Last updated: 09:33 PM ET, Tue August 16 2016

Moorea, One Of The Crown Jewels Of French Polynesia

Destination & Tourism | Tahiti Tourisme | Kristina Rundquist | August 03, 2016

Moorea, One Of The Crown Jewels Of French Polynesia

PHOTO: The island of Moorea. (Courtesy Tahiti Tourisme)

Moorea might just be the crown jewel in French Polynesia’s crown, one of the stunning islands that make up The Islands of Tahiti.

With its white sandy beaches, clear turquoise water and amazing green mountains, it might as well warrant the accolade on scenery alone. Now add in warm locals and a laid-back ambiance and you have the ideal destination for honeymooners and families alike.

Just a short ferry or plane trip away from French Polynesia’s main island, Tahiti, Moorea is the perfect place to escape your cares. It’s such a paradise that it is said to have inspired James Michener’s mythical Bali Hai.

WINE & DINE. Known for a cuisine that combines the best of French and Polynesian flavors, Moorea is home, not surprisingly, to several restaurants offering classic French fare and tastes from beyond.

One of the best is Te Honu Iti, which means “The Little Turtle” in Tahitian. Situated along the waterfront near Cook’s Bay, the restaurant offers such standards as frog’s legs and beef tenderloin with brandy sauce. From a table near the water, guests can watch locals feed the stingrays.

More casual fare can be had at Snack Coco D’Isle and Le Mahogany, a bistro offering up Chinese and French fare.

For steaks or burgers, try Holy Steak House and Le Mayflower, known for its lobster ravioli. The Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort’s K Restaurant is widely known to be one of the most romantic dining spots on the island.

READ MORE: A Vanilla Experience On Taha’a

SHOPPING. Always a favorite pastime when on holiday, shoppers will delight in the many opportunities to bring a remembrance home. If it’s souvenirs you’re after, Le Petit Village is the place to head, where shoppers can select from local handicrafts to vanilla beans, and pareos to fine Tahitian pearls at Tahia Collins. Art lovers will not want to miss a stop at Sculpture Par Woody (located near the InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa). Woody Howard, a native Hawaiian, who is famous for large wooden sculptures, jewelry, and guitars and ukuleles, showcases his work there.

NIGHTLIFE. Considering its laid-back vibe, Moorea is not a destination for club-goers. Instead, locals and visitors alike spend their evenings relaxing over a leisurely dinner or sipping cocktails at a hotel or beachfront bar. Some of the large resorts offer theme nights and live entertainment. For a true Polynesian performance, Moorea’s Tiki Village offers a live performance of local musicians and fire dancers.

ROMANCE. Given that the entire island is steeped in romance, it’s hard to pick just one thing or place that takes romance to the next level. That said, couples would be remiss in not staying in an overwater bungalow. Separated from each other and each with a private deck, these are the ultimate in romance (and decadence)—breakfast can even be delivered by outrigger canoe.

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