The multifaceted identity of Polynesia's islands is perfectly reflected in a single place: Moorea. From Papeete you're just 30 minutes away from Tahiti's sister island. A vibrant tropical world awaits in the village of Vaiare, where market stalls overflow with bananas, pineapples and coconuts.
A little farther down the road is Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea, an elegant hotel nestled between the mountains and the lagoon. The contrast between the clear turquoise water and the lush tropical vegetation is most striking in Moorea. Before rushing off to visit the island, grab the keys to your overwater bungalow and savor the experience. Take a few minutes to kick back and relax on a deckchair to the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore.
Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea
+689 40 55 17 50
Explore the coast in a roadster
Renting a convertible two-seater roadster makes for a fun way to take in the island and its 60 kilometers of coastline. The winding road up to the Belvedere Lookout offers some truly sensational views. From Cook's Bay, surrounded by verdant craggy hills, to the translucent waters of Temae beach, the spectacular scenery will leave you speechless. The heady scents of vanilla and tiare flower waft through the air. The panoramic landscapes seem to go on forever until you finally reach a juice factory, where you can quench your thirst with tropical flavors and local punch concoctions.
On foot, explore the “Route des ananas”, Pineapple field road. This hiking trail will take you over several rivers and through a forest of chestnut trees before an ascent up fern-covered foothills to the Three Coconuts Pass. Your reward is a breathtaking view of the Opunohu Bay and Mount Rotui.
To discover the local culture of the island, head over to Tiki Village. In this reconstructed traditional village, watch as 60 dancers narrate Polynesian legends through music. Low-key Moorea has long attracted artists, writers and poets, including painter Paul Gauguin, novelist William Somerset Maugham and singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. The island's art galleries are filled with ethnic-inspired works steeped in symbolism, while workshops will let you create your own pareo. You can even choose your favorite colors and patterns.
A magical lagoon where you can swim with dolphins
Moorea would not be nearly so appealing without its legendary white sand beaches and postcard-perfect atolls.
Because you only live once, make the most of your time here and sail out on a catamaran to admire the Tetiaroa atoll's pristine beauty. Spend an amazing day on the exquisitely beautiful lagoon, gliding along the motus (reef islets), picnicking under the shade of the coconut trees and taking a dip in the turquoise waters.
Another memorable experience is a trip out to sea with a marine biologist. Dolphins inhabit the waters around Moorea and love to surf the waves. From July to November, you may also spot a few humpback whales. Dr. Michael Poole does research on cetaceans. He and his team lead dolphin and whale watching expeditions where you can get up close with spinner dolphins, well-known for their acrobatic prowess. They put on a captivating spectacle that will leave everyone smiling. Back on land, the aquatic adventure continues at the Lagoonarium. In this protected coral garden, you can flounder with rays and legions of multicolored fish. But for an even greater thrill, make your way to the sloping reef to swim among the sharks! Tahiti, here we come.