Moorea, Tahiti

It is rumoured that James Michener based his mythical, idealized island, Bali Hai on Moorea. And it is easy to see why. Many people have described Moorea as the most beautiful place on earth. Here, you'll find the real South Seas' experience - a casual, barefoot existence amidst white sand beaches and multi-hued lagoons surrounded by jagged mountains and volcanic spires that reach into the clouds, while below, valleys are blanketed with the colors that one only finds when tropical climates and rich, volcanic soils meet. Walk barefoot on a clean, quiet beach. Bask in the warm caress of the sun. Swim in crystalline lagoons. Watch a sunset that dips the world in bronze. Wrap your body in a colorful pareo. Put a fragrant blossom behind your ear. Learn to dance the tamure. Sleep in a palm-thatched hut. And waken to the wonder of dawn in the tropics.

Filled with Polynesian history and lore, Moorea is one of the most fascinating and completely relaxing places you could dream of vacationing. On a hilltop lookout high up in the interior mountains, between shark toothed Mount Rotui and towering Mount Tohivea, there is a view once reserved only for the gods... On one side lies exquisite Cook's Bay, and the other a deep and equally entrancing Opunohu Bay. Their waiting arms reach up to embrace you. Which way do you go? There is only one way to make the choice... come to Moorea and experience the magic!

Scenic Highlights:

Papetoai Temple: Located in the village of Papetoai on Moorea (at Pk 21), the Papetoai temple (church) is one of the more interesting among the dozens of churches found throughout the islands of French Polynesia. Originally built by missionaries between 1822 and 1827, (and rebuilt since then), this unique octagonally shaped church is the oldest European building in the South Pacific. Deliberately built on top of an old marae, (can you guess why?), today there still stands one large spike shaped stone on the property left as a reminder of its Polynesian past.

The Ancient Maraes: (pronounced MAH - RISE) of Moorea are symbols to many of the history of the Polynesian islands themselves. Fascinating and well studied sources of archaeological interest, these Maraes are amazing to experience even if you're not a big history buff. Moorea has quite a few of them in good or restored condition and they are not hard to find if you know their general locations. (Some of the largest and most impressive are right off the side road that goes to the Belvedere lookout.) You'll have to keep an eye peeled for the signs, but they are well worth stopping, wandering about, photographing, and wondering of what used to be...

FARE VANILLA: An interesting and particularly fragrant place to visit, this is the home of the "Tahitian Gold" vanilla product line... See how quality Tahitian vanilla is grown and processed and converted into many lovely vanilla products for you to purchase.

Activities:

- Enjoy snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of Moorea
- Swim and play with dolphins
- Explore an amazing underwater world, diving is readily available in Moorea
- Experience a day on the water, go sailing for the day
- Enjoy a traditional Tahitian show with Tahitian food and dance
- Visit the pearl farms of Moorea
- Visit the ancient Maraes on and hear the heritage of the Island.
- Stay dry while you view the marine life – on a glass bottom boat tour
- Find out why Moorea is often referred to as the “Pineapple island” and visit the pineapple and juice distillery
- For the keen fisherman fishing comes in all different forms in Moorea
- Water sports are always on hand; surfing, windsurfing, jetskiing, jetboating, waterskiing, swimming, kitesurfing.
- Relaxing is always an option in Tahiti, so sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the sun!