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Moorea Travel Guide
Moorea © Bjorn Grob
The most dramatic of the French Polynesian islands, Moorea lies only a few miles northwest of Tahiti (10 minutes by air, or under an hour by ferry from Papeete). The little tropical island gem is characterised by spectacular bays, white sandy beaches and towering craggy volcanic peaks that form a jagged central spine, reflected in the surrounding crystal-surfaced lagoons.
About 8,000 people live happily on Moorea, but there are no towns, or even villages, as such. Settlements offering clusters of shops and stalls line the 40-mile long (64km) paved road that encircles the island, giving access to the few sightseeing opportunities and lovely beaches. The best beaches are between the Moorea Village Hotel and the Hotel Beachcomber, and near the Sofitel Ia Ora near the airport.
All sorts of water activities and excursions are offered on the island, as well as several land-based activities like hikes and mountain safaris. A fun way to explore the island is to rent a scooter or bicycle, or join the locals on the 'trucks' that form the island's public transport system. Must-see sights include the panoramic view of Cook and Opunohu bays from the Roto Nui (Belvedere) viewpoint, the Paopao open-air market, and a distillery where exotic liqueurs are produced from the local pineapple, vanilla, mango and coconut crops.
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