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Mooreaisland.com and Tahiti Sun Travel are Basecamp International members.
Discover more fascinating travel and tourism destinations around the globe by visiting the Basecamp International homesite or by clicking on the links below:
> Mildura, Australia
This region is known for its wineries & river-centered recreational opportunities.
> Puno, Peru
The folklore capital of Peru lies on the shore of Lake Titicaca.
> Chiclayo, Peru
Peru's fourth largest city is an archeological treasure chest.
> Piura, Peru
South America's oldest Spanish city and the Piura region.
> Gustavus, Alaska
Your gateway to Gustavus and magnificent Glacier Bay Park.
> Burkina, Africa
Guide to the fascinating Country of Burkina Faso.
> Patan, Nepal
Visit one of the 3 Royal cities in the famous Kathmandu valley.
> Bhaktapur, Nepal
One of 3 of Nepals "Royal cities" and a cultural gem popular with travelers.
> Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
The famous island known for its pivotal role in WW2- the Battle of Guadalcanal.
> Krumlov, Czech Republic
Traveler's info for the UNESCO world heritage site Cesky Krumlov.
> Tokelau, New Zealand
A non-self-governing territory consisting of three coral atolls in the South Pacific.
> Tulcea, Romania
One of the larger cities in Romania located at the mouth of the famous Danube River.
The island of Moorea is one of the most well traveled and touristed destinations in all of Tahiti Polynesia.
Despite its popularity, most who arrive are quite unfamiliar with basic information about the island: facts, basic cultural knowledge, the weather and people, animals, art, or even where the beaches are located.
Although visitors usually arrive with the simple desire to just relax and take in the Pacific
Island charm, it doesn't take long before the true nature of French
Polynesia begins to unfold for them, as it does with ALL other Tahitian islands...
A couple of days on Moorea and they begin to recognize it for it's many faces beyond a mere "Island vacationland."
a unique energy unto itself, Moorea is a favorite among the Society Islands for a variety of reasons, many of which are listed on this page. There's no place on earth quite like it...
Of course return travelers and local inhabitants know that. Each lives or
returns to Moorea for their own reasons...
This page unveils information, facts, and insight
for discovery of your OWN reasons to become enchanted with this lovely South Pacific paradise.
Note: This page works in tandem with the GENERAL TAHITI INFORMATION section where you'll find lots of generic information for ALL the Tahitian Islands, including Moorea.
All the Tourist Hype
Moorea is no doubt one of the favorite travel destinations in all of French Polynesia. Not only a well advertised international travel "paradise", its close proximity to the island of Tahiti makes it popular among Tahitians.
Just a 25 minute ferry ride from the Papeete hustle and bustle to the chilled out atmosphere of Moorea makes it an enticing and relaxing "weekend getaway" location. It is so popular with Tahitians, in fact, that it could almost be considered to be an extension of the island of Tahiti, minus Papeete.
One might think that all this travel would become overwhelming for Moorea? Many touring or vacation planning companies only promote Moorea and Bora bora as THE Tahitian island paradises, and not even mention the other Society Islands... Can this really be good for Moorea's future? How much development can the island handle? The answer to that question is complex.
The good news is that all the hype about Moorea hasn't destroyed it yet- although anybody that remembers the island 10 years ago and compares it to today might beg to differ... there certainly is much more tourism than in years gone by, but where on earth is that not happening? Compare it to Hawaii and it's virtually deserted. And, to be fair, all the travel is not bad for the island. With increased travel comes increased things to do and experience.
All in all, it's still a really slow, chilled out and peaceful atmosphere on Moorea and a wonderful place to be...
Located a mere 12 miles (19 kilometers) west of Tahiti in the French owned territory known as French Polynesia, spectacular Moorea is within plain view of downtown Papeete and the whole north and western side of the island of Tahiti. Easily visited with a little
planning, most travelers arrive by ferry, but planes and helicopters are also available. In addition to being one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Polynesia, Moorea is also popular with Tahitians because of its close proximity to Polynesia's most populated island of Tahiti and her business center and capital city Papeete.
Moorea is a Windward Island, part of the larger
archipelago of Islands known as the Society Islands. These Society Islands are the
largest and most well known Islands in all of the South Pacific.
It has proven to be quite difficult to obtain good maps for Moorea and/ or ANY of the surrounding Society islands or neighboring regions, including Tahiti. After much searching TST has aquired the
usage rights of only a few of them.
1) Large scale map- Basic map for the South Pacific in regards to its relation to the world's continents.
2) Nautical Chart- Large scale chart showing the layout of the Leeward Islands of the Society Archipelago including Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora bora, Maupiti, Huahine, and Tupai. (Of course, Moorea is a Windward island, so it won't really help you with this area much except as a general point of interest.)
