Written by Missy Johnston

Moorea French polynesia

Tropical Bay off Moorea, French Polynesia

Exotic Moorea, with its white sand beaches and clear lagoons, is a true tropical paradise. Moorea is the second largest of the Society Islands, covering 53 square miles. It’s easy to understand why James Michener based his mythical Bali Hai on Moorea. The clear waters of Oponohu Bay reflect towering peaks that rise dramatically from the sea. And a wide lagoon surrounds the waterfall-filled mountains and gentle meadows. While there are no true towns on Moorea, there are settled areas with restaurants, food and gift stores.

Moorea, Tahiti island

Palm Trees on Beach in Moorea

A glance up the side of the volcanic mountains will show rain forests and pineapple plantations. Moorea pineapples are well known as the sweetest in the island group and are sought after by cruisers and locals alike.

The well paved road that runs along the 40 mile shore can be traversed by a hired car, scooter or bike for a circumnavigation of the entire island. The Belvedere Lookout offers truly spectacular vistas and is located in the island’s interior between Cook’s and Oponohu Bay. The village of Afareaitu offers access to a dramatic waterfall. And in Paopao is an open air market and church with beautiful painted murals.
For those that can’t leave home without their golf clubs, there is a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course located on Moorea. Swimming and snorkeling are always available, and many of the local resorts look forward to a visit for a meal or cocktail and even day use of their pool facilities, and of course a look through the shops.
Moorea French Polynesia
Moorea, French Polynesia

Other activities specific to Moorea are a visit to the Pineapple Factory and Fruit Juice Distillery. The juices are marketed throughout French Polynesia under the name of Rotui and you are sure to be served some of the company’s fruit juice at some point during your travels in this area. There is no specific tour of the factory, however you are welcome to show up during working hours and simply wander through the factory watching the various jobs being done and then visit the factory shop to taste the various juices being made, including fruit liquors and local rum, all available for purchasing as well.

There are several ancient Maraes sites located on Moorea, worth visiting, which were cultural and religious centers for earlier civilizations living in the area.

And you may want to visit The Tiki Village Cultural Center. Here you can see the traditions and life-style of an old Tahitian village, and see local demonstrations of weaving, stone carving, tattooing and painting. The Tiki Village Cultural Center also offers a frequent show highlighting Polynesian dance with a buffet of traditional foods cooked in the in ground fire pit on the premises.

Both Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay offer protected anchorages for an island visit.
map of Tahiti and Moorea with cities and roads