A magical Vacation on Moorea island, in French Polynesia
Only a half an hour ferry ride from Tahiti or a ten-minute flight – a magical and amazing island awaits you with turquoise lagoons, high mountains, wonderful people and luxurious hotels.
Moorea island – is an impressive island in a shape resembling a heart, it is less known than “Bora Bora” but just as beautiful in its landscape, beaches and has plenty of choice in the travelling and vacationing opportunities that it offers its visitors.
Moorea island is one of
the islands among the Society Island group and is
located 17 km northwest of Tahiti.
It is a peaceful island, with wonderful weather (see in details in the articles about Bora Bora and Tahiti) where it is easy and comfortable to travel within.
Did you know? The meaning of the name Moorea is “yellow lizard”...
The entire island is surrounded by a reef with 12 openings (created where the rivers spill into the sea) which creates a constant movement of water in and out of the lagoon. The result: the calmest and clearest turquoise water, filled with fish and corals. They are wonderful for swimming, recreation, snorkeling and calm sailing.
Hotel Intercontinental cabins on the Moorea island:
On the island reside about 17,000 people whose main income is tourism, with some agriculture: especially growing very sweet and tasty pineapples. The rounded island is surrounded by a natural road 60 km in length, which passes close to the lagoon beaches between the hotels, restaurants, rich tropical vegetation and fruit stands.
Hotels in Moorea
Also in Moorea, just like in Bora Bora, there are several luxurious and impressive hotels, all built beside the clear and calm lagoon water and proudly offering on-water cabins, in addition to cabins in the tropical gardens and on the sandy beach.
The most desirable and recommended of all is the:
It is a five-star hotel with 113 cabins: from cabins located in the tropical gardens, cabins on the beachfront and cabins on the water. All the cabins are spacious, well-equipped and luxurious.
Each cabin has a private balcony.
The hotel is in the north-east of the island just a few minutes’ drive from the airport, and it has an impressive beach with clear calm waters and a view of the neighboring island of Tahiti.
The beach of the Sofitel hotel on Moorea island:
The hotel has an infinity swimming pool, two restaurants and a diving and sailing center. The hotel guests receive complimentary use of the snorkeling equipment.
See a video I took while swimming in the turquoise water near cabins on the water.
Additional popular hotels:
hotel with 144 rooms, plus cabins on the beach with the
view of the sea and cabins surrounded by gardens and
vegetation, some of them have a private swimming pool.
The hotel has an “infinity” swimming pool, two restaurants and a dolphin center. The hotel is in the northwest of the island on the beach.
A five-star hotel with 106 rooms including cabins with the view of the gardens, some of them have a private swimming pool, cabins with a view of the lagoon and cabins on the water. Each cabin has a private balcony. In the hotel, there is a swimming pool, tennis courts, weight room and three restaurants. Located on the north side of the island.
The Hilton hotel beach on Moorea island:
A four-star hotel with 94 rooms including cabins on the water, cabins with a view of the sea and cabins with a view of the gardens. Designed in a typical Polynesian style with a swimming pool near the popular beach. Located on the north side of the island.
Anyone who is looking for some more modest accommodations will also find something to fit his needs. There are on the island boarding houses and B&B and simpler and cheaper hotels but you must take into consideration that most of them are not air conditioned or not located close to the beach.
So, my recommendation: if you already flying so far – invest in a good hotel!
What to do and see in Moorea:
The best way to be impressed by the beauty and
massiveness of the island is with a jeep tour which
stops at several breathtaking view points on the island,
its turquoise beaches, and its bays.
The most favored trip is with the Franckyfranck Tour company. A wonderful guide named Franky, a French native whose been living on the island for years, will take you in his spacious jeep for a tour of the northern part of the island. Franky speaks excellent English, he is funny and theatrical, full of information and humor.
The jeep tour guide Franky:
You will enjoy every minute and learn a lot about the island, its residents, its history and geography and its exotic tropical vegetation. The tour includes a visit to two lookout points over the mountains, the first one, which you get to by driving through a curvy road full of potholes, is called “the Magic Mountain”, with a million-dollar view of the Opunohu Bay, in which are anchored the cruise ships that come to the island, and of the lagoon beach and the mountains around it.
