What to see in French Polynesia
Tourist attractions Moorea
Whilst all of French Polynesia’s islands are beautiful, there’s something almost mythical about the spectacular natural beauty of Moorea. Known as Tahiti’s ‘Little Sister’ due to its proximity, Moorea is a volcanic island in the Society Islands archipelago. Just 10 nautical miles from the ‘Big Island’, the distant sight of Moorea’s 8 volcanic peaks from Papeete invites you to hop on a ferry and explore this magical island for yourself! The ‘pineapple capital of French Polynesia’, aside from mouth-watering tropical fruits Moorea’s main natural feature are its twin bays: Cook’s and Opunohu, the first of which was named after Captain James Cook who came ashore here in 1777. According to legend, it was originally a single bay, although a huge lizard divided it into two with its tail. This story gave rise to the island’s name of Moorea, which means ‘golden lizard’ in the local language.
Occasionally overlooked in favour of the popularity and opulence of better-known Bora Bora, the island retains much of its unspoilt charm, making a trip to Moorea the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life. Truly, this tiny island is the stuff that dreams are made of, with powdery white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, swaying tropical palm trees and forested volcanic peaks.
Time moves at a slower pace here, whether you’re soaking up the soul-stirring views, bathing in the warm warms of the South Pacific or cruising around the island in a traditional outrigger boat. Moreover, a vacation to Moorea is a dream for hiking enthusiasts, who love the wild beauty and tranquil walking trails that snake through the island’s lush interior. The best place to enjoy its incredible views of the entire island is at Belvedere Lookout. Furthermore, if you’re more interested in the underwater world, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the wide variety of diving and snorkeling spots found on the island, as well as glass-bottomed boat rides or kayaking trips.
Whilst an all-inclusive vacation to Moorea is ideal for honeymooners, this island isn’t just the reserve of the wealthy jet-set. From simple beachfront bungalows and homestays to luxurious high-end hotels, there’s something for all tastes and budgets here. After all, nature is completely free to enjoy and is surely the main attraction if you travel to Moorea!
Things to see on Moorea
Reached by car or as part of a 4x4 island tour, Belvedere Lookout is considered one of the best things to see on Moorea! For unforgettable panoramic views of the entire island and both Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, there’s no better place. Furthermore, it’s also the starting and ending point of a number of signposted hikes across the island, so head here if you’d like to immerse yourself in the wild natural landscapes during your stay in Moorea. Afterwards, why not explore the aptly named ‘Pineapple Route’ to see the island’s vast collection of pineapple plantations! You’ll instantly recognise the pineapple crops from the seemingly endless fields of spiky green leaves.
One of the most popular things to do in Moorea is to pay a visit to Tiki Village! Set in a reconstructed Polynesian village, a variety of workshops and performances take place here throughout the day, showcasing Polynesian traditions, crafts and lifestyles. Weaving, cooking and ukulele workshops are popular, and after all that hard work you can sit back and enjoy authentic Polynesian dances and musical performances after sundown. A must-visit if you travel to Moorea!
Of course, the jewel in Moorea’s crown is idyllic Cook’s Bay, and many of the most popular activities such as snorkeling and boat trips, take place in and around this beautiful natural feature. Furthermore, a number of local sights, such as Moorea Juice Factory and Pao Pao Market are located around the edge of Cook’s Bay, making it the ideal place to base your explorations of the island. Restaurants, shops and hotels can all be found here, as well as some of the most spectacular sunset views on the island.
Finally, to get the most out of your vacation to Moorea, it’s probably a good idea to take one or more of the various excursions on offer across the island. From diving and snorkeling trips to shark and ray feeding excursions and guided hikes, there’s a lot to choose from. A 4x4 tour of the entire island is perfect for those looking for breathtaking views and tropical rainforests. On the other hand, a boat trip to one of the outlying islands (known as Motus) is ideal for honeymooning couples who want to experience a true desert-island escape!