Sofitel Moorea - The Hollapinos
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(Last Updated On: August 21, 2020)

Moorea is the heart-shaped island that is a 30-minute ferry ride from Tahiti. The island name means “Yellow Lizard” coming from the Tahitian word Mo’ore’a.

It is less touristy than Bora Bora and offers several land and water activities. Mike and I were planning a trip to Tahiti but we have decided to spend our honeymoon in Moorea as Moorea matched what we were looking for a honeymoon destination.

In front of the lookout

Pin for later!

Moorea Travel Guide Pin

Moorea vs. Bora Bora

It was a busy year for us. Planning the wedding and complying with all the requirements were not easy for a couple who is in a long-distance relationship.

Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow - The Hollapinos
Chilling in our bungalow

Several of Mike’s vacation days were already consumed in a couple of trips to the Philippines for the wedding preparation, our wedding, and a side trip to El Nido.

Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow - The Hollapinos
Photoshoot in our bungalow

For our honeymoon, we have decided to take a 5-day vacation to one island in French Polynesia as we don’t want to be rushing hopping from one island to another.

Sofitel Moorea - The Hollapinos
Ready for dinner in Rudy’s Restaurant

Most couples will choose to go to Bora Bora, a combination of Moorea and Bora Bora, or those who have the time and money will do Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora.

With a 5-day trip, the second and the third option will not be convenient for us. For the first option, we opted for Moorea as it is as amazing but less touristy than Bora Bora.

Moorea is less expensive than Bora Bora and unique because we don’t know anyone who has been to Moorea.

Furthermore, unlike Bora Bora, Moorea offers both land and water activities.

Arriving in Sofitel Moorea - French Polynesia Visa Requirements Blog - The Hollapinos
Arriving in Sofitel Moorea
Holland Tahiti - The Hollapinos
Holland Tahiti

Things To Know When Planning a Trip to Moorea

The most important thing to know when planning a trip to French Polynesia is that it will not be a cheap trip. It is just a matter which is expensive, more expensive, or the most expensive.

White beach Sofitel Moorea - The Hollapinos
Hanging out at the beach

Airport

The international airport near Moorea is in Papeete, Tahiti. It is called as Faa’a International Airport or Tahiti International Airport.

Visa Requirements

US passport holder like Mike does not need a French Polynesia visa. For a Philippine passport holder like me, yes a French Polynesia visa is required

To check if you need a French Polynesia visa, click here to take the 3-minute test. Documents and visa fees will also be provided if the result is you need a visa.

If you have noticed, most online forms asking for your nationality will have countries on the list but for this form, the list contains nationalities.

Visa Application to Moorea - French Polynesia Visa For Philippines - The Hollapinos
A screenshot of the visa quiz with my answers

You will receive the result like in the photo below then choose Tourism in both fields at the bottom then click the Search button.

Visa Application to Moorea - French Polynesia Visa For Philippines - The Hollapinos
The result page showing I need to apply for a visa

For Filipinos applying for a French visa in Manila, note that the Embassy of France in the Philippines does not accept visa application anymore. VFS Global in Makati City will process all the applications.

For other countries, click HERE to know where to submit your visa application. 

See required documents below:

Visa Requirements for Moorea - French Polynesia Visa For Philippines - The Hollapinos
Visa requirements for Filipinos going to French Polynesia

The French Polynesia visa fee is 9 euros or ₱495 will also be displayed at the bottom of the page and will be paid during your application day.

Visa Fees for Moorea - French Polynesia Visa For Philippines - The Hollapinos
French Polynesia visa fee

Then the next step is to create your account here to accomplish the online application form and book your appointment. Make sure that your travel insurance is from an accredited Schengen travel insurance company.

Click here to see the accredited Schengen travel insurance companies in the Philippines.

Additional requirements not in the list are:

  1. the copy of my flight from Manila to the US since we will fly from Los Angeles to Tahiti
  2. a copy of my US visa because Filipinos need a tourist visa to enter the US
  3. cover letter addressed to the consul or visa officer that will process your application stating your purpose of travel

Also for French Polynesia, they said they need two copies of my application form which was not in the published guidelines and I was advised when I was almost done. I think it was not common that they received a tourist visa application for French Polynesia in Manila.

So unless you want to write the duplicate application form on the spot, you have nothing to lose if you will print your online application form twice before your appointment.

Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow
A view of Sofitel Moorea’s Overwater Bungalows

Visa application center in the Philippines

On your appointment date, proceed to VFS France Global at 30th Floor, The World Centre, Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City. Note that they will not allow any companion inside the application center.

