The reefs on Moorea are some of the most beautiful in the islands. They are not over-used, like those in Bora Bora. There are reef and lemon sharks, tons of coral, rays, eels... it's sooooo beautiful. We used TopDive as our company. They were nice folks.
You can rent scooters at the ferry dock, but be sure to either make a reservation, or get there early. It is best to get one scooter per person, if you can, because riding double is a little uncomfortable. It is only 40 miles around the dramatic and lush island on a well paved road along the shore.
One of the highlights of our trip to French Polynesia had to be the Tiki Village Polynesian Show. Truly a unique experience to be entertained for over 3 hours by Tahitian dance, dinner, and art exhibits. The Moorea Explorer bus will pick you up from your hotel and transport you to the Village itself, were you will have time to roam around briefly in the village while the cast prepares itself.
The cast has traditional costumes of Tahitian dress and they perform firedancing, "hula" type dancing, as well as a coconut display!
During our 4x4 safari tour, our guide stopped at a narrow river. There are several narrow rivers on the island. This is water coming from the waterfalls in the interior and heading for the sea. In some of these rivers you can find the blue-eyed river eel. They are quite harmless, and big too.
Enlarge the pic to see its wonderful blue eyes.
Going around the island, don't forget to stop in Temae at the Toatea view point, it's right above Hotel Sofitel Ia Ora on the only slope on the road. From here you'll have a breathtaking view of island of Tahiti, and the beautiful blue lagoon.
There is no main village in Moorea, only a few tourist centers like Papetoai and Haapiti where the majority of hotels and guest houses are concentrated.
Two more places where most of the churches, schools, supermarkets, small stores, banks and restaurants are located are the villages of Maharepa and Pao Pao (Cook's Bay).
Moorea is the most popular island of the French Polynesia if you do not count Tahiti (where international tourists have to fly in and out from). It is just 30 to 40 minutes by ferry from Tahiti. There are crystal-clear shallow lagoons, dramatic mountains that pierce into the sky, beautiful walks through the exuberant vegetation, simple, rustic Polynesian charm and houses once out of the touristy zones.
If you rent a car, you can drive away from the tourist sectors and enjoy tranquility at once. Or head out of the bays with a motu-stop and some snorkelling. Motus are sandy islands around the reef surrounding the lagoons. Otherwise, relax and share the beautiful clear lagoons, coral reefs and enchantingly colourful fishes with the rest of the tourists. As French Polynesia is superbly expensive, mass tourism is not so common here.
Most accommodations are found on the eastern side of COOK'S BAY and HAURU POINT.
One of the things which we really enjoyed in the evening were the beautifl sunsets. Our particular hotel had a great bar overlooking the sea, and it was a great place to sit in the early evening when the sun was going down and to converse wth fellow travellers. I think that a trip to Moorea should include some simple relaxation and tranquil moments enjoying the whole atmosphere. Most of the major hotels are right along the water, so sitting down to enjoy the sunset should be quite easy to do. This particular photo is at the bar of the Sofitel Ia Ora Hotel.
Meeting local people is always a great experience, as it can give you insight to alot of things that a guide book cannot. In Moorea, however, if you stay in your resort and eat in only places where tourists are eating, you'll have a hard time coming into contact with the locals. We did meet alot of nice travellers, some who really liked being photographed as you can see in the picture.....
We passed several churches on Moorea, but this one made me stop to take a picture.
I really liked the contrast between its dazzling white façade, the blue of the sky and the green of the garden.
As you walk on the roads in Moorea you will notice holes all along them. Crabs live inside! You can see them peaking out or fully above ground. Just be quiet when you get close.
This beautiful Catholic Church is located on the mountain side near Haapiti. It's one of the biggest on the island.
The protestant church Ebenezer is octagonal and was the first church on the island, built in 1827. It's the only church where you will find some old graves.
My wife and I went there for a 4 night getaway and we were impressed with everything from the start....more
My wife and I spent part of our honeymoon (3 nights) in Moorea at the Sofitel Ia Ora Resort, booked...more
We stayed at the Intercontinental Moorea for 2 nights of a 6 night tour of French Polynesia. They...more