Thursday, July 7, 2011


This heart-shaped island is also known as Tahiti's sister island as it is only a 35 minutes boat ride away. The island is reminiscent of James Michener's south Pacific exotic paradise island, Bali Hai and most visitors agree: the beauty of Moorea is unforgettable.

Sunset over Moorea - Blogger's own

Moorea means yellow lizard, don't worry, you will not encounter giant yellow lizards on the island. Legend tells that Tematiatea and his wife lived on the island of Maiao (next to Moorea, then called Aimeho). His wife got pregnant and gave birth to an egg. One night, the woman had a dream and saw that she had given birth to a yellow little boy. She woke up and told her husband her dream. When the sun rose, the man went to check on the egg and saw that the egg had hatched: it was a baby lizard. Temaiatea called the lizard Moorea. His wife and him kept the lizard in a grotto and fed him until it grew. It became and enormous lizard and the woman got scared. She told her husband they had to abandon Moorea for she feared that he would eat them. Her husband was against the idea for this was their son, but as his wife insisted, he built a canoe and they left for Tahiti. Moorea was left alone and he often thought of his parents who had abandoned him. Out of despair, he decided to swim towards the sun. On his journey he had to fight again currents until he was exhausted and died. His body drifted and beached on the island of Aimeho. In the morning, two fishermen found Moorea on the sand and ran to the village screaming "a yellow lizard, a yellow lizard!". Since this day, the island is called Moorea.

Whether you choose to go just for the day or to stay a few nights, the island has a myriad of treasures waiting for you. Your journey to Mo'orea starts on the dock in Papeete, where you will take a ferry or a catamaran to cross the sea of the moon. 35 minutes later, you will arrive in the port of Vaiare. As you disembark, stop at one of  the fruit stands to buy some fresh pineapple and some cool coconut water.

Once you are there, the only question is to know where to start... Mo'orea has it all: emerald mountains towering sandy shores surrounded by blue waters, pineapple plantations, coconut groves, waterfalls, famous bays, surf spots, etc.

Mo'orea truly is a magical island, and if each island in French Polynesia has a particularity, I would say that Mo'orea's charm resides in its mountains. Lush jagged peaks rise abruptly throughout the island, capped with low lying clouds, offering the most staggering views. Mo'orea's most famous peak is Moua puta (pierced mountain). According to the legend, Hiro, god of thieves, plotted to steal the mountain of Rotui on Moorea and take it to Raiatea. Pai -- who was half god, half man, and had great strength -- was warned of Hiro's evil intent by the gods. So he kept vigil from Point Tata'a on Tahiti. When the thieves attempted to steal the mountain, Pai threw his spear through the top of Mouaputa, wakening the roosters who sounded the alarm and drove off the robbers. However, the thieves managed to steal a piece of the mountain, and with it some toa trees, which today can be found isolated on a mountain in Raiatea. And Moua puta, one of Moorea's three mountains, still has the needle hole from Pai's spear.

Beware! Moua puta can be mesmerizing and you may want to brave its summit, however only experienced mountaineers should attempt the ascent accompanied by a guide.

Another wonder of Mo'orea is mount Rotui, which can be best admired from Cook's or Opunohu Bay. Finally, mount Tohiea, is the the highest point of the island at 1207 meters.


               @ Tim Mckenna                           @ Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa                        @ Tim McKenna

Moo'orea's nature is rich and generous and if you are not ready to start escalating peaks, there are many other adventures waiting for you.

A popular attraction is the tour of the island. Just rent a car, a scooter or even a bicycle and go on an adventure to explore what the island has to offer. Don't just stay on the coastal road and do take the detour inland to the pineapple fields (Mo'orea is after all the island of pineapples!) up to the belvedere from which you will discover spectacular panoramic view of the two bays (Cook's Bay and Opunohu).

Another popular activity in Mo'orea is the Lagoonarium, situated on a motu in Afareaitu, this natural reef is a wonderful place where you can swim with rays, baby sharks and colorful fish.
Golfers will be pleased to now that Moorea has its very own Jack Niklaus design 18 hole golf course in Temae, The Moorea Green Pearl.

@ Tim McKenna

Surfers will also find a couple of secret spots, one in Temae and one in Haapiti. A little trick for those wanting to surf Temae, this is a reef wave and you may find it difficult to get in. Firt observe local surfers as they know where and how to easily throw themselves in the water.

Of course you will find all of the traditional activities one can expect to find, from scuba diving to 4WD excursions, jet ski tours to horse ridding and sunset catamaran tours to shark feeding.

Getting there

From Tahiti, you can either go by sea with one of the catamarans or ferry boats departing from the port of Papeete or by air, with the local domestic airline Air Tahiti

Accommodation on the island

Mo'orea offers different categories of accommodation: you will find 7 international hotels (Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa, Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, Moorea Legends resort, Moorea Pearl Beach Resort, Sofitel Moorea Ia ora Beach Resort, Hotel Hibiscus and Club Bali Hai) and a multitude of Family pensions and more authentic accommodation. If you are a big party, you can also rent villas and have a home away from home. 

Click here to find Mo'orea on Facebook

Share what your favourite activity is / would be in Moorea would be with us!

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