Moorea, French Polynesia

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Explore Moorea, French Polynesia

Moorea is located a mere 12 miles (19 kilometers) west of the island of Tahiti. Travel there in only a few minutes, by plane – and only thirty minutes by high-speed catamaran. Moorea is a triangular shaped island encircled by a lagoon of translucent green, and fringed by the blue Polynesian sea. Polynesia's second-most popular tourist attraction, after Tahiti, Moorea is unique among the Society Islands in having magnificent expanses of both white and black sand beaches. It’s no stretch to say that the beaches of Moorea Island can be rated among the World’s finest.

Moorea’s peaceful meadows are flanked by pinnacles of green and will fill your senses as well as renew your belief in the majesty of nature. Polynesian legend describes the panorama of volcanic ridges as the second dorsal fin of the fish that became the island of Tahiti. These pinnacles later inspired the mythical "Bali Hai" that was based on James Michener's book, Tales of the South Pacific.

  • Swim or snorkel in the jewel-like Moorea lagoon.
  • Thrill to panoramic views of the island’s twin bays from the Belvédère lookout.
  • Take a 4x4 tour of the island’s lush interior.
  • Sample Polynesian cuisine at a genuine Tahiti luau.
  • Spot pods of spinner dolphins on a dolphin eco-tour on Moorea cruises.


Things To Do

Local Attractions

You’ll be living a South Seas fantasy on your Moorea cruise. The smaller sister island to neighboring Tahiti, Moorea is the quintessential French Polynesian isle, where sunlight dances on crystalline lagoons and craggy peaks are mirrored in turquoise bays. Come to the island author James Michener once called “majestic.”

  • Sample Polynesian specialties at inexpensive roulottes, or rolling food trucks.
  • Take a dip in a refreshing rainforest pool at the base of Atiraa waterfall.
  • Scuba dive or snorkel in the offshore coral gardens teeming with neon-colored fish.
  • Admire Moorea’s famous black-stone peaks rising high above the bays.

Fun Facts

  • The island was settled by Polynesians who came by canoe from South Asia a thousand years ago.
  • Moorea is a volcanic island and its jagged peaks are the remains of an ancient volcanic crater.
  • The first Westerners to see Moorea were Captain Cook and his crew, who arrived in 1774. Cook’s Bay is named for the captain.

Within Walking Distance

Moorea

A sprinkling of vendors shows up at the cruise-ship dock when the ferry tenders passengers from Moorea cruises onto the island. The dock is also the spot guides from excursions will meet you to explore Moorea.

Beyond the Port Area

A relatively flat, well-paved 39-mile circle drive traces the circumference of Moorea, French Polynesia. Circle Island Drive & Belvedere will drive the main road of this heart-shaped island, cleaved by Cook's and Opunohu bays along Moorea’s stunning north shore. Then they will take the turn off that leads through the Opunahu Valley to the top of Mount Rotui for awesome views of the twin bays from the Belvédère Lookout. Whale- and dolphin-watching are popular activities on Carnival cruises to Moorea, French Polynesia.

Moorea offers some of the best dolphin-watching experiences in French Polynesia and Dolphin & Whale Watching Expeditions lead dolphin watching excursions year-round. Watch the humpback whales visit the island from July until October to breed in the warm South Pacific. The Tiki Theatre Village, built in the style of ancient Tahitian villages, is a cluster of old-fashioned fares (houses), where locals demonstrate traditional arts and crafts such as tattooing, tapa-cloth making and painting, wood and stone carving, weaving, and cooking. Circle Island Drive & Tiki Theatre Village offer a comprehensive tour encompassing circle drive, Tiki Theatre and coffee and pineapple fields.

Beaches in Moorea

While many other islands in French Polynesia have black-sand beaches, most of Moorea’s beaches are blindingly white. Spending a day out on the lagoon is a must. Motu Islet Beach & Barbeque excursion takes you across the water to a motu (small islet) out on the reef for swimming, snorkeling, and a barbecue lunch.

snorkeling

Sharing the lagoon with the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, the gorgeous Temae Plage Publique (Tamae Public Beach) has some of the island's best swimming and snorkeling. Another public beach and a local favorite for sunning and swimming is Faimano Plage Publique (Faimano Public Beach), in a coconut grove west of the Sheraton Moorea between the two bays. You’ll find good snorkeling with Moorea Snorkeling Safari which includes use of basic snorkeling gear.

Shopping in Moorea

Market

Tahitian black pearls, wood carvings, and tikis are among the signature souvenirs of a Carnival cruise to Tahiti. For one-stop shopping, head to Haapiti to Le Petit Village shopping center. You can also buy black pearls at Tiki Village Theatre.

Travel Tips

TRAVEL TIPS

  • French is the official language, although English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
  • The French Pacific franc is the official currency, but U.S. dollars and euros cash are widely accepted.
  • Moorea’s balmy tropical climate has tropical showers year-round. During the May-through-October dry season, midday highs average 82 degrees F. November through April is the wet season.
  • Cruises to Tahiti visiting Moorea anchor offshore in Cook’s Bay and tender passengers to Vaiare Quay.