Best Things to Do in Moorea

Moorea view of lagoon from Magic Mountain

Moorea is a slice of paradise in French Polynesia. We were lucky to visit twice and enjoy much of the island’s adventures. I’ve covered the marine life and now I’ll focus on the best things to do on land in Moorea.


Moorea is a small heart-shaped island northwest of Tahiti. The interior is mountainous, which means peaks to climb and lots of great hikes.

Moorea, French Polynesia
The island of Moorea

Hiking in Moorea is more accessible than in Tahiti. The trails are well marked and open to anyone without a guide, and there are many trails.

Hiking trails in Moorea
Hiking trail map in Moorea

We hiked several of the trails on Moorea, ranging from intermediate to difficult, where we needed to pull ourselves up, and down, using ropes. Some, like the relatively easy Magic Mountain, we hiked more than once.

Hiking in Moorea, Mount Belevedere
Hiking in Moorea with gorgeous backdrops

As many trails lead into the mountains, the views are fabulous. One of the island’s most popular hikes leads to Belvedere Lookout, which is also reachable by car, so the peak gets busy. A couple of times we hiked through the mountains to another town, started walking back and got a lift. Moorea is a friendly place, so many people offered us lifts even when we weren’t looking for them. After 20 kilometers, though, we were happy for a ride!

Restaurants and Beach Bars

We’re used to a lack of restaurants in French Polynesia, especially bars, but, like Tahiti, Moorea caters to tourists with fun beach bars, yummy roadside restos, and dining with views. We tend to go out for lunch instead of dinner because dodging corals in our dinghy after dark can be challenging.

Moorea Beach Cafe, Cooks Bay, Moorea

Moorea Beach Cafe is like a unicorn for cruisers! It ticks so many boxes. There’s a free dinghy dock, the wifi is excellent, and the food and drinks are great in an upscale waterfront location. Needless to say, we went a few times in our weeks on the island.

Beach Bar Moorea
Moorea Beach Cafe

Tropical Garden, Opunohu Bay, Moorea

A steep hike off the main road in Opunohu Bay, Tropical Garden is a beautiful oasis with smoothies, beers, and Polynesian specialties. A great place to end a hike, as the walk downhill is much easier. Many people drive here because it is a steep climb.

Tropical Garden, Moorea
View from Tropical Garden Restaurant, Moorea

Coco Beach

Go to Coco Beach for oceanfront dining on an island just past stingray bay. They offer barbecue and French Polynesian favorites. The food is good and the location is the highlight at Coco Beach. The water is clear and full of sharks and rays, and the tourist crowd loves it! I’m pretty sure that a reservation here includes the boat ride, but we took our trusty dinghy.

Coco Beach Moorea
The beautiful lagoon at Coco Beach

If you get to Coco Beach, you must wander around the corner into the bay where the locals hang out. We visited on a weekend and the bay was full of French Polynesians floating in the water listening to a live band. It was great!

Fare Maheata, Moorea-Maiao, Moorea

A restaurant in a small beachfront hotel, this was one of our favorite places in Moorea. The staff was nice, the local cuisine delicious, and they had great wifi. Plus, look at that view.

Fare Maheata beach bar
Fare Maheata beach bar

Looking for a place to stay in Moorea? The Sofitel Kia Ora comes highly recommended.

Touring the Island

Speaking of Fare Maheata, we rented bikes from them one day and toured around the island, stopping at scenic spots along the way. It’s very popular to rent a car and drive around the circumference, but we’d done so much hiking and boating around that we had already seen a lot and preferred to take bikes.

Cycling is pretty good: it’s mostly flat, there is often a bike lane, and drivers are courteous. As I said, people are friendly, so everyone waves and says hello. Plus, we stopped wherever we wanted, including beaches, an ice cream shop, and some historic sites. We also stopped wherever there were tikis, because we’re in French Polynesia!

roadside tiki Moorea
A tiki on the side of the road in Moorea

Polynesian Culture

Despite the church trying to erase a large part of French Polynesian culture, tikis, tattoos, dance, music, and many other aspects are nurtured and shared across the country and Moorea is no different.

For example, the Tiki Village includes a museum to Paul Gauguin, a cultural centre, and a performance facility with Polynesian shows. Also, the hiking trail to Belvedere passes through archaeological sites called MARAE, which were meeting houses of the ancient Polynesian societies. It’s fascinating to walk and delve back in time at these ancient sites.

ancient archaeological site Moorea
Part of the ancient site near Belvedere in Moorea

Other Moorea Tourist Attractions

If you aren’t a hiker, several of the viewpoints are accessible by car or quad bike. Many driving tours include stops at Mount Belvedere and Magic Mountain, both with stunning views. Other top things to do in Moorea:

Rotui juice factory

This sounds like something for kids only, and they will like it, but it’s fun for everyone. Sometimes you can tour the factory and watch the juice-making process, but we were there off season so there wasn’t much to see. That’s ok! It’s free to visit, and the best part is the tasting bar! All the fruit juice is delicious, and a great chaser for the different rums they let you sample. Rotui has the best price anywhere we’ve seen in the islands for their juices and rums so we stocked up.

Juice factory shop Moorea
Entry to the shop at the juice factory on Moorea


I got to make my own pareo at Pareomana. It was so much fun and now I have a great memento from French Polynesia. You get to choose your material, colors, and the stencils, then wait for the sun to work its magic as the paint dries. It only takes 30 minutes from start to finish and is a cool experience.

Pareo making at Pareomana
Pareo making

I think it would be fun to go with a group so you can see all the different designs at the end. Pareomana is a great place to get a souvenir for yourself or make as gifts to bring home.

pareo design
The finished pareo

What would you do first? And did I miss any favorites?

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

11 thoughts on “Best Things to Do in Moorea”

  1. Hi Mel! Such an enjoyable read. And, the things you never think about like dodging coral in your dinghy after dark. I had never even thought about that for boaters.

  2. On the travel wish list! Would love to visit French Polynesia. I am really not sure where to visit so good to learn more about Moorea. I immediately thought of beaches and underwater fun. So good to read more about all the great hiking. Renting a bike sounds like a lot of fun. One day we will get there.

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