May 2023

A budget travel guide to Moorea, French Polynesia


Our last stop on our 2 week adventure to French Polynesia this time was the island of Moorea. During our last visit to French Polynesia we were supposed to visit Moorea, but ended up cancelling it since the hotel we were going to stay at there unfortunately closed down. This time we really wanted to make it to Moorea cos we had heard so much about how incredible it was.

About Moorea and Getting there :

French Polynesia is an expensive destination and island hopping via flights can get pricey. So if you want to experience the beauty of the islands without breaking the bank, consider doing Tahiti and Moorea! There is so much to do on both islands, especially Moorea.

Moorea is a geographical marvel with its 8 voluminous mountain peaks that rise from its translucent lagoon, creating a distinctive and rugged silhouette visible from the western coast of Tahiti. It has the most epic Jurassic Park like vibes everywhere!

The north shore has two symmetrical bays: Cook’s (Paopao) Bay and Opunohu Bay. The island is blessed with dreamy lagoons, volcanic mountains, lush rainforests and more ; making it one of the most popular spots for a vacation or honeymoon in Tahiti!

To get to Moorea, you can either fly or take a ferry. Taking a ferry is so much more convenient and cheaper! There are 2 main companies that have ferry services between Tahiti and Moorea – Aremiti ferries and Terevau ferries. Prices are roughly just around $11 per person per way and you can buy tickets the the ferry terminal directly. There are ferries that run pretty much every hour and it takes roughly 25-45 minutes one way, depending on whether you take the fast ferry or the slower one. Some of the ferries also allow you to bring cars, so if you have a rented car from Tahiti consider booking this one. I highly recommend renting a car in Moorea ( or in Tahiti and bringing it along via the ferry) as you would need one to explore around the island.


Where to stay in Moorea ?

There are plenty of places in Moorea where you can stay for even under $100 a night. I would recommend staying near in and around Cook’s Bay or Opunohu bay since this seemed to be the most lively part of the island. Here are few options in the budget category :

1 ) Tipaniers Iti

We stayed at the charming little Tipaniers Iti right on Opunohu Bay. There are a few beach bungalows here and you can use all the facilities at Les Tipaniers hotel just about a 5 minute drive away.

2 ) Les Tipaniers Hotel

Arguably the BEST beach in all of Moorea is Tipaniers beach and this hotel is located right on it! This was initially our first choice, but they were sold out for our dates so I would recommend booking in advance. There are many beach bungalows and villas to choose from here, 2 restaurants and a dive/kayak rental shop on the beach too.

3) Moorea Beach Lodge

Super cute boutique style lodge on the west coast of the island.

Other budget options – check here.

If you are looking for the luxury overwater bungalow experience in Moorea – checkout Sofitel Moorea (below) or Hilton Moorea. 

Things to do in Moorea :

Whether you choose adventure, relaxation or a bit of both as your main agenda, Moorea has something for everyone! It is a perfect destination for couples, friends and families too. Here is a rough guide on things to do in Moorea :

1 ) Beach hopping in Moorea :

Moorea has tons of beautiful beaches to visit, here are a few of my faves :

  • Les Tipaniers beach ( my favorite!)

Picture perfect vistas at Tipaniers beach

Greens and blues for days at Ta’ahiamanu Public beach

2) Drive around the island :

There is just one main road that circles around the entire island. It is such a pleasure to drive around the island – you will be treated to  picturesque views for days at every corner.

3) Belvedere lookout :

The iconic view of Moorea – with Belvedere mountain, Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay.

4) Lagoon Tour :

Do not miss out on your chance to swim with reef sharks and stingrays in the shallow lagoon! We did this tour with Moorea Miti Tours and it was so much fun. If you prefer to do it outside a tour without crowds you can also choose to rent a kayak from Les Tipaniers beach and kayak to the “shark sandbar” spot which is just a stones throw away from the beach.

5) Other things to do :

Since we had only 2 nights in Moorea we had limited time but you can easily spend a week here and have so much to do. Here are other popular things to do on the island :

Best eats in Moorea :

Here are some of our favorite eats in Moorea :

delicious poke bowls and more!

We stopped here multiple times for their yummy acai bowls and smoothies.

  • La Plage restaurant at Les Tipaniers

The prettiest restaurant in Moorea!

A must visit in Moorea for pizzas tdf!

Thanks for stopping by!





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