My husband and I spent 2 days in Moorea to kick off our honeymoon. Moorea is located in the heart of French Polynesia, 11 miles Northwest of Tahiti. A trip to Moorea is often used as a first stop for travelers headed to Bora Bora or another island in French Polynesia. There are plenty of things to include on your Moorea travel guide.
If you’re headed to Bora Bora, but looking for a little more adventure and activities, I would recommend going to Moorea first. I felt like 2 days was perfect for us, but 3-4 would give you more time to explore in town and/or swim with whales if you’re doing Bora Bora after.
2 Day Moorea Travel Guide
To get to Moorea, we took an ~8 hour red eye flight from LAX to PPT airport in Tahiti. The red eye was nice because by the time we arrived, it gave us pretty much a full day to enjoy Moorea.
Once we landed in Tahiti, we grabbed a taxi right outside the airport (there are plenty, but be sure to get cash) which took us about 15 minutes to get to the Pape’tte Ferry Terminal. The taxi was ~$30 USD.
When we arrived at the ferry terminal, we purchased our tickets at the ticket counter. You can buy tickets ahead of time, but I recommend waiting until you get there since you’ll have a better idea on timing. There are two ferries to choose from: Aremiti (Aremiti ferry schedule) and Terevau (Terevau ferry schedule).
The ferry takes about 30 minutes and you can sit up top for beautiful views (although it’s pretty windy!). Once we arrived to Moorea, we took another taxi to our hotel.
- Taxi: Taxis are available at the airport and ferry ports.
- Tour Pick Ups: Most tours that you book will include a driver to pick up/drop off at your hotel.
- Bikes: Renting bikes is another great way to get around and see the various areas.
Best Time Of Year To Go:
The best time for a trip to Moorea is during the dry season, from May to October. The weather is beautiful, and you can expect fewer rainfall and more sunshine. That said, May to October is also the most expensive time to visit. If you’re looking for great weather without the high prices, try going during the shoulder months (April/November). We went in November and got a few hours of rain, but it clears up pretty fast. No matter what time of year you go, there is plenty to cross off your Moorea travel guide!
where to stay:
- Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa: (~$850 USD/night; ~$1500/night for overwater bungalows) During our trip to Moorea, we stayed at the Hilton Moorea. There are only a few hotels in Moorea with overwater bungalows, so the Hilton was an easy choice for us and came recommended by friends. We stayed in the King Overwater Bungalow with Panoramic View. The Hilton has a few restaurants, a spa, and plenty of beach access.
- Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort: (~$700 USD/night; ~$1,100 USD/night for overwater bungalows) The Sofitel was another hotel we were considering. It’s known for its stunning beachfront location and Polynesian-inspired design. For rooms, they have a variety of overwater bungalows and garden villas. The property also has restaurants, a pool, and spa.
- Manava Beach Resort and Spa Moorea: (~$600 USD/night; ~$1,100 USD/night for overwater bungalows) Manava also has a selection of overwater bungalows as well as beachfront, and garden options. The property has a few restaurants, a spa, and pool.
- Hotel Hibiscus:(~$250 USD/night); If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, Hotel Hibiscus it is. The property has a private beach, pool, and restaurant with panoramic views of the lagoon. Be sure to double check the rooms you’re booking, as not all have an air conditioner.
top things to do:
- Swim With Whales: Swimming with whales in Moorea is really a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whale season typically runs from July to November, and humpback whales migrate to the waters surrounding Moorea to give birth and mate. There are guided tours that get you up close and personal with the whales. I mean like literally swimming next to them. We just missed whale season, otherwise I would have loved to do this. Everyone I’ve spoken to said it’s one of the coolest experiences.
- Private Boat Tour: This was definitely a highlight of our honeymoon. Seafari Cruises was recommended to us by a friend. We reached out via email (linked on their Facebook page) and requested a private tour. They also offer group tours if you’re looking for something more cost effective. They picked us up from our hotel by boat, and we spent 6 hours exploring the island by sea. They had snorkel equipment for us to use, and we got to swim with sharks, sting rays, and other fish (all in super shallow water!). The best part was they took us to a small island and cooked lunch for us right off the boat. They set up the food and wine on a table in the water, and we got to enjoy the most peaceful lunch. Highly recommend requesting Tony and Captain Phil. I would also highly recommend adding this to the top of your Moorea travel guide!
- Guided ATV Tour: A few hours after getting to our hotel, we booked an ATV tour through the hotel’s concierge service. I’m surprised both of us were up for such a big activity our first day considering we hadn’t slept much. We did a side-by-side tour and followed our guide through the lush green forests. They took us to the top of a mountain to see gorgeous views of Moorea, and we also got to stop at a local ice cream/jam stand. The passion fruit sorbet and guava jam were delicious.
- Hike to Belvedere Lookout: Our ATV tour took us up to this spot, so we got to cross it off our list. If you don’t want to do the ATV tour, you can still hike up to Belvedere for gorgeous views of Moorea’s valleys, volcanic peaks, and the lagoon.
- Scenic Helicopter Tour: If you’re looking to see Moorea in a different way, a helicopter tour is a great option. You’ll see Moorea’s turquoise lagoon, lush valleys, beautiful waterfalls, and iconic Mount Rotui.
