Top 15 Things to Do in Moorea: Coco Beach to Champagne! 

by | Last updated Jul 12, 2024 | Moorea

Moorea is one of our favorite French Polynesian islands. It offers incredible snorkeling, wonderful hiking trails, and amazing island food. My husband and I rented a car and explored all the nooks and crannies. Here are our favorite 15 things to do in Moorea you don’t want to miss!

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01- Snorkel with Sharks and Rays!

Snorkeling with a stingray and multiple blacktip sharks

My footage of swimming with blacktip sharks and sting rays in Moorea

If you read any of my blog posts, you’ll know my husband and I plan many “snorkations.”

We are avid snorkelers. Trust me when I say, Moorea offers some incredible snorkeling!

Here are our 5 favorite snorkel sites! Expect to see blacktip sharks, sting rays, eagle rays, and schools of beautiful tropical fish.

There are many fantastic snorkeling sites, but some are best explored by boat.

One of these spots is the Sharks & Rays Sandbank located on the northwest side of Moorea. This shallow sandbank allows the opportunity to be fairly close to friendly sting rays and curious blacktip reef sharks in about waist-deep crystal clear water.

You could kayak to the sandbank from Hotel Les Tipaniers but a more enjoyable way to experience the Shark & Ray Sandbank is to join a snorkeling tour.

And not just any tour but specifically Alex Lagoon Tours.

If you have ever been on a snorkeling tour, you know the importance of joining a small group to avoid a bunch of fins in your face.

Alex only allows 6 passengers. Not only does he take you to the Shark & Ray Sandbank without the crowds but also to three additional snorkeling sites.

DO NOT MISS THIS TOUR. Here’s my full review of this exceptional snorkeling tour!

02- Spend a Day at Coco Beach

Tuna Duo at Coco Beach in Moorea

Tuna Duo at Coco Beach in Moorea

Aw, Coco Beach.

This little part of Moorea is paradise. Everyone knows it, so you are going to have to book in advance!

It’s on Motu Tiahura, which is a short 10-minute boat ride from the Moorea mainland.

Once you arrive, enjoy a lovely island lunch along the water with delicious cocktails. I strongly recommend the Tuna Duo (tuna sashimi and carpaccio) and a pitcher of Ti’ punches. The staff is super friendly.

Do not forget to bring your snorkeling gear!

There is a coral garden next to Coco Beach, where you’ll likely see stingrays, schools of fish, and maybe a passing blacktip reef shark.

Here’s how to plan a perfect day at Coco Beach!

03- Hike to the Best Island View

View from Magic Mountain in Moorea

View from Magic Mountain in Moorea

When Alex, our snorkeling tour guide, told us Magic Mountain offers the best view of the island, we knew we had to go!

It offers stunning panoramic views of Opunohu Bay. There are 3 ways to access the summit:

The tours listed above are highly rated, but we wanted a little exercise after eating all that great food, so we chose to hike to Magic Mountain.

Yes, it’s steep but it’s doable and only 90 minutes roundtrip.

We went a little later in the day around 4 pm, so the sun wasn’t too strong. About 2/3 of the way, there is a beautiful shaded area with benches overlooking the valley below to catch your breath.

The views at the top are worth the screaming muscles later.

It is stunning! There’s a little breeze, and you feel like you are on top of the world.

All the details can be found in my Magic Mountain hiking guide!

04- Make a Toast with Pineapple Champagne

Toasting with Pineapple Champagne in Moorea

Toasting with Pineapple Champagne at our Vrbo rental in Moorea

My husband and I are wine travelers. Last year we went to France to taste our way through the Champagne region. We love bubbles!

I was intrigued when I heard about Moorea’s Pineapple Champagne. I love pineapple, and I love Champagne. Let’s do this.

We stopped by Manutea Tahiti- Rotui Juice Factory & Distillery, which is located at the foot of Mount Rotui. They offer self-guided tours of their factory and tastings of their rums and juices.

I was hoping to do a tasting of their Pineapple Champagne, but that was not possible.

However, the factory did sell the Brut D’Ananas (Pineapple Champagne). There were two types: one with a white label and one with a black label. Both were offered in full-size bottles, but only the white label was offered as a half bottle. Since I wasn’t sure if we were going to like it, we bought the half bottle.

After getting it nice and chilled, we enjoyed a glass poolside.

It was interesting and fun to try. And yes, it definitely tasted like pineapple but with bubbles.

05- Relax on Beautiful Temae Beach

Temae Beach in Moorea

Temae Beach in Moorea

There are several beautiful public beaches in Moorea. One of our favorites was Temae Beach next to the Sofitel.

It has beautiful white sand and crystal clear water. The beach is wide with plenty of room to spread out. You feel like you are in a movie set with towering mountains and palm trees in the background.

And … it has great snorkeling!

