Known for its lush, rugged landscape, emerald lagoons and rich culture, Moorea is a French Polynesian paradise. With so much to do and see in Moorea, it can be difficult to plan an itinerary if you only have limited time. To help you plan your stay, here are some suggestions for how to spend three days on the island.
Day 1: Have an aquatic adventure
Temae Beach is a good place to start the day. Surrounded by jagged green mountainside, tall coconut trees and translucent blue waters, it's the perfect spot to relax on the soft gold sand with a good book or take to the waters for some snorkeling among the coral and colorful fish. Opunohu Bay is another great choice that offers a quieter, more secluded experience for snorkeling.
Moorea's Lagoonarium, located in an enclosed part of the lagoon near Motu Ahi, is also a top snorkeling spot where visitors can also nurse baby sharks.
If you're a diver, you can opt for exploring even further below the surface, with chances to see tropical fish, sting rays, dolphins, Lemon sharks, grey reef sharks, and black-tipped reef sharks.
Day 2: Art, history and culture
Start your day by heading to Papetoai to peruse the art galleries and artisanal shops. The commercial center is littered with mixed media spaces as well as places to purchase, handicrafts, black pearls, artwork, books, shells and more. When you get hungry, the nearby Le Bateau serves up traditional French and Tahitian cuisine in a floating restaurant.
Next explore the island's maraes, sacred stone structures where Māori people practiced their religion. There are numerous marae on Moorea. For example, close to Belvedere Lookout you'll find Titiroa Marae as well as the larger Afareiato Marae. Once the community's central hub, this is where everything from human sacrifices to cultural festivals took place.
End your day by heading to the Tiki Theatre Village, a cultural center on Moorea featuring a replicated traditional village and pearl farm, cultural demonstrations on weaving, tattooing and carving and traditional performances. In the evening you can purchase tickets for a live dance show, which features a mix of pyrotechnics and acrobatics. The experience also includes a Polynesian buffet and welcome punch. Best of all, it is free to have Tiki Theatre Village come to your hotel, pick you up and bring you to the show.
Day 3: Relaxation and landscape
End your trip by getting some last minute pictures of some of Moorea's most beautiful spots, as well as indulging with a traditional spa treatment. Two of the island's most photographed sites are Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay, which are separated in the middle by Mt Rotui. For the best view of the entire scene, drive up to Belvedere Lookout, which also gives aerial views of the lush Opunohu Valley and its many coconut groves.
After you get your shots, head to one of the island's many spas, like the Moorea Lagoon Spa at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort or the Hélène Spa at the InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea. Here, you can pamper yourself and get a dose of culture with a traditional Polynesian treatment or massage incorporating oils made with local ingredients.