Moorea

Moorea

General:
Everyone has to go to Moorea at least once. Life is not complete without a visit to French Polynesia. The village is very international with many/most of the GMs from Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and Japan; with a huge number of them on their honeymoon. The percentage of Americans is very small, though the number of 'English-speaking' is fairly high. This is a larger than average size Club (700 person) and it is a quiet Club. The activity level in the GMs is laid back, to say the least. Nothing happens here at a fast pace and no one wants it to.

NOTE: You don't really see it in the brochure, but when you stand on the beach and look out, you don't see the ocean, you see two motus (small islands). There is a small channel of water (lagoon) between the main island and the barrier reef. The motu is on the reef. I'm not saying it isn't pretty, it's just not what some people expect.

NOTE: This is one of the few villages that does not have a fresh water swimming pool. The lagoon is so enticing though, I'm not sure that it's even an issue.

Moorea map (57K)
Moorea map

or bigger size (100K)



Some Moorea pictures



Moorea, getting there



Miscellaneous Notes on Moorea


Pros:
Can you spell beautiful?
In my opinion, this is the prettiest village/location of any of the ones in the Club Med American zone. As usual, Club Med chose the best location on the island.


Cons:
Prices.
Everything in Tahiti is VERY expensive; make that, EXTREMELY expensive. If you go shopping, sticker shock is a frequent problem. After you look around a little you'll find staying at the Club is a real bargain.


Fare

Rooms:
The rooms are small wooden bungalows (fares) containing two separate accommodations per building. No air-conditioning, but they do have a very needed ceiling fan. Club Med has FINALLY installed screens on the windows to keep out the pesky mosquitoes; but there is no screen on the tinted sliding glass door (open at your own risk). The fares all have a small patio with chairs and a small table, out front. The rooms have small electric safes (interior is: 4"h x 13"w x 5"d) on the make-up table. Thankfully they moved them from the closet where you had to get on hands and knees to use them. I think many don't notice, but there is a very handy water faucet next to the entrance door for washing the sand from your feet. Some of the rooms still have the same curtains and bedspreads as I remember from my first visit 14 years ago; though most rooms have new ones.

Room areas
areas

The fares are grouped into areas designated by alphabetic letters A-V. The areas of choice are 'A' and 'C'; and to a lesser degree 'E' and 'F' (longer walk). These areas are close to the water and get a nice breeze. On the other side of the main buildings are areas 'N', 'R', and 'T'. These also are near the water but are also close to the water-skiing area. This can be very annoying if you want to take a quiet nap in the afternoon. Some of the fares in 'N' are a little too close to the disco. All of the remaining areas are less desirable only due to the distance (and needed breeze) to the water. I think the extra money for the 'ocean view room' is worthwhile.

Dumb stuff. When you open the fares entrance door, you need to stick the plastic card attached to the door key into a slot in a wall mounted box in order to turn on the room electricity. This seems like a solution to a problem that didn't exist. Most folks just disconnect the key and leave the card in the slot for the duration.

The meal hours are much more limited, than is usual at other villages. Breakfast: 7-10:30, Lunch: 12:30-1:45, and Dinner: 7:30-8:45. No late breakfast or late lunch. Unlike any other village I've been to, the fresh bread selection is limited to just French Bread, at lunch and dinner.


SCUBA divers:
This village has one dive boat that does two trips per day (8am & 10:30am), both single tank dives. On my last visit you could do both of the dives, if you so desired, for the same price. This means you do the normal one tank dive, return to the village (take the 1st stage of the reg off the tank, leave the BC still hooked up, and all your gear onboard). Then you have 30 minutes for a quick breakfast (cigarette and coffee for the French), then you re-board around 10:30am, with a few new faces, and off for the next dive. It's not as nice as a 2-tank dive, but not really all that bad. The reason for all this seems to be the size of the boat. It is meant to hold 40 people (very friendly people), but there is only room for one tank per person. The boat must return to the dock in order to refill the tanks for the second dive. One night dive per week on Wednesday; at 6:30pm.

