It’s easy to fall in love with Moorea, the heart shaped island of French Polynesia! The island is carpeted in green vegetation with volcanic peaks and pinnacles soaring out of the spectacular blue ocean.
We sailed into Moorea’s Opunohu Bay, on the Wind Spirit Yacht with Windstar Cruises, and were intoxicated by this island’s charm, where waterfalls tumble down vertical cliffs into crystal clear turquoise lagoons.
Many claim James Michener’s mythical “Bali High” and the musical South Pacific were inspired by Moorea’s beauty. It’s the quintessential South Pacific island where tropical gardens are abundant with hibiscus, gardenias, plumerias, and birds of paradise.
Divers and snorkelers flock to Moorea to explore one of the world’s largest coral reef ecosystems. Marine scientists stay to study the behavior of the local humpback whales and spinner dolphins.
There are fewer tourists than you find on other islands like Bora Bora and Tahiti. Only a few minutes by plane or helicopter, and only a 20-minute ferry or high-speed catamaran ride from Tahiti, even locals come to Moorea to vacation to find a slower pace.
Here’s our list of things to do while visiting Moorea.
WHAT TO DO
Belvedere & Ia Ora Lookouts – Island Highlights:
Hire a driver to take you to Belvedere Outlook where you have panoramic views of both Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay. Luckily, we met Eloy Martinez at our cruise tender pier near Opunohu Bay, who drives visitors in his 4X4 safari truck to see the island’s attractions. He’s a local and moved to Moorea when he met a Tahitian.
He shared his “Heart is Tahitian, Culture is Mexican, and Blood comes from Spain” and he drove us to some of the most spectacular areas of the island. After visiting Belvedere Lookout, stop at the agriculture school on the way down where you can try jam tasting. Eloy drove us to visit some of the island’s ancient maraes, a black sand beach, a pineapple farm, and Cook’s Bay for some great photos.
Hike a Trail:
There are several trails around the island, and one of the most popular is the Three Coconuts Trail, a 7-mile scenic hike where you can see the flora and fauna up close, and walk up to the ridge separating Mount Mouaroa (2,887 ft. high) from Mount Tohivea (3,959 ft. high). Ironically, there is only 1 coconut tree remaining near the highest point of the trail. Or hike another trail that takes you to the Afareaitu Waterfall Mountain Trail – only a 30-45 mins walk up a lush verdant trail.
Go to a Beach:
Pineapple Beach is a great place to snorkel and picnic. Located on the west side of the island at pk 33 km. There’s also Temae beach near the airport and Sofitel Hotel with fantastic white sand for swimming, snorkeling out by the reef. You can also visit Les Tipaniers where you’ll find a restaurant, local boat rentals, kayaks, paddle boards.
Fly Over Moorea with Tahiti Helicopters
This is a must as you visit Moorea island, where you can see the aerial views of the lagoon surrounding the island, and get close to the island’s tall mountains and peaks.
Here are a couple tour options shared by Tahiti Helicopters:
Moorea Tour : The Sister Island – 15mins
During this flight, the Moorea Island will unfold for you its most precious marvels at the heart of its majestic valleys. Waterfalls, sudden mountains, famous bays and stunning views of the lagoon are all on the program.
Tour of 2 Islands: Moorea and Essential Tahiti – 45mins
Head to Tahiti Nui (the big island) and discover the extravagant jungle that adorns the interior of its land surface. Admire the subtle mix of lagoon, jagged mountain and coral reefs, then let yourself be carried away by the magic of these sumptuous landscapes. You will continue your escapade on the heights of the sister island, Moorea, which will seduce you with its magnificent natural setting. Panoramic photo opportunities guaranteed!
Shark feeding, picnic on a motu, snorkel coral reef, and see a coconut opening demonstration. Leaves from Hotel Bali Hai or they pick up at major hotels.
Dophin Eco Tour:
Join marine biologist Dr. Michael Poole on a 3 hour tour to learn about the local spinner dolphins and humpback whales, as you boat along the coast of Moorea for a sighting of a whale tail, or dolphin spin. Dr. Poole is the founder of the Marine mammal Research Program and has been studying dolphins and whales in French Polynesia since 1987. Dolphins are found on 95% of his tours, and his commentary will ensure a rewarding and educational experience.
Shows and Performances:
Watch the dolphin show at the Intercontinental Hotel. Visit the Tiki Village Day Show and see a fabulous fire dance in the evening.
ARTICLES AND VIDEOS OF FRENCH POLYNESIA
On this trip, we cruised with Windstar Cruises, and visited 8 islands including coral atolls Fakarava and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus archipelago, as well as Taha’a, Raiatea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti in the Society Islands. Watch some drone footage of our MSY Wind Spirit yacht, anchored off Taha’a Island, click here: Windstar Cruises MS Wind Spirit Cruise Ship
Sharing highlights from each of these islands – what to do, where to go, dine, stay…just click on links below.
***Click here to see drone footage Fakarava Blue Lagoon Tour
Global Adventuress thanks Windstar Cruises for partially hosting an AMAZING cruise through French Polynesia!
We also want to thank Tahiti Helicopters for partially hosting our flight over Moorea Island – spectacular!