Have you been dreaming about white sand beaches and over water bungalows? You might want to start planning your trip to French Polynesia.
Hands down, there is no way to deny that French Polynesia is a once in a lifetime, bucket list dream vacation destination!
I'm sure you've heard of the infamous honeymoon like destinations such as, Bora Bora and Tahiti. Well, there are 116 additional island and atolls that make up French Polynesia and they're all waiting for you to explore them. If you're looking for incredible culture, the best fish in the world, hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV tours, swimming with sharks and rays, whale watching, sky diving, relaxation on beautiful white sand beaches, enjoy an incredible bungalow, and more then, you my friend want to visit the Island of Moorea! And, of course, you want to be as prepared as possible! If it's your first time visiting the Island of Moorea you're in the right place! Start here y reading this ultimate guide to the Island of Moorea.
What is the island of Moorea like? Well, a dream world. To tell the truth, it's a real struggle to even begin to describe Moorea properly but, I’ll do my best. Shortly after your arrival you'll notice a cool mountain breeze on your skin, the intoxicating scent of flowers, and of course, the tranquil sight of the ocean. Quickly, overwhelmed by the landscape, your eyes are scanning in every direction. So much so, that your thoughts need a few seconds to catch up to your senses. The best I can compare the feeling to is that feeling of complete freedom when riding along the coast of California or cruising down an open road on a Harley Davidson.
The mesmerizing deep sapphire blues that meet the horizon, the bright and intense aqua shore waters, almost as if it’s glowing. All of a sudden, your thoughts, cares, and worries are slowly put to peace. Turning to look the other way you're stunned. Here is this massive volcanic mountain! It is covered in so many shades of green from the wide variety of trees growing. How? What planet is this? Is this real life?
How to get to the island of Moorea. In order to get to any of the islands you will first fly into Tahiti, airport code PPT. From Tahiti, you have two options:
1) A 15-minute flight from Tahiti to Moorea, airport code MOZ.
Cost: $15 for Aremeti and $11.60 for Teravau. Aremeti is few more dollars because the bus schedule runs with the arrival of Aremeti. To clarify, you must pay for a bus ticket.
So, only taxi's will be available when taking the Teravau. Trust, there is no need to purchase ferry tickets in advance, there is always room. However, if you're taking a vehicle from island to island, I would highly recommend purchasing prior to, in person.
While, credit and debit card are accepted in many places, you will need to have local currency. There are plenty of ATMs to accomplish this. Personally, I refuse to pay a fee to withdrawal my own money. So, last year I took 10 minutes of my time and opened up a checking account with Charles Schwab!! No ATM or international transaction fees anywhere. Bonus: If, you sign up using my referral link you can earn up to $500!
AMEX cards (if accepted) come with a $30 minimum and all other cards are a $20 minimum.
Currency is the Pacific Franc. It is important to realize, that their 1 dollar is in coin form. At first, the totals on your bill will shock you but, there is a conversion rate to consider. Here’s the shock: Total 14,500 = $135.36 USD
There are two languages on the islands, French and Tahitian. Try to learn the basics of French, it will go a long way and it’s such a fun language!
Here's a short list of Tahitian sayings you will hear a lot:
- Ia Ora na – Hello and it is pronounced Yo-Rah-Nah
- Mauru' uru – Thank You and it is pronounced Mah-Roo-Roo
- Manuia– Cheers! And, it is pronounced Mah-Nwee-Ah
For more Tahitian sayings, click here.
Many of the where to go, stay, and eat listed below are pinned my personal Google Map of Moorea. This was specifically created to share with you. Click here to download the map so it’s available for you to use offline.
Things to do: Honestly, the beautiful island of Moorea truly has something for everyone: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV tours, swimming with sharks and rays, whale watching, sky diving, relax on the beautiful white sand beaches, enjoy an incredible bungalow, and so much more.
The Beaches (La plage)
- Tema’e Beach — Best beach to snorkel, paddle board, and high chance you will see rays cruising around.
- Ta’ahiamanu Beach — Best beach to relax
- Hauru Beach — Best is the best beach to snorkel and see some turtles. Go into the water and swim to the right all the way to the concrete dock that is no longer in use. Out in front of that is a well know area for turtles.
- Pineapple Beach — Best is best the best spot to watch the sunset
Hiking – Belvedere is the most well-known spot. While, there are many other hiking trails around the island they are not really marked well. So, if you happen to be driving around and you see a potential trail, stop and ask a local if it’s okay for you to hike it.
Remember, when it rains, there will be waterfalls!! So, you will absolutely want to take a hike and see them up close. Afareaitu waterfall is the easiest one to get to – it is saved on my Google Map for you.
Tahitian Dance Show!! The four big hotels on the island regularly host dance shows. This is something you will for sure want to attend at least once during your stay.
How to get around:
Rent a car, scooter, bicycle, boat tour, bus, or walk. AVIS is located right next to the ferry station. If, you're going to rent a car, I highly recommend booking in advance.
There is one road that goes around the entire island. Makes it near impossible to get lost.
Also, there is a bike lane on both sides of the road for majority of the island.
Places to eat:
In all honesty, I was not served a single bad dish the entire two months I lived on the island of Moorea.
A few of my favorite restaurants:
- Casa Vincenzo – Best Italian
- Carameline – Best coffee and great food
- Allo Pizza –Pizza made properly in a wood burning oven.
- Sea You Soon Moorea – All the food is great, especially the vegetable pizza! Even my meat-eating friends were loving it.
- Snack Didier – Everything is great
- Golden Lake – Best Chinese
Vegan / vegetarians: Here and there, you may find decently priced veggies but, for the most part, they are going to be crazy expensive. Like, $8 for a small eggplant expensive. In fact, as crazy as it sounds, depending on your personal diet you may want to consider eating out for your larger meals as the cost can potentially be the same if not cheaper.
Rumor has it that French Polynesia has the best fresh fish on the planet. So, if you like fish, eat all the fresh fish you can find!
If, you happen to come across Uru (breadfruit) fries on the menu, order two! They are sooooo good! This magical fruit tastes like mashed potatoes! It grows naturally on the island. Funny enough, it is in the same family as Jackfruit, so they look identical, however, very different taste.
*Ladies, want to feel like a Tahitian Princess? Make sure to accessorize with some fresh flowers. There are a few stands on the side of the road that sell flower necklaces and headpieces. The BEST one that I’ve found is located across the street near The Champion grocery store. Another option, is to place a single flower behind one of your ears. If, your flower is placed behind your right ear that means you’re available and if it is placed behind your left ear that means you’re taken. Make sure to place your flowers in a little bit of water and leave them in the refrigerator overnight.
Where to stay:
- Airbnb is the most affordable option. If, you're new to Airbnb, sign up here and save $40 on your first stay!
- Personal recommendation ---->>> Le Loft de Moorea
- Here is a short list of the many resorts available:
- Here are the four main major resorts:
Beware, vegetables are going to be very expensive. For example, $9 for three tomatoes.
- The Champion — Biggest market on the island
- Maharepa – Small grocery with everything you’d need
- SuperUare – Second largest grocery
The best vegetables and fruits you can buy are from the stands on side of the road.
Maharepa has the cheapest shopping center.
Pearls!! There are pearl stores all over the island; Make sure to buy duty free.
Click here for my personal Google Map of Moorea. Many of the where to go, stay, and eat listed below are already saved to my Google Map of Moorea. Download the map so it’s available for you to use offline.