Diogo and I spent our last days in French Polynesia here in Moorea at the Hilton Lagoon & Spa – as illustrated above, we staid in a overwater bungalow surrounded by the wonderful crystal clear lagoon and the green hills of Moorea.
The hotel itself was surrounded by the most beautiful greenery I have ever seen in French Polynesia!
The Hilton also provides kayaking, and some complimentary water activities to enjoy during the stay.
The Island itself has so much to offer! From swimming with whales, diving, snorkeling, driving to the Belvedere point, to exploring the botanical garden, there is plenty to do!
Moorea was our very last stop before heading back to LA.
BORA BORA VS MOOREA
Before jumping into the activities and what we did in Moorea, many of you guys have asked me about the differences between Bora Bora and Moorea as they are the 2 most famous Islands in French Polynesia, so here below goes my genuine opinion after being in both places:
If you came from Bora Bora to Moorea or vice-versa, you will definitely see that Moorea is not a luxury destination but rather an eco-escape bringing you closer to Mother Nature (think swimming with whales, hiking, diving, exploring the botanical garden, etc.).
First, unlike in Bora Bora where you have to go to a private motu (small island where the hotels are located), here all the hotels are in the mainland of Moorea, so I definitely recommend to rent a car and explore around!
If you don’t have a car, hotels in Moorea will usually arrange a regular taxi to pick you up, while in Bora Bora they will get you a nice and comfy boat to pick you from the Airport and bring you to the hotel.
Moorea has an incredible natural beauty, unbelievable landscape with green moutains, and a vast ecosystem! You definitely don’t want to miss it by staying all day long in your hotel!
For instance, Diogo and I spent an entire morning swimming with whales for actually a pretty decent price (€80 per person).
While some activities might be slightly less expensive than in Bora Bora, price for food and beverage in hotels are pretty much the same.
You get basically the same bills than in the lavish Four Seasons Bora Bora, which is a bit disappointing as you are not in a luxury destination like Bora Bora and you definitely don’t get the same quality and standard either.
For instance, we went to eat crepes at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa and we got 1 veggie crepe for main course and 1 sweet crepe for dessert, we drank only water and for a total of 4 crepes (2 for each) we paid over €100! Yes! Over €100 for 4 crepes! They were very good and tasty but still they are crepes nevertheless.
As vegans in Moorea, it was a bit hard to eat properly due of the lack of vegan/plant-based options. We ended-up eating mainly vegan pizzas or dry pasta for lunch/dinner, and porridge with fresh fruit for breakfast.
Looking for a nice Açai Bowl? Or fancy an Avocado Quinoa salad? Vegan pancakes for breakfast? Definitely not the right place.
There is a vegetarian/vegan menu at the main restaurant of the Sofitel Moorea but the portions are so small that you might need to order more food than usual and pay around €150 for 2 without alcohol.
However, regarding the activities and what to do in the Island, this is where Moorea really shines the most comparing with Bora Bora.
WHAT TO DO IN MOOREA
As mentioned earlier, I totally recommend swimming with whales, rent a car and explore the island, dive, kayak, go to the Belvedere point, see sharks and stingrays, etc.
There is really a lot to do and staying in your bungalow won’t allow you to enjoy Moorea as it fullest!
If you are looking for a lazy luxury resort escape in order to spend your time chilling between your lavish villa, private beach and pool, while indulging in delicious cocktails and food at fancy lounges and restaurants, Moorea is not really the right fit.
If this is your vibe, you might prefer Bora Bora (May-October), Maldives (October-May), or Zaya Nurai Island in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (September-Dec and March-May).
But if you are into adventurous escapes, hiking, nature exploring, bird watching, underwater activities and don’t mind sacrificing the glitz and “over the top” hotels and food/beverage for an authentic Polynesian experience, then yes, I will definitely go for Moorea!
Have you ever been in Moorea or in French Polynesia? How was your stay? Let me know in the comment section below!
Photography: Diogo Novo
Wearing: Photos #3 & #5 Swimwear TJ SWIM;
Staying at: Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa