French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is made up of over 130 islands and atolls, with the most well-known being Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea. Moorea is located just northwest of Tahiti and is known for its stunning natural beauty and luxurious resorts. The island is often referred to as the “Island of Love” due to its romantic atmosphere and breathtaking landscapes.
The history of French Polynesia dates back to the 12th century when the first Polynesian settlers arrived from Asia. Over the centuries, the islands were colonized by various European powers, with France officially claiming them in 1842. Today, French Polynesia has a unique blend of Polynesian and French cultures, with the traditional Polynesian way of life still visible in many aspects of the islanders’ daily lives.
Moorea has a rich history, with many ancient marae (temples) and other cultural sites that offer insight into the island’s past. The island was also a major center of power for the ancient Polynesian chiefs. Visitors can learn about Moorea’s history and culture by visiting the island’s museums, such as the Tiki Village Cultural Center, or by taking a guided tour of ancient marae sites. The island’s culture can also be experienced through the traditional Polynesian dance performances and traditional feast which are organized by the locals.
Geography and climate of Moorea
Moorea is a volcanic island formed by two extinct volcanoes. The island is known for its lush vegetation and rugged interior, with peaks reaching up to 2,200 feet. The island is surrounded by a coral reef that creates a beautiful lagoon and creates a barrier for the waves making the beaches perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The island’s climate is tropical, with warm temperatures year-round and a rainy season from November to April. The island’s weather is generally pleasant, with average temperature ranging between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moorea is a popular destination for tourists seeking a tropical paradise. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities on the island, including:
- Snorkeling and diving: The clear waters of Moorea’s lagoon and coral reef are home to a wide variety of marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. The coral reef surrounding the island is a protected area and is considered one of the most beautiful coral reef in the world. Divers and snorkelers can expect to see a wide variety of fish, sharks, rays, and other marine creatures.
- Hiking: Moorea’s interior is home to a number of hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the island. Popular trails include the Belvedere Lookout, which offers panoramic views of the island, and the Opunohu Valley Trail, which takes visitors through the island’s lush interior. These trails offer an opportunity to discover the island’s diverse flora and fauna.
- Water sports: Visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports on Moorea, including kayaking, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The island’s lagoon is perfect for these activities, with calm waters and a variety of marine life to observe.
- Cultural activities: Visitors can learn about Moorea’s history and culture by visiting the island’s museums such as the Tiki Village Cultural Center, which offers a glimpse into traditional Polynesian life and culture. Visitors can also take a guided tour of ancient marae sites, which are sacred places of worship for the ancient Polynesians. These tours provide an opportunity to learn about the island’s history and gain insight into traditional Polynesian beliefs and customs.
- Boat tours: Visitors can take a boat tour around the island to explore its hidden bays and inlets. These tours offer an opportunity to see the island’s stunning coastline and marine life up close. Some boat tours also include stops at small motus (islets) for swimming and snorkeling.
Accommodation options on Moorea
Moorea offers a wide range of accommodation options for visitors, including:
- Resorts: The island is home to several luxurious resorts that offer all-inclusive packages and amenities such as spas, restaurants, and swimming pools. These resorts are perfect for those looking for a luxurious and relaxing vacation.
- Traditional Polynesian bungalows: For a more authentic experience, visitors can stay in traditional Polynesian bungalows, which are typically made of bamboo and thatched roofs. These bungalows provide a unique and rustic experience and are usually located in secluded areas of the island.
- Vacation rentals: Visitors can also rent a private home or villa on Moorea for a more self-catering option. These rentals are perfect for those looking for more privacy and independence during their stay.
The island’s natural beauty
Moorea is known for its stunning natural beauty, with lush vegetation, crystal-clear waters, and white sandy beaches. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities on the island, such as hiking to the Belvedere Lookout for panoramic views of the island, swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters of the lagoon, and taking a boat tour to explore the island’s hidden bays and inlets. The island’s coral reefs and marine life are also a major draw for visitors, as Moorea is home to a diverse array of tropical fish and other marine creatures.
