Queen of the Pacific
Tahiti, the largest island throughout the country, towering over the ocean like a proud and royal Queen is appropriately crowned by a circle of majestic peaks. Tahiti is a figure-eight shaped island with a larger part: Tahiti Nui (which means big) and Tahiti Iti (little). With lush green peaks reaching more than 7,300 feet, its scenery is dramatic. Tahiti is the largest and most populated island, and is the starting point for everyone. International flights land at Faa'a Airport in the capital city of Papeete. Papeete, meaning the " water basket, " was once a gathering place where Tahitians came to fill their calabashes with fresh waters. Now the invigorating capital city and gateway of the country, boasts world-class resorts, spas, fine dining and unique restaurants, nightclubs, vibrant markets, pearl shops, and boutiques. The mountainous interior is adorned with deep valleys, clear streams, and high waterfalls, all bathed in green iridescence of Mother Nature's light. The coastal lands, edged with a rugged coastline, are home to fields of tropical flowers and most of the island's population.
Cascading waterfalls and cool pools in the jungle-like interior provide a striking contrast to the black sand beaches and turquoise lagoons of the island's perimeter. A circle island tour (about 70 miles) is a great way to get acquainted, with highlights at the Tahiti and Her Islands Museum, the Paul Gauguin Art Museum and Botanical Gardens and the Marae Arahurahu (an ancient Tahitian outdoor temple). In the center of town, the Marche is not to be missed. Abundant with tropical fruits and vegetables and fresh fish from the lagoon, this indoor market has an upstairs with Tahitian crafts and the largest selection of colourful pareus (sarongs) anywhere. There are so many accommodations available to suit every need and budget… just inquire!
The Magical Island
A few minutes from the island of Tahiti by plane, and only thirty minutes by high-speed catamaran, Moorea soars magically out of the ocean in an explosion of green velvet - what you would imagine a South Seas island to be. All tourists arrive on the north east coast of Moorea, the side facing Tahiti Island. The ferry terminal is at Vaiare Bay, opposite the large marina, the busiest of Moorea's towns and close to the islands longest stretch of beach that starts at Teavaro and extends all the way along the north east coast beyond the airport.
A wide, shallow lagoon surrounds the island's vertical mountains where poetic threads of waterfalls tumble down fern-softened cliffs. Peaceful meadows flanked by pinnacles of green will fill your senses and renew your belief in the majesty of nature. Pastel-painted houses surrounded by gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise, circle the island in a fantasy of happy, yet simple villages. The north coast of Moorea is punctuated by two deep and spectacular bays: Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay (the latter is where Captain Cook actually anchored).
The panoramas of both bays are exceptional and should be viewed not only along the coastal road, but from the water as well as from above. The 900 metre high Mt. Rotui separates the two bays and the steep trail to the summit can be climbed for stunning views but most tourists opt for the easy option - by taking the winding road to the Belvedere Lookout in the heart of Moorea and overlooking not only Mt. Rotui but the two bays as well. Along the way are several interesting marae, notably the restored Marae Titiroa which encompasses many temples and sacred sites. There are well marked trails meandering around the marae and you can take a guided tour with good explanations of the islands history. The north west coast of Moorea has the most concentrated tourist strip alongside Hauru Beach. Here, the offshore islands of Fareone and Tiahura form a shallow protected lagoon which is ideal for water sports. There's lots of activities around Moorea from cruises around the bays and coast to 4WD tours of the interior. Some of the most popular activities and sites for visitors include: Snorkeling Heaven, Plantations, Mountain Exploration, Belvedere Overlook, Swimming with the Dolphins, Diving, Parasailing, Fruit Juice Factory Tastings and Papetoai Village
For many, a couple of days exploring Moorea's treasures and meeting some of its 8,000 residents pass too quickly.
Here are just a couple of accommodation examples:
InterContinental Resort & Spa Moorea Located on the northwestern side of the island, on 11 hectares of tropical gardens and islets. On a unique site nestled between the mountains and the blue lagoon, one of the main attractions of the Hotel Intercontinental Moorea is its Dolphin lagoon where these friendly mammals play and swim along with the guests offering them a unique experience. The Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa is ideally located close to the Maharepa Village, two miles away from the magnificent Cook's Bay westward on 21 acres of tropical gardens with a spectacular white sand beach. The hotel is built on the grounds of the first hotel built on the island, the Bali Hai. The Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa features three stone tiki sculptures (mythical fitures of Polynesia) that honor the rich Polynesian culture and traditions. The sculptures guard over the lobby area, the garden and the pool. This charming "boutique hotel is a perfect blend of luxury and serenity making it an ideal destination for couples, honeymooners, divers and families...This traditional Polynesian style resort offers 94 rooms and bungalows. It features
28 Over Water Bungalows
8 Beach Bungalows
28 Garden Bungalows
Garden Rooms & Family Rooms .