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Moorea

The Magical Island

A few minutes from the island of Tahiti by plane, and only thirty minutes by high-speed catamaran, Moorea soars magically out of the ocean in an explosion of green velvet - what you would imagine a South Seas island to be.

A wide, shallow lagoon surrounds the island's vertical mountains where poetic threads of waterfalls tumble down fern-softened cliffs. Peaceful meadows flanked by pinnacles of green will fill your senses and renew your belief in the majesty of nature. Pastel-painted houses surrounded by gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise circle the island in a fantasy of happy, yet simple villages.

A favorite among repeat visitors who all agree: the beauty of Moorea is unforgettable...

Aimeo I Te Rara Varu
This, the island's poetic name, comes from the eight majestic mountain ridges; however, the name was later changed to Moorea-meaning "Yellow lizard"- following a dream by a high priest. 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”.


Moorea Restaurants

Dining on Moorea

Besides its natural beauty, Moorea is blessed with many excellent restaurants, each in unique settings alongside the lagoon. The resorts offer a romantic open¬air ambience while serving the best of French, Italian, Chinese, and Tahitian cuisines.

Some of our favorite resort restaurants include:

Le K at the Sofitel Moorea Beach Resort; Mahanai at Manava Beach Resort and Spa; Arii Vahine at The Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, as well as Toatea Crepes at The Hilton; and, Fare Nui at the InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa.

There are also many wonderful local restaurants and we’ve listed a few of our favorites (please contact us for more Moorea restaurant recommendations—we’ve tried just about all of them!):

Le Mahogany for nice ambience and an eclectic selection of French, Tahitian and Chinese cuisine; Rudy’s for fantastic steaks and seafood; Lilikoi for panini’s and other simple, but tasty, fare; Moorea Beach Café for sunset cocktails and inventive menus spanning vegetarian, seafood, and meats with great flavor. Also, consider Tiki Village for an authentic Tahitian feast and show.







Moorea Activities

Snorkeling Heaven

Because of the lack of strong currents, and the abundant marine life, the shallow waters around Moorea are ideal for year-round snorkeling. All ages can enjoy dozens of perfect snorkeling spots close to the resorts and around the island. Local guides will take you to snorkel among schools of gentle rays.

Mountain Exploration

The majestic mountains are fully accessible to everyone. By air, helicopter tours fly into canyons and along ridge tops. By road, a 4x4 ventures past plantations, across streams, into deep valleys, and up to waterfalls. By foot, guided hikes of all levels follow winding rainforest trails and up to high mountain overlooks.

Swimming with the Dolphins

Encounters with the ocean's friendliest residents are waiting at Moorea Dolphin Center at the InterContinental Resort Moorea. Here, adults swim side by side with dolphins, while children wade in the waters with them. For an educational excursion, expert guides lead dolphin-watching boat tours into the ocean to observe them in their native habitat as well.

Diving

Some of the finest diving in the world can be found at Moorea-year round. The drama of Moorea's landscape continues below the sea with an infinite range of canyons, chasms, and promontories. Fish feeding is common here so divers are often surrounded by schools of small and large marine life.

Fruit Juice Factory Tastings

Visitors enjoy a pleasant stop along the shores of Cook's Bay at the Fruit Juice Factory for shopping and tastings of juices and liquors made from island-grown fruits.

Other activities on Moorea include:

  • Shark and Ray Feeding.
  • Tiki Theatre Village.
  • Open-ocean dolphin and whale watching.
  • Underwater diving helmets.
  • Semi-sub underwater tours.
  • Lagoon explorations by boat, jet ski, pedal boat, kayak, or parasail.
  • Circle-island self drive to explore villages, shops, and ancient sites.
  • Deep sea fishing.
  • Guided hiking trips to mountain overlooks and waterfalls.

