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Moorea - The Sister Isle

Moorea Pearl Beach Resort
Les Tipaniers
Fare Vaimoana

Only 11 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Tahiti, words cannot describe the rugged and dramatic beauty of Moorea. Shaped like the inverted triangle, the top edge is deeply cut by two bays, Cooks Bay to the east and Opunohu Bay to the west, the interior boasts lush rainforest and high jagged peaks, some so sheer that no vegetation can cling to them! At the lookout point at Belvedere you are essentially standing on the rim of a collapsed caldera, with 4000ft Mt Tohiea behind you, the huge saucer shaped crater in front of you, and Mt Rotui, the shark's fin peak between the two bay as the northern rim of the long extinct volcano. The forces that blew the rest of the crater away must have been considerable!

Moorea is reputed to be the inspiration for James Mitchener's mythical island of Bali Hai, and one can see why! The verdant interior contrasts with the turquoise lagoon enclosed by a fringing reef that hugs the shoreline all the way round the island, and the azure blue of the deep ocean. The stunning peaks of the interior give the island a primeval quality that is breathtaking. The coastline is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the deep bays on the north allow even large cruise ships to enter through one of the 12 passes into Moorea's lagoon.

A narrow coastal strip has allowed for the development of a bustling tourist industry, marked by a choice of luxury resorts, private hotels and family pensions. The majority of the development is on the north and northwest side of the island. There are 10-minute flights from Tahiti to Moorea every hour, and there is also a choice of ferry services that take from 25 to 60 minutes to make the crossing from Papeete.

Moorea is an excellent place to see humpback whales in the Tahitian winter months from July to October. They can often be observed (thar she!) blowing off the edge of the reef, or better still, breaching. If you happen to be in the right place at the right time - ie on a boat near a whale! - there is even the chance you can get in the water and snorkel with them.

We have chosen a range of hotels in Moorea to suit most budgets. All are built on the main island, and therefore provide easy access to a whole host of non-diving activities, such as hiking, horse riding and cultural shows.


The Moorea Pearl Beach Resort opened in June 2002; formerly the Bali Hai, it has undergone extensive remodelling to bring it up to the standard of the other Pearl Beach Resorts in French Polynesia. Built on a 21 acre site o the north east side of the island, the resort boasts a wide sand beach and a pretty fringing reef, above which the overwater bungalows are constructed. The premium overwater bungalows have decks overlook the gentle drop-off between the fringing reef and the lagoon.

7 garden rooms, 7 garden suites, 10 garden bungalows, 18 deluxe garden bungalows with private pool, 3 beach bungalows, 6 deluxe beach bungalows, 9 overwater and 19 deluxe bungalows complete the 95 rooms of various categories available at the resort. All feature ceiling fan or air conditioning, sundeck, coffee/tea making facilities, mini bar, hair dryer, safety box, television and IDD telephone. The overwater bungalows are also equipped with glass viewing windows for you to observe the fishes on the reef below.

From the hotel reception you descend a wide stairway to the beachfront. Here a large "infinity pool" is the focal point of the open air restaurant, bar and activities hut. The garden rooms are carefully positioned amongst the palms and flowerbeds and the back of the resort, while the beach bungalows are set in two clusters at either end of the beach. The overwater bungalows are accessed via two walkways either side of the pool.

The resort has its own dive operation, Moorea Blue Diving, and with their fast dive boat can be at all the popular dive sites in Moorea in 5 minutes. A range of dive courses is also available for beginners or those wishing to advance their dive career.

For non-divers there are tennis courts on site, and snorkelling equipment, kayaks and outrigger canoes are available for your free use on the beach.

The restaurant is open all day, serving a buffet breakfast, light snacks for lunch and a la carte and set menu for dinner. Room service is also available for those who wish to eat in total privacy.


Les Tipaniers in located on the northwest tip of Moorea, near the village of Tiahura. This hotel as a wonderfully relaxed feeling - the majority of its clientele are young and adventurous! The main reception is set behind their famous Italian restaurant, a favourite eating place for tourists and locals. The 22 rooms are set in neat rows amongst gardens filled with the aroma of frangipani. At the water's edge, next to the fabulous palm fringed beach, is the bar and beachfront restaurant, which offers stunning views of the lagoon and a romantic sunset. 3 motu are located within easy outrigger paddle from the resort, where you csan go with a picnic and enjoy a day away from it all.

The rooms are split into 4 categories, superior, garden, beach and vanilla bungalows. All have a kitchenette except the superior grades, so those who fancy a bit of self-catering can do so, in the knowledge that a decent meal awaits at either restaurant if the notion wears off! Each room has en suite shower room, ceiling fan and private balcony. The garden and beach bungalows can accommodate up to four people and the vanilla bungalows six, so are ideal for families. The beach restaurant is an ideal place to relax and enjoy a light lunch, a drink and admire the view of the lagoon. The main restaurant offers a range of local Polynesian cuisine, especially seafood, home-made pasta and Italian ice cream.

The hotel's own dive operation, Scubapiti, is located at the other end of the beach, and offers daily trips to Moorea's popular dive sites, all of which are about 5-10 minutes away by boat.

Les Tipaniers is a great location for those on a more limited budget, but wanting some of the creature comforts of home! The resort has a super atmosphere and like Fare Vai Moana is ideally situated for those looking to explore nearby restaurants and attractions.


Facing the setting sun on a stretch of pure white sandy beach, Fare Vaimoana is a family run hotel with just 13 bungalows - 7 nestling amongst well tended gardens, 3 with ocean view and 3 on the beach itself. Each is built in traditional Polynesian style, with thatched roof and terrace, while within the rooms are cooled by ceiling fans, and have fridge and en suite bathroom with shower and separate loo. Each room has a double bed and, unusually, a bed within the loft area!

The bar and restaurant overlook the beach and offer a range of local and French cuisine. Dinner is a truly romantic affair at Fare Vai Moana, as you enjoy the ever-changing colours of the sunset over the lagoon! A TV room with VCR is also located near reception for those who want that sort of thing!

The beach is superb for swimming and snorkelling, and outrigger canoes and snorkelling gear can be borrowed at the hotel for those wishing to explore a little further. Diving is not available direct from the hotel, but we can arrange for either Moorea Blue Diving or Scubapiti or to pick up from the hotel.

Fare Via Moana is a lovely hotel in a super setting, but without the frills and amenities of larger establishments. It is ideally situated for those looking to explore nearby restaurants and attractions.





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