Deep in the South Pacific Ocean there is a volcanic island known as The Magical Island.
Allow me to introduce the island of Moorea. 'The Magical Island' is 1 out of 118 islands that make up French Polynesia. With its unbelievably beautiful water, mind-blowing landscapes, and people that are so incredibly kind, it will restore your faith in humanity. It's hard to argue that it's not magical.
This beautiful island truly has something for everyone: hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV tours, sharks, rays, whale watching, sky diving, white sand relaxation, bungalows and so much more.
Hiking up the mountain to see the 'Āfareaitu Waterfall felt like being on another planet. We went from driving and staring at the incredible colors of the ocean and palm trees to hiking in this majestic awe-inspiring landscape.
Transportation: You can easily get around the island by renting a car, electric scooter, or a bicycle. Cyclists, this is an island for you! There is only one road that circles the entire island. In total, it's about 37 miles/6o km and there is a designated bike lane on both sides. Nearly impossible to get lost. There is a bus that goes around the entire island. Beware, the bus schedule runs along with the Aremiti Ferry schedule – it is not a hop on hop off type of bus. There is a little lack of public transportation on island but, you won't need an Uber or Lyft, (it's not even available) the locals are accustomed to picking up hitchhikers. Seriously, I hitchhiked three times the first day I was here.
Money: The local currency is French Pacific Franc CPT. US dollars are accepted but, just as every other remote location, chances are you might pay a little bit more for taxis and such when using USD. The reason for this is that businesses have to pay the bank a fee to convert your USD back to their local currency. It's always best to have local currency on hand for purchases just in case cards are not accepted. Personally, I prefer to use my international debit card (no ATM fees) to withdrawal cash in local currency.
Electrical outlets: Make sure you have a universal adapter. This one has a surge protector and is really great for using hair dryers, hair straighteners, and has many USB ports.
Best time to travel: Whenever you can go! June - August is the high season and the weather is going to be sunny and warm with little chance of rain but it will come with a much higher price tag. November - March is the rainy season. Don't let that scare you off, the rain is short lived. Whale watching season is best from August - October.
Immerse yourself in the culture. Take a tour (or three) with a local guide, talk with the people of Moorea, go to a show and watch true Tahitian dance, and make sure to let your taste buds be won over while eating some of the best fish in the world at the local restaurants.
Speaking of locals, once you start chatting with a few, you will notice a trend. They will ask you where you’re from and naturally you will ask if they’re originally from Moorea. The reply will be something along the lines of, ‘yes I was born and raised here but my [mom or dad] is originally from [x,y,z] they came here x amount of years ago, fell in love, and never left'. They say some people wear their hearts on their sleeve, so it's fitting that 'The Magical Island' is shaped like a heart.
If this destination was not on your must see list before, it should be now.