with Amy Kimsey
Only 25 km from its big sister island Tahiti, Moorea may fail to gain the attention that other French Polynesian islands such as Bora Bora receive, but don’t let that fool you. Moorea is packed with plenty of activities, a choice of resorts, and a laid back non-touristy feel that you’ll fall in love with the island. Let’s take a look at 5 Things you’ll be sure to enjoy on the island.
1. Rent a Car and Drive Around the Island Renting a car in Moorea is simple and easy and you won’t get lost as the island has one road that circles the entire island in 37 miles. Driving through will allow you to see the island outside of your resort and give you the freedom to stop and enjoy the scenery. Road improvements make driving to the Belvédère Lookout easy and safe for sweeping views of both Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay. For beach visits, try stopping and enjoying Tamae Beach on the east coast or Painapo Beach on the west coast. We rented our car for one day picking it up in the morning and returning it the next morning allowing us to drive to the Hotel Hibiscus to enjoy dinner while watching the sunset.
2. ATV ToursMoorea’s combination of beach, water, and interior mountains and valleys make it a perfect blend of South Pacific island experience. A fun and exciting way to see the interior is to take an ATV tour and get “off-road” with a smile on your face! Single seater and double seater ATVs are available for half-day tours taking you into the interior through pineapple fields and up to viewpoints for great photos.
3. HikingThe best hiking in the Tahitian Islands may be on Moorea. Tahiti is bigger and offers true rugged hiking experiences, but Moorea offers the perfect blend of lush island hiking on well-marked trails for tourists along with trail maps and signs. Moorea has done an excellent job of upgrading their hiking experience so that tourists and locals alike can enjoy the interior on foot. Stroll through ancient forests and visit pre-European “marae” (traditional temples) ruins and historical sites before gaining sweeping views of the island’s rugged peaks and lush valleys.
4. Snorkeling and Lagoon ToursMoorea is perfect to get your practice your snorkeling skills while swimming with Black Tip Sharks and Manta Rays with the occasional turtle! Lagoon tours take you to Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay before heading to shallow and calm waters for snorkeling. Enjoy a delicious Tahitian lunch while anchored offshore and be sure to bring your waterproof camera and don’t be afraid to pet the manta rays!
5. RelaxWhile “relaxing” may not qualify as an activity for some, Moorea offers a laid back and quiet atmosphere that allows you to truly relax and let your mind soak in the warmth and beauty the island offers. We recommend spending at least one day at your resort soaking in the sun, taking a kayak out for a leisure paddle, and then when the sun sets head out to excellent local family-run restaurants. Our favorite restaurant for dinner is Rudy’s on the north shore in the small center of Maharepa.