Organized Excursions On Moorea

Circle Island Tour with the Belvédère (4 hours)

Take a guided tour of Moorea and admire the stunning views around Cook’s Bay, Opunohu Bay and the Belvedere Lookout point. First stop - a pineapple plantation where your guide will present this important island resource. On the way toward the Belvedere, you will have great views of the bays and will finish your tour with a visit around the School of Agriculture’s plantations. (8:00am - 12:00pm, or afternoon tour available with a minimum of 4 people. Not available on Sunday & public holidays)

Lagoon Cruise with picnic (6 hours)

Circle the island of Moorea by boat, around its breathtaking lagoon. Your guide will take you on a journey through the history of Opunohu and Cook’s bays with fantastic views. He will stop to meet dolphins and whales when in season, see famous surfing spots and many other points. Work up an appetite in the lagoon’s turquoise waters among the coral, tropical fish and stingrays. Then, enjoy a lunchtime picnic on a small islet (motu) near the InterContinental Resort. (8:30am - 2:30pm. Not available on Sunday).

Comfort Ray & Shark Watching with Picnic (4 ½ hours)

Swim with the black tip sharks and stingrays before enjoying a Polynesian picnic on the small islet (motu) near the InterContinental Resort. You will also have time on the motu to snorkel among the tropical fish and coral. (10am - 2:30pm. Not available on Sunday.)

Snorkeling Safari (2 hours)

Make the most of a magical moment in the Moorea lagoon, playing with stingrays and also explore the underwater world while snorkeling around the island. Don your flippers, mask and snorkel and then stop at Opunohu Bay for stories and a presentation of Moorea’s geology, culture and underwater life. (10am-12pm and 2-4pm. Not available on Sunday.)

Aqua Blue Helmet Exploration (2 hours)

Put on your yellow helmet and follow your qualified guide deep into the lagoon where you will learn about the fish and shellfish you see down there. He will use fact sheets to illustrate the importance of protecting the environment and marine life. (8:00am, 10:00am or 2:00pm. Not available on Sunday)

JET SKI guided tour (30 mins or 1 hour) - (2 people may share)

Your tour begins with safety information from your guide, then you can speed off on your jet ski to explore the island of Moorea and its lagoon. You will have great views of the coast, Moorea’s peaks, the lagoon’s turquoise waters and the two signature bays - Opunohu and Cook’s. Enjoy a Jet Ski tour of the lagoon of Moorea, visiting both Cook’s Bay and Oponohu Bay.
  • 2 hour tour (available for all resorts every day at 8:30am, 9:45am, 11:00am, 12:15pm, 1:30pm, or 2:45pm)
  • 1 hour tour (available for all resorts but Sofitel everyday from 8:45am - 11:30am)
  • 3 ½ hour Circle Island Tour (available for Sofitel or Moorea Pearl guests only, every day from 8:45am - 12:30pm)

Aito 4 Wheel-Drive Safari Tour (3 ½ hours) *TOP PICK

Set off on a guided, 4-wheel-drive, open-air jeep for a safari experience and explore the volcano’s crater (calderas) and incredible landscapes. Visit a pineapple plantation, Moorea’s School of Agriculture and its huge vanilla, banana, grapefruit and lemon plantations. Then head to the ancient marae (temple) before driving to the Belvedere Lookout point for stunning views of Cook’s and Opunohu bays. (8-11:30am, or afternoon tour available with a minimum of 4 people. Not available on Sunday & public holidays.)

QUAD / ATV guided tours on Moorea (2 ½ or 3 ½ hours)

After a brief lesson, get behind your guide and hit the road leading toward the center of the island. Drive up to the Belvedere Lookout point for some breathtaking views. Then drive back down to the Agriculture School where you can zip around the pineapple plantations’ dirt tracks and admire the tropical fruits and flowers around you. (Available every day. The times listed below are for solo riders or for two people sharing one vehicle.)
  • 2 ½ hour tour*available 8:30am-11:00am & 1:30pm-4:00pm
  • 3 ½ hour tour available 8:30am-12:00pm & 1:30pm-5:00pm
  • *The 2 ½ hr. tour is not available for guests of Sofitel Resort

Hiking the 3-Coconut Trail (moderate level) (Half Day)

Set off from the Belvedere look-out point and hike through the forest there your guide will teach you about Polynesian plants and their uses. The trail will take you to a pass with views over the island’s volcanic calderas, mountains and the lagoon beyond; the perfect place to sample some local fruit before heading back for a swim in the river. (Available every day, 8:30am - 11:30am)

Authentic Moana Lagoon Excursion & Motu Picnic (6 hours)

Set off on Moorea’s lagoon and head for the famous Cook and Opunohu Bays for an incredible view of the mountains. During the first stop your guide will attract reef sharks to the boat, and then the stingrays on another stop. Your guide will show you how to make Tahiti’s famous dish, poisson cru, on a islet (motu) during your BBQ picnic. (9:30am - 3:00pm. Available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.)