Note: This map is 100 kb's... be patient on downloading time...
WE ARE LOOKING FOR MORE GOOD MAPS WE CAN USE FOR ANY FRENCH POLYNESIAN ISLANDS OR NEIGHBORING AREAS. We will be happy to credit you with the copyrights and/ or link your site. Any mapmakers out there reading this?
Perhaps Moorea's most powerful tourism draw is its white sand beaches. Although unique in the Society Islands as having both black and white sandy beaches, (Tahiti is the other island to be able to claim this), Moorea's wonderful beaches are not always as "vacationer friendly" as many would hope.
The reality of the situation is as follows: Of the entire Moorea coastline, the most useable,
desireable and accessable "sandy beaches" on the island can be divided into 2 basic categories: Public or private.
1) Public beaches: All beaches in French Polynesia are technically public property, although, as mentioned in detail below in the private beaches section, getting to them is often the difficulty.
That being said, there are actually only 2 recognized or easily accessed "public beaches" on Moorea:
The biggest and easiest to get to. It has beautiful white sand and runs roughly a mile between the airport and the Hotel Sofitel Ia Ora. Excellent for swimming, (be careful to not step on an urchin!), snorkeling or laying about.
Access: From the Hotel Sofitel or the public dirt road at the north end of the beach marked with a sign saying "plage"(meaning beach.) Its pretty well known and easy to find this road. Ask someone if you need to. About 1 kilometre away are the stress melting sands of the beach. Public toilets and showers will be on your right side.
| FAIMANO BEACH (exact name unknown)
Lies in front of the Village Faimano. Less touristed due to it's accessability, it's well worth the effort to find. Shaded by trees and excellent for swimming and snorkeling, this beach is located right between Moorea's 2 famous bays, Opunohu and Cook's. No public facilities are there but you can usually use the hotels if you ask. Access via the Moorea Lagoon Hotel at PK 14.5 and park in their lot.
2) Private beaches: Although there are many beautiful beaches on Moorea island, all but two of them are located on private property! Getting to these private beaches can be a frustrating experience because finding their entrances is often difficult to impossible or involves asking a hotel's or family's permission to pass through. (If you can find the owners, their answer is not always a guaranteed yes).
Your choices for getting to these beaches include:
1) just going for it and walking across someone's property to get to the sand. This method is successful roughly 50% of the time without being busted. (If you do encounter an owner, speaking French definately helps...)
2) Swimming or walking to them from the lagoon side... (not always an easy task)
3) Staying at the owner's facilities. (always the recommended method)
Comment and Advice: BEACHES
Don't be dismayed by the above information on private beaches on Moorea! Your first day may have you searching around for beach access, but after a little while on the island, if you ask around, you'll figure out where to go. Most people are quite content to stay on the beach of their own hotel, pension or resort, but if you want to go exploring and search for the elusive "perfect white sandy beach"- just go for it! It's there, just not always easy to find...
So what if you end up on someones property looking for a beach entrance! If you're not rude, you'll probably end up making friends with the owner anyway...
Many ask about nude or topless beaches on Moorea. It's the same here as anywhere else in Polynesia: accepted and quite common to go topless. Bottomless is seldom seen except for on private or hard to find beaches, but not unheard of on the public beaches either.
Of course this is a European thing. (Remember, Polynesia is a french owned territory.) At this time, TST is unaware of any "official" or marked "nude beaches" on Moorea.
WHEN TO TRAVEL)
The climate for all Tahitian Islands including Moorea is considered tropical and can be divided into two basic seasons:
the wet season and the dry season.
The wet season (Polynesian Summer), is between the months of November to
April, receiving approximately 3/4ths of the annual rainfall of French Polynesia
between these months. The humidity during this time can be quite heavy
and muggy and cloud cover is common. Storms are frequent, brief, and unpredictable.(Average
rainfall for Papeete is 1800mm). Temperatures will range from 27 - 30 degrees
C, with the hottest months being February and March. Day to night temperature
fluctuations are minimal.
This "wet season" is considered the "off season" for tourism.
From a travelers standpoint, this "off season" may not be the
most favorable weatherwise, however the benefits may tip the scales to the
travelers advantage in many other ways: There's less competition for lodging, activity and sightseeing schedules. With the additional advantage of lower average pricing for most
products and services, it can be considered that this wet season is easier
to travel, explore, and generally, get things done. There's always the trade-offs
For you sunworshippers out there, keep in mind that the sun is not on vacation,
but merely less commonly seen than in the drier months. Being a French Polynesian
Island, and tropical, even in the "wet season" you'll definately
get your fair share of sun on Tahiti Island. (There are between 2500- 2900
Sunshine hours per year.)
