Difference between revisions of "Moorea"
Revision as of 04:48, 8 July 2008
Moorea is an island in the Society Islands archipelago.
Moorea doesn't really have any "cities" although there are several towns and villages. When entering a village you will see an official road sign stating the name of the village you are entering. When exiting the village, you will see the same sign with village name. But the village name will have an "X" over it.
If you are visiting French Polynesia on a budget, Moorea is the place to be. Moorea is like Tahiti but cheaper and less touristy. It's mostly rural and farming is big. There are chickens everywhere, the roosters crowing at 6am can get old after a few days.
Mosquitoes can be a problem away from the coast. Bear that in mind when selecting a place to stay.
There are only a few banks on Moorea located in only a few of the more populated villages. All banks are closed on Sundays. You can make currency exchanges at the major hotels. But at a lower rate. Plan accordingly.
Everybody speaks Tahitian and French. Anybody working in tourist services will speak enough English to get by, although it's not well spoken by the general public.
Take the high-speed ferry from Papeete. It's only a couple of bucks more than the slow one, takes half the time, and it's much more sea-worthy. The channel between the islands can be choppy.
Air Moorea - Ten minute flight in a small prop driven plane. Flights run back and forth between Papeete every half hour. The Air Moorea terminal (Terminal 2) in Papeete is located away from the main air terminal. Note the direction of vehicle traffic as it passes though the main air terminal. Walk in the opposite direction of the vehicle traffic until you reach the far end of the main air terminal. The Air Moorea terminal is located beyond this point.
The roads are surprisingly good (thanks France). The main roads are all paved and quite wide. You can rent a moped for a day for about $50 USD and drive it around the island in a few hours without fear of death. If you don't know how to ride one, take it slow or you WILL get hurt. Or rent a car (expensive), or take a taxi (expensive), or Le Truck (cheap). There is also a shuttle bus service to and from the ferry terminal that goes around the whole island periodically. Hitching works with the usual caveats and risks.
UC Berkley serves a high-resolution topographic map of Moorea
The humidity climate can cause a decrease in apatite. Thus locals tend to have many small meals or snacks though out the day.
Every hotel has a bar and there are lots of little bars and restaurants around. But drinking in bars in French Polynesia is damn expensive. Your best bet is to buy some Hinano bombers at the store and drink on the beach.
You will be charged an additional 60XPF deposit fee when purchasing Hinano bottles larger than 12oz. You can redeem your deposit at any location that sells Hinano. The larger bottles are sent back to the Hinano brewery for reuse/refill.
Tabu is another local beer. Only available in 12oz bottles. Slight more expensive compared to a 12oz bottle of Hinano. Tabu is better tempered to the Tahitian heat. Unlike Hinano, Tabu is very drinkable at all temperatures. Cold, slightly chilled, room temperature.
There are only two really cheap places on Moorea and they are almost next door on the northwest corner of the island. Well there are a couple other cheap places that aren't on the beach and where you might get carried away by the mosquitoes.
There are some really fancy hotels and resorts here although no super-resorts like on Tahiti. Club-med used to have an outfit here but it's abandoned now.
The Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa, . This is the cheapest of the high end resorts. Room types range from motel rooms to overwater bungalows. The views, along with the beach, are not spectacularly and thus the most you should splurge on is the garden bungalow. This is an 80+ room resort and crowds will frequent the common areas. Mainly the pool, bar, and restaurant areas. The resort guest list is a mix of families and couples only. Snorkeling at the resort's beach is not very good. The big buffet dinners are Wednesday and Saturday nights. Wednesday (appx $63 + service fees per person) with song and dance by a local dance troupe. The Saturday buffet ($76 + service fees per person) concludes with a fire dance. Better non-entertainment dining options are available within walking distance of the resort for half the price. Within walking distance of the resort is a small village. Exit the resort to the main road, turn right, and proceed for five minutes. You will arrive at a market, bank, snack bar, and a pizza restaurant. Exit the resort to the main road, this time turn left, and proceed for ten minutes, and you will arrive at another market with better prices and greater selection. There's also a neighboring Japanese and seafood restaurants as well. $300 to $600 USD per night.
Moorea has almost no violent crime. Petty theft can be an issue. Check your valuables at the desk or keep them on you. At least keep them stashed out of sight. Odd things may be taken, like the beat up old sneakers you left outside to dry the night before you are leaving, forcing you to hitch a ride to the bus stop because you have no other footwear to make the mile walk up the road and the pavement is a million degrees and there's broken glass in the margin, and then buy $20 USD flip flops to wear on the plane.
There are a couple of islets around Moorea you can visit.