Visa fee

Even if the French Polynesia visa fee displayed when I took the visa test was 9 euros or ₱495, I was fortunate that I brought extra cash as the cashier told me my due was ₱2,500. I told her that as per the website, the French Polynesia visa fee is 9 euros only.

The cashier said yes but that is for the visa only. They charge a processing fee that was not indicated on the website so prepare enough cash as they do not accept credit or debit card payment.

In front of the Pure Restaurant
In front of the Pure Restaurant

Language

The official language is French and Tahitian but the Tahitians are well-versed in English.  We saw that tour guides can speak Japanese and Chinese too.

I remember when touring, the guide will always have a long speech because when providing instructions, he needed to say the same speech in three languages.

Some of the common words that you will hear in French Polynesia are Maururu which means thank you and Ia Orana or Bonjour which means hello.

Shower area of our overwater bungalow - The Hollapinos
Mike enjoying the shower

Time zone

Moorea follows Tahiti Time of UTC -10 which is 3 hours behind with California or 18 hours behind Manila.

Climate

The island’s climate is tropically hot and humid where the best time to visit is during the dry season from May to October. Outside of this period, the island experience heavy rain.

Attire

Wear light material clothes that are comfortable in the tropical climate.

What to pack

We recommend bringing the following for your trip in Moorea: 

Reef safe sunblock – for sun protection without harming the corals

Insect repellent – there were a lot of mosquitoes during happy hour in the Sofitel Moorea’s Pure restaurant which you may also encounter in other open-type restaurants

Reusable water bottle – your trip will not be cheap so save a few bucks from buying bottled water in an eco-friendly way; Moorea is also an island to be active so you will need to hydrate all the time

Dry bag – to waterproof your belongings

Wet shoes – to protect your feet from sharp objects while at the beach

Mask and snorkel – this is optional as snorkelling gears are provided by Sofitel Moorea but we bought our own because we don’t want biting someone else’s mouthpiece

Money and credit cards

Moorea’s currency is French Pacific Franc (XFP) where $100 is approximately XPF 11,000 and 100 euros is about XPF 11,950.

When we arrived in Tahiti, our tour guide who picked us up from the airport exchanged our money for 1 USD to 100 XFP rate. This looks like their fixed exchange rate so when you arrived in Tahiti airport, check the airport’s rate and compare it to this rate then go to who offers a higher rate.

You may also check with your bank if they can exchange Pacific Francs but the chances are they don’t or at a lower rate. Or exchange in Tahiti banks but they are closed on weekends and the first ferry trip to Moorea is at 7 AM.

It is recommended to bring cash than credit cards unless you are going to splurge since not all restaurants and shops accept credit cards. If they do, there is a minimum amount required.

In case you exchange too much cash, your remaining XPF can be exchanged at the Tahiti airport before leaving. 

Wi-fi

Wi-fi is free in Sofitel Moorea. Usually, this is complimentary during your stay but it better to double-check with your accommodation.

If you will be outside your accommodation premises and wished to stay connected, book online with Tahiti Wifi then pick up your device upon arrival at Tahiti airport.

The agency is open from 5 AM until midnight every day and the rental price is €7.90 / day for up to 5 devices.

Biking around Moorea - The Hollapinos
Biking to Super U Are supermarket in Moorea

Electricity

Sofitel Moorea used Type E electrical plug with voltage and frequency of 220V and 60Hz. They provided us with adapters but will temporarily charge it to your bill so make sure to return it when you check out so the charge will be voided.

French Polynesia operates at the standard voltage and frequency of 110 / 220 V and 60 / 50 Hz so it is recommended to ask your accommodation about this before your arrival.

Types AB, and E are the electrical plugs used so you may also opt to bring a universal adapter to be ready.

Safety and warnings

We were usually back in Sofitel Moorea before it gets dark. When biking around, we felt safe as the road has bike lanes. 

Though the crime rate is low in Moorea, it is required to take precautions like keeping an eye at your belongings when at the beach.

It is also better to stay in accommodation during the night to relax as the roadways are dark unless you have a car service or rental.

 If you want to enjoy the nightlife, most resorts have a variety of shows every night that you can explore.

Biking in the coconut plantation - The Hollapinos
Biking in the coconut plantation

How To Go Around Moorea

For touring around Moorea, you can rent a bike, scooter, or car.  Most companies in Moorea advertise that they will deliver your rented vehicle to your hotel.

Rent A Bike Moorea offers bike and scooter rentals but they refused to deliver 2 mountain bikes to Sofitel Moorea as they said they are 30 kilometers away.

