The islands of French Polynesia are as diverse as they are lovely, dotting the South Pacific across a distance of over a thousand miles. Consisting of five major island groups—including the most well-known of them all, the Society Islands—these sub-tropical beauties have long been top tourist destinations because of their gorgeous scenery; beautiful accommodations; a plethora of outdoor activities; and a reputation as being some of the most relaxing landscapes on the planet.
While Bora Bora and Tahiti are the superstars (and most well-known), of the Society Islands, many travelers forget about Moorea, as it often goes unnoticed amid the flash and glamour of its more popular fellow islands. Though Moorea may fly under the radar and escape many island-hoppers’ notice; it is, arguably, the most beautiful of the Society Islands—a sweet surprise for travelers everywhere who discover its heart-stopping beauty while visiting French Polynesia.
Why Choose Moorea?
Though island-hopping is a popular pastime when visiting French Polynesia, there are a few good reasons to choose Moorea as your home base. Because it is less well-known, Moorea also tends to be a bit cheaper than its tropical cousins—though it still has the goods when it comes to luxe accommodations. Moorea also tends to be somewhat less touristy than the other Society Islands, though it is just as accessible (according to fans of the island), making it a more relaxing, laidback spot to visit. Finally, Moorea is simply stunning; from its lush mountains to its tropical greenery, all surrounded by bright, turquoise waters, it’s easy to see why it’s earned the moniker “Magical Island.”
Where To Stay In Moorea
One of the best ways to make the most out of any island vacation is by staying in luxe, scenic accommodations—and Moorea has its fair share of gorgeous options to choose from.
- Best Combo Of Luxury/ Budget Friendly: Aimeo Lodge Moorea has both land and sea-based rooms available. With fewer amenities than a large resort, Aimeo still has the goods because of its affordability and proximity to nearby attractions. Rooms $146 and up/night
- Luxury Resort Options: Though there are a ton of resorts to choose from on Moorea, Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort is one of the most highly rated due to its elegant bungalows, spectacular views, and variety of onsite amenities. Rooms $573 and up/night. Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa is another popular luxury resort that is famous for its panoramic ocean views and amazing amenities. Rooms $595 and up/night
- Best Garden Views: Haere Mai I Te Fare may not be on the water, but it’s just minutes from the beach—and has its own spectacular views. Rooms $118 and up/night
Things To See And Do In Moorea
Kick back, soak up the sun, max and relax—all of the above are key activities to enjoy while visiting Moorea. However, the island does also have some amazing options for sightseeing and adventuring for those who want to explore this tropical paradise and fully experience its natural beauty.
- Hike, cycle, or ride an ATV to the top of the Belvedere Lookout for some of the most breathtakingly stunning views on the entire island—be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the ancient Polynesian temples Marae Titiroa and Marae Ahu-o-Mahine that can be seen along the way
- Snorkel, kayak, or simply admire the view of Moorea’s amazing Lagoon. Crystal clear and lovely, it extends for miles and is filled with brightly colored marine life and coral
- Explore the Pineapple Route which leads to expansive pineapple fields—and amazing panoramic views, including nearby Mount Rotui
- Both Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay (Moorea’s Twin Bays nestled on either side of Mount Rotui) offer spectacular views and stunning natural landscapes. Park and explore on foot to see the best sights or take a boat tour to get the full experience
- Cook’s Bay also offers other attractions to explore such as the Rotui Juice Factory & Distillery and a number of shopping options and restaurant choices
- Get some beach time in at Tiahura Beach or Mareto Beach, two of the most beautiful public beaches on Moorea
- Rent a car and take a self-guided Circle Island Tour around the island—there are plenty of stops along the way; markets, restaurants, churches, and plenty of photo ops
Where To Eat On Moorea
Moorea has a variety of options for the traveling foodie—the freshest seafood, delicious tropical fruits, and a variety of local vegetables can be found in everything from traditional Polynesian dishes to updated French classics.
- Lilikoi Garden Café is known for its great views, family-friendly vibes, and fun atmosphere. Offering a wide range of international cuisine, it’s also a great place to grab a bite, too $-$$$
- Want to enjoy one of Moorea’s stunning sunsets while watching sharks and rays swim nearby—all while having a fantastic French crepe? Then be sure to check out the Toatea Creperie & Bar, located at the Hilton Moorea $$-$$$
- Le Lezard Jaune Cafe is known for its welcoming vibes and delish Polynesian cuisine. They also have several vegetarian/vegan options $$-$$$
- Cool, laidback vibes mix with classic American favorites like burgers and fries at Fare La Candienne $$
- Snack Mahana is a popular spot with both locals and tourists alike. Serving up only the freshest seafood and local cuisine, its one of the most popular spots on Moorea to grab lunch or dinner $$-$$$
French Polynesia is known for its stunning islands—lush, tropical paradises that are world-renowned tourist destinations—and Moorea is one of the best. Though less frequented than its fellow Society Islands Bora Bora and Tahiti, Moorea still has plenty to offer intrepid island hoppers: relaxing beaches and tranquil lagoons; lush mountain scenery and palm encircled bays; and plenty of activities from sightseeing to having a delish meal and catching the sunset—all with an island backdrop straight out of paradise.