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.
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.
We spent over two months in Tahiti and explored a lot. We came here planning a much shorter visit, but plans change on a boat! A few months later, we enjoyed our time on this big island with its happy people, experiencing the top things to do in Tahiti.
Tahiti is the largest and most populated part of French Polynesia. Islanders from all parts send their children to school here, and many remain in Tahiti to work before starting families. I read that Tahiti is home to over 68% of French Polynesia’s population. The good thing is that “big island” vibe doesn’t mean it’s unfriendly. On the contrary. We found Tahitians, and Mooreans, some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met, making it even more fun to get out and explore! Plus, they are multilingual, switching between French, Tahitian, English, and more with ease.
Get in the Water
Tahiti is surrounded by coral reefs and the clarity of the sea is perfect for spotting marine life. We joined several dives with Fluid Tahiti and saw sharks, colorful fish, and tons of turtles. Snorkel, swim, scuba, kite board, or surf. The South Pacific waters are beautiful and refreshing!
After spending so much time on land in Tahiti, we felt lucky to escape to its beautiful sister island, Moorea. Located 11 miles northwest of Tahiti, it is busy and tourist-filled, but still feels like a tranquil getaway. On two different getaways from Tahiti, we spent four weeks communing with the marine life in Moorea.
First, a little background. Like Tahiti and The Tuamotus, the island of Moorea is surrounded by coral reef, providing protection from big ocean waves. Moorea allows us to anchor in beautiful places with close proximity to shops, restaurants, and other amenities of civilization. One of the highlights is the marine life in Moorea.
Since we live in Tahiti now(justkidding), we’ve had two months (and counting) to sample the island’s many food and drink options. Read on for my recommendations of where and what to eat, plus a guide to eating in Tahiti.
Tips for Eating in Tahiti
First, keep in mind that French Polynesia is on its own timeline. Everything opens and closes early. Think 6am for breakfast and 11am for lunch. We arrived at a restaurant serving Sunday brunch at 8am and the place was packed. So get there early. The good news is, unlike other parts of French Polynesia, everything doesn’t close at lunchtime.
Sunday is another story! Barely anything is open on Sunday besides church and the beach. If you want to eat out on Sunday, reserve at one of the few open restaurants in advance.
Tahiti is an island of bounty: amply stocked stores and restaurants, friendly people, and flocks of chickens and roosters. The street art in Tahiti colors the city of Papeete with beauty.
Enjoying Our Time in Papeete
We thought we’d be in Papeete for a week or so to get some chores done, but boat work is taking longer than expected. At first, we took Papeete on foot, but after a few days we rented bikes which make it easier to cover more territory, run errands, and stop to photograph the street art in Tahiti.
Any way you travel around Papeete, expect to see beautiful murals around most corners. Sometimes you have to duck down alleyways to see the art. I love cities with vibrant street art and it’s one of the unheralded highlights of Papeete!