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Mo'orea French Polynesia: A Budget Edition Part 2

Cover Image for Mo'orea French Polynesia: A Budget Edition Part 2

Hey everyone! Lauren here to tell you about our last few days on the beautiful island of Mo’orea!

Driving Mo’orea in a Day

On our last full day in Mo’orea, our Airbnb host’s boyfriend, Moehau, offered to drive us around the island. Moehau spoke very little English, but did a great job showing us around the island and was so welcoming!

'Āfareaitu Waterfall

Our first location around the island was a waterfall trek: 'Āfareaitu Waterfall. The hike was fairly steep but wasn’t too long and the waterfall was just beautiful! We thought we were getting lucky with the rain, but as soon as we got to the waterfall it started raining. We snapped some photos and began our hike back. The hike back was fairly slick because of the rain, but Moehau told us about some native fruits on the way back which made it super interesting.

Lauren at 'Āfareaitu Waterfall

Driving

When we got back in car and began our way around the island. Moehau told us about some of the mountains around the island and stopped by a local church called Papetoai Church. He pointed out a rock outside the church and said it was a Polynesian artifact from a very long time ago and said something regarding if people were taller than the rock they were decapitated! I tried doing research on the subject since Moehau’s English is a little rusty, but could not find any additional information.

Driving around the Mo'orea

Rotui Juice Factory

Next we stopped by the Manutea Tahiti - Rotui Juice Factory & Distillery! They offered us several tasty fresh juices to sample, and a few alcoholic cocktails. Gerrod and I bought ourselves a delicious no sugar added banana and vanilla juice and a fruity cocktail called Tahiti drink. They also had several pineapple plants growing outside. I had never seen so many pineapples growing!

Lauren tasting juice at Rotui Juice Factory & Distillery

Lauren found a cute pineapple at Rotui Juice Factory & Distillery

Belvedere Lookout

After sampling the tasty juices, we headed up the mountain to go to a lookout point called the Belvedere Lookout. On the way we stopped at stopped at an agricultural school called Lycee Agricole Opunohu and tried some fresh fruit jams.

We also stopped at an archaeological site called Marae Titiroa. It consisted of stacks of rocks that were ancient temples or ritual sites for the Polynesian people.

Marae Titiroa site

The Belvedere Lookout was stunning! Moehau also pointed out the mountains around us, and showed us how one of the mountains in view known as Mount Tohivea, is on the back of the 50 Franc Polynesie Francaise coin.

Bike trails near Belvedere Lookout

Panorama near Belvedere Lookout

Beautiful Viewpoint

Next, Moehau took us to what he called the best viewpoint on the island. There was a very steep hike up to it and Gerrod and I were dying! It was so hot and I was breathing so heavily. Moehau was training for a 51k race and was walking so fast that I felt pretty out of shape.

Steep hike to the hidden Beautiful Viewpoint

When we finally got to the top, the view was breathtaking! You could see along the whole coast and could see the edge of the coral reef by the color contrast of the turquoise water and deep blue ocean. Moehau also told us we hiked up the hill faster than past guests he had taken there, which made me feel a bit better. I tried to find the hike online afterwards, but was unable to find the name of the viewpoint so all I can offer is coordinates to the point for those curious: -17.496206, -149.901623

Coast line view from the hidden Beautiful Viewpoint

Gerrod and Lauren at the hidden Beautiful Viewpoint

Tipaniers Beach

After the difficult, but short hike, Gerrod and I walked across the street to a beautiful beach called Tipaniers Beach. The beach is located at Hotel les Tipaniers, and is very picturesque. Moehau meanwhile ran up and down the steep hill to train for his race.

At the beach Gerrod and I snorkeled and relaxed on the sand. There was also a dock that we walked out on to take some photos. Moehau picked us up from the beach a few hours later!

Dolphins and Turtles

On our way back to the Airbnb, Moehau took us to the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa to see some dolphins. The InterContinental is home to the Moorea Dolphin Center. There were three bottlenose dolphins swimming around near the hotel. The dolphins were there from various places around the world!

Nearby to the dolphins, there were several sea turtles at the Turtle Care Center. The Turtle Care Center accepts sick, injured, and illegally transported turtles and attempts to rehabilitate them, hopefully, to be returned to the sea.

Stone turtle by the Turtle Care Center

Baby turtles at the Turtle Care Center

After stopping by to see the dolphins and turtles, we ended our driving adventure and headed back to our Airbnb!

Temae Beach... Again

We went to Temae Beach several times during our stay on Mo’orea. It was very close to our hostel and had AMAZING snorkeling. Our last full day on the there was particularly notable. The adventure started with my bike tire being completely flat. Gerrod and I pumped it up, and then headed to the beach.

When we arrived at the beach, the sun was shining, and it was absolutely beautiful. We spent some time snorkeling, and then headed to sit on the beach and have some snacks. As we were sitting on the beach we saw a darkish figure moving under the water! I immediately grabbed my snorkel mask and tried to find what kind of animal it was.

After searching for a bit, and looking to Gerrod to see if he could see it, I found a large stingray! There ended up being two different stingrays in the water, and it was amazing seeing them swimming along the sand.

As we went to head back to our Airbnb, we realized my bike tire was again completely flat...This time we had to walk our bikes all the way back to our Airbnbs! We told Melody about the bike tire, and they had it fixed up by the next morning!

Goodbye Mo’orea

After a quick visit to Temae beach in the morning, Gerrod and I packed our things and prepared to leave the island. Since our flight was at 1am, we decided to just take one of the last ferries back to Tahiti since our Airbnb host said we didn’t need to check out at any particular time. After a quick visit to Temae beach in the morning, Gerrod and I packed our things and prepared to leave the island.

Airbnb pup helping us pack

Gerrod and I decided to walk to the ferry terminal this time to save on money and it was so hot and our bags were so heavy! The walk took about 30 minutes, and I was exhausted. We bought two tickets for the 4:45pm ferry which cost us 3000 Francs. Soon we were on the boat and had a relaxing cruise back to Tahiti.

Tahiti from the ship port windows

Gerrod and Lauren chilling on the ferry

Leaving French Polynesia

After arriving back to the Aremