Often thought to be James Michener's mythical "Bali Hai," Moorea is an island of savage yet captivating beauty where emerald mountains rise from sandy shores, towering over pineapple plantations, ivory beaches, and shady lagoons.
Less than 10 minutes by air from Tahiti, or less than one hour by ferry, are the deep bays and white beaches of Moorea for honeymooners or vacationers who seek the beauty of French Polynesia.
The volcanic peaks, reflected in the tranquil waters of Cook's Bay and Oponohu Bay, rise like a shark's jaw from the island's basaltic base. Green mountain slopes are covered with rain forest or pineapple plantations and white beaches border crystalline lagoons.
Upon your arrival at the ferry terminal or at the small airport you can rent a car or a scooter or use the local public transportation, the "truck", to take you to your destination.
Only 40 miles across, you can easily circle Moorea by car, scooter or bicycle, traveling a well paved road along the shore.
The Belvedere Lookout is one of the most spectacular panoramic views in the world. Located between Cook's and Oponohu Bay, surrounded by the dense vegetation of the interior of the island, Belvedere is a must for all visitors. Picture taking is best in the morning before 10 AM when the sun is behind you. Access is easy, either from Cook's or Oponohu Bay. There's a small sign on the road.
In the village of Afareaitu you can view the giant waterfall, dramatic always, but truly amazing after recent rain has covered the high rocks and ridges. Access is possible with a 4 wheel drive only and we recommend using one of the local 4x4 excursions to travel there.
You can go on a whale and dolphin watch, departing daily, with marine biologist Michael Poole. Ask at your hotel desk for departure times.
The best ancient temple ( Marae) is on the way up to the Belvedere. It has a unique appearance, not a building, but instead, flat coral slabs forming a sort of enclosure.
All beaches are public and the best one is 1/4 of a mile down a dirt road, off the main road, between the Sofitel Ia Ora and the airport gas station
There is no town to speak of on Moorea. You will find a few areas along the road with clusters of shops which sell miscellaneous goods, local Moorea crafts, and colorful, hand-printed textiles(pareos).
You can also visit black pearl shops. We recommend Island Fashion Black Pearls near Cook's Bay. It is run by Ron Hall, a friendly American expatriate who knows his stuff. He offers a good selection of quality pearls at very competitive prices.
The Main Hotels:
Moorea Resort and Spa **** has been totally rebuilt and opened
in late 2006. Now the best hotel in Moorea in all aspects.
Intercontinental Resort and Spa **** is on a spacious and
lush property, offering A/C room as well as upscale private bungalows
arranged in the colorful tropical garden and along the lagoon. There's a large pool, 2 restaurants, 2 bars and a spa, a diving
center as well as many activity options.
Moorea Lagoon **** this deluxe hotel offers 106 rooms, 56
overwater bungalows with all the modern ammenities, 2 restaurants,
2 bars, and a small spa. The usual facilities and activities are available.
Resort *** opened in October 2002 on the location of the old
Bali Hai. A variety of bungalows as well as A/C rooms. A four star
There are a few "budget" hotels lagoon-side such as Les
Tipaniers, Hibiscus, Kaveka providing simple, basic accommodation,
small to medium size bungalows, located on good beaches.
areas of the island, you will find some excellent restaurants (see
list below). Many will organize pick-up and drop-off for a small fee.
loveliest beaches are located between the Moorea Village and the Hotel
Beachcomber, as well as near the Sofitel Ia Ora (between the airport
and the boat terminal) .
kind of water activity and excursion is available on Moorea, also
land- based activities and sports (no golf, only in Tahiti).
is a must, if only for a day's visit, and it's even better if you
can heed her special call for a longer stay.
Best of Moorea
Te Honu Iti - upscale, expensive, romantic, one of the nicest places
on Moorea. Ask for a table by the railing so you can watch and feed
Alfredo’s - nice ambiance, good food, better than most in service.
Le Bateau (The Floating Boat) – located in front of the Linareva
Hotel in Haapiti, nice ambiance, small and quaint, good food, expensive,
look out for the killer drinks, two rounds and you’re three
sheets into the wind!
Le Nouveau Monde - at Cook’s Bay, new management, rated highly by the locals.
Le Mahogany - nice ambiance, very good French, Tahitian and Chinese
Chez Michelle - at Cook’s Bay, next to the bridge, small place, Internet access available, good food with reasonable prices.