The second highest lookout point is called “Belvedere Lookout” which provides a different angle of view over the two bays and the mountains around them. From this lookout point, you can understand what the island look looked like millions of years ago, before the eruption of the mighty volcano.
Also, you will have a close view of “Cook’s Bay” and hear the stories about Captain Cook’s arrival to the area.
Franky will take you on a tour of the Le Tropical Garden Moorea and will teach you in his amusing way the secrets of growing vanilla and the wonders of many of the fruits grown in the gardens: some are known tropical fruits and some are special, with an appearance, smell, and taste that most likely you have yet to encounter.
The Annona fruit:
You will taste homemade jams prepared by the owner of the gardens with a wonderful taste of tropical fruits.
Delicious tropical garden jams
Also from the
gardens, there is an enchanting view from all sides
integrated with the thick green vegetation.
Later you will visit the heart of the island where pineapple fields are surrounded by the magnificent high mountains and you will learn about growing pineapples which are a mixture of species brought to the area from Brazil and Hawaii.
Frankie the guide in the pineapple plantation on Moorea island:
On the way, you will stop to be impressed by the different peaks with their distinctive shapes. In one of the peaks there is a round hole near the edge and with a little bit of an imagination, it will remind you the head of a woman with a nose piercing. Another jagged peak reminds of “King Kong” playing the piano…
Jagged peaks in the Moorea island:
Finally, you will stop in an ancient Polynesian temple built of black lava.
Polynesian cultural performance:
Those who are
interested in learning about the rich Polynesian culture
of Tahiti should visit the “Tiki Village Cultural
Center”, located in the northwest of the island.
You arrive at the village towards sunset by transportation from the hotel which is included in the admission price. The price includes a cocktail, a rich buffet of local and international foods, various demonstrations such as: a dozen ways to wear the traditional “pareo’ fabric, digging and using a cooking pit in the ground, pleasant demonstrations of how to break a coconut, how to prepare coconut milk, explanations about traditional weddings on the island, the costumes, customs and instruments.
Demonstration of Polynesian garments:
The highlight: an over an hour long, colorful, spectacle of songs, dances, music, stunts and a dance with fire. In some of the dances and demonstrations, the audience also participates.
Sailing and water sports:
The main activity in Moorea is, of course, recreation on the quite clear and warm beaches of the giant lagoon. In addition to “lazing around” there is a large selection of options: every hotel rents out kayaks, motor boats, stand-up paddle boards for independent sailing and there are also many companies who organize an approximately 6-hour scenic sailing excursion including swimming, snorkeling, and feeding stingrays and blacktip sharks in the shallow waters.
Swimming with the sharks
You can also go diving among the fish and sharks, ride on a jet ski and go sailing to watch the dolphins and whales near the reef surrounding the lagoon. The whales season is August until November.
At a picnic on the island, in addition to the meal on the beach and swimming in the turquoise waters, you will be treated to a demonstration of different typical Polynesian activities.
The weather on the island is
perfect most of the year and there isn’t any season that
is unsuitable for a visit and a vacation there. The
weather is tropical but the trade winds cool and
moderate the temperatures.
The average daytime temperature ranges between 28 C in the “cooler” months to over 31 C in the warmer months while at night the temperature ranges between 22-24 C. The sea water temperature is 27-29 C.
November to April are the hottest, most humid and wettest months, especially January – February, while during May to October, there is very little rain and the weather is less humid but the winds are stronger.
This is a wonderful destination to celebrate a honeymoon, gold and silver anniversaries or just a romantic vacation at the far edge of the world.
How to get there?
Moorea is an island from the chain of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Because it is a relatively small island, there isn’t an international airport, only a field for local flights between the country’s islands.
You need to fly to Tahiti, the largest and most populated island in French Polynesia and from there take an about 7 minute flight to Moorea or 35 min by a Ferry Boat.