Swim out to the reef on the northern side of the beach (to the left as you are facing the water) and do a drift snorkel towards the Sofitel. The initial swim to the reef will be against the current but then after that it’s smooth sailing.

We saw stingrays and quite a few schools of various fish.

There’s also a shower to rinse off after getting all sandy and salty.

If you prefer to snorkel with a tour group, do not miss my top recommendations for the best (SMALL GROUP) snorkeling tours! A few of them leave from Temae Beach. 

A fantastic late lunch option after a day at the beach is Restaurant La Grand Voile. Order their delicious freshly made poke bowl. So good!

06- Take a Moorea Food Tour

No Name Beach on Klein Bonaire

Eating a chow mein sandwich from Golden Lake in Moorea

We love food tours and exploring a culture through its food!

My husband and I have done foodie tours all over the world from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Lima in Peru.

I was disappointed I couldn’t fit the Moorea Street Food Tour into our itinerary, but I had to include it in this list.

It’s highly rated by travelers. Plus, it’s run by two locals: Chef Heimata Hall who was born and raised in Moorea and Orama, a pastry chef who was born and raised in Tahiti.

French Polynesia is unique because its cuisine is a blend of Tahitian, Chinese, and French influences. The food tour showcases that fusion and offers 10-12 tastings of delicious examples over the course of 4-5 hours.

Although we didn’t go on the official tour, I did try the famous chow mein sandwich at the takeout window at Golden Lake. This is one of the stops on the tour. They also have a killer fluffy coconut bread.

Wow, I think all the locals were ordering this sandwich as takeaway during lunchtime. The place was hopping!

Chow mein noodles, carrots, bok choy, and cabbage are served on a fresh baguette. Don’t forget to ask for the BBQ sauce. I love that you add it only when you’re ready to eat, so the baguette does not get soggy.

Weird but surprisingly tasty. There are so many textures. Crunchy, slippery, my mind is still so confused. Try it to understand.

07- Experience a Sea Scooter

Snorkeling with a sea scooter in Moorea

Hubby and I snorkeling with a sea scooter

Think of a sea scooter like an E-bike but for the water.

When you need a little boost to cover more ground or are getting tired from snorkeling, hit the speed button and off you go.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.

My husband and I snorkel for hours without any problem, but this experience was a lot of fun. Incredibly unique.

We booked with Moorea Water Games, which only takes small groups (6 max).

Remember, small groups are imperative for a great underwater experience. Our captain and guide took us to three different sites. We zipped around the reef and coral, seeing turtles, blacktip sharks, sting rays, and schools of beautiful tropical fish.

There are three speeds to play with on the scooter. The water was pretty calm when we went, so we only had to use the first speed. So much fun!

See my full review of this exceptional tour for all the details.

08- Swim with Humpback Whales

Blokart at Landsailing Adventures in Bonaire

Courtesy of Shutterstock: humpback whale 

There are only a few places in the world to swim with a 40-ton humpback whale, and Moorea is one of them.

We have snorkeled with whale sharks but not humpback whales.

Humpback whales visit Moorea from July to November to mate and have babies. This unique magical encounter is highly regulated. Tours are only allowed to operate from August 1 – November 11, but I heard September is the best time.

We went to Moorea in early June and missed the whales. This means a return trip is definitely in our future!

09- Try the Best Poisson Cru 

Poisson cru at Snack Mahana in Moorea

My delicious poisson cru at Snack Mahana in Moorea

Not trying poisson cru in French Polynesia is like going to Paris and not eating a croissant.

It’s unthinkable.

Many places offer this classic dish, but one of the best places to try it is Snack Mahana. It’s kinda like ceviche or poke but with coconut milk.

Poisson cru is tuna marinated with coconut milk and lime juice and mixed up with crispy vegetables like peppers. A little green onion on the top. Served with rice.

Simple, fresh, delicious … and served seaside watching the fish below!

No reservations. Go early to get a seaside table. We went around 12:15 pm, and it was packed.

For more great restaurant recommendations, do not miss my Moorea Restaurant Guide!

10- Splurge on an Overwater Villa

Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort in Moorea as seen from Toatea Lookout

Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort in Moorea as seen from Toatea Lookout

A stay in an overwater villa should be on your bucket list! It was for us (#1 of 77 to be exact on our couples’ bucket list).

We have stayed in a few overwater bungalows in the Maldives (Outrigger and Le Meridien) and Bora Bora (InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort).

In Moorea, we decided to do a waterfront Vrbo rental (which was also incredible!).

However, Moorea has some incredible overwater villas including the Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort and the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa. Both resorts offer lagoon access right from your bungalow!

Wake up to the ocean and pop into the water two seconds later surrounded by beautiful tropical fish.

Both hotels have great snorkeling. After snorkeling both sites though I can say Sofitel has the better snorkeling of the two.

