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. On my first visit to the South Seas, I spent one month in this paradise and have since returned multiple times to Moorea. Here’s my personal list of the top things to do in Moorea.
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10. Enjoy 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. Visit The Rotui-Manutea Factory Store
It all began when Moorea’s farmers wondered what else they could do with all the pineapples they grow in the lush Opunohu Valley. Since its creation, the Rotui-Manutea Factory has expanded from pineapple juice to a wide variety of fruit juices. The brand is synonymous with French Polynesia, and you’ll see the juices at just about every breakfast table and buffet on the islands. The brand recently added the Manutea line of exotic liqueurs, making the famous tasting sessions all that more interesting.
8. Circle Moorea By Car Or Bicycle
Big enough to comfortably house every resident 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 loaves of baguette. Explore at your own pace and get a real feel for ‘island life’.
7. Swim With 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. Experience 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. Climb 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 Bay 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. Get a Magical View Of Moorea
Magic Mountain used to be somewhat of a secret, but nowadays, it’s practically a sin not to pay a visit to one of the finest scenic lookouts in the Society Islands. Guided 4X4 and ATV tours drive up to the viewpoint, otherwise, it’s a short but very steep climb on a paved road that runs from the roadside cafe. From the top, enjoy breathtaking panoramic views stretching from Opunohu Bay to the lagoon motu way out west. If time seemed to tick away slowly on ground level, wait until you get to the summit of Magical Mountain!
3. Dive With Sharks & Swim With Whales
It’s back beneath the waves for this top Moorea adventure. Scuba divers will enjoy morning dives in the deep, where reef and lemon sharks like to hang out with sea turtles. If you’re visiting Moorea between July and October, your visit might coincide with that of humpback whales arriving from Antarctica to relax in the warm waters, mate, and give birth. Whale-watching excursions are available in Moorea, and if conditions are right, you’ll get the chance to enter the water and swim with these giants.
2. Explore Tropical Nature By Foot
Moorea rewards those who get off the beaten track with some serious views. Choose from several exciting 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. Relax 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. The good news is that Moorea’s beaches are among the best beaches in French Polynesia. 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?
This covers the list of the top things to do in Moorea, though there are plenty more highlights on this beautiful island. For more information about Moorea and French Polynesia, check out these recommended guides.
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