Mountain Bikes are at XPF 1,500 for 8 hours, E-bikes are at XPF 4,500 from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM while scooters are at XPF 5,000 to 6,000 for 8 hours. Check their complete list of prices here.

Biking in the coconut plantation - The Hollapinos
Biking in the coconut plantation

Even if it cost more, Mike and I just rented our mountain bikes with Sofitel Moorea at XPF 3,000 for 8 hours since it may cost us that much if we will take a cab to and from Rent A Bike Moorea.

You may also rent scooters or a car with Albert Tours/Transport.

Biking to Belvedere lookout - The Hollapinos
Mike dancing while pushing his bike to Belvedere lookout
Or compare car rental prices in Moorea below and book the car that you like at the best price

If you will be dining, most restaurants have pick-up and drop off service to your hotel except for Allo Pizza. Take note that they have pick-up and drop off time intervals and will not pick you up or drop you off whenever you want to.

The hotel concierge can help you contact the restaurant for this service so ask them to call the restaurant a few hours before your intended departure so you can plan accordingly.

In case there is no pick-up/drop off service and you did not rent a car, you can book a cab. The cab ride rate depends on your destination. Your hotel concierge usually knows the standard rate per destination and can book a cab for you.

Also, take note that the fare doubles if you book a cab beyond 8 PM so plan your dinner early. Get the contact number of your cab driver and request the restaurant owner or staff to contact the cab driver for your return trip after dining in.

Additionally, when booking a cab ride, make sure you are ready when they arrive as they charge XPF 500 for waiting time

Reef shark in Moorea - The Hollapinos
Reef shark in Moorea

Other facts about Moorea

The distance to go around Moorea is about 62 kilometers and will take around 5 hours to bike if you will take your time. It will be faster if you will be riding a scooter or a car.

This does not include a trip to the Belvedere lookout since the road is very steep going up there. Moreover, the road is rough if you will pass through the coconut plantation.

Tipping

It is not required but we encourage you to tip at least 10% to 15% of your bill and should be considered in your travel budget planning.

Other tips for your trip to Moorea

Another important thing to know is don’t book any tour while waiting for your departure at the Tahiti Ferry. We booked the Lagoon Tour with them for XPF 8,000 per person then upon arrival to Moorea, it was offered by Albert Tours at XPF 7,000.

If you are into snorkelling and it is windy in Sofitel Moorea, you may visit the Hilton Resort on the other side of the island for a day pass because it is not windy there. It was rarely windy during our stay in Sofitel Moorea, this explained the strong wind that we experienced in the motu during the Lagoon Tour.

Additionally, you maximize the complimentary minibar if you are staying in a resort. We brought drinks from the mini bar in our room whenever we tour around to save money since Sofitel Moorea provided us with drinks more than what we can consume in a day.

And never forget to enjoy drinking your coffee at the balcony of your overwater bungalow!

A motu in Moorea - The Hollapinos
A motu in Moorea

Unique Experience

First, I did not meet any Filipino in our trip to Moorea. Second, some ladies will not mind sunbathing topless.

Third, Mike was so amazed to see a hibiscus flower as soon as we arrived in Sofitel Moorea. He called me with delight, “Baby, look!”. I asked what is it. Still filled with astonishment, he said “Hibiscus!” I giggled, “That’s gumamela, a common flower in the Philippines.”

How To Go To Moorea

The direct flight from Los Angeles was the most convenient route for us. I’ve never found a cheap flight to Tahiti even those will multiple and long layovers.

Book the cheapest flight to Tahiti below

Air Tahiti Nui flies directly from Los Angeles International Airport to Tahiti. The flight to Tahiti is approximately 8 hours 25 minutes while the return flight is at 7 hours 40 minutes.

Online check-in is available also Air Tahiti Nui allows one carryon bag (22 lbs) and one checked bag (50 lbs) for free.

Flying from Manila after the wedding to Tahiti is expensive yet exhausting due to the layovers. So we decided to fly from LA but not right after the wedding.

Flight from Sacramento to LAX - The Hollapinos
Waiting for our flight from Sacramento to LAX

California

Mike and I stayed in our home in Clearlake, California for a few weeks before going to our honeymoon. We booked our flight to LA using our air miles so we only paid taxes.

Arriving in LA, we proceeded to Terminal B to drop our checked bags but while in line for check-in, a strong earthquake occurred. I remember feeling the ground was shaking and the hanging objects to ceiling were swaying. No one was hurt and the flights were not cancelled.

Flight to Tahiti

Mike and I were so excited to board the plane. The cabin was designed with island vibes and the seats have various neon colored pillows.