The Tiki Village Tahitian Feast: Show & Dinner (4 hours)

Come meet the Polynesians who will help you discover and share their culture, their art and their dance. Enjoy an authentic Tahitian dance show and feast on dishes cooked in the Tahitian oven, with an assortment of salads, tropical fruit and homemade pastries, welcome punch and wine included. (6pm - 10pm. Available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.)

Dolphin Encounter “Meet & Greet program” at the Moorea Dolphin Center (30 mins)

After the keepers’ educational introduction to the dolphin’s anatomy, behavior and habits, you can meet them in a shallow pool where they will perform their impressive acrobatics! Make a new friend, learn more about dolphins and enjoy yourself to the fullest on this fantastic tour. (Available every day at 9:00am, 1:30pm or 3:15pm)

Dolphin Encounter “Special Romance” at the Moorea Dolphin Center (1 hour - morning tour)

Hina, Lokahi and Kuokoa welcome you to the Moorea Dolphin Center. Treat yourselves to an unforgettably romantic rendezvous with Moorea’s delightful dolphins. Why do dolphins occupy such a special place in our hearts? Their smooth skin, their kindness, their playfulness and their love of being petted. Make a connection with these marvelous mammals in the most intimate setting (limited to just three couples at a time). You will receive a pre-printed photo and a crown of tropical flowers as souvenirs. (Available every day from 11:00am - 12:00pm)

Dolphin & Whale Watching Expedition (half day) *TOP PICK

This is an exciting and educational guided tour where you will see dolphins in their natural environment. See pods of spinner dolphins and learn about their social behavior. You can also bask in the beauty of the island of Moorea and learn about its geology. You will return to the lagoon and have an opportunity to swim with Stingrays, if you like. (8:30am - 12:30pm. Not available Sunday.) *Note: whales are typically seen only from August through October.

Skydiving Over Moorea (1 person in tandem with instructor)

After a 15 minute training session on the basics of parachuting, the plane will take you 10,000 feet above Moorea for your jump. You will experience about 40 seconds of free fall, in tandem with your instructor, followed by 5-7 minutes of parachuting in the warm, gentle Polynesian air. Your experienced instructor will guide you both to a soft and very safe landing. (Available every day. 2 skydivers may go up with each flight. Individual’s weight must be under 200 lbs. No SCUBA diving 24 hours before sky diving)

GPS Self-Guided Driving Tour by Car (for full day)

“F-Class” Automatic Transmission or “C-Class” Manual Transmission
In the comfort of your own rental car, tour Moorea at your own pace. With the help of your friendly digital assistant, Digi-Guide, create your personal guided tour, leading you to the best spots on Moorea. 63 points of interest, recommended list of restaurants and activities available. (Available every day from 8:30am to 4:30pm)

Secma Roadster Sports Car Rental -4 hours, 8 hours or 24 hours

Feel the wind in your hair as you zip around in your own 2-seater convertible sports car for the day. Either the Secma F500 manual or the Secma F440 automatic versions available. Please specify. (Available every day)








Moorea Sights

Plantations

The fertile valleys are home to plantations of cotton, coffee, sugarcane, and pineapple. Considered by many to be the sweetest tasting pineapple on earth, Moorea's harvest can be enjoyed at village stores, road-side stands, or the tasting counter of the delightful fruit-juice factory.

Belvedere Overlook

Moorea's most spectacular sites are seen from this easily reached overlook. Located in the center of the island, visitors marvel at the panoramic views of the twin bays and the plantations of Opunohu Valley. The overlook is a popular stop on circle-island or 4x4 tours.

Papetoai Village

History buffs will want to make a stop at the historic octagonal church located in the northern coastal village of Papetoai. Established by the London Missionary Society in 1822, the church is the oldest European building in use in the South Pacific.

Paopao & Opunohu Valley

Lush green valleys in the Moorea’s interior. Filled with farms, plantations, and a stunning variety of trees and flowers.

Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay

Two beautiful bays that are the hallmark of Moorea’s coastline. Deeply carved into the island, both bays offer spectacular scenery.









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