Located only 10 nautical miles from the big island of Tahiti resides the ‘Magical Island’ Moorea. Visitors and residents of Moorea will argue that it is one of the most beautiful islands in French Polynesia. With eight sharp verdant peaks and twin bays that misshape the triangular island surrounded by turquoise, Moorea’s scenery is visually striking and second only maybe to Bora Bora. But we’ll let you be the judge.
Lucky for you, the island is super accessible. There are two ways to get from Tahiti to Moorea – by flight and ferry. The flight is just 15 minutes, but the entire process is actually much longer than the ferry ride. Not to mention pricier. On the other hand, the Aremeti or Terevau fast ferry from Papeete to Moorea takes only 30 minutes, runs multiple times a day, and does not require a reservation (unless transporting a vehicle). So, if you are staying in Papeete [looking for things to do] (link Papeete) and wondering if Moorea is worth visiting – yes, it is! A day trip to Moorea is a must-do. This picture-perfect French Polynesian destination is the epitome of a tropical paradise. From the top of the mountains to the bottom of the sea, Moorea has activities for everyone.
Here is what you can look forward to on your day trip to Moorea! Prepare to be blown away by breathtaking landscapes and warm hospitality, and experience thrills and a laid-back lifestyle in equal measure.
Top Things to Do on a Day Trip to Moorea
Take a Tour of the Island
Start your day trip to Moorea with an adventure around the island. If you are coming with a vehicle – perfect. It will take you around 4 hours to circle all of Moorea, including stops along the way. Take in the beauty of the rugged coastline around Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay and relax at the dreamy palm-fringed beaches at your own pace. Make a stop at Le Petit Village to pick up some Polynesian souvenirs like a Tahitian sarong or black pearls to remember your time on this ‘Magic Island’ for years to come. And take advantage of any chance to load up on fresh poisson cru – a Polynesian version of ceviche.
Alternatively, we recommend booking a tour and having the expert guides fill you in on interesting facts about their island. When on a day trip, time is of the essence, so let the professionals take you to the best things to do in Moorea. Embark on a 4×4 Safari Tour where you’ll traverse the scenic hillsides up to the iconic Belvedere Lookout, pass the famous pineapple plantation, and even get to taste some local goodies.
By the way, Moorea’s pineapples are in such a surplus that the island has its own brand of pineapple juice – Rotui Juice – that you can find in nearly every refrigerator in Moorea. You can even visit the Rotui Juice Factory and Distillery and taste their unique alcoholic concoctions. Make sure you at least give the pineapple juice a try!
And for thrill-seekers, a guided ATV tour will be the perfect way to explore the nooks and crannies of the island. In addition to the popular highlights, you also get to climb up the majestic “Magic Mountain”. For those looking for human-powered adventure, you can cover the same route by bicycle or on foot. Just spray some bug mist, grab your water, and stick a hibiscus flower behind your ear to conjure plenty of sunshine and spring in your stride.
Explore Moorea’s Hiking Trails
The green volcanic peaks in the center of Moorea offer amazing hiking trails suitable for everyone, whether you want a casual stroll or a steep climb. Apart from epic views, like the ones you get from the Belvedere Lookout, you also get a taste of the local history. The Opunohu Valley still hides the remains of marae – sacred communal platforms built by the indigenous Polynesians. Surrounded by jungle, Marae Titiroa and Ahu O Mahine are two of the most popular things to see in Moorea. The archeological site dates back to the 17th century and has signs that tell old tales and legends and share insights into the ancient way of life. The famous Belvedere Lookout is further down the trail and will offer the best views of the island of Mount Rotui and the twin bays Cook and Opunohu.
Go on an Underwater Adventure
The best activity to follow hiking and exploring is to take a dip in the translucent waters. There are stunning public beaches like Tamae and Taahiamanu. But the most beautiful beaches in Moorea are located on the north and northeast coasts. Although the northeast is mostly occupied by private resort beaches, you can treat yourself to some luxury by getting a day pass. But wait, it gets better!
Take advantage of the impeccable visibility of the crystal-clear water and discover the underwater world by snorkeling. Not only will you get to see families of colorful fish, but also swim with sting rays and black tip reef sharks and get to feed them too. Now that’s a bucket list-worthy Moorea activity! Going with a guide is perfect as they’ll take you to all the best coral reefs on Moorea, and on some tours, you’ll get to use a fun sea scooter. But you can create a self-guided tour by renting a kayak at Les Tipaniers beach and exploring the waters between motus– a small islet – called Tiahrua and Fareone. Pack some snacks and have yourself a motu picnic!
If you are visiting Moorea from July to early November, do not miss out on the opportunity to swim with humpback whales. These gentle giants migrate to give birth in the tranquil waters of French Polynesia during this time of the year. It is one of the best things to do in Moorea and honestly, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so do not hesitate to book a tour!
Visit Moorea’s Tiki Village
End your day trip to Moorea with a traditional feast paired with an authentic Polynesian dance show and traditional demonstrations at Tiki Village Cultural Center. It’s a full performance with fire twirlers and incredibly talented dancers who tell a story with their hips, and you also get to see what an old Tahitian village looked like and learn about ancient crafts like weaving and stone carving. However, visitors on a time schedule or with alternative dinner plans choose to only attend the show as it’s the most impressive part of the experience. Hopefully, you’ll get invited on the stage and then do the tamau back to the ferry to the beat of the drums. [Heading to Moorea on a day tri