All the crew was wearing flower printed uniforms. On the contrary, the food was not delicious. I am usually who look forward to the food served in the plane especially the bread!

The bread was cold and hard which was difficult to chew. I cannot finish the food too. After the food was served, I just have a few bites then wait for them to clean it up.

Arriving in Tahiti

We were welcomed by our tour guide upon arriving in Tahiti airport who also took us to the port where we waited for our ferry ride to Moorea.

Marama Tours Tahiti - planning a trip to Tahiti - The Hollapinos
Marama Tours Guests Waiting Area in Tahiti Airport

The ferry ride to Moorea is approximately 30 minutes and costs $15. This fee was paid in advance since we availed a honeymoon package.

Tahiti Port - The Hollapinos
Tahiti Port

Honeymoon package

Mike and I decided to book our honeymoon package with Costco Travel due to the time constraint in our wedding preparation. Some of our friends recommended Costco to have the best deal in the market. 

Our package included:

  • Flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti, roundtrip
  • Airport to Tahiti Ferry Dock Shared Van Transfer, roundtrip
  • Ferry Ride from Tahiti to Moorea, roundtrip
  • Moorea Ferry Dock to Sofitel Shared Van Transfer, roundtrip
  • 5-night stay in an Overwater Bungalow in Sofitel Moorea
  • Daily Breakfast
  • One Complimentary Lunch
  • Daily City Tax

Our total package price was at $7,432.17.

Catamaran ride from Tahiti to Moorea - planning a trip to Tahiti - The Hollapinos
Catamaran ride from Tahiti to Moorea

The package also included a bottle of wine and souvenirs for the couple. We got a white Sofitel Moorea printed pareo for me and a white collared shirt with the logo for Mike.

I was joking that he looks like on duty in Sofitel when we wear it.

Where to stay in Moorea

French Polynesia is a good place to stay on an overwater bungalow. With its pristine water, wouldn’t you want your access to the sea?

sofitel easy access to the sea
Easy access to the sea

But it comes with a price as an overwater bungalow in Moorea ranges from $600 to $1,200 per night. Keep in mind that a stay on an overwater bungalow depends on preference and budget.

Moorea Overwater Bungalow - The Hollapinos
We saw this during lagoon tour

You can still enjoy Moorea by staying in a bungalow with a garden view or ocean view, right? But if you want a low-cost accommodation, you can stay in a dorm at $24 per night or in a one-bedroom chalet at $32 per night.

Moorea Overwater Bungalow - The Hollapinos
Overwater Bungalows

Moorea Resorts offer a day pass so you can enjoy their facilities without spending too much on the accommodation. Click HERE to read our Moorea Resorts guide to know more about the day pass.

Check our list of accommodations in Moorea and see which one fits your preference and budget.

Enjoying the sun in Moorea - The Hollapinos
Enjoying the sun

Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort

We stayed in an overwater bungalow in Sofitel Moorea. While we usually travel on a budget but on our honeymoon, when we decided to spoil ourselves. 

How to save money for travel - The Hollapinos

Mike and I loved our stay in Sofitel Moorea. The room was spacious and comfortable. Our room has a rain shower and direct access to the sea through our balcony.

Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow - The Hollapinos
Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow

We also loved that we were given complimentary breakfast as soon as we arrived even if it was not part of our package.

Overall hotel experience is awesome and the staff service is superb.

Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow - The Hollapinos
Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow

One downside is that flying drones within the resort is not allowed because it is near the airport.

You may also enjoy our review post on Sofitel Moorea >>

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa

A luxury beach resort that has overwater bungalows above a turquoise lagoon. It is located between the two bays of Moorea: the Cook and the Opunohu bays.

While Sofitel Moorea is 5 minutes away from the airport, the Hilton is 20 minutes away from the airport.

InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa

A 5-star resort located between the mountains and a lagoon that also has overwater bungalows. The Moorea Dolphin Centre is within the property so guests have the opportunity to interact with the dolphins.

READ  10 Countries To Travel After Lockdown + Resources On The "New Normal"

Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea

A traditional Polynesian-style resort that has overwater bungalows and is also near the airport and Cook’s bay.

Moorea Happy Bungalow

An apartment with an outdoor pool, garden, and sea views. The property is perfect for couples who want privacy!

Fare Coconut

Another property that is perfect for the couple’s privacy! This one-bedroom house has a garden and a private beachfront area.

A motu in Moorea - The Hollapinos
A motu in Moorea

Paradise Island Moorea

The perfect property for the couple’s privacy! Located on a small island, this one-bedroom holiday home has a garden and private beach area.