- Sunset Cruise: End your day with a romantic sunset cruise around Moorea. Relax on a catamaran, sip on a cocktail, and enjoy the gorgeous sunset.
top places to eat:
We ate breakfast and dinner both days at our hotel (the breakfast buffet was included in our room price). The food at the hotel was decent (our favorite meal turned out to be the meal our chef cooked us on our boat tour). I had added a few spots to my Moorea travel guide, but we didn’t have time to go. Here were a few that came highly recommended to us by our friends who have visited & Moorea locals:
- Toatea Creperie & Bar: This spot is located at the Hilton Moorea. It’s known for being situated overwater, so you can “dine with sharks”. They serve savory and sweet crepes, as well as cocktails.
- Rudy’s Restaurant: Rudy’s is located in Maharepa and is a super popular spot. It’s known for its seafood dishes like fresh fish, lobster, and prawns. The waterfront views are pretty great too.
- Le Lézard Jaune Café: Another popular destination for tourists and locals. They arguably serve the best poisson cru in Moorea (my FAVORITE thing to eat in French Polynesia). Every dish is super fresh and the atmosphere is great.
- Allo Pizza: We heard from a few people that Allo Pizza was SO good. I was bummed we didn’t make it here, but I would recommend trying to go if you can!
- Moorea Beach Café: Located in Temae, Moorea Beach Café is a beachfront restaurant (duh). They serve a mix of French and Polynesian dishes with a focus on fresh seafood. The ocean views are beautiful.
- Coco d’Isle: Located in Ha’apiti, Coco d’Isle is a cute restaurant within a tropical garden. Their popular dishes are the grilled fish, coconut curries, and homemade desserts.
- Snack Mahana: If you’re looking for something more casual, head to Snack Mahana in Papetoai. It’s a local spot that serves more traditional Tahitian dishes, including poisson cru.
Know Before You Go:
- Check travel requirements: Depending on your country of origin, you may need a visa to enter French Polynesia as well as be up to date on certain vaccines. Be sure to double check the travel requirements before booking your trip to Moorea.
- Book activities ahead of time: Decide what are the top “must-dos” of your Moorea travel guide and book everything in advance.
- Pack accordingly: Moorea’s tropical climate calls for light and breathable clothing.
- Learn some basic French Polynesian phrases: Even though English is spoken in Moorea, it’s definitely helpful to known some basic French Polynesian phrases:
- Ia ora na (EE-ah oh-rah nah) = Hello
- Nana (Nah-nah) = Goodbye
- Mauruuru (Mow-roo-roo) = Thank you
- Fa’aitoito (Fah-eye-toy-toh) = Please
- E (Ay) = Yes
- Aita (Eye-tah) = No
- Parau mai (Pah-roh my) = Excuse me
- Pardon (Par-dohn) = Sorry
- Ua parau ‘oe i te reo Anglais? (oo-ah pah-rah-oo ay teh reh-oh ahn-glay) = Do you speak English?
- Eaha te moni? (Ay-ah teh moh-nee?) = How much does it cost?
- O taku ingoa ko… (Oh tah-koo ee-no-ah koh…) = My name is…
- Protect the Environment: Moorea’s natural beauty is its biggest asset. Help preserve the environment by practicing responsible tourism. Dispose of waste properly, avoid touching or stepping on coral reefs, and adhere to any guidelines for interacting with marine life.
- Stay Hydrated and Use Sun Protection: The tropical sun in Moorea can be intense, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated and protect your skin. Drink plenty of water and regularly apply sunscreen with a high SPF. Remember to seek shade during the hottest hours of the day.
- Stay Informed about Weather Conditions: Keep an eye on the weather forecast before and during your trip. Moorea can experience tropical rain showers, so it’s good to be prepared with lightweight rain gear. However, don’t let a little rain dampen your spirits (no pun intended) as it usually passes pretty fast.
- Embrace “Island Time”: Moorea operates on a slower pace known as “island time.” Embrace the relaxed atmosphere, and be patient if things don’t always go according to plan. Enjoy the laid-back lifestyle and savor the moments of tranquility that the island offers during your trip to Moorea.
What To Pack For Your Trip To Moorea:
- Lightweight, breathable clothing: The weather is warm and humid most of the year, so pack lightweight and breathable clothing for your trip to Moorea.
- Swimsuit: Hopefully this is pretty obvious, but you’ll pretty much be living in a swimsuit when visiting Moorea. So be sure to pack a few!
- Shoes: I recommend bringing:
- Comfortable walking shoes or sandals for exploring
- Water shoes or reef-safe flip-flops for water activities
- Sandals for casual wear and beach outings
- Daypack: Bring a small daypack to carry essentials such as sunscreen, water, and a camera while exploring or on your tours.
- Electrical adapter: French Polynesia uses type C and type E plugs. Most hotels will have converters, but I recommend packing your own.
Enjoy your trip!
*This post is not affiliated with any of the mentioned establishments.
Oh the ATV, boat, and helicopter tours sound like so much fun and your photos are gorgeous! What a lovely honeymoon destination.
Julie Keith says
Your blog post has ignited my wanderlust! I can’t wait to experience the beauty and charm of the places you’ve described in Moorea.