Like all Polynesian islands Moorea is enriched by mythology. Legend has it that a golden skinned lizard abandoned by its human parents, became stranded on the reef as it swam after them. The merciful gods turned it into the island of Moorea (which means "golden lizard") one of the true jewels of French Polynesia.
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Although it is only 17 kilometres from Tahiti, and regarded as a sister island, Moorea maintains its natural beauty and tranquility. The mountain slopes of Moorea are covered by pineapple plantation and at water level, white sandy beachers border crystal clear lagoons.
Mount Mouara, Opunohu Bay, Moorea
The best way to get to know this magnificent island is to take a circle tour by hire car or scooter through the small picturesque villages. This way you can roam at will to the sugar white beach of your choice or inland through the bamboo forests and the pineapple and vanilla plantations.
You are free to stop at many time as you like to appreciate this spectacular views of the mountains and valleys, lagoons and bays. The trip will take about four hours depending of course, how long you stop along the way.
If you like horse-riding there is nothing more exhilarating than galloping along the white sandy beaches. There are also all sorts of nautical activities including deep sea fishing, motor boat cruising, sailing, scuba diving, coral gazing and shell collecting using glass-bottom boats.
Moorea has many talented artisans whose creations are sold in boutiques and privately owned shops around the island. Here you will find the perfect sundress, bikini, shirt or beach wear. These hand-painted designs are ideal for the tropical climate.
Black pearls can be purchased from several jewellers and boutiques from Moorea and the public market in Pao Pao. There are a number of special events worth attending such as the Tahitian Tamaara'a show. You arrive by outrigger canoe by sunset, taste food cooked in a traditional underground oven, enjoy a spectacular Polynesian review and stay for the party that follows. Another event is a Polynesian wedding performed at the Tiki Theatre Village upon request. The ceremony takes place on a marae stone altar and is a very colourful and memorable event.
Outings you will enjoy include sailing in the bays and lagoon of Moorea, snorkelling and swimming in protected waters followed by luncheon picnics on board the boat or ashore on a white sandy beach. Sunset cruises are also available as well as outer island charters.
The warm lagoon is a diver's dream and even the novice snorkeller finds it easy to join the colourful schools of fish that cavort through the crystalline water. Because the Pacific Ocean has an abundance of seafood, you will find it hard to resist joining the locals who love to eat, drink, celebrate and share. If you like cooking, you will be interested in the cooking technique from the traditional ground oven and the renowned marinated fish, to the beach barbeques and continental styles.