Cook Bay in MooreaCook Bay in Moorea
©Cook Bay in Moorea|Stéphane Mailion Photography

Four days in Moorea

Majestic Moorea

Majestic mountains and magnificent blue lagoon, Moorea is somewhere not to be missed during your holiday in Polynesia. Just a short ferry ride from Tahiti, it is an island with a special charm and a large choice of activities, both on land and water. Beaches, boat trips, hiking, historic sites; the possibilities are almost endless! So make sure to put at least four days aside for your visit.

Aerial view over Moorea’s two bays- Tahiti TourismeAerial view over Moorea’s two bays- Tahiti Tourisme
©Aerial view over Moorea’s two bays- Tahiti Tourisme|Stéphane Mailion Photography

Day 1

A tour of Moorea will give you a foretaste of the island’s natural beauty. In a rental car or scooter, or by bike for the more energetic, take your time to discover the island’s varied scenery, with or without a guide. A 64km road circles the island, so you can take things slowly and appreciate the countryside at the leisurely pace of the local population. Stop off at the beach from time to time and take a break for a fruit juice in the Moorea Tropical Garden. The view from there is spectacular! A little further on you can go up to the scenic viewpoint at ’Opunohu from where there is a panoramic view over Mount Rotui, Cook Bay and ‘Opunohu Bay.

On the way back, take a little time to stretch your legs and visit one of the island’s marae, before dropping into the agricultural college for a taste of some delicious local jams. The southern coast of the island is the least developed and you’ll appreciate its untamed atmosphere. At the end of the afternoon, it’s best to be in the south-west of the island so that you can admire the glorious setting sun.

Day 2

Moorea is one of the best islands for observing sea turtles, rays and the smaller sharks. There’s a choice of sites for scuba diving, including the coral reef where you’ll encounter the more impressive lemon sharks. And there’s plenty to see and do for those who prefer snorkeling, as well, such as having a swim with the rays or inoffensive blacktip sharks opposite the Tipaniers beach. But to get among them, you’ll need a kayak, jet-ski or boat.

If you book a day trip on the lagoon, then you’re sure to be spending some time with the sea turtles, because the waters of Moorea abound with them. Temae beach is perfect for swimming among the coral in crystal clear water. And for an extra thrill, try snorkeling at night. Everything takes on a completely different air and you’ll certainly meet species that you don’t usually see in the daytime: colorful sea slugs, exotic scorpionfish and crustaceans of all shapes and sizes.. An experience that you’ll almost certainly want to repeat!

It’s well worth going on a full or half-day boat excursion, and there’s a large choice. Accompanied by a guide, you’ll be taken to some of the best spots for swimming with rays and blacktip sharks, before stopping at a motu for a picnic of traditional local dishes. Then you can relax by the water’s edge and listen to the gentle lapping of the waves..

For those who prefer sailing, you can embark on a traditional Polynesian sailing canoe or a catamaran and visit the lagoon at a more leisurely pace. And at the end of the day you’ll be able to marvel at one of the most beautiful sunsets in all Polynesia.

The more athletic can always hire a transparent kayak or a paddleboard to add a physical dimension to their day on the lagoon. But if you want a moment of pure magic, then nothing is more awe-inspiring than an encounter with a whale and her calf. Reserve your place on an excursion from July to November, when the whales come to visit us.

Day 3

Moorea is a mountainous island with many hiking trails. Some of them will only take you an hour or two, but others will need the whole day. The trails are well signposted and lead to some spectacular scenic viewpoints, but it is advisable to be accompanied by a guide.

The most difficult hike, but also the one with the best views over the mountains, is the trail to the montagne percée (pierced mountain). You have to go with a professional guide and the trek takes at least 5 hours. It is reserved for experienced trekkers only, and parts of the trail are very steep.

A more gentle hike is to the montagne magique (magic mountain) and only takes about an hour. It is over private land and there is an entry fee, but the magnificent viewpoint which looks over the lagoon is worth the price.

The trail to the col des trois cocotiers (three coconut tree mountain pass) is probably the best-known. It is a relatively easy hike which takes about three hours and is perfect for a family outing. The trail to the col des trois pinus (three pines mountain pass), starts in the same place and offers some stunning views. Whatever your level, Moorea is the ideal place to ‘take a walk on the wild side’!

Not too keen on walking? Then why not rent a mountain bike or an e-bike and go for a ride through the vast pineapple plantations? You’ll soon understand why Moorea is often referred to as “Ananas Island”. The bike trails are clearly marked, to keep you on the right track.

And if you don’t feel like pedaling, you can go on an ATV Safari or rent a quad and discover a countryside that’s unique in Polynesia. Go with a qualified guide and he’ll take you to the very heart of the island, where you’ll find yourself in the middle of a tropical paradise.

Day 4

You like heights? Then these two activities should be perfect for you. Observe the mountains, lagoon, passes and bays of Moorea from the cockpit of a helicopter. Thrills and breathtaking views guaranteed!

Not thrilling enough? Then a parachutejump should do the trick. Firstly, you go up high, very high. And then you drop down slowly over the beautiful island of Moorea and its magnificent lagoon.

To learn more about the traditional Polynesian way of life, take a day to visit Tiki Village, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture. There are various craft workshops that you can pay to attend: learn how to cook traditional dishes, paint a pāreu, dance the famous ’ori tahiti or weave a garland of flowers. And several evenings each week there is a traditional show of music and dancing. You can check the program online. A visit to Tiki Village is a voyage to the very heart of Polynesian culture.