Taoahere Beach House

A guest house that has its private beach area and water sports facility.

A motu in Moorea - The Hollapinos
A motu in Moorea

Les vadrouilleurs Moorea

Stay in a double room in Moorea for only $55 per night that includes breakfast, wifi, and parking area.

PainaPaopao Backpacker

A hostel with a garden with options for double room or bed in a dormitory that is ideal for your budget.

Do you still want to check on other accommodations in Moorea? Check here >>

Where to eat in Moorea

Allo Pizza

Unlike most restaurants in Moorea that have a free hotel pickup and drop off service, Allo Pizza has dine-in and delivery service only. They deliver for XPF 800 or USD 8 plus the total cost of the food.

Since we want to experience dining there, we asked the hotel to book a cab for us. A cab ride going to Allo Pizza is at XPF 2,000 or USD 20.

While waiting at the hotel lobby for the cab to pick us up, the couple whom we met on this trip just arrived from a tour. We told them we are going to have dinner in Allo Pizza and asked if they want to come with us so we can split the cab bill. They agreed to join us for dinner.

Allo Pizza Moorea Dining Counter - The Hollapinos
Allo Pizza Moorea Dining Counter

Mike and I shared one whole pizza and two cans of Coke. We ordered the Basquaise Pizza (Tomato Sauce, Peppers, Onions, Bacon, Egg, and Cheese). Our bill was a little over XPF 2,500.

They only allowed a credit card payment for a bill of XPF 2,500 or more.

Rudy’s Restaurant

This was our favorite restaurant in Moorea. We went here twice; one of our visit here was for our one-month wedding celebration.

The restaurant staff was courteous and welcoming. They served complimentary bread and butter per table.

A credit card payment is accepted in Rudy’s Restaurant.

Best Restaurant in Moorea
Best Restaurant in Moorea

Our first visit to Rudy’s Restaurant

On our first visit to Rudy’s Restaurant, we ordered fish and meat for dinner then had a cake for dessert.

We ordered the following:

  • Le Boeuf Bourguignon (A French Delicacy) at XPF 2,850
  • Mahi Mahi Meuniere (Mahi Mahi Saute Lemon Vegetable) at XPF 2,800
  • Le Moelleux au Chocolat (Lava Chocolate Cake) at XPF 1,500
Rudys Restaurant Moorea
Mike enjoying his Le Boeuf Bourguignon

On our way back to Sofitel Moorea, there was another couple picked up by the restaurant. We had a little chat during the ride and they asked us what food did we order.

We responded and asked them back. The lady said she had the parrotfish dish.

She described it as out of this world and that it melts in your mouth as you chew it. That’s when we decided that we will have another dinner at Rudy’s Restaurant.

Rudys Moorea Travel Guide
Love my Mahi Mahi Meuniere!

Our second visit to Rudy’s Restaurant

On our one-month wedding celebration, we both ordered fish for dinner then had a crepe for dessert.

We ordered the following:

  • Saumon des Dieux grille (Filet of Moon Fish grilled) at XPF 2,900
  • Filet de Perroquet Farci au Crabe (Filet of Parrot Fish Stuffed with Crab sauce Tarragon and Balsamic vinegar Sauce) at XPF 2,900
  • La Crepe Glacee aux Amandes (French Crepe filled with Ice Cream, Sprinkle with Toasted Almonds) at XPF 1,250
Rudys Moorea Travel Guide 2
First Month Wedding Celebration

The parrotfish taste nice but I like the Mahi Mahi more since I like grilled meat. Also, we didn’t know better that parrotfish should not be consumed.

Learning freediving after our trip to Moorea opened us to awareness that parrotfish protects the coral reefs from algae and poops white sand.

One highlight of the night was Mike was able to talk to the owner. He said his name was not Rudy but his son’s.

As expected, we enjoyed the food and the ambiance of the restaurant. Certainly, Rudy’s Restaurant is our favorite restaurant in Moorea.

Rudys Moorea Best Travel Guide
La Crepe Glacee aux Amandes (French Crepe filled with Ice Cream, Sprinkle with Toasted Almonds) at XPF 1250

Pure Restaurant

We were so satisfied with Pure Restaurant’s wide variety of menu for our complimentary buffet breakfast especially the French Press coffee. The staff was nice too!

Pure Restaurant - The Hollapinos
Pure Restaurant Breakfast

For a little entertainment, go to the egg station. The cook was friendly and funny!