Chez Capo - located in Moorea Airport, nice place, very good Polynesian specialty food.
Mayflower – Very good French Food, friendly staff, try the Curry Shrimp
Le Cocotier - excellent French Food.
Aito - good fish house
Le Plantation - very nice, tropical plantation type ambiance.
Le Sud - no details.
Le Pecheur - on Cooks Bay, no other details.
Les Tipaniers - nice place, good food.
Sheraton Moorea BBQ - excellent food, very nice time.
Tortuga’s – a good Pizza and Itallian seafood place, located n Haapiti between the Hibiscus and Moorea Village hotels.
Le Motu Pizza - across from Club Med, excellent sandwiches and burgers.
Allo’s Pizza - near Club Bali Hai, will deliver to most hotels.
Blue Pineapple (L’ananas bleu) - located at the Club Bali Hai
on Cook’s Bay, breakfast and lunch, great hamburgers and fresh
Royal Chicken - roulotte on the road between the Hibiscus and Moorea
Village, for some of the best rotisserie chicken ever, call for take
Miss Pizza – great hamburgers, as well as pizza, inexpensive, across from ICB
La Licorne d'Or (Gold Unicorn) - might be the finest on Moorea and
certainly the prettiest. A ways south of the Sheraton, but they pick
up and deliver (in an ancient Fiat).
Roulotte Chez Mariana - in Maharepa. It's in the magasin parking lot
right next to Le Mahogany. Mariana's not there Mondays and Tuesdays.
Best chao mein, poisson cru, and boeuf au legumes anywhere on the
Roulotte Tavairai - in Maharepa. Look for the christmas lights and
it has a semi-permanent hut where you eat. Excellent chao mein and
Roulotte in Pao Pao - at the mouth of Opunohu bay as you are coming
from CBH. Between the Sheraton and the sailing school. It's also semi
permanent, with a very small trailer and a separate cooking area.
Separate toilettes too. It's easiest to find if you look for the two
10x20 portable tents (car type) set up to shelter you as you eat.
Jules and Claudine Roulotte - at the wharf in Pao Pao. This is walking
distance from Club Bali Hai, before the supermarche. It has lots of
bright yellow tables and chairs where you can sit down to eat.
Roulotte Papetoai - near the magasin in the main part of the village.
Pizza Daniel - near marker 34, close to Haapiti, very unique setting and great pizza.
Shark and Ray Feeding – Moorea Campground Shark and Ray Feeding
Tour (Location on map: PK 27.5, Phone: 56 14 42). You can book directly.
The morning tour runs from 10:00 – 1:00 pm and the afternoon
runs from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Visitors are charged 2000 CFP or about
$20.00. The Campground is about 50 yards from Moorea Village. Bring
your own mask and snorkel, beer or soft drinks. Great value for the
4x4 Island Tour- Albert Tours among others.
The Dolphin Experience - at the IC Beachcomber, three levels of price. Be sure and make a reservation in advance.
Boat rentals – Moorea Loca Boat, no permit required, located at the "Les Tipaniers" hotel - Phone 78 13 39
Whale & Dolphin viewing – Dr. Poole’s Whale &
Hard Hat Diving - Aqua Blue Excursion. If you don't scuba dive but
would like a similar experience, this excursion is great. Put on a
hard hat helmet and walk on the lagoon floor, lots of fun, easy, and
Black Pearls - Island Fashion Black Pearls
just before Cook's Bay (pick-up available - phone 56 11 06)
Belevedere Lookout - general store within walking distance of lookout.
Pineapple Distillery - watch your drinking, particularly in the afternoon,
as they have sobriety stops around the Island.
Le Petit Village - near Intercontinental, small shopping center with
a grocery store, souvenir shops, bank and internet access.
Magasin Vaiterua Market - take a right out of the Sheraton and walk
about 15 minutes. It's a small store with breads, juices and beer.
Also another store, about 15 minutes walk to the right out of the
Sheraton, good meat and cheese selection.
Socredo Shopping Center - located in Maharepa, many shops, restaurants, etc.
Raehau Shopping Center - located in Maharepa too.
Mereat' Art - little roadside boutique at PK 13.9, to the left about
200m, when exiting the Sheraton grounds.
Rent a car and take a cruise around the Island, many shops and places
to stop, great views around every corner. Lots of beaches to stop
at and take a snorkel or a dip.