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Top Things To Do In Mo’orea


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Reine Anderson



Mo’orea, also known as the “Magical Island,” is a stunning gem in the South Pacific. Located just a short ferry ride away from Tahiti, Mo’orea offers a paradise-like escape with its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and lush green mountains. This enchanting island is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those looking for a tranquil getaway.


Mo’orea is part of French Polynesia and is renowned for its stunning coral reefs, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The island’s rich marine life and vibrant coral gardens provide endless opportunities for exploration and underwater adventures.


But Mo’orea offers much more than just underwater wonders. The island’s diverse landscape, including majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls, offers ample opportunities for hiking and immersing yourself in nature. With its warm and welcoming locals, unique cultural experiences, and mouthwatering cuisine, Mo’orea promises an unforgettable vacation experience.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the pristine beaches, thrilling water sports, or cultural immersion, Mo’orea has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore the top things to do in Mo’orea, ensuring you make the most of your time in this breathtaking slice of paradise.


Explore the Coral Gardens

One of the must-do activities in Mo’orea is exploring the stunning coral gardens that surround the island. Mo’orea is home to some of the most vibrant and diverse coral reefs in the Pacific, making it a paradise for snorkelers and divers.


As you dive into the crystal-clear waters, you’ll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors as you swim alongside vibrant corals, exotic fish, and other marine creatures. Snorkeling or diving in the Coral Gardens offers a unique opportunity to witness the incredible biodiversity that inhabits this underwater wonderland.


There are several popular spots for snorkeling and diving in Mo’orea. One of the best locations is the Lagoonarium, a protected marine reserve teeming with marine life. Here, you can swim with stingrays, feed reef sharks, and admire the beauty of the coral gardens up close.


For those who prefer snorkeling from the shore, the Tipaniers Beach and Temae Beach offer easy access to pristine reefs. Simply grab your snorkel gear, wade into the water, and let the magic of the Coral Gardens unfold before your eyes.


If you’re new to snorkeling or diving, don’t worry! Mo’orea has several experienced guides and dive shops that can provide gear rental, lessons, and guided tours. They’ll ensure you have a safe and unforgettable experience exploring the Coral Gardens.


Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or a beginner, exploring the Coral Gardens is an absolute must during your visit to Mo’orea. It’s a chance to connect with the incredible marine life and be mesmerized by the beauty of the underwater world.


Take a Lagoon Tour

One of the best ways to experience the breathtaking beauty of Mo’orea is by taking a lagoon tour. A lagoon tour allows you to explore the island’s turquoise waters, discover hidden coves, and get a unique perspective of the stunning landscapes that surround you.


There are various types of lagoon tours available, ranging from leisurely boat rides to more adventurous experiences. You can choose to join a guided tour or even rent a small boat to explore at your own pace.


During the lagoon tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit iconic landmarks such as Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, which offer panoramic views of the lush mountains and crystal-clear lagoons. You may also come across playful dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life along the way.


One highlight of the lagoon tour is the chance to visit a motu, a small islet that dots the lagoon. These motus are idyllic slices of paradise with soft sandy beaches and swaying palm trees. Here, you can relax, sunbathe, and enjoy a picnic lunch with stunning views of the surrounding lagoon.


If you’re feeling adventurous, some lagoon tours also offer the opportunity to swim with sharks and stingrays. This thrilling experience allows you to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, under the guidance of experienced and knowledgeable guides.


Whether you choose a leisurely lagoon cruise or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, a lagoon tour in Mo’orea promises an unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the island, discover hidden gems, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Visit the Belvedere Lookout

If you’re seeking panoramic views of Mo’orea’s breathtaking landscapes, a visit to the Belvedere Lookout is a must. Perched high on a hill, the Belvedere Lookout offers stunning vistas of the island’s lush valleys, pristine beaches, and majestic mountains.


To reach the Belvedere Lookout, you can either hike or drive up the scenic roads that wind through the mountains. Along the way, you’ll be treated to ever-changing views of the island’s dramatic terrain.


Once you arrive at the Belvedere Lookout, prepare to be captivated by the stunning panoramic views that unfold before you. The lookout offers a bird’s-eye view of the iconic Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, with their turquoise waters contrasting against the vibrant green vegetation.


From the Belvedere Lookout, you can also admire the iconic Mount Tohivea, the highest peak in Mo’orea. The rugged beauty of this mountain, with its jagged peaks and lush vegetation, is a sight to behold.


