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Needing More of Moorea

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 | 2 comments

Needing More of Moorea

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You can file this one under, “the travel rich keep getting richer.” I was lucky enough to go from the paradise of the Cook Islands to the Eden of Moorea.

I should mention that up until last week, I thought Moorea was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen. And then there was Aitutaki. Does it get any better than a direct flight between bliss and nirvana? I think not.

My Air Tahiti flight from Rarotonga to Papeete was a flawless 2 ½ hours and almost totally empty. I landed in Papeete at 2:15pm and made record time getting to Moorea (there’s little of redeeming value in Papeete, so the best thing to do is get out as fast as you can). I made it through immigration and customs, reclaimed my bag and was in a cab by 2:30pm.

In town, I had my cab driver wait for me outside a bank so I could change a little money (Moorea may be paradise but it doesn’t come cheap…or with ATM’s) and then drop me at the Aremiti Ferry. I caught the 3:00pm ferry to Moorea and by 4:00pm I was settling into my magnificent overwater bungalow at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa.

The weather was decidedly overcast but I didn’t care. I was so happy to be back in Moorea and I was convinced that the sun would come out eventually.

My return trip to the French Polynesian island of Moorea was a do-over for my ill-fated trip to Bora Bora last year which included a brush with the memorable Cyclone Oli and 17 hours worth of quality evacuation time. Paradise, it was not.

Moorea French Polynesia

Bungalow bliss in Moorea

After a months-long squabble with Hilton in an attempt to get the points back for one of those miserable nights, they eventually offered me the points back for both nights. I knew instantly where I would use them.

As far as Hilton properties go, it doesn’t get any better than the Hilton Moorea Lagoon. And this is one island worth a stop on any round the world trip. I mean, I just happened to be in the neighborhood!

Having been to the main island of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, I now feel uniquely qualified to present a 3-step plan to the perfect Tahitian vacation:

#1) Fly to Papeete (because you have to)

#2) Take the ferry to Moorea and don’t look back

#3) See #2

And there you have it! All you really need to know about planning your Tahitian holiday. Bon voyage!

On my last trip to Moorea, I rented a car for a day to explore the island. Satisfied that I had already tackled island exploration, I was feeling free to do absolutely nothing on this visit to Moorea – which is honestly exactly what the island is meant for.

Underwater Moorea French Polynesia

Underwater Moorea

I spent my days jumping into the crystal blue lagoon off my own personal dock and snorkeling around for hours taking photos and video. The lagoon is the primary form of entertainment in Moorea for good reason – you could spend countless hours there and never see the same thing twice. It’s simply mesmerizing.

The sun came out on day two and stayed out for the remainder of my stay. I realized sometime around lunch on day three that I hadn’t put shoes on since I arrived. I smiled. Who needs shoes in paradise?

Sadly, Friday morning I had to take the ferry back to Papeete to catch my flight back to LA for my final stop in Cabo. As our ferry docked in Papeete there was a beautiful rainbow over the town proving that sometimes even the least attractive part of Tahiti can take your breath away.

How is it possible this trip is almost over? Sigh.

Next up…a full week of R&R in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico before re-joining the real world.

Click Below to View the Moorea Photo & Video Gallery

    View photos at SmugMug


    1. Avatar

      Hi Jenny,

      I’m looking between Moorea/Bora Bora and Aitutaki for our honeymoon coming up in December and wondering what your thoughts are? I’m torn because from what I’ve seen and heard, I’d prefer the Tahitian islands, but it seems like the Cook Islands are a better value. Which ones do you like better?


      • Jenny

        Hi Matt! Wow, those are all terrific options! You really couldn’t go wrong with any of them but, of the three, I’d probably say Bora Bora was my least favorite from a value perspective. Yes, it is amazingly beautiful..but so are Moorea and Aitutaki and they are much less expensive and touristy.

        I still say Aitutaki is the single most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Moorea is a close second. If you do decide on Moorea, you might as well spend two nights or so on Bora Bora, just because you’d hate to miss it if you were that close. But spend the majority of your time on Moorea. You will also probably have to spend a night or two on the island of Tahiti just because of how the flights are timed. Moorea is easier to get to because you can just take a short ferry. Bora Bora requires a 30-minute flight that was $400 a few years ago when I did it.

        The nice thing about the Cook Islands is that New Zealand makes a nice stopover on the way (depending on where you’re flying from, you’ll likely have to connect there anyway). Aitutaki is just so remote and tourist-free. It truly is paradise. Did you read my post on the Cook Islands? If not you can find it in the search window on the sidebar. I just did a day trip to Aitutaki but I wished I had spent all of my time there. Although Rarotonga is gorgeous, too.

        I hope that helps! No matter where you choose I’m sure it will be incredible if it’s between these three destinations!


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