May 14-19, 2019
Moorea is beautiful, that is without any doubt. How could it not be when it is one of the French Polynesia islands, right? On the other hand, it did not take our heart as the other islands. Probably, the other places set the standard far too high. Or probably because of our accommodation? Villa Vaiana set in Cook’s Bay has one of the best views on the island, but unfortunately, we did not feel very relaxed there. I could not get rid of the feeling that the owner was watching us all the time, which is quite a shame.
The island itself is big and surprisingly developed. At least at the north. There are a few small supermarkets and gas stations. Multiple restaurants, shops, and plenty of hotels. Definitely not lost paradise anymore. The South of the island is different, not very populated, but if you ride around, there are not so many places where we could stop, sit or lay down and relax for a while or even swim. Either the shore is rugged or fenced and privately owned, which is quite a general problem in French Polynesia.
Still, there are more than amazing places in Moorea. The public beach next to Sofitel is the place to spend most of the time (if you don’t have a private hotel beach, or maybe even if you do). A wide and long strip of white sand, rich marine life, green mountains behind you, and a view of nearby Tahiti island in the front. On Sunday, we saw groups of locals chilling out, singing songs, and dancing. It was super cool. Don’t forget snorkels, and jump into the water just next to the overwater bungalows. It was one of the best places to see a wide variety of rays and other fish in Polynesia.
Other beaches were not so perfect, especially the public ones. But we also visited some private hotel beaches. It is not generally a problem. Some hotels may charge you an entrance fee. At other hotels, you can just go in, and either look like a hotel guest or say you want to visit their restaurant or beach bar. But unlike at Sofitel beach, water on the north and west of the island was not crystal clear. We saw only a few fish, and corals were mostly brown remains of their previous beauty. E.g. Hilton beach was supposed to be the best place for snorkelling. However, we saw practically no underwater life. But this does not mean the water was not clean. From a white beach, we still saw ultra blue and beautiful sea on one side and high green mountains on the other side. Just once you dive into the water was some kind of murky, and we did not see much. That said, Moorea is great, but if you want to stay only there, you need to consider the travel time, flight ticket price, and outrageous prices for good hotels. Then conclude whether you may be disappointed or not.
Another must-do there is “climbing” the iconic Belvedere lookout. Well, climbing means riding a motorbike and passing organized groups of tourists on their four-wheel motorbikes. Luckily, with the maps.me app, we found one good short track from the parking lot to another view where we were absolutely alone. With a bicycle, we heard it is nice to ride Pineapple road, but unfortunately we don’t have any personal experience since we did not have time to do anything more before jumping onto a plane again and flying to Maupiti. Our last island.