiti, also high volcanic islands, rise from the lagoons of what would otherwise be atolls.
― David Stanley,
Road to the Island
Probably the best way to get there, other than by cruiser, is via Tahiti and its Fa’a’ā International Airport. Moorea has an airport, but it’s only served by local flights. Furthermore, you can get there by ferry which connects the island with Tahiti. Moreover, the best time to do so is between April and November during the dry season. Even during the wet season, though, temperatures remain largely intact. They are usually between 21 and 31 °C or 70 and 88 °F.
Being an island in French Polynesia often limits touristic options, but Mo’orea has somewhat different geography which rather expands its range in that respect. Sun, sea and sand tourism of resort-type is still pretty much the main touristic product of Moorea, but the extravagant scenery and beautiful landscapes mean that SUV off-road tours play an important part in Mo’orea activities’ diversity.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are widespread as well, and so are other water sports like jet skiing, and activities like dolphin and whale watching, and shark diving.
Honeymoon Tourism on Moorea
Honeymoon Tourism is still the most widespread type of tourism on the island, though. A romantic Pacific tropical paradise retreat has always been one of the most desired honeymoon destinations, and Moorea is the epitome of such destinations. Furthermore, it offers both luxury international hotel chain resorts and those for slightly less deep pockets. InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa, Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa, and Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort are only some of them.
Scuba diving and snorkeling in Moorea is among the most attractive in the world. Apart from crystal clear blue-green waters, Moorea’s surroundings include rich underwater wildlife and coral reefs which will leave you breathless. Lagoonarium is a perfect place for this type of activity, but it’s far from only one. Waterskiing and jet skiing are another one of adrenaline-pumping water-bound activities, and we have already mentioned dolphins, sharks, and even whales.
Attractions and wild experience
4WD SUV tours offer plenty of chance for exploration as well, even though Moorea isn’t that big of an island. From a few hours to whole day tours, there’ a chance to get familiar with the island’s history and geography alike, and even partake in some of the traditional activities. Tiki Village Cultural Center is probably your best bet for this. Here you’ll get the chance to experience all important aspects of the local traditions. If land tours aren’t that interesting to you, boat trips might be; especially those with glass bottom which let you experience the underwater life from the nice and dry spot.
Back to the sun, sea, and sand tourism. Moorea – like any other French Polynesia island – boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Temae Beach, Ta’ahiamanu Beach, Tiahura, and Beach all have perks of their own, but blue-green waters, palm trees, and white sands are present whenever you turn.
There’s still much more than that to see and do while on Moorea. Surfers should be able to find a good spot for their exhibitions, and so should other adrenaline addicts. Kitesurfing, windsurfing, and even skydiving are at your disposal. Moorea even has its golf courses which are perfect for early mornings or late afternoons.
Recommendation – one of the best place
Of course, when going to an unknown part of the world, it’s often a good idea to try the local cuisine. Moorea offers plenty of restaurants where you’ll be able to do just that so that your day will be thoroughly planned and filled with activities.
Although petite in size, the heart-shaped island of Moorea offers more than you’ll be able to handle on a short trip. It takes much more to explore such a tropical paradise in its entirety, but missing on it would be a huge mistake.
Plan Your Moorea Vacation
Moorea is called the “sister island” of Tahiti and its proximity—just 19 km (12 mi) away across the Sea of Moon—has assured a steady stream of both international and local visitors. Many Tahitians have holiday homes on Moorea and hop over in their boats or take the 30-minute ferry. The draw is South Seas island charm and relatively slow-paced life. Moorea is an eighth of the size of Tahiti but packs all the classic island features into its triangular shape. Cutting into the northern side of the island is the dramatic Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay, the latter backed by the shark-toothed Mt. Mouaroa and home to many resorts and restaurants.
Between the two bays, majestic Mt. Rotui rises 2,020 feet (616 meters), and steep, jagged mountain ridges run across the island. From the Belvedere lookout, there are awesome views of these bays and mountains, including the tallest peak—the thumb-shaped Mt. Tohiea reaching 3,960 feet (1,207 meters) into the clouds.
Moorea is the pride and joy of French Polynesia. She may be considered Tahiti’s little sister, but she steals the spotlight every time. The island is a true reflection of the laidback Tahitian lifestyle and the warm, welcoming character of French Polynesia and its people.