Mo’orea aka Moorea is A Natural Beauty of French Polynesia and A Hidden Paradise
by Mayra Gonzalez
Moorea is my type of stunning island paradise that beckons travelers with its turquoise lagoons, lush green mountains, and pristine beaches. It’s just a short ferry ride from Tahiti, this French Polynesian gem is a haven for adventurers, beachcombers, and those seeking a romantic getaway.
With a laid-back island vibe, abundant marine life, and picture-perfect scenery, Moorea is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and I indulged in some much-needed relaxation.
The crystal clear waters to a vivid jungle greens and magical sorbet sunsets, the island of Moorea in Tahiti is every bit of paradise that it has been hyped up to be. And, since it’s only a quick 30 minute ferry ride from downtown Papeete, visiting Moorea is an absolute must if you travel to Tahiti.
En route, my travel partner and I enjoyed some Hinanos–the delicious Tahitian beer, on the ferry’s upper deck.
I took in Tahiti’s stunning tropical landscapes and fast approaching volcanic peaks as we neared the island.
Depending on your preferences, you can stay in the famous huts above the water or you can do as we did, opting for a cozy two bedroom/two bathroom bungalow, we booked through Airbnb. It was in a private little community right next to the water in Tiahura, with access to the private beach of Tipaniers.
Because we wanted to spend five days in a more local environment, we especially enjoyed our spacious hut complete with chickens and roosters roaming freely everywhere, which I loved. It was perfect waking up each morning to the rooster’s crow.
A variety of different restaurants are peppered throughout the island. I highly recommend renting a car, even though taxis are also available, it makes heading out on the quick a little easier than awaiting a ride.
Share a NY steak and grilled swordfish at Les Tipaniers, while you sip on a delightful piña colada and watch the sunset. Or try something more local and dine on grilled chicken and garlic potatoes from Chez Tube Poulet– a tiny roadside option.
It was impossible to not want to wake up every day around 6 am–even with two from our group absolutely not being morning people. Perfection was a walk by the water, which mirrored sunrise sky perfectly.
Adventure into the crystal-clear waters and go snorkeling, or you can rent a boat and tour all over the island to swim with stingrays and an assortment of rainbow colored fishes However, snorkeling can also be done close to the shore or wherever there is rocks and coral.
If you’re a workaholic like me, then enjoy a change of “office space” by sitting on the deck with your laptop, while taking in the warm breeze, sounds of the ocean and everything Moorea– sights and sounds et all.
Tips for traveling to Tahiti:
- The ferries to “Mo’orea” and Bora Bora run on a schedule: if you land past 5 in the afternoon, be prepared to spend a night in Papeete.
- Whether you’re staying in “Mo’orea” to adventure or to simply relax by the ocean all day, it is advisable to rent a car.
- Check the weather in advance. We lucked out and missed a week of rain by one day!
Did you know?
The island is named after a Tahitian word “mo’orea”, which means “yellow lizard” in reference to the island’s yellow-green gecko. Moorea’s traditional Tahitian villages, temples, and crafts are thriving tourist attractions on the island.
A little history:
Moorea dates back over a thousand years to when Polynesian voyagers first settled on the island. The island was once sacred, where chiefs and priests lived and practiced their traditional culture.
In the 1700s, European explorers arrived in Moorea, and the island became an important regional trade center. In the 19th century, French colonizers took over the island, and it became a French protectorate.
During World War II, the island served as a military base for the United States, and many of the island’s inhabitants were displaced.
The Moorea of today, is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty and laid-back island lifestyle.