Moorea, French Polynesia
Located approximately 15,389 km from the British capital London and only 16 km from Tahiti, Moorea (or Mo’orea) is one of the most remote places in the world. However, the long hours spent on the plane definitely worth it, because the beauty of this magical island is not something you can see every day and everywhere. Though little known among most European and American travelers, Moorea is actually among the most desirable holiday destinations in the South Pacific and is also one of the largest islands of French Polynesia.
Upon arrival, whether by sea or by air, Moorea will bewitch you with its out of this world beauty. The pointed mountain that forms the island is the cone of a long-extinct volcano rising to 1,207 meters above the Pacific Ocean.
Steep emerald green slopes covered with dense tropical rain forests descend to the white-pink coral sand beaches and azure waters.
The heart-shaped island is surrounded on all sides by a ring of coral reefs, which divides the bright, peaceful and transparent lagoon from the dark-blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The island of Moorea rose up from the ocean floor about 3 million years ago as a result of long lasting volcanic activity.
Two deeply incised into the northern coast bays, probably beds of long gone rivers, are the most distinctive landforms along the coast.
But although the volcano has stopped spewing lava long time ago, today traces of its dynamic past can be seen everywhere – from the typical shape of the island, through the black jagged igneous rocks covered with lush greenery to the rich volcanic soils that cover the island.
What makes Moorea even more exciting is the incredible local Polynesian culture. It has left its traces in everything, even in the manner of welcoming and accommodating visitors.
Upon arrival locals welcome tourists by putting a garland of tropical flowers around their necks. Most tourists stay in luxurious Tahitian houses situated amidst the shallow waters of the coral lagoon itself.
The same goes for the local cuisine, which is a combination of products and freshness typical of the South Pacific and traditional French elegance.
It is very easy to get around the island of Moorea. The convenient road encircling the island connects all the coastal villages and resorts.
However, if you are planning to explore the interior of the island then you will encounter not one or two dirt roads, although the adventure is worth at least because of the beauty of the landscape.
Moorea falls within the tropical climate zone and has a typical oceanic climate. The weather is humid throughout most of the year, with the rainiest months being December, January and February.
Better chances of dry weather there are from June to September. The average daytime temperature is between 28 and 31°C throughout the year, and the night time temperature is always around and over 20°C.
Compared to the Caribbean, cyclones are rare in Moorea, although during the rainy season from November to March the danger increases significantly. The ocean water is always pleasantly warm with temperatures between 23 and 26°C.
Traditionally the east coast of Moorea receives more heavy rainfall compared with the western side, and the typical coastal breeze is definitely easier to feel along the western shore of the island.
When to visit Moorea? Although Moorea enjoys year round perfect weather conditions, though the best months to visit the island are August and September.
How to get to Moorea? With a flight from Paris, Los Angeles, Auckland and many others to the capital of French Polynesia – Papeete. Modern tourist center, the city is only 30 minutes by ferry from Moorea.
Do not miss:
– Without doubt Moorea is one of the best snorkel places in the world. It offers the opportunity to have an amazing dive experience in the warm and shallow waters around the island.
The reef is teeming with life, and the underwater visibility in the crystal clear and limpid lagoon may reach the incredible 50 to 80 meters!
– Visit a pineapple plantation. The island is one of the producers of the best quality pineapples in the world.
– Visit the Moorea Dolphin Center. Do not miss the opportunity to admire the company of these so gentle, intelligent and sensitive creatures.
– Visit one of the local Maraes – ancient Polynesian cultural monuments, scattered in different parts of Moorea.
– Enjoy a romantic and relaxing horseback riding on the beach while watching the red tropical sunset.
– Take an exciting adventure inside the island. Do not Miss Belvedere – a magical place that offers a breathtaking panorama.
– Enjoy an unforgettable ethno evening with traditional food, music and dancing.
– Devote sufficient time to surfing or playing golf. These are both pleasant activities that will make you spend longer hours outdoors without being too exhausting.
The largest risk of visiting Moorea is to fall in love with it. The island has such a strong magnetism and natural beauty that you will want to stay in this tropical paradise forever!
And remember – a strong sunscreen will be your faithful friend. It will help you avoid unpleasant sunburn and related consequences!