June 12, 2008 | Comments 0

Moorea - a Sleepy Isle Amidst the Pacific

The sleepy island of Moorea is typical of a South Pacific destination. It’s like the island itself slumbered until you came along. Once a cruise ship docks, however, you’ll get a taste of the island’s real lure & the opportunity to escape from the monotonous routine of the city.

Craggy peaks surmount the island’s horizon, giving the impression that it is relatively unspoiled, and it practically remains that way too, as even the power lines are placed beneath the ground to preserve its enchanting landscape. One thing which you surely won’t miss is the exquisite green lagoon which surrounds the island itself. It’s as if it mirrors the peaks which are draped in lush foliage, lending credibility to Moorea’s reputation for being the most popular port in the French Polynesia, for cruisers and travelers alike. Nearby Bora Bora may boast of idyllic, upscale pleasures, but Tahitians favor Moorea because of its slower pace of life. Besides, it’s easier to access, with only a thirty-minute ferry ride from the island of Papeete. You won’t have a problem with inner-city traffic here, with only twelve thousand local residents.

Though there are fewer opportunities to engage in thrills (compared to established destinations like the Caribbean), its offerings are that much more exhilarating since you won’t have to elbow your way to the front of the line just to get a good experience. A motorboat excursion to an isolated island (motu) is available early in the morning, this being followed by a distinctly French barbeque of fresh juices and salads, sausages, fishes, and chicken; cap it off with the opportunity to swim side-by-side with friendly stingrays (by the way, there are no crowds to get ahead of with this experience, unlike the congested Stingray City excursion offered in the Caribbean).

There’s also an authentic Hawaiian community in Tiki Theater Village, a perfect opportunity to don a lei and get jiggy with Polynesian dances. The locals are actually craftsmen who live and work in the island itself, making a living through trades like wood carving, garland making, and pareo dyeing. A model pearl farm is also located nearby. If you want an inland perspective of the island’s scale, Belvedere Lookout provides a stunning vista of Cook’s Bay (the island’s port), the bay of Opunohu, and Mount Rotui. There’s a reason why all the onshore excursions include this as a pit stop, so check this one out; set out early in the day though for a clearer view.

Undoubtedly, Moorea provides exceptional views from above, with a bird’s eye view. Mahana Parasail offers up to fifteen minutes of aerial views of the island’s rough summits and surrounding lagoon. Or you can skirt the island’s circumference with a bicycle ride. The trip usually takes about six hours, with most of the trails lined out in paved roads. The Iaora Tahiti Ecotours also offers an excursion experiences deep within the island, including a hiking trip to Fautaua Falls. Moorea offers a different thrill for the tired wanderer & an up-close experience with nature, far from the troubles of city life.

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