Pure Restaurant - The Hollapinos
Pure Restaurant Lunch

You may book a canoe breakfast where your breakfast will be delivered by an outrigger canoe to the balcony of your overwater bungalow. Mike saw one being delivered one morning but you also have to know that this service is very expensive.

Buffet Breakfast at Pure Restaurant Moorea - The Hollapinos
Our favorite French Press coffee

We also tried their happy hour in the afternoon one time. Having some refreshing drinks while watching the sea and the sunset is one of the best things to do on an island. The appetizers were delicious too!

Just make sure to apply mosquito repellent if you will dine here as mosquitoes were biting our legs as the night came in.

Pure restaurant
Happy hour!

Snack Mahana

A family-owned eatery that is a good stop for an affordable lunch with a good view of a lagoon.  Snack Mahana has vegan and vegetarian options. 

Tourists love their delicious burgers and grilled fish. A burger costs XPF 1,400 and a grilled Mahi Mahi costs XPF 1,700.  Guests of InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa love to dine in this nearby eatery.

Reservations are recommended as it is a popular place. Snack Mahana only accepts cash.

A L’Heure du Sud

This blue food truck is a good stop for a wide variety of affordable sandwiches. A burger or a club sandwich costs XPF 600 to XPF 800.

The A L’Heure du Sud is in front of Le Petit Village shopping centre and accepts cash only.

Toatea Crêperie & Bar

Enjoy French crepes in Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa at a location over the water with a view of swimming blacktip reef sharks.

What to do in Moorea

Get married in Moorea

Say I do in the heart of French Polynesia! Your wedding will be held in the mayor’s office or you can opt for a traditional Polynesian wedding ceremony.

Make sure to submit all documents and have a confirmed wedding date before going to Moorea.

Spend your honeymoon in Moorea

We met a couple who just went to Moorea for a vacation. There was a lady who went to Moorea for a vacation with her mom but for Mike and I, Moorea is the perfect honeymoon destination.

We both wanted our honeymoon in a tropical beach destination where neither of us has been.

Honeymoon in Moorea - The Hollapinos
Honeymoon in Moorea

Snorkel in Moorea

I am someone with a fear of not touching the surface with my feet when swimming. For some reason, I felt buoyant in this water and Mike was very supportive that I can swim.

Moorea Best Travel Guide Snorkeling
Hi little buddy!

This was the vacation where I realized that I am missing a lot and made a decision that I will be a good swimmer.

With our direct access to the sea, taking a dip is our favorite thing to do in the morning before coffee.

We were satisfied that with the marine life within Sofitel Moorea beach that we are okay not to snorkel on other beaches. Well except for the swimming with the sharks and the stingrays because that’s a different story.

Also note that when snorkeling, avoid standing on the sand when there are reefs around even if it is shallow and you are wearing water shoes or fins. Mike got bitten by a fish even if he was standing on the sand but maybe his feet were close to a reef.

Mike bitten by a fish - The Hollapinos
Mike bitten by a fish

Try Seascooter

Explore the beautiful marine life of Moorea using an easy to handle underwater scooter where you can travel a great distance with less effort.

Click HERE to book  an underwater scooter in advance.

Freedive in Moorea

Scuba diving is also available in Moorea but we prefer freediving as you are in control of your body while underwater.

If you haven’t tried freediving, Moorea is the perfect place to learn and try freediving! Contact Moorea Freediving for courses.

Running

Sofitel Moorea has a running route posted in the lobby and we came prepared with our running shoes! Mike and I wanted to stay active even if we are on vacation so we run in the morning.

Sofitel Running Route Guide
Did you run today?

As a treat, we got to see this view from a lookout we passed by during running since drones are not allowed near Sofitel Moorea.

Sofitel Moorea view - The Hollapinos
Sofitel Moorea from jogging

Biking

Another way to stay active is to bike around Moorea. Mike and I prefer to use mountain bikes for more challenge.

A few kilometers biking from Sofitel Moorea, Mike asked me if I have tested if the gears of the bike were working. I replied that the brakes were okay.

https://youtu.be/qFmwm7u4t_k

He said he was asking about the gears and I was clueless! I know how to ride a bike on a flat surface but it helped me to pedal on steep roads after he taught me how to use the gears.

Biking Moorea
I told Mike to go first, he got soaked!

You may rent a scooter, e-bike, or ATV for a less challenging ride.

Click HERE to book a scooter in advance. Or click HERE to book an ATV in advance.

Biking Moorea - The Hollapinos
Biking to Belvedere Lookout

Swim with the stingrays and sharks

Mike and I joined a lagoon tour with Albert Tours. The tour includes snorkelling with the stingrays and sharks, lunch in an uninhabited island or motu, and a hotel pick-up and drop-off service. This was one of a kind experience for us!

https://youtu.be/It9w6ajgEJQ

The snorkeling spot is in 5 feet deep clear water. You are only allowed in this shallow area. 