By contrast, the "dry season" - May through October, is the "on
season" for tourism. This is the Polynesian winter. Temperatures
generally range from between 24-28 degrees C, and rain is rare. Day to night
temperature fluctuations are minimal.
As to be expected, these favorable weather conditions also bring out the tourists. July is most likely the favorite and most heavily traveled month for all the
Tahitian Islands because of its many festivals and celebrations during the
month long holiday that occurs at that time known as Tiurai.
For those interested in Scubadiving on Moorea, the dry season is favorable due to increased visibility.
Winds will be present in Tahiti Polynesia no matter the season. The basic geography of all the French Polynesian islands will always insure
this. Most days in Tahiti will include some type of light wind, oftentimes
picking up toward the latter part of the day. For the most part, these winds
will always be considered a blessing. The feeling of a nice pacific breeze
on a hot day is very refreshing and will always be appreciated.
There are two common trade winds affecting Tahiti Polynesias weather and travelers: The dry season's mara' amu, and the wet seasons toerau.
The mara' amu is a southeasterly blowing tradewind most common during the
winter months (dry season), of June, July, and August. These winds can be
a bit more persistant than you may be prepared for, bringing with them sudden
downpours and cooler temperatures. Be advised to pack an extra windbreaker...
(For more info. on what to pack, see the Travel Tips section)
As for the Toerau, these winds are less common and blow in a north- northeast
direction and occur during the wet season months.
The Pacific Ocean surrounding all the Tahitian Islands, with it's thermal
currents interacting with the various jetstreams (air currents) can produce
winds of terrific magnitude. Cyclones (another word for Hurricanes) are always
a cause for concern for those inclined to worry. Take heed. French Polynesia
has had its share of cyclones. (although the frequency of them seems to be
far less than other parts of the world which are prone to them, such as the
southeastern seaboard or midwest states of the United States).
The last powerful cyclones that caused considerable damage to Tahiti and many
surrounding islands were in 1982 and then 2010. Tahiti Sun Travel provides
you with this telephone number to check on weather updates for the region:
(We are working on providing an online weather checker for the future.)
FLORA & FAUNA- (WILDLIFE IN GENERAL)
news for all you animal lovers... you'll not be photographing many wild or
fascinating South Sea mammals here. The Polynesian islands don't have a lot
of natural wildlife, aside from birds and of course, a magical array of Marine
life creatures. Why is this? The islands are so lush and their interiors so
undeveloped, you may wonder...
The answer lies within the origins of the islands
themselves. Volcanic in nature, these islands literally sprang up in the middle
of nowhere, far from any surrounding land masses where any other land creatures
could habitate from. The only mammals on the islands today are those that
were brought over by the human navigators who populated these islands, both
native Polynesian, and Europeans.
The list of land mammals is rather short. All the
usual suspects are here: horses, cows, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, and of course,
rats. It seems there is one exception to this mundane list: the wild pig...
some of 'em must have got away from their captives long ago and hankered for
life on the wild side... good for them!
On the other hand, there are quite a number of bird
species here, with some of the less inhabitated islands such as Tetiaroa,
Mehetia, and others having breeding grounds for future health of the species. Thankfully, most of the critical habitat bird breeding grounds are protected
by the government and looked after with care.
Of course, any time spent in Polynesia will reveal
to the animal lover the true source of wildlife fascination here: the exquisite
There are nearly 500 species of fishes within the Tahitian waters,
along with other amazing creatures such as sea turtles, dozens of sharks species,
and the ever so popular dolphin (the "flipper" kind), porpoises,
and the hugely popular humpback whale topping the list of marine mammals.
Interestingly, there are NO pinnipeds.
See Moorea's SCUBA section for much more information on marine life specific to Moorea.
Dogs, dogs, dogs, and more dogs! All Tahitian islands boast a fairly healthy dog population and Moorea is no exception.
As with most dogs of Polynesia, no matter what island they're on, they ALL SEEM TO HAVE THE SAME PARENTS! They all have that "generic dog" look common in many third world countries.
Basic browns, or spotted of a thousand colors, most are classic mutts, many of which seemingly wander around carefree and owner-free amongst the homes and businesses of the populace.
Most locals seem to regard them with a casual nonchalance- not unfriendly, but not particularly worried about their well being either... Occasionally, you will see a purebred animal as a family pet, but not often.
So be it. Woof, woof. In Polynesia, compared to other countries, a dog's life could be worse...
Yes, crabs- Coconot crabs, that is...
Q: Why a separate section for crabs, you may ask? A: 'Cause we like the little buggers... we'll have lots of interesting facts and crab trivia in the future.
Plants & Flowers
Information on this subject coming soon...
Information on this subject coming soon...
SOCIETY & PEOPLE
Information on this subject coming soon...
LEGENDS & MYTHS
Information on this subject coming soon...
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