11- Enjoy a Legit Neapolitan Pizza

Neapolitan pizza at Casa Vincenzo in Moorea

Neapolitan pizza at Casa Vincenzo in Moorea

This may sound like a weird one, but the pizza at Casa Vincenzo is incredible!

Who doesn’t like a mouthwatering pizza that tastes like Italy?

Their oven is actually imported from Italy, and their dough is specially prepared 48 hours in advance. This means they only work with a defined amount of dough per night, and you have to reserve in ADVANCE.

No reservation, no pizza.

Pizzas are cooked in 90 seconds at 460°C.

The hubby and I ordered two delicious pizzas with a beautiful ball of Burrata in the middle. So much cheesy-goodness.

It is a lot of pizza, but they kindly pack up the leftovers which taste great the next day. Yum!

12- Drive the Windy Road to Belvedere Lookout

Belvedere Lookout in Moorea

Belvedere Lookout in Moorea

Magic Mountain has the BEST island view, but Belvedere Lookout also offers stunning views. It is also the starting point for two trails: Three Coconuts and Three Pines.

The journey to the lookout involves driving a fun, windy road. We drove up for sunset and witnessed beautiful views of Mount Rotui towering in the center flanked by Opunohu Bay and Cook Bay.

You can also take a highly-rated ATV tour or a Franckyfranck tour to reach the top, which will also include other top Moorea sites along the way.

On the way back, stop for ice cream and homemade jam at the Agricultural College Opunohu. They are closed on Sunday, so plan it right.

Speaking of ice cream, one of the best ice cream and sorbet places we found on the island is Les Sorbets de Moorea. We went back multiple times if that tells you anything.

Do not miss a scoop of their coconut and chocolate cream. I love it when you can see the strings of coconut in the ice cream. This is the real deal and clearly homemade!

13- Hike the Three Pines Trail

Trailhead of Three Pines Hike in Moorea

Trailhead of Three Pines Hike in Moorea

We ran out of time to do this amazing hike, but I had to include it.

There are a few hiking trails that start from Belvedere Lookout. Three Pines is one of them. The trailhead is to the left of the parking lot if you are facing away from the ocean.

AllTrails gives it a 4.7, a super high rating.

It takes 2 hours to complete the 2-mile trail and is considered easy to moderate. When you reach the top, there’s a swing to relax on to take in those incredible views.

I am hoping to hike this trail on a future trip when we visit to see the whales!

14- Go Pearl Shopping

Gauguin's Pearl Shop in Rangiroa

Pearl shop

I have been to French Polynesia twice on a quest to find my perfect Tahitian pearl.

On the most recent trip, I enjoyed two pearl farm tours in Rangiroa and Taha’a and went to a total of 8 different pearl shops in Moorea, Rangiroa, and Taha’a.

I was looking for a specific earring setting that would showcase the pearl but did not cost Robert WAN prices. I found it at a little pearl shop in Rangiroa called Ikimasho. Because that was the first pearl shop I visited, I wasn’t sure if other shops had anything better.

Since there were two pairs of earrings at that first shop, I held off and decided I would come back after going to a few more shops. I wanted to make sure I was making the right purchase.

After seeing the selection at the other shop, I felt confident the pair of earrings at Ikimasho was the right one. Unfortunately, both pairs had sold when I came back two days later.

Lesson learned. When you find the Tahitian pearls you can’t stop thinking about, buy them NOW!

After my disappointing loss in Rangiroa, I decided to continue my search in Moorea. Here are the three shops I highly recommend for beautiful, high-quality pearls:

Although I am still on the hunt for my pearl earrings, I can highly recommend these three shops that I personally visited.

All had exceptional pearls and very friendly (not pushy) service. Of the three, I would probably say Tahia Pearls had the most unique jewelry settings.

15- Watch a Fiery Sunset

Fiery sunset in Moorea at our Vrbo rental

Fiery sunset in Moorea at our Vrbo rental

Sunsets in French Polynesia are strikingly beautiful. I would argue they are the BEST in the world.

I have never seen anything like it. The real magic is the crazy display of vibrant colors after the sun has set, which lasts a good 20 minutes.

My husband and I rented a Vrbo rental and watched these magical displays with a cocktail in hand by the pool every night.

Do not miss sunset time in Moorea. It will blow your mind.

Final Thoughts

I love traveling to places that offer unique outdoor & foodie experiences. Moorea hit that sweet spot. It offers a wealth of things to do. You need at least a week to explore all it has to offer. I hope this Best Things to Do in Moorea list gets you well on your way to planning an unforgettable vacation.  

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Questions about our favorite things to do in Moorea?

Let me know in the comments below!

2 Comments
  1. Brenda

    Looks like another amazing trip! Beautiful photos, such detailed, great advice.
    The Chow Mein Sandwich still has me smiling!

    Reply
    • Nichole

      Awe, thank you so much for the kind feedback. The chow mein sandwich was definitely one of the more unique foods we have tried!

      Reply

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