The stingrays were so friendly and they will come near you. Sometimes when you dive in, there were right in front of your face.

Moorea lagoon tour
Getting ready to dive with the stingrays

Marine etiquette

The guides and the tourists, including us, were touching them. I saw the guides were feeding them so they will stay. We didn’t know better then!

Feeding stingray in Moorea - The Hollapinos
Feeding stingray in Moorea

When I learned freediving after our trip to Moorea, we were taught about marine etiquette. We were educated not to touch or feed marine animals.

Lagoon Tour Moorea - The Hollapinos
Lagoon Tour Moorea

Some thought that we should only avoid touching the poisonous ones but we didn’t know that our skin contains natural chemicals that are harmful to the marine animals. Feeding them will also alter their hunting skills and food chain cycle.

Swim with the stingrays
Swim with the stingrays

Not sure if the sharks are smarter not to be tricked by the food given by the tour guides or they just don’t feed them at all as sharks were not friendly. We would only spot them at random and they maintain a distance to humans.

Swim with the stingrays
Swim with the stingrays

When most people went back to the tour boat, that was the only time that we noticed there were several reef sharks.

The unfriendly ones
The unfriendly ones

The only downside of this encounter is that it was very crowded. We expected to be with other tourists as it was a joiners tour but it seemed like all tour boats go on the same spot at the same time every day.

https://youtu.be/6SKFx88MK7M

Island entertainment

After snorkelling, we went to a motu. It was windy when we arrived. I felt cold since we just got wet from snorkelling so I wrapped my pareo around my body to keep me warm.

Preparing the Polynesian ceviche presentation - The Hollapinos
Preparing the Polynesian ceviche presentation

We were served with refillable drinks while waiting for lunch to be served. They demonstrated how to make the French Polynesian ceviche before lunch.

Island dance performance - The Hollapinos
Island dance performance and the cute little boy!

We were served with sumptuous lunch of rice, ceviche, and grilled chicken. Mike and I can’t get enough of the ceviche that we went back to get more three times!

Moorea lagoon tour lunch - The Hollapinos
Me checking that Mike was not touching my food!
Lunch time during the lagoon tour - The Hollapinos
Lunch time during the lagoon tour

After lunch, there were performances of different ways to wear a pareo, Tahitian dance, and how to open a coconut. They got some people from the audience to participate in all performances.

Mike getting some coconut treat - The Hollapinos
Mike getting some coconut treat

Mike joined the opening of a coconut contest. He went against someone from Australia. The host made fun of this guy by mimicking a kangaroo! I thought that joke was only a thing in the Philippines!

The kangaroo joke to Australians - The Hollapinos
The kangaroo joke to Australians

After a few hours of stay in the motu, all guests went back to the tour boats to be taken back to our hotels. It rained on our way back but a rainbow gave our lagoon tour day a wrap!

Scraping the coconut meat - The Hollapinos
Mike helping to scrape the coconut meat

Guests staying in Hilton, Intercontinental, and Manava Resorts were dropped by the boat near their hotel. While guests staying in Sofitel Moorea and other accommodations were asked to unload the boat in Manava then we were dropped off by a service bus.

Rainbow Moorea
It was an awesome day

Swim with the whales in Moorea

From July to November,  Moorea Ocean Adventures offers a private tour to swim and observe humpback whales. This is a quality tour compared to the crowded lagoon and the perfect whale encounter in the wild.

Click HERE to book your Swim with humpback whales and ocean animals private tour.

Live a Polynesian life

There is no perfect way to enjoy a place but to live like a local. Mike and I were looking into this tour but unlike the usual live like a local to save money thing, this was expensive. The tour costs 19,900 XPF or $180 per person.

The My Polynesian Life tour will teach you how to paddle an outrigger canoe, catch a fish, and prepare it for your lunch. It is an intimate activity to spend with the locals.

Honeymoon in Moorea - The Hollapinos
Kiss before we dip

Explore the nightlife in Moorea

Most resorts in Moorea has a bar and a scheduled event that includes Tahitian dance shows in the evening. If you are staying in a resort, you can check their schedule every day and book your slot in advance.

You may also go to the Tiki Village and experience the great Polynesian night!

Sofitel Moorea - The Hollapinos
Laying on the white beach

Relax and unwind

You may get excited and want to tour around Moorea all the time that you may forget to pause, relax, and enjoy your vacation in Moorea. Lay on the white sand, breath, and appreciate the wonderful things that you see. A dip in the pool or a visit to the spa may also take all your worries away.

