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  • Fare-Vaimoana-Moorea - A relaxing scene at L'hôtel Fare Vai Moana in Papetoai, Mo'orea. Lodging on Mo'orea can include bungalows close to glistening white beaches.
  • Mountains-in-Moorea - Mountains on Mo'orea are remnants of the extinct volcano that formed the island.
  • Sofitel-Ia-Ora-Beach-Moorea - Overwater bungalows line the reef and beach at Sofitel Ia Ora on Mo'orea.
  • Breakfast-by-Canoe-Moorea - True luxury is getting a lovely breakfast delivered by canoe on Mo'orea.
  • Opunohu-Bay-Moorea - Mt. Rotui towers over Opunohu Bay in western Mo'orea.
  • Moorea-Island-aerial - The true spelling of Moorea is Mo'ore'a, which means "yellow lizard" in Tahitian.
  • Bicycling-Moorea - By biking on Mo'orea, you can choose your own path to see the island's sites.
  • Hotel-Les-Tipaniers-Moorea - Hotel Les Tipaniers in Ha'apiti is one of several hotels and resorts on Mo'orea with a beautiful white sandy beach.
  • Enjoying-Ocean-Waters-Moorea - Enjoy a refreshing morning swim in Mo'orea bays.
  • Four-Wheel-Excursion-Moorea - Four-wheel excursions on Mo'orea can include a trip to the volcanic crater that first created the island.
  • Male-Tane-Dancers-Moorea - Evening entertainment on Moorea can include Tane dancers and traditional Mo'orean music.
  • Aerial-View-Moorea - The landscape of Mo'orea is dominated by two large bays and Mount Tohi'e'a, the highest point on the island.
  • Tahitian-Firedancers-Moorea - When the sun goes down on Mo'orea, fire dancers light up your night.
  • Outrigger-Canoe-Sunset - The sight of an outrigger canoe at sunset transports you back in time.
  • Belvedere-Lookout-Point-Moorea - Catch a view of Cook's Bay andl the mountains that create Mo'orea's volcano from Belevedere Lookout.
  • Tahitian-Hiking-Trails-Moorea - Come to Mo'orea prepared to hike through lush forests and valleys.
  • Lush-Moorea-Mountains - The lush mountains of Mo'orea.
  • Mount-Rotui-Moorea - Mount Rotui is the second highest peak on Mo'orea, rising 3,200 feet.
  • Tiki-Village-Moorea-2 - Tiki Village on Mo'orea is a cultural center capturing the traditions and lifestyle of an old Tahitian village.
  • Feeding-Stingray-Moorea - Adventures on Mo'orea can include a visit to feed stingrays in the wild.
  • Male-Tane-Dancers - Tane dancers perform on Moorea, typically to the themes of warfare or sailing, and they often use spears or paddles.
  • Tiki-Village-Moorea - Visitors experience the traditions and lifestyle of an old Tahitian village on Mo'orea through demonstrations of weaving, stone carving, and painting.
  • lindblad-ship-pink-sunset.jpg - Enjoy a perfect sunset on a Lindblad Expeditions voyage.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-clear-waters.jpg - Find those perfect out-of-the-way spots on a Lindblad Expeditions sailing in the South Seas.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-golden-tropical-sunset.jpg - Beautiful sunsets and warm breezes await you on your Lindblad expedition to the South Pacific.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-islet.jpg - Clear waters and warm sun await you in the South Pacific on a Lindblad expedition.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-moorea.jpg - An aerial shot of Moorea, one of the three main islands in French Polynesia.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-rainbow.jpg - Find your rainbow over the islands of the South Pacific on your Lindblad expedition.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-reef-sharks.jpg - Observe blacktip reef sharks — they're timid around people — on a Lindblad Expeditions voyage to the South Pacific.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-scuba.jpg - Get up close and personal with some reef fish on a Lindblad expedition to the South Pacific.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-sea-urchin.jpg - Look but don't touch: a sea urchin spotted during a Lindblad expedition to the South Pacific.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-sunset.jpg - Take in the perfect sunset on a Lindblad expedition.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-thatch-huts.jpg - A Lindblad expedition comes upon locals in thatch huts in the South Pacific.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-tropical-fish.jpg - Explore a rich underwater world on a Lindblad expedition to the South Pacific.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-tropical-islet.jpg - Visit out of the way South Pacific islets on a Lindblad Expeditions.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-tropical-reef-2.jpg - Pick some dream islands and wade into a cool South Pacific reef on a Lindblad expedition.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-tropical-reef-boats.jpg - All ages can enjoy glimpsing South Pacific tropical fish from a reef boat during a Lindblad expedition.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-tropical-reef.jpg - Find your bliss in the tropical reefs of the South Pacific on Lindblad Expeditions.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-underwater-photography.jpg - Capture your adventures on Lindblad Expeditions to the South Pacific.
  • lindblad-south-pacific-visitors-on-board.jpg - Relax on board after a day exploring tropical islands on your Lindblad expedition.
  • Regent-Seven-Seas-Mariner-Moorea - Explore the wonders of the Moorea Islands on a cruise through  French Polynesia aboard Seven Seas Mariner.
  • National-Geographic-Orion-and-zodiac.jpg - Explore out-of-the-way island locales on your Lindblad excursion on National Geographic Orion.
  • national-geographic-orion-south-pacific.jpg - An aerial of a Lindblad expedition on National Geographic Orion in the South Pacific.
  • crystal-serenity-in-moorea.jpg - The luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity in Moorea, French Polynesia.

