The Islands of Tahiti, officially French Polynesia, make up an area in the South Pacific the size of Western Europe, however if the islands were all combined, the total area is only slightly larger than Rhode Island in the US. Located halfway between California and Australia, Tahiti is on the same side of the International Date Line as North America and in the same time zone as Hawaii.
Moorea is just a ten minute plane ride from Papeete or a 30 minute ride by high speed catamaran, and soars magically out of the ocean in an explosion of free velvet. Moorea’s wide bright-blue lagoon surrounds the island’s vertical mountains where seductive waterfalls cascade down fern-softened cliffs. Peaceful meadows flanked by pinnacles of emerald green fill your senses and renew your belief in the majesty of nature. Pastel-painted houses, surrounded by gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise, circle the island in a fantasy of happy yet simple villages – all waiting for your exploration.
Moorea is a snorkeling heaven. Because of the lack of strong currents and the abundant marine life, the shallow waters around Moorea are ideal for year round snorkeling. All ages can enjoy dozens of perfect snorkeling spots close to the resorts and hotels around the island.
The drama of Moorea’s landscape continues below the sea with an infinite range of canyons, chasms, and promontories. Fish feeding is common here and divers are often surrounded by schools of small and large marine life. On Moorea, adults can swim side-by-side with dolphins, while children wade in the waters with them. For an educational excursion, expert guides lead dolphin and whale watching boat tours into the ocean to observe these magnificent creatures in their native habitat as well.
If water sports are not your thing, Moorea is home to a beautiful 18-hole championship golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Named for the emerald green fairways, the Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course is built into the lush valleys and hillsides with overlooks of the ocean and beaches. The island of Tahiti features the 6,900-yard long Olivier Breaud International course.
Moorea’s majestic mountains are fully accessible to everyone. By air, helicopter tours fly into canyons and alongside ridge tops. By road, a 4×4 ventures past plantations, across streams, into deep valleys and up to waterfalls. By foot, guided hikes of all levels follow winding rainforest trails and up to high mountain overlooks.
The fertile valleys are home to plantations of sugarcane and pineapple. Considered by many to be the sweetest tasting pineapple on earth, Moorea’s harvest can be enjoyed at village stores, roadside stands, or at the tasting counter of the delightful fruit juice factory.
The excitement of outdoor Polynesian shows heats up the night all around Moorea with a ballet of dancing flames. These beachside performances of grace, bravery, and mystery were first performed in Samoa and later perfected by the Tahitians.
Make sure to shop while in Moorea. The skills of the ancestors’ artistry are kept sacred and passed on by both the “mamas” – guardians of tradition and matriarchs of Tahitian society—and by the skilled craftsmen. Items include weaving, quilting, wooden and stone sculptures and bowls, drums tapa, carvings and hand-dyed pareu.
Moorea is only one of 118 islands and atolls that make up the Islands of Tahiti but it is a magical place that will embrace your heart as you explore what just may be the real “heaven on earth”! Only 8 hours by air from Los Angeles, French Polynesia is a must for your bucket list.