Aside from the natural beauty, the Belvedere Lookout also offers a glimpse into the island’s history. You’ll find ancient stone platforms known as marae, which were once used for religious and cultural ceremonies by the Polynesian people. These marae serve as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of Mo’orea.


As you soak in the awe-inspiring views and the tranquility of the Belvedere Lookout, you’ll feel a deep sense of connection with the island and its natural wonders. It’s a place where you can pause, appreciate the beauty surrounding you, and take in the sheer magnificence of Mo’orea from a unique perspective.


Whether you’re an avid photographer or simply a nature lover, a visit to the Belvedere Lookout is an experience that will leave you spellbound. It’s a chance to witness the raw beauty of Mo’orea and create lifelong memories of this mesmerizing island.


Enjoy Water Sports and Activities

Mo’orea is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities that will satisfy adventure seekers of all levels. From thrilling water sports to leisurely recreational activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


One of the most popular water sports in Mo’orea is paddleboarding. Glide across the calm lagoons, taking in the breathtaking scenery as you navigate through the turquoise waters. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddleboarder, this activity allows you to explore the island at your own pace.


If you prefer a bit more speed and excitement, jet skiing is a thrilling option. Feel the wind in your hair as you zip through the crystal-clear waters, admiring the stunning coastline and feeling the rush of adrenaline.


For those who want to delve beneath the surface, scuba diving and snorkeling are must-try activities in Mo’orea. Dive in to explore the vibrant coral reefs and encounter an array of colorful marine life, from tropical fish to graceful manta rays. Even snorkeling close to the shore will reveal incredible underwater ecosystems that will leave you in awe.


Surfing is another popular water sport in Mo’orea, with several surfing spots offering perfect waves for all levels of surfers. Whether you’re a novice looking to take your first lesson or an experienced surfer seeking a challenge, the island’s surfing spots will not disappoint.


For a unique and memorable experience, consider swimming with dolphins in Mo’orea. These gentle creatures often inhabit the waters around the island, and there are opportunities to join eco-friendly tours that allow you to interact with them in their natural habitat.


If you prefer a more relaxed water activity, consider a leisurely canoe or kayak ride. Paddle along the calm lagoons, exploring the hidden corners of Mo’orea and observing the beauty of nature that surrounds you.


No matter what water sport or activity you choose, the sparkling waters of Mo’orea are sure to provide a thrilling and memorable experience. Dive, surf, paddle, or simply relax, and let the magic of the island’s waters envelop you in a world of adventure and tranquility.


Go on a Hike to Mount Tohivea

For those who love hiking and immersing themselves in nature, a hike to Mount Tohivea is a must-do activity in Mo’orea. Standing at 3,960 feet, Mount Tohivea is the highest peak on the island and offers breathtaking panoramic views that are worth the challenging trek.


The hike to Mount Tohivea is a moderately difficult trail, suitable for hikers with some experience. The path begins at the village of Ha’apiti and winds its way through lush rainforest, crossing streams and traversing rocky terrain.


As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of the surrounding valleys, lagoons, and jagged peaks. The diverse flora and fauna along the trail provide a truly immersive experience, with colorful birds and tropical flowers adding to the beauty of the journey.


Reaching the summit of Mount Tohivea is a triumphant moment, and the panoramic view from the top is awe-inspiring. Gaze out over the island’s majestic mountains, crystal-clear lagoons, and verdant valleys, and feel a sense of accomplishment as you take in the breathtaking scenery.


It’s important to note that this hike is best attempted with a knowledgeable guide or in a guided tour. They can provide insights into the flora and fauna you encounter along the way and ensure your safety on the trail.


Remember to come prepared with proper hiking gear, including sturdy shoes, plenty of water, and sunscreen. The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to check the forecast and bring a rain jacket, just in case.


The hike to Mount Tohivea is not just a physical challenge, but also a rewarding adventure that allows you to connect with the natural wonders of Mo’orea. It’s an opportunity to embrace the island’s untamed beauty, challenge yourself, and create unforgettable memories of conquering one of its iconic peaks.


Whether you choose to tackle the hike alone or with a guided group, the journey to Mount Tohivea will leave you in awe of Mo’orea’s natural splendor and remind you of the sheer magnificence of the island.


Discover the Tiki Village Cultural Center

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Mo’orea by visiting the Tiki Village Cultural Center. Located on the island’s northwest coast, this interactive cultural center offers a glimpse into the traditional Polynesian way of life.


At the Tiki Village Cultural Center, you’ll have the opportunity to experience firsthand the customs, traditions, and arts of the Polynesian people. The center features authentic thatched-roof huts, where you can witness demonstrations of ancient crafts such as weaving, carving, and tattooing.


