Moorea, Tahiti and French Polynesia - Stein Travel
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Moorea

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 crystalline 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. A 'must see' is 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.

Information & Facts

Language

French and Tahitian are the official languages; English is widely spoken.

Money

The unit of currency in French Polynesia is the French Pacific Franc (XPF), divided into 100 centimes. The exchange rate is fairly stable as it is linked to the Euro. Banks throughout the islands are open mainly on weekdays only and are the best place to change foreign currency; rates of exchange are not as good at hotels. There are ATMs on a few of the islands, but shouldn't be relied upon. Most hotels and resorts will exchange travellers cheques in US$ or Euros, and credit cards and US currency is readily accepted on the main islands. Tourism taxes are levied for accommodation and activities.

Time

GMT -10 (The Marquesas Islands are half an hour ahead of the rest of French Polynesia).

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