Slow travel in Moorea so you can have a relaxing and meaningful vacation.

Relaxing at the infinity pool - The Hollapinos
Relaxing at the infinity pool

Click HERE to check availability and book your Moorea tours in advance.

Best Places To Visit in Moorea

Belvedere Lookout

The heart shape of Moorea was carved by its twin bays with Mount Rotui towering in the middle of the bays. There’s no better way to appreciate this but by going to the Belvedere lookout.

Belvedere Moorea
It was overcast when we arrived

From Sofitel Moorea, we rode our mountain bikes going to the Belvedere lookout. At the supermarket after passing by Cook’s bay, we took a left turn to the other side of the road.

We noticed that from this turn, the road started to slightly elevate. We were in Moorea’s pineapple plantation. After passing two shallow streams and endless uneven pathways, we reached the beginning of the real challenge: the path going up the Belvedere lookout.

It was not easy but the view is worth the challenge. You can rent an e-bike, scooter, ATV or car for an easier ride going up the Belvedere lookout.

Click HERE to read our detailed guide to the Belvedere Lookout.

View of Mount Belvedere
View of Mount Rotui between the twin bays from the Belvedere lookout

Coconut Plantation

We passed through this on our way to the Belvedere lookout. It was no fun riding your mountain bike, especially that this was my first trail ride.

We saw a BMW car went this route but eventually backed out somewhere along the way.

Biking in the coconut plantation - The Hollapinos
Biking in the coconut plantation

Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay

If you are touring around Moorea, don’t forget to stop at the Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay.

Cook's Bay
Cook’s Bay

As per our guide during the lagoon tour, the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando had some scenes filmed in Cook’s bay.

Rotui Juice Factory

Do you just want to pass by the coconut plantation or have a good taste of its juice? Visit Rotui Juice Factory for a quick tour of tasting samples of the local pineapple juice, non-pineapple, and alcoholic beverages.

Stop by during the afternoon after touring and buy only what will fit in your suitcase.

You can book a tour with the places above with Get Your Guide.

Magic Mountain

Hike the Magic Mountain if you want a 360 view of Moorea. The hike is on a steep route, challenging and requires good physical condition but the view was breathtaking! Make sure to bring hydration, wear hiking shoes or sneakers.

You may also ride an ATV going up but you will do a little hike to the view deck. The Magic Mountain is private property so you have to pay XPF 200 at the bottom of the mountain.

Biking around Moorea - The Hollapinos
Biking around Moorea near Cook’s Bay

Moorea Lagoonarium

Swim with the sharks, stingrays and other marine animals in a wild and protected environment in Moorea.

Moorea Dolphin Center

An expensive quick swim with the dolphins in Moorea. I would rather swim with the dolphins in the wild. It’s free and the dolphins also are free.

Coral Gardener

A 2 and a half-hour guided tour to learn about corals then snorkel and plant corals.

Moorea Waterfalls

The Afareaitu Waterfalls has two waterfalls: one in the Putoa Stream and the other on the Vaioro Stream. Make sure to ask the locals if the waterfalls are not dry during your visit, wear the appropriate shoes that can be used for slippery trails and bathing suit for swimming.

Tiki Village Cultural Center

The best place to go to experience the Polynesian culture. Learn the Tahitian dance, paint a pareo, prepare the Tahitian dish, and a lot more!

You may also see a Polynesian show every Tuesday and Friday from 6PM to 11PM. Reservation is required.

Conclusion

If you have the time and the budget, you may spend more time to explore Tahiti or visit Bora Bora, Huahine, Tikehau, Taha’a, Raiatea, and Rangiroa.

But for Mike and I, Moorea is enough to enjoy French Polynesia and we were happy that we chose this island as our honeymoon destination instead of Tahiti or Bora Bora.

Sofitel Moorea Overwater Bungalow terrace - The Hollapinos
Isn’t it obvious that we like having fun?

Have you been to Moorea? We wanted to know your story in the comments.

Are you interested to go to Moorea? Ask questions by commenting.

What do you think about this post?  Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. We love reading comments!

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5 Comments

  1. Wow what an amazingly thorough travel guide! Thanks for sharing – I have intense travel envy now!

    Toni x

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The Author

Katie is a Software Quality Assurance Analyst by profession. She is also a dragon boat paddler, a Crossfit athlete, and a weightlifter by passion. She has travelled within Asia, Europe, and Micronesia before meeting Mike.

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