Take part in interactive workshops to learn about traditional dance and music, including the famous Tahitian dance known as “ori.” You can even join in and try your hand at traditional Polynesian dance moves, guided by skilled instructors.


A highlight of the Tiki Village Cultural Center is the Polynesian feast known as the “Tahitian Night.” Indulge in a sumptuous buffet of local delicacies, including fresh seafood, tropical fruits, grilled meats, and traditional dishes like poisson cru (a raw fish salad marinated in coconut milk).


During the Tahitian Night, you’ll also be treated to a spectacular cultural performance showcasing traditional songs, dances, and fire knife performances. The vibrant costumes, rhythmic beats, and mesmerizing choreography will transport you to a bygone era.


As you explore the Tiki Village Cultural Center, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for the Polynesian culture and its enduring traditions. The center provides an authentic and immersive experience, allowing you to learn, participate, and interact with the local artisans and performers.


Visiting the Tiki Village Cultural Center is not only educational but also a fun and entertaining experience for the whole family. It’s a chance to deepen your understanding of Mo’orea’s cultural roots and create lasting memories of Polynesian hospitality and traditions.


Be sure to check the center’s schedule in advance, as they often have specific days and times for workshops, demonstrations, and performances. Plan your visit accordingly to make the most of this unique cultural experience.


Visit the Moorea Dolphin Center

An unforgettable experience awaits at the Moorea Dolphin Center, where you can interact with these intelligent and playful marine creatures in their natural environment. Located on the northeast coast of Mo’orea, this center is dedicated to the conservation and education of dolphins.


At the Moorea Dolphin Center, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in various programs that allow you to get up close and personal with the dolphins. These programs include swimming and interacting with the dolphins under the guidance of experienced trainers.


Learn about the fascinating behavior and intelligence of dolphins during informative presentations held at the center. Discover the conservation efforts undertaken to protect these incredible creatures and their natural habitat.


The center also offers unique educational experiences, allowing you to learn about the biology and ecology of dolphins and the importance of their conservation. This is a great opportunity for children and adults alike to gain a deeper understanding of marine life and our responsibility to protect it.


Interacting with the dolphins at the Moorea Dolphin Center is a truly magical experience. You’ll be able to witness their playful nature, the elegance of their movements, and the genuine connection they form with humans.


It’s important to note that the center upholds strict ethical standards and focuses on the well-being of the dolphins. The programs are designed to promote education and foster a deeper appreciation and respect for these incredible creatures.


Visiting the Moorea Dolphin Center is not only an enjoyable experience, but it also supports the center’s conservation efforts. By participating in their programs, you contribute to the ongoing research and protection of dolphins in Mo’orea and throughout the world.


If you’re passionate about marine life or simply want to have a unique and memorable experience, a visit to the Moorea Dolphin Center is a must-do activity in Mo’orea. It’s a chance to connect with these amazing creatures, learn about their importance in our ecosystem, and create lifelong memories of your interactions with them.


Relax on Mo’orea’s Beautiful Beaches

No visit to Mo’orea would be complete without spending some time unwinding on its beautiful beaches. With pristine white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees, Mo’orea’s beaches offer the perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.


One of the most popular beaches on the island is Temae Beach, located on the northern coast. This picturesque stretch of shoreline offers calm waters and breathtaking views of the nearby island of Tahiti. Whether you want to sunbathe, take a refreshing swim, or simply enjoy a serene beach walk, Temae Beach is the ideal spot.


If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, head to La Plage de Maui. Tucked away on the eastern coast, this hidden gem boasts stunning turquoise waters and a tranquil atmosphere. Relax on the soft sand, take a dip in the clear lagoon, or simply enjoy the peacefulness of this idyllic beach.


Beyond Temae Beach and La Plage de Maui, Mo’orea is home to numerous other stunning beaches waiting to be discovered. From public beaches to private resorts, you’ll find a stretch of sand to suit your preferences. Some beaches offer amenities such as beachside loungers, beach bars, and water sports rentals, while others provide a more untouched and secluded experience.


Take the opportunity to explore the hidden coves and beaches that dot the island’s coastline. Set out on a beach-hopping adventure, discovering your own slice of paradise along the way. From Opunohu Bay to Cook’s Bay, each beach has its own unique charm and beauty.


As you relax on Mo’orea’s beautiful beaches, let the warm sun envelop you, listen to the soothing sound of the waves, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this tropical paradise. Whether you’re seeking solitude or fun-filled beach activities, Mo’orea’s beaches offer an escape from the everyday and a chance to recharge your mind, body, and spirit.