Moorea travel guide: Top things to do & see

The vibe

Although not as popular as Tahiti, the island of Moorea offers scenery that's just as breathtaking and only 12 miles away. Geologists have deduced that Moorea's stunning landscape came from a volcano that erupted thousands of years ago. In recent years, the legacy of Old Polynesia, with its traditional ways, has mixed with modern tourist attractions for an exquisite balance of old and new. 

Once used by Hollywood as "stock shots" due to its gleaming lagoons and majestic mountains, Moorea is surrounded by an offshore coral reef, and its clear waters make it ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming and boating. Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay are two glorious bodies of water that cut through the center of the island. Great hiking trails are abundant, and the mountains surrounding the bays are breathtaking.  However, don't let its activity fool you — this place is ideal for a relaxing getaway.

Cruise ships that call on Moorea

Top reasons to go

  • The lagoon offers breathtaking views of marine life.
  • Sample locally-grown pineapple, vanilla and fish gotten just caught off the coast of the island.
  • Get a taste of Tahitian culture with dinner and a show of local entertainment.
Overwater bungalows line the reef and beach at Sofitel Ia Ora on Mo'orea.
Courtesy of Tahiti TourismeOverwater bungalows line the reef and beach at Sofitel Ia Ora on Mo'orea.

Top things to do & see

Snorkeling

The lagoon is filled with marine life to see, and on guided tours you can often see shark feedings and stingrays. If you want to go beyond the lagoon, hire a boat and head out to the open waters. However, it's usually recommended that you bring your own equipment to the island.

Interior tours

Whether you choose to hike, explore in a 4x4 or head out on horseback, the interior offers just as many beautiful sights as there are underwater. Just make sure to pack your bug spray, as the interior gets a little more buggy than the beaches.

Shopping

For being so small geographically and so low in population, Moorea certainly has a large number of alluring stores and boutiques. Herman Perles, in Le Petit Village (689-56-42-79) is famous for its crystal and gold settings that surround the store's beautiful selection of pearls. Marquesan woodcarvings and perfume are sold here as well. 

The landscape of Mo'orea is dominated by two large bays and Mount Tohi'e'a, the highest point on the island.
Courtesy of Tahiti TourismeThe landscape of Mo'orea is dominated by two large bays and Mount Tohi'e'a, the highest point on the island.

Best bets for dining

Restaurant Les Tipaniers on the Northwest Coast (689-56-12-67, ), is a popular and romantic location, with tremendous food complemented by a thatched roof and great design. Mostly Italian and French cuisine, the pepper steak, pizza, and spaghetti are outstanding. Le Sylesie Patisseri (689-56-15-88) in Cook's Bay is a quaint little snack shop that has great breakfasts and sandwiches, as well as quick dishes and baked goods when you are on the run. Tiki Theatre Village (689-55-02-50) is the island's best dance and feast show. With a Tahitian and Western buffet followed by fantastic entertainment, this is an island favorite.

Best time to go

Peak tourism season is similar to Tahiti, which is between May and October. Although the weather is beautiful year-round, the area can be prone to rain and mosquitos during the off season.

Mt. Rotui towers over Opunohu Bay in western Mo'orea.
Courtesy of Tahiti TourismeMt. Rotui towers over Opunohu Bay in western Mo'orea.

When you arrive

True luxury is getting a lovely breakfast delivered by canoe on Mo'orea.
Courtesy of Tahiti TourismeTrue luxury is getting a lovely breakfast delivered by canoe on Mo'orea.

Docking information

Cruise ships will typically dock in Cooks Bay on Moorea. Or, you may find yourself docking in Papeete Harbor, twelve miles from Moorea in Tahiti. At that point, you will take the Moorea Ferry. As the Moorea ferry docks, you will find yourself in Vaiare Bay. There are no towns per se, but rather distinguished regions on the island.

Getting around

Because most residents own their own taxis, you will hardly ever see taxis traveling around in search of passengers. In fact, the only taxi stands are at the airport (689-56-10-18) and Club Med (689-56-33-10). However, any hotel desk can call a taxi for you, or you can call Pero Taxis (689-56-14-93). Renting a car, scooter, or bicycle can be a lot more fun. Small, open-aired vehicles can be rented for 24 hours at a time. All three of these enjoyable means of transportation are offered at Albert Rent-a-Car (689-56-13-53).

Need to know

Passport: U.S. and Canadian citizens will need a passport.

Language: Locals speak either French or Tahitian; however, most resort employees speak English.
Currency: The New Pacific Franc (XPF)
Safety: Moorea is very safe; however, be wary of petty theft.

Your take

How about you? Have you been to Moorea? What was the highlight? Have any tips? Let's see your photos!

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