Destination guide: Moorea, Polynesia
Moorea is a triangular island approximately 18 kilometers from Tahiti in the South Pacific. Some of its great attractions are the so-called "Moorea Mountains", with their craggy volcanic peaks.
You'll also find white sandy beaches with turquoise water, coral reefs and the Moorea Dolphin Center there. Unlike Papeete, this island does not have built-up areas, making it an ideal destination for preaceful, restful and relaxing vacations. Travel to Moorea and discover the best of Polynesia!
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Moorea - Practical Information
The coastal road is about 60km around. Depending on your energy and fitness level, the circuit can be made by bicycle in one very long, sweaty day (there are, thankfully, few hills to tackle). The southern coast of the island is far more isolated and sees much less traffic.
The population of Mo’orea is concentrated in the villages around the coast. With its frenetic ferry quay, Vaiare is the busiest part of the island, but Afareaitu is the administrative headquarters.
Dense tourist development is in two strips: one from Maharepa down the eastern side of Cook’s Bay to Paopao, the other around Hauru Point on the northwestern corner of the island. The airport is in the island’s northeastern corner.
Adhering to French Polynesian logic, the pointe kilométrique (PK; kilometre point) markers start at PK0 at the airport and go around the coast in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions; they meet at Haapiti, which is at PK24 along the southern (clockwise) route and at PK37 along the northern (anticlockwise) route.
Tahitian, French, English
Weights & Measures
Everyone needs a passport to visit French Polynesia. The regulations are much the same as for France: if you need a visa to visit France then you’ll need one to visit French Polynesia. Anyone from an EU country can stay for up to three months without a visa, as can Australians and citizens of a number of other European countries, including Switzerland.
Citizens of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the USA and some other European countries are able to stay for up to one month without a visa. Other nationalities need a visa, which can be applied for at French Embassies. Apart from permanent residents and French citizens, all visitors to French Polynesia need to have an onward or return ticket.
It’s possible to extend a month-long visa exemption for two more months. Tahiti’s Immigration Department states it’s best to get an extended visa at a French Embassy before arrival try at the Police aux Frontières (Frontier Police; [tel] 42 40 74; firstname.lastname@example.org; [hrs] airport office 8am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri, Pape’ete office 7.30am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri), at Faa’a airport and next to the Manava visitors information centre in Pape’ete, at least one week before the visa or exemption expires.
An extension costs 3500 CFP. Stays by foreign visitors may not exceed three months. For longer periods, you must apply to the French consular authorities in your own country for a residence permit; you cannot lodge your application from French Polynesia unless you have a sponsor or get married.
The duty-free allowance for visitors entering French Polynesia includes 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 2L of spirits or wine, two cameras and 10 rolls of unexposed film, one video camera and 50mL of perfume. No live animals can be imported (if they’re on a yacht they must stay on board) and certification is required for plants.
The opening hours for banks vary from branch to branch but are typically from 8am to noon and 1.30pm to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 8am to noon and 1pm to 3p|m on Friday. Shops and offices normally open around 7.30am, close for lunch from 11.30am to 1.30pm and shut around 5pm, Monday to Friday.
On Saturday, shops are typically open between 7.30am and 11.30am; almost everything (except a few grocery stores and boutiques on the more touristy islands) is closed on Sunday. Restaurant hours vary according to the type of food served and the clientele. Most places open around 10.30am, however, and stay open until about 11pm.
European plug with two circular metal pins