So, grab your beach towel, slather on the sunscreen, and prepare to experience pure bliss on Mo’orea’s exquisite beaches. Whether you spend an hour or a whole day, time spent in the embrace of these stunning shores will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Take a Day Trip to Tahiti

While Mo’orea alone offers a wealth of natural beauty and exciting activities, it is well worth taking a day trip to the neighboring island of Tahiti. Just a short ferry ride away, Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia and offers a different atmosphere and experiences for visitors to enjoy.


Once you arrive in Tahiti, you can explore the vibrant capital city of Papeete. Stroll through the bustling markets, known as Les Roulottes, where you can indulge in delicious street food and shop for traditional crafts and souvenirs. Visit the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, stroll along the waterfront promenade, and immerse yourself in the lively Polynesian culture that permeates the city.


For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Tahiti’s valleys and waterfalls is a must. Take a guided tour or rent a car to explore the lush interior, where you’ll discover breathtaking natural wonders such as the Fautaua Waterfall or the Papenoo Valley. Marvel at the tropical vegetation, listen to the sounds of nature, and let the serenity of Tahiti’s landscapes envelop you.


Another highlight of a day trip to Tahiti is its black-sand beaches. Unlike the white-sand beaches of Mo’orea, Tahiti’s volcanic origins have gifted it with distinctively beautiful black sands. Spend some time relaxing on the shores, taking in the dramatic contrast between the dark sand and the vivid turquoise waters.


Indulge in the vibrant culinary scene of Tahiti by sampling the local cuisine. Head to the food trucks, known as “roulottes,” to try delicious Tahitian dishes such as poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk), po’e (a traditional dessert made from banana and taro), and a variety of fresh seafood. The flavors of Tahiti are sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.


After a day of exploration and discovery, catch the ferry back to Mo’orea, bringing with you memories and experiences from both islands. The day trip to Tahiti offers a perfect balance, allowing you to immerse yourself in the cultural vibrancy of the main island while still returning to the tranquil beauty of Mo’orea in the evening.


So, if you have the opportunity, don’t miss the chance to take a day trip to Tahiti during your visit to Mo’orea. It’s a chance to experience the best of both worlds and further enrich your Polynesian adventure.


Indulge in Local Cuisine

No trip to Mo’orea would be complete without savoring the flavors of its delicious and unique local cuisine. From traditional Polynesian dishes to fusion creations, the culinary scene on the island offers a tantalizing array of options that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.


Start your culinary journey by trying the iconic dish of French Polynesia, poisson cru. This refreshing dish features raw fish, typically tuna or mahi-mahi, marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, then mixed with fresh vegetables. The combination of vibrant flavors and delicate textures makes it a true delight for the senses.


Seafood lovers will be in paradise on Mo’orea, where you can indulge in a variety of fresh catches from the surrounding waters. From grilled mahi-mahi and buttery lobster to succulent grilled prawns, the seafood options are abundant and expertly prepared at the island’s many restaurants and food stalls.


Don’t miss the chance to sample dishes made with other local ingredients such as taro, breadfruit, and plantains. Taro, in particular, is a staple in Polynesian cuisine, and you can try it prepared in various forms, including as a side dish or in traditional desserts like poi or po’e.


Mo’orea is also known for its delectable tropical fruits. Treat yourself to a refreshing taste of paradise with juicy pineapple, succulent papaya, and exotic fruits like passion fruit and guava. These flavorsome fruits can be enjoyed fresh, as part of a fruit salad, or even incorporated into delicious smoothies and refreshing cocktails.


To truly immerse yourself in the local gastronomy, visit the food trucks and small eateries known as “roulottes” that line the streets of Mo’orea. These mobile restaurants offer a wide variety of dishes, from grilled meats and seafood to authentic Polynesian delicacies. Enjoy the casual atmosphere and live music while savoring the mouthwatering creations of these local culinary gems.


Don’t forget to try the traditional Tahitian dessert called ‘firi firi,’ which are sweet doughnuts made from a dough of coconut milk and flour, sometimes served with a side of tropical fruit jam.


Whether you’re dining in a fine restaurant overlooking the lagoon or enjoying a plate of freshly grilled fish from a food truck, indulging in the local cuisine on Mo’orea is a true culinary adventure. Explore the flavors, savor the unique combinations, and let your taste buds celebrate the richness of Polynesian culinary traditions.


So, come with an open mind and an empty stomach, ready to embark on a gastronomic journey that will leave you with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for the delectable cuisine of Mo’orea.