Moorea: French Polynesia’s Most Underrated Island

When people think about French Polynesia, they envision expensive over water bungalows in Bora Bora. Bora Bora is the place dreams are made of, thought to be the most beautiful island in the world, the most romantic place to exist. Bora Bora is on almost everyone’s bucket list.

But what if I told you there’s an island in French Polynesia that’s way better than Bora Bora? 

Meet Moorea.

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Moorea is the most underrated place I’ve ever been. We knew very little about it before visiting. In fact, the only reason we went was because it was close 50 minute ferry ride from the island of Tahiti where the international airport is located and we thought it would be a good idea to take it easy and not have to travel for a few days.

Fun fact: The flight from Tahiti to Moorea is approximately 10 mins flying time, making it one of the shortest commercial flights in the world. 

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If you had told me I would be in Bora Bora wishing I was back in Moorea, I would have laughed at you, but that’s exactly what happened. Moorea is a quiet, laid back island with a lot of natural beauty and loads to discover. Moorea has no stop lights and you can drive around the whole island in under 3 hours. We rented a dune buggy for the three days. We spent all our waking hours, from dawn to dusk, exploring this beautiful island. See for yourself why we think Moorea is the most beautiful island in the world.

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The views in Moorea are fantastic

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Moorea is beautiful even on rainy days. The low clouds over the mountains made us feel like we were in Jurassic Park.

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The benches in Moorea have awesome views

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So do the restaurants

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Think you have to go to Bora Bora to get the overwater bungalow experience? Think again! Moorea has several resorts with overwater bungalows. This is the Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach, which overlooks the island of Tahiti.

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The Moorean countryside is awe inspiring

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Have I mentioned the views are amazing in Moorea?

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Just driving through town is a photo worthy experience

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Each time the road bends, your heart will race with anticipation of what’s around the corner. It seems like Moorea gets more and more beautiful every mile.

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If you get thirsty, you can stop at a roadside fruit stand and get a fresh coconut to drink.

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Like beaches? Moorea has tons of them! Temae Beach, one of Moorea’s public beaches, boasts a wide, broad expanse of snow white powdery sand with coral reefs and swaying palm trees.

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Some beaches in Moorea, like Opunohu Beach, are much more wild and natural. This beach is a cove in Opunohu Bay and is probably the most scenic of all of the beaches. It’s surrounded by huge, craggly mountains and hundreds of palm trees. The water is warm and calm-just watch out for fire coral. It hurts.

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While not technically a public beach, Painapo Beach was one of our favorite beaches we’ve ever visited. You can’t miss it driving by-there’s a big Polynesian statue holding a pineapple. The pineapple drinks are supposed to be divine, but the restaurant was closed every time we came, so we just went swimming instead. You will feel like this beach was made just for you, and all you see in front of you is open ocean. The water is so clear you don’t even need a mask to see the coral and fish.

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No matter where you go, whether you’re at the beach, in town, or walking through neighborhoods, colors are everywhere you look. Moorea is lush and green, with pops of blue from the water and purples and pinks from the flowers that line every fence and road.

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There’s a house that has an infinity pool in the living room and you can stay there! The Villa Bella Vista might be the most epic place I’ve ever stayed.

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The sunrises are worth getting up early to see.

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And you will not want to miss the sunset.

If you’re planning a trip to French Polynesia, don’t just head straight to Bora Bora. Spend a few days in Moorea and see for yourself why I think this is the most underrated island in French Polynesia.