Island activity, Moorea
The Tiki Village on Moorea Island was one of the high lights of our trip. It is a recreation of a village that is very well done. It gives you a chance to see how the natives lived before the whiteman came and took it all away. You are greeted at the entrance of the village by natives dressed in their traditional dress and music. Be sure to head straight to the Tiki Village Theatre as soon as you arrive. We missed nearly half the show because we did not realize that the show started immediately. The show was very entertaining with demonstrations on how to tie paros and how to Tie-dye them. There is also a demonstration on how they use to prepare various foods. They then get a very wonder demonstration of dance and song. Take lots of photos. They will allow you to take photos of the you and the preformers for free. After the show you can wander through the village and they have one of the better souvinour shops. If you can speak french it is a great asset as hardly anyone but the narators speak english.
Renting a scooter or 4 wheeler is inexpensive...and a great way to see the island.
Our scooter cost about $50USD for the 1/2 day or another $10USD for a full day...and the petrol is inexpensive...
You can do a hike (2.5 hrs return) from the base of the Mountain and takes you up to the Belvedere lookout, which takes you past different archaelogical sites, rivers and falls.
Otherwise you can straight up to the Belvedere Look out which is amazing. It gives you a panaromic view of Cooks Bay and surrounding islands and mountains.
Just on the Cook's Bay side of the Pearl resort, there is a fantastic lookout where you can view the island of Tahiti. Wave to all those hard working Papeetians whilst you enjoy your drive around French Polynesia's more scenic destination, Moorea!
This is an excellent spot to enjoy the beautiful blue waters of Moorea, and an even better picture opportunity.
Click on the picture to see just how clear the water is in the Lagoon surrounding Moorea!!
During our Circle Island Water tour in Moorea, we were able to enjoy the sunshine and wonderful fun of a private island (motu). During this trek, our guide seemed to have uncanny control of sealife (I suspect that had something to do with the fact that he feeds them every day). It seemed almost on command that when he whistled, two rays immediately converged on our vicinity.
In the group of 8 that were with us, he asked for a volunteer. Of course, fearless Mark jumped down right away and was greeted by a ray on my lap seconds later! It was a really enjoyable couple minutes, and the ray seemed to really enjoy being petted!
Make sure you book a tour that includes time on a private motu!
We were entertained with lots of things to do at the resort. One of them was learning how to do tahisian fish. The locals teach you how to break open a coconut and how to make their raw fish dish. (The fish actually cooks in a lemon/lime mixture). Then we ate it out of these big leaves. It was yummy.
A Motu is a small islet (usually uninhabited) around a larger island. Quite often they don't even appear to have names, although I have seen one that was oficially called "Motu"!
This Motu (there are several around Moorea) is actually where the Lagoonarium is. It is a privately owned island, with a huge sea area cordoned off with fine mesh to stop the fish and turtles inside from escaping. It is possible to visit (see other tip).
Generally though you can just rent/borrow a boat and row out to the Motus (or even swim if you wish, most Motus are probably less than half a mile out to sea, so they are quite swimmable to - just make sure you are a competent swimmer!). You will probably have the whole island to yourselves in most cases!
I really like Polynesian Music, it is very bouncy and cheerful! It is quite nice to have as background music too.
This band were playing in the Tiki Village and the musicians were very laid back and easy going (classical Polynesian traits!).
The Tiki Village is well worth a visit, especially in the evening, although it is not cheap if you go for the dinner and the show. It is however the best show I have seen of this type. Far and away eclipsing the shows I saw in New Zealand (supposedly one of the better NZ ones) and Easter Island.
When I visited the octagonal Ebenezer Church at Papetoai, it was very much closed (although it had been very busy when I drove past it on a Sunday morning!).
Even if the church is locked, it is still possible to peer theough the window and see inside. This picture was taken through the glass in the front door, and it is possible to distinguish quite a few of the 8 sides!
This church is on the mouth of the Opunohu Bay, so if you walk behind it, it is possible to get some great views back in to the bay.
The Ebenezer Church at Papetoai was originally the site of the Taputaputuatea Marae (a temple for the religion that the local inhabitants used to practice before the missionaries came over).
Of course, missionaries being missionaries, the local religion was banned, and the Taputaputuatea Marae was destroyed and this octagonal church was built on the spot in 1827. This church is the oldest European building in the whole of the South Pacific. This church was renovated towards the end of the 19th century.
Polynesian dancing is highly erotic. When the women start the high speed hip wiggling it certainly is something to see.
When the Christian missionaries came to French Polynesia, they saw this dancing and were horrified. They banned it. it is not difficult to see why men of the cloth would find this shocking. Apparently the Polynesians used to perform this dancing in secret after it was banned. I for one am very glad as it would have been a massive shame for this to die out.
This dancing is way better than any Greek belly dancing I have seen. The women almost seem to have little motors in their hips that move at a phenomenal speed.
This perfomance was at the Tiki Village. Warning! I took a front row seat at the performance to get better photos, but sittting on the front row meant I became a victim later and had to join in the dancing with a couple of the girls later, and there was no way I could compete with what they were capable of...
Around about PK27 to PK28, you can get some really spectacular sunsets.
It's a great place to find a bar and just hangout and watch the sunset (or in my case, find a boat and turn your back on the sunset ;-) )
The Hotel Hibiscus is famous for its sunset bar, and is well worth dropping in to if the sunset looks like it is going to be a good one.
If you drive around the island, you can't fail to spot this statue of a Polynesian warrior on the side of the road!
To my knowledge, it does little more than advertise a restaurant that only appeared to be open in the evening, although the setting looked very good for the restaurant (it was right on the waterfront).
It was common to see people stopping to take pictures with him, so the advertising probably worked well!
It would be easy to say: Go and stay in one. But they can easily cost $400 USD per night, so I won't!
This is about as close as I got to any as I kind of balked at the price!
In Polynesia (and I believe this to be true in many beach resorts), the price of accommodation goes up the closer you get to water, and you can't get much closer than being just above it. These are therefore the premium rooms.
Several hotels do them, if you really must try them, shop around for the best possible price you can find!
You can go around the island on a paved road along the coast for 60 kilometers (34 miles) where you will see thatched roof fares with bamboo walls, little shacks with tin roofs and lovely villas with stone walls. Most of the inhabitants live on the mountainside of the road.
Tiki Village is a cultural and folkloric center, which can be visited by day or in the evening.
What to see and do?
how to carve tikis from stone, how to sculpt wooden bowls, weave a hat, make a floral crown and tie-dye a pareo. You can get a traditional Tahitian or Marquesan tattoo and learn how the ancient Tahitians built their homes and meeting houses.
The Tiki Village is open daily from 11:30 am to 3 pm (closed on Monday). The entrance fee is 3200 CFP.
Each Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening the 60 dancers and musicians at the Tiki Village Theater present a Polynesian extravaganza with typical Polynesian dance and fire dancers.