Travel to Moorea Island

moorea holidays and hotels scene

Moorea Island lies just 18-km west from Papeete and is clearly visible from the west coast of Tahiti. This ancient volcanic island covered in rich tropical rainforest with deep bays and razor back mountains offers some of the best sightseeing opportunities in the South Pacific.

Getting to Moorea is easy - there are roughly 10 ferry crossings from Papeete every day, taking under one hour with departures commencing from 6am. There are also hourly flights from Faa'a Airport which take less than 10 minutes. With such easy access, nice beaches and beautiful scenery, it is no wonder that Moorea is the most popular holiday destination in Tahiti.

Don't Miss
Belvedere Lookout
Archaeological Marae
Cooks Bay
Dolphin spotting tours
Tiki Cultural Village

Moorea Holidays Overview

Moorea, just a ten minute flight or 1-hr ferry ride from Papeete, is too main-stream for a truly romantic escape, especially at weekends and school holidays when the expatriate workforce from Tahiti arrive en masse for a day at the beach. For international holiday-makers, Moorea is best suited for those looking to enjoy its beautiful coastal scenery or to get involved in some adventure tours in the mountainous interior. The twin bays of Cook and Opunohu are equally stunning from land or by sea and are often visited by large overseas cruise ships.

picture of moorea island

The Airport and Wharf - North-east Moorea

All tourists arrive on the north east coast of Moorea, the side facing Tahiti Island. The ferry terminal is at Vaiare Bay, opposite the large marina, the busiest of Moorea's towns and close to the islands longest stretch of beach that starts at Teavaro and extends all the way along the north east coast beyond the airport. The large Sofitel Resort sits in the heart of the beach, set in wonderful landscaped gardens with bungalows well spaced apart. North of the Sofitel is the public access Teavaro Beach which has good swimming.

picture of Sofitel Resort, Moorea Island
Sofitel Moorea Resort is a large resort on the quiet north east coast of Moorea close to the airport. Set on a sweeping beach with a beautiful outlook facing Tahiti Island. There are two restaurants, one overlooking a lilly-filled pond, the other directly over the waters edge.

North Coast & Cooks Bay


The north coast of Moorea is punctuated by two deep and spectacular bays: Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay (the latter is where Captain Cook actually anchored). The panoramas of both bays are exceptional and should be viewed not only along the coastal road, but from the water as well as from above. The 900 metre high Mt. Rotui separates the two bays and the steep trail to the summit can be climbed for stunning views but most tourists opt for the easy option - by taking the winding road to the Belvedere Lookout in the heart of Moorea and overlooking not only Mt. Rotui but the two bays as well. Along the way are several interesting marae with many ancient temple foundations.

The north coast has several fishing villages including Papetoai which boasts the oldest building in the South Pacific - the Protestant church here was built in 1822 by one of the first missionaries to settle in the South Seas. Three luxury resorts are found along the coast: The Pearl Resort is located on a small beach front between the airport and Cooks Bay; The Hilton sits on a lovely beach between Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay; and Hotel Intercontinental, with its man made lagoonarium and Dolphin Quest is located west of Opunohu Bay close to Hauru Beach on the north west tip of the island.

picture of Pearl Resort, Moorea Island
Pearl Resort Moorea is located on a small beach on the north coast of Moorea and offering exceptionally presented bungalows and rooms. The Polynesian style reception leads down to an infinity swimming pool. Water sports are plenty and there's a small spa.
picture of Hotel Kaveka, Moorea Island
Hotel Kaveka is located on the oceanfront in the heart of Cook's Bay with a stunning outlook, a small beach for sun lovers and a 40 metre pontoon leading to deep water with excellent snorkelling and good swimming in the bay. This is the ideal affordable base to explore the island.
picture of Hilton Hotel, Moorea Island
The Hilton Moorea offers the most picturesque setting of all the resorts on Moorea with an attractive beach and placid turquoise lagoon in front of its imposing Polynesian style restaurant. The resort is located on the north coast of Moorea with a myriad of overwater bungalows.
picture of Intercontinental Hotel, Moorea Island
Intercontinental Moorea is set on 2 acres of landscaped gardens on the north coast of Moorea. The resort boasts a decent beach and swimming lagoon and the fantastic Dolphin Centre. There's also a large Lagoonarium for snorkelling and a turtle sanctuary ideal for families.

West Coast & Hauru Beach

The north west coast of Moorea has the most concentrated tourist strip alongside Hauru Beach. The beach is pretty but is very narrow and at high tide the sea reaches the sea wall that protects the line of budget hotels and guesthouses here. The beach at Hauru is public access but because the coast here is so built up it can be difficult to get to. Hauru has a small modern shopping area with supermarket, bank and several restaurants.

picture of Les Tipaniers Hotel, Moorea Island
Les Tipaniers is a good value hotel with self contained bungalows on the popular Hauru Beach. The hotel has a restaurant overlooking the beach and a long pier for easy access to the swimming and snorkelling lagoon. This is a good choice for those looking to enjoy watersports.
picture of Hotel Hibiscus, Moorea Island
Hotel Hibiscus is a small hotel set alongside a sandy beach protected by a cement sea wall on the west coast of Moorea. The sea in front of the property provides a good swimming area for kids - go out 20 metres and its a pleasant lagoon for swimming and snorkelling.
picture of Fare Vai Moana, Moorea Island
Fare Vai Moana is set on a picturesque beach on the west coast of Moorea, close to Hibiscus Hotel, with delightful bungalows in a pleasant garden setting. All bungalows feature a main bedroom and an upstairs mezzanine room with double or two single beds.

Offshore from Hauru are three small islands within the shallow lagoon. This is a good place for water activities including kite surfing, kayaking and snorkelling. There is also abundant shark population along the Moorea coast, sometimes in packs of 50 or more. Oponohu Canyons off the north coast and Tiki Point off the West Coast are the best shark feed dives in Tahiti.


South of Hauru Beach is the popular Tiki Village cultural centre, with replica temples and houses, handicraft displays, tattooing demonstrations and traditional dances. All good fun for a light half day outing. Heading south along the quiet south western coast, the mountain scenery once again becomes spectacular and culminates in the gorgeous coastal setting of Atiha bay. There are several guesthouses here including as well as the small settlement of Haapiti which has an attractive Catholic Church built in 1891.

East Coast Moorea

The south east coast is also very quiet with virtually no beaches and no tourist accommodation. At Afareaitu, the administrative centre of Moorea, a walking tracks leads inland to pretty Atiraa Waterfall and takes about 30 minutes. Uninhabited Motu Ahi lies offshore from town. There's lots of activities around Moorea from cruises around the bays and coast to 4WD tours of the interior. Moorea has a well developed tourist infrastructure - there are plenty of car hire companies at the wharf and airport, lots of restaurants around the coast, shopping centres and gift and boutique shops for browsing.

Moorea Travel Information

There is little in the way of public transport except for exuberantly priced taxis, with car hire or organised coach tours the most popular way of getting around. Most hotels are along Cooks Bay (10-minutes from airport) or Hauru Beach (30-minutes from airport) on the west coast.