Several days further down the road, an increase of 15 degrees Celsius compared to New Zealand, after an extra 50 shades of brown on our skin, but also after >100 mosquito bites, we can say MOOREA C’EST LE TOP!
Moorea what? Where?
In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, kinda cool if you see it on the map, isn’t it?
The reasons why it was top are fairly simple:
1) J’espère que la pluie s’arrêtera pour vous!
That was the first thing our host at Moorea mailed when we made the booking. Visiting in rainy season made us a bit reluctant to stay too many days, and since we want to arrive in Patagonia before April, we kept our visit to French Polynesia very short to only 4 days. So her notice about the weather didn’t promise much. Neither did the umbrellas we got to disembark the plane. Apparently it had been raining non-stop for over 20 days!
But oh were we lucky! The next day the sky turned blue and the rain disappeared.
It was tropical hot, but with the refreshment in the ocean and fresh fruit juices at the coast, we could perfectly bare it. Even the tropical shower we got on the 3rd day was much appreciated.
2) On fait le stop!
We went to Moorea: A small island next to its bigger sister Tahiti. It is much less crowded and especially in low season we felt quite local ;-).
Moorea has the shape of a W: Round with two large bays at the top. It has one street that goes around the entire island and which takes 45min. There are only 5 busses a day – even less or none in the weekend – so we used our thumb a lot to get from one place to the other. A very interesting experience which learned us that Moorea people are extremely welcoming and friendly. We got picked up so easily. Probably because I (Benjamin) was wearing my swimming shorts. A bit weird though that mostly men stopped.
Anyway, we always had a nice conversation and left the car with at least a good feeling & some tips and sometimes with contact details or a handful of bananas.
What a great vibe here!
This ‘Pacific easy going vibe’ is especially visible when all locals gather at the beaches in the weekend enjoying some rum and music.
3) Ah ben oui c’est le paradis!
It was paradise! White sand beaches, palm trees everywhere and cristal clear turquoise water. And that was only the description above water level! Underwater you can find beautiful coral reefs with thousands fishes that even make Nemo look ordinary. Blue, yellow, orange, white, striped, dotted, long nose, short nose. … All sorts. And the cherry on the cake was when we went to a place with dozens of black tip reef sharks and stingrays swimming around us. Very exciting moment!
Needless to say we went snorkelling every day in our real life aquarium.
Did you know?
Tahiti has one white sand beach and multiple black sand beaches. At Moorea it’s the other way around: One black sand beach and all the others white. No wounder we picked Moorea!
4) La lune de miel ça fait du bon, même si le repas est fait maison!
There are 2 public beaches, but the most beautiful beaches are located in front of the famous 5-star hotels. These paradise resorts with their over water bungalows (OWBs for the connoisseurs) are home to the rich American or Chinese but also to the occasional young honeymooner. For prices over 800 dollar a night I surely hope they had a lot of mooning …
Anyway, the good thing is that the facilities and beach of these hotels are accessible to everybody so we have spent time at the Hilton, the Sofitel, and our favourite, Les Tipaniers beach. We especially liked the latter because of its turquoise water, some islands a few meters from the shore, incredible corals with lots of fishes and about 30m from the shore a place with rays and sharks to snorkel with. Truly our paradise on earth during our stay at Moorea.
Of course, we kept the 800 dollar in our pocket and booked our stay through AirBnb at the home of Marie and her 10-year old son Vaea. A very nice place with a view on the Opunohu bay from our room. On the plus side this way we indulged more in the local community. The home-feeling that we sometimes mention (@Desiree and Sebastien in Singapore, @Lieven and Griet in Phnom Penh, @Tachnee in New Zealand…) we experienced again here: ate dinner together, had a beer with her friends, we could borrow her car and even celebrated Vaea’s 10th anniversary together. With fresh pineapple juice and yummy raspberry and passionfruit cake!
A place well worth to recommend!
We were here too short. A must (re-)visit one day.
WE WANT MO(O)RE(A)!
Note: We were here off season, and have no idea about what it’s like during high season. But seeing the infrastructure and facilities of the island we don’t believe it would be overcrowded.