Ever watch surfing or underwater documentaries? If you have, chances are, one of the locations filmed was in French Polynesia. It's home to arguably some of the most clear, blue and beautiful water in the entire world - not to mention that the water is as warm as your bath. Another unique quality of the many islands in French Polynesia is that they are protected by an outer reef that extends far beyond each island. This means you can snorkel in calmer, clearer waters. The island of Moorea is a great example of this.
Your airport of arrival is located on the island of Tahiti, and the closest island to Tahiti is Moorea. Moorea is the more affordable option for visiting French Polynesia and it’s just far enough away from Tahiti that it still feels secluded and untouched.
Your best bet will be finding lodging in a location near the North-West tip of the island; you can find some of the best snorkeling on the entire island there…without going on any tour. Here’s what you do: rent a kayak from Les Tipaniers, head toward the two mini islands of Tiahura and Fareone, park your kayak on Tiahura, head toward the North-West tip of Tiahura and snorkel in between Tiahura and Fareone to see some of the biggest corals and schools of fish you’ve ever seen! While snorkeling will be the most enjoyable experience on the island, there are also other rewarding tours and experiences as well. Follow our tips below for the best and most affordable experience you can get.
- While the major resorts on the island are excellent, you can stay at Les Tipaniers without the luxurious rooms, experience some free wild snorkeling, relax at your own beach, eat at an amazing on-site restaurant - and all for a tenth of the cost.
- Many folks pay for reef shark and stingray tours not far from Les Tipaniers. What we found was that in addition to renting a kayak, you can also rent a small anchor that attaches to the kayak. You can kayak right over to the same location where folks pay for shark and stingray tours (the location will be really obvious since there will be a handful of tour boats anchored and people snorkeling in one shallow area) and have the experience without going on a tour! If you time it right, you can even arrive at the same time as the tours to see the sharks and rays feeding.
- Depending on the amount of time they’re used, you can rent bikes from Les Tipaniers for free. Within a few minutes you can reach local markets to grab groceries and more affordable food rather than eating at the hotel restaurant every day.
- Go on a local hiking tour and a 4x4 tour organized from Hotel Les Tipaniers. The views will give you the best photos you can get during your entire time on the island as you see the outer reefs and blue water from up above.
- Try the locally made ice cream in Moorea. OMG. Thank us later.