I would never, never hitch in the US, but we saw a lot of people hitch hiking while we were in Moorea for ten days and eventually, started just doing the same. It was a really nice, really easy way to get around and we never felt even a tiny bit nervous. That's one of the things that I loved about staying there. Everyone went out of their way to make us feel completely welcome, and it didn't just seem like it was because we were tourists. We were on a bit of a shoestring (we camped and ate at the local spots). But no matter. People were incredibly friendly and seemed genuine, and if you speak French as I do, all the better because you can talk to anyone, and I think hitch hiking is totally normal there.
We also took Le Truck, which was great, but I can't remember if we took it on Moorea or just Tahiti! At any rate, if you need a ride, just ask someone. We also found that restaurant owners drove us to our camp site, as did some store managers (we bought a few inexpensive black pearls but were treated like royalty). Awesome and easy to get around!
Also, I hitched alone at some points, as a single, younger woman and had no problem whatsoever.
Le truck circles the small island of Moorea picking up it's passengers as it goes. The price was reasonable (about 1USD), and the ride enjoyable. What I liked about it was that although there are "official" stops, you can get on/off almost anywhere by flagging down the bus as it approaches and telling the driver where you wish to get off at.
I had read that hiring Bicyles is popular for travelling around the island of Moorea. I was lucky enough to hire a car. While most of the road is relatively flat making bike riding feasible, we passed several riders who were suffering in the scorching heat.
It is a long distance around the island, so if you are planning to cover some teritory hire a scooter or car. Also the look-out in the centre of the island is up a very steep and winding road. The last 2 kilometers being unfriendly to bicyle riders.
Car and Scooter can be hired at the Ferry Terminal if arriving from Tahiti.
Although I was not really shocked by the fact that there were luxury yachts in this beautiful location, I was rather intriqued by how many yachts there were! I did not realize there were that many rich retired people! Did they not travel during their fun years, and are now making up for it?
I guess this tip is not really appropriate for many of the people on Virtual Tourist... but for those with a little extra coin... have a great time!
Depending on where you choose to stay on the island, it may be possible that you can take a hike around a portion of the island. We made use of our legs on several occassions, mostly to earn an appetite. On our first day here, we chose to walk in the middle of the day to a small little store to pick up supplies like peanut butter and jelly to save from paying $29 dollars each for breakfast!
In this picture, we walked from the Sheraton Lagoon Resort to the small store. What beautiful views, and when you walk, you can stop at the perfect places for photos!
We also chose on several occassions to take a cab to a certain location, then walk around a bit before hailing the cab back.
After making the ferry crossing from Papeete, you will be met at the dock by a string of buses all lined up to transport arriving visitors to where they need to go. The flat rate for all island destinations is CFP 200.
Note that the bus schedule coincides with the arrival and departure times of the ferries. You should have no problem catching a ride back to the dock when it's time to return to Papeete.
By far the cheapest way to get around Moorea is to use Le Truck. Le Truck is a bus that basically drives around the island, and you flag it down at a stop, and let the driver know when you need to get off - it can be flexible sometimes although it is supposed to use proper stops.
I can'tremember the exact cost, but it was the only thing I remember in Moorea that felt good value. However be aware that Le Truck does run on Tahiti time (i.e. it can be pretty late). If you are doing something to a budget then Le Truck is great. If you are in a hurry, get a car!
However Le Truck can be good for getting to and from the Ferry, as it stops right outside the ferry terminal, and seems to try and coincide its stops with the ferry arriving/departing.
I haven't got picture of Le-Truck myself, so this photo is courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme
Upon arriving in Moorea, it's easy to see why car or scooter rental would be the best mode of transport around the island.
However, the islands do have a pretty convenient bus system. They are owner-operated jitney-like vehicles known as Le Truck. We figured this would be a great way to "travel like the locals."
What we didn't realize on Moorea......or at least in our section of the island......those trucks don't pass as frequently.
Hitchiking on the island seemed like the next best thing.
Back at home, I could never imagine myself as someone trailblazing along the side of the road with my thumb sticking out. However, here on the islands, it seemed relatively easy and safe.
As we strolled along the side of the road, my partner and I joked at how long it would take for someone to offer us a ride. We double checked, and we both didn't fit the "serial killer" profile.
Okay......so who should thumb first?
Like that famous scene with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in "It Happened One Night," we based it on who could "charm" the drivers from afar.
2 minutes into our walk and here comes a potential ride. It was a man and woman sitting in the front seat, so we BOTH stuck out our thumbs flashed our smiles!
We jumped into the back of their little mini truck of this very colorful, friendly couple.
They say hitching is fairly safe in French Polynesia, but as anywhere else, always excercise common sense.
It's a great way to meet the locals!
In Moorea, the le truck or public bus are available to meet the arrival and departure of the ferries to and from Tahiti. At other times, they do not run.
Due to irregular services, hitch a ride to get around Moorea. There are also some bicycle rentals at Le Petit Village.
Le Truck is the only way to go in the islands. While conventional "buses" are available and all over the wharf area ready to take tourists to their destinations, "les trucks" are much more fun.
They serve the entire coasline for Moorea from the port.
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