Moorea’s natural beauty can also be observed by visiting its many gardens. Among the most famous is the Jardin des Parfums et des Epices, which is a botanical garden that showcases a wide variety of tropical plants and flowers. The garden also includes a small shop where visitors can purchase locally made products such as vanilla, coconut oil, and monoi oil. Another famous garden is the Jardin Botanique de Moorea, which is a botanical garden that offers a wide variety of tropical plants and trees. Visitors can also observe the island’s diverse wildlife, including the Moorea monarch butterfly and the Moorea fruit dove.
Other nearby islands to visit as part of a French Polynesia trip
In addition to Moorea, French Polynesia is home to a number of other beautiful islands that visitors may want to consider visiting as part of their trip. Some popular options include:
- Tahiti: The largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti is known for its rugged interior and black sand beaches. Visitors can explore the island’s history and culture at the Museum of Tahiti and the Islands, or take a guided tour to see ancient marae sites. The island is also famous for its waterfall, Faarumai, which is one of the largest in the world.
- Bora Bora: Known as the “Romantic Island,” Bora Bora is famous for its luxurious resorts, clear turquoise waters, and lush vegetation. Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the island’s coral reef and marine life, or indulge in a spa treatment at one of the island’s many resorts. Bora Bora is also known for its overwater bungalows, which offer guests a unique and luxurious way to experience the island’s stunning lagoon.
- Huahine: This island is known for its traditional Polynesian culture, with several ancient marae sites and traditional villages to visit. Visitors can also explore the island’s lush interior and beautiful beaches. Huahine is also known for its pearl farm, where visitors can learn about the process of pearl farming and even purchase pearls.
- Rangiroa: This atoll is located in the Tuamotu Archipelago and is known for its stunning coral reef and marine life, making it a popular spot for diving and snorkeling. Rangiroa is also known for its large population of dolphins and it’s a common spot for dolphin watching tours.
- Taha’a: This island is known for its vanilla and pearl production and it’s also a great destination for those looking for a more laid-back, off-the-beaten-path experience. Visitors can also explore Taha’a’s lush interior and enjoy its beautiful beaches.
Each of these islands offers its own unique experiences, and by visiting multiple islands, visitors can get a well-rounded experience of French Polynesia’s culture, history, and natural beauty. From the luxurious resorts of Bora Bora to the traditional villages of Huahine, French Polynesia has something for everyone. Each island offers a unique experience and by visiting multiple islands, visitors can get a complete understanding of the culture, history and natural beauty of French Polynesia.
Our Top FAQ's
The history of French Polynesia dates back to the 12th century when the first Polynesian settlers arrived from Asia. Over the centuries, the islands were colonized by various European powers, with France officially claiming them in 1842. This has resulted in a unique blend of Polynesian and French cultures that can be seen in many aspects of the islanders’ daily lives.
Popular tourist activities on Moorea include snorkeling and diving, hiking, water sports, cultural activities such as visiting museums and ancient marae sites and boat tours. These activities highlight the island’s natural beauty and culture by showcasing its coral reef, marine life, lush vegetation, and traditional Polynesian way of life.
Accommodation options on Moorea include luxurious resorts, traditional Polynesian bungalows, and vacation rentals. These options cater to different types of travelers, with resorts being perfect for those looking for luxury and relaxation, bungalows being a rustic and authentic option, and vacation rentals providing privacy and independence.
Some other islands in French Polynesia worth visiting include Tahiti, Bora Bora, Huahine, Rangiroa, and Taha’a. These islands offer unique experiences such as the rugged interior and black sand beaches of Tahiti, the luxurious resorts and overwater bungalows of Bora Bora, the traditional Polynesian culture of Huahine, the stunning coral reef and marine life of Rangiroa, and the laid-back, off-the-beaten-path experience of Taha’a.