Moorea is an island in the Society Islands archipelago, only a few kilometers off the northwest coast of Tahiti.

Cook's Bay, Moorea



Moorea doesn't really have any "cities" although there are several towns and villages. When entering a village you will see an official road sign stating the name of the village you are entering. When exiting the village, you will see the same sign with village name, but the village name will have an "X" over it.


Sunrise over Moorea

If you are visiting French Polynesia on a budget, Moorea is the place to be. Moorea is like Tahiti but cheaper and less touristy. It's mostly rural and farming is big. There are chickens everywhere; the roosters crowing at 6AM can get old after a few days.

Mosquitoes can be a problem away from the coast, so bear that in mind when selecting a place to stay.

There are only a few banks on Moorea, and they are in the more populated villages. All banks are closed on Sundays. You can make currency exchanges at the major hotels, but at a lower rate. Plan accordingly.


Everybody speaks Tahitian and French. Anybody working in tourist services will speak enough English to get by, although it's not well spoken by the general public.

Get in

Take the high-speed ferry from Papeete. It's only a couple of bucks more than the slow one, takes half the time, and it's much more seaworthy. The channel between the islands can be choppy.

Air Moorea aircraft at Moorea Airport

Air Tahiti - flights are about fifteen minutes long, and run back and forth several times a day. Be careful if you get airsick. The planes are small and fly at a low altitude so if there is any rough weather you will feel it the whole ride over.

Get around

As the island is administratively a part of France, the roads are surprisingly good. The main roads are all paved and quite wide. You can rent a moped for a day for about $50 USD and drive it around the island in a few hours without fear of death. If you don't know how to ride one, take it slow or you will get hurt. Getting around by rental car or taxi is expensive, minibuses ("Le Trucks") are cheaper. There is also a shuttle bus service to and from the ferry terminal that goes around the whole island periodically. Hitching works with the usual caveats and risks.


View from Belvedere lookout


Boats for rent
Hauru Beach
Jumping into the water

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The humid climate can cause a decrease in appetite. Thus locals tend to have many small meals or snacks though out the day.


Every hotel has a bar and there are lots of little bars and restaurants around. But drinking in bars in French Polynesia is damn expensive. Your best bet is to buy some Hinano bombers at the store and drink on the beach.

You will be charged an additional 60XPF deposit fee when purchasing Hinano bottles larger than 12oz. You can redeem your deposit at any location that sells Hinano. The larger bottles are sent back to the Hinano brewery for reuse/refill.

Tabu is another local beer, only available in 12oz bottles and slightly more expensive compared to a 12oz bottle of Hinano. Tabu is better tempered to the Tahitian heat. Unlike Hinano, Tabu is very drinkable at all temperatures: cold, slightly chilled, or room temperature.


Overwater bungalows


There are only 3 really cheap places on Moorea and they are all nearby at the northwest corner of the island. Well there are a couple other cheap places that aren't on the beach and where you might get carried away by the mosquitoes.



There are some really fancy hotels and resorts here although no super-resorts like on Tahiti. Club-med used to have an outfit here but it's abandoned now.

Stay safe

Tiahura Tipaniers Pier at sunset

Moorea has almost no violent crime. Petty theft can be an issue. Check your valuables at the desk or keep them on you. At least keep them stashed out of sight. Odd things may be taken, like the beat up old sneakers you left outside to dry the night before you are leaving, forcing you to hitch a ride to the bus stop because you have no other footwear to make the mile walk up the road and the pavement is a million degrees and there's broken glass in the margin, and then buy $20 USD flip flops to wear on the plane.

Perhaps due to its lack of reliable public transportation and its outrageously expensive taxi fares, Moorea has a serious drunk-driving problem (with both tourists and locals equally guilty). Take particular care when walking or cycling the island's only paved road after dark; it gets pitch-black and can be quite dangerous away from the main villages (where you'll also be more tempted to walk or cycle in the middle of the road due to the amount of broken glass on the shoulders).

Go next

There are a couple of islets around Moorea you can visit.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.