You’ll fall in love with Moorea from the moment you step off the boat. Perhaps it’s because the island resembles the shape of a heart. Known as ‘the magical island’, Moorea is one of French Polynesia’s premier destinations. There’s something for everybody here: from scuba diving, to hiking to just plane old beach bumming. I spent one month in this paradise during a six month voyage across the islands of the South Pacific. Here’s my personal list of the top things to do in Moorea.
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10. Enjoying The Beautiful Pace Of Island Life
Only 30 minutes away from busy Tahiti yet a world away, it’s time to remove those watches from your hand and the smartphones from your pocket. Island time knows no constraints. Explore empty roads, empty beaches and night skies littered with millions of stars. Moorea is a place to relax, unwind and appreciate what nature has created.
9. Visiting The Local Juice Factory
There’s juice, and then there’s juice. Visit the Moorea Juice Factory and discover how tropical fruits are turned into exotic juices that every Tahitian loves. The factory also doubles as a distillery, producing vanilla cream, Tahitian punch, pineapple wine and even sugar cane liquor. Oh and the best part – factory tours end with a never-ending tasting session!
8. Circling Moorea By Car Or Bike
Big enough to comfortably fit everyone yet small enough to comfortably explore, rent a car or hop on a bicycle and circle Moorea’s 60-kilometer coastline. Stop along the way to buy some tropical fruit, fresh tuna or an ice cold coconut, and pick a nice spot to savor the beautiful views. You’ll pass by cute churches, sleepy fishing villages, azure beaches and locals returning from the bakery with a couple of baguettes. Explore at your own pace and get a real feel for ‘island life’.
7. Feeding Sharks & Stingrays
Picture this: you see dozens of black shark fins sticking out of the blue lagoon waters, beneath them are the long and spiky tails of stingrays patrolling the shallow sandy floor. Then, you’re instructed to step off the boat ladder and go for a swim with these guys! Your mind is telling you that it’s against all common sense, but your heart is telling you to just suck it up and take the plunge. Once you hit the water, you’ll never forget this surreal experience. Shark and stingray feeding lagoon tours usually include a picnic lunch on a small island in the lagoon – as if this day wasn’t already special enough!
6. Experiencing Authentic Tahitian Culture
Exotic, mysterious, beautiful and vivid – those are just a few of the adjectives you can use to describe Tahitian culture. The Tiki Village in Moorea is the best way to get an authentic slice of traditional Tahitian life. During the day, you can bring your skills up to par with some ukulele and Tahitian cooking lessons. At night, you’ll be pinching yourself as a local legend unfolds in front of your eyes in beautiful song and dance. Oh, and they love playing with fire!
5. Climbing Up To The Belvedere
Moorea’s twin bays carve out its signature heart shape and there’s no better place to see this (other than from the air of course) than at the Belvedere Lookout. An absolute must visit spot, the mighty Mount Rotui seems to be within arm’s reach, acting as a towering barrier between Opunohu and Cook’s bay. Down below is the lush Opunohu Valley, where pineapple is grown in abundance. Get here early in the day or in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds, as this panoramic lookout is super popular.
4. Getting a Magical View Of The Island
Unmarked and unknown, trekking up Magical Mountain on foot or as part of an ATV tour is something that should not be missed in Moorea. From up here, enjoy breathtaking panoramic views stretching from Opunohu Bay all the way to the lagoon motus way out west. If time seemed to tick away slowly on ground level, wait until you get to the summit of Magical Mountain!
3. Diving With Sharks
You’ve already fed them and now it’s time to dive with them. No visit to Moorea is complete without a bit of scuba diving. Contact Stephane & Diane from Moorea Blue Diving and exit the reef for some seriously close encounters with massive sharks. You’ll see so many that it kind of becomes the norm, that is until you come across a lone sea turtle just snacking away on some coral! Visit the ‘diving in Moorea section’ in the Moorea Travel Guide and get a discount on your dive.
2. Exploring Tropical Nature By Foot
Moorea rewards those who get off the beaten track with some serious views. Choose from a number of hikes and get to know the island’s natural landscape from up close, and up high. Whether on the hunt for a cascading waterfall or climbing up to a ridge with panoramic views, the hikes in Moorea were among the best in the South Pacific.
1. Relaxing On Beautiful Tropical Beaches
Let’s face it, the real reason you come all the way to the remote islands of French Polynesia is to find that perfect beach. So don’t forget to pack a few books, your snorkeling gear and pick up some fresh tropical fruit along the way. From long stretches of white sand to secluded hidden beaches – Moorea’s gorgeous beaches will satisfy any beachcomber’s taste.
Ready To Visit?
There you have it! The top things to do in Moorea. There’s lots more to see and do in Moorea. Have a look at the Moorea Travel Guide for more information about the island, and the French Polynesia Travel Guide, your guide to 11 islands in paradise.
Have your own Moorea favorites? Leave a comment below and feel free to share your own tips!