The coral on the dive sites is not awe-inspiring, but the fantastic number of fish make up for it. The dive sites are either a series of small ridges (like fingers on your hand) or a sloping flat plateau. They no longer do the 'shark feed' dive, as too many aggressive sharks (Leopard) had started showing up; better safe than sorry. Maximum depth for the 1st dive is 66 feet (20m), or 98 feet (30m) if both buddies have computers and are advanced certified. The max for the 2nd dive is 'no deeper than the 1st dive'. Maximum dive time is 45 minutes for either the 1st or 2nd dive. A dive computer is not essential, but I do recommend one; especially if you want to buddy dive. On my last visit, the one week dive package was $250US.

Dive site map
Dive sites


Dive Sites
8AM10:30AM
Monday Taitea Pass Right
Tuesday Vaipahu Roses Papetoi
Wednesday Moorea Lagoon Black Motu
Thursday Openohu Right Motu-Motu
Friday Tiki Varutuai
Saturday Taota Pointe Tiatiora
Sunday Opunohu Wall Pass Left



Recommended excursions:
Everyone seems to like the 'Safari 4X4'. It's a complete tour of Moorea with a drive up through the mountains and jungle, including Belvedere. There is a short trek (10 minutes) up to the waterfall, bring some walking shoes; but they may get muddy. Bring bug spray and sun screen. Plus, if you sit in the open area of the truck, hope it doesn't rain.

The second favorite is the 'Shark and Ray Feeding'. They take you up the coast a bit, you jump in the water (holding onto the boat) and watch as the local black-tip reef sharks swirl around as the guide gives them lunch (no small children please). Then back down the coast a bit and into the shallows for the rays. Everyone loves this part. The rays are very friendly (and large) and will come right up to you. If you do the Club Med version of this excursion, the staff photographer will video the entire trip and will show it at the bar before dinner (hoping you'll buy a copy, of course).

NOTE: Both of the excursions above, can be done outside of Club Med. Albert's is just out the gate and to the left (5 minute walk) and seems to be preferred to the Club Med equivalent; a bit cheaper also. There is another 'shark feed' trip available down the road to the right at the second campground; look for the small sign.

Also, rent a scooter on your own and drive around the island. There is only one road and you can't get lost. OK, there are two roads, you need to find the turnoff that leads to the center of the island - a spot called Belvedere. The finest vista on the island. There is no town to speak-of on Moorea, but you will find areas along the road with clusters of shops selling miscellaneous goods, local crafts and colorful hand printed fabrics (pareos). There are black pearl shops everywhere.

Non-recommended excursion:
No one that I've met liked 'Dolphin Quest'. The usual comment is "what a rip-off". If you've never seen a dolphin in a captive environment before, maybe it's worthwhile; but it's a lot of money for the brief experience.


Excursions
1/2 Day
Lagoon Safari Min 8 people, Mon/Wed/Sat 8am-12pm, $52US
Nature Hike - easy & advancedMin 1 person, Everyday 7:30am-12pm, $43US
Safari 4x4 Min 4 people, Everyday 8am-12pm or 1:30pm-5:30pm, $40US
Shark & Ray Feeding Min 6 people, Mon/Wed/Thur/Sa 2pm-4pm, $38US
Shopping in Papeete Min 5 people, Fri 7am-1:30pm, $40US
Full Day
Tahiti Tour Min 8 people, Wed 7am-6:30pm, $142US
Tetiaroa Min 12 people, Mon/Thur 7:30am-5:30pm, $250US
Miscellaneous
Bicycle RentalEveryday,
1 hour $5US, 2 hour $7US, 4 hour $9US, 6 hour $11US,
8 hour $13US, 24 hour $18US, 1 week $70US
Cata Jet Min 2 people, Everyday 9am-11pm or 2pm-4pm, $57US
Deep Sea Fishing Min 4 people, Everyday, $130US
Dolphin Quest - shallow Everyday (30 minutes in the water), $105US
Dolphin Quest - snorkeling Everyday (30 minutes in the water), $122US
Helicopter (15 minutes) Min 4 people, Thur/Fri 10am-3pm, $128US
Tiki Village - dinner & showTue/Wed/Fri/Sat 6pm-10:30pm, $69US
Tiki Village - show only Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat 8:30pm-10:30pm, $38US


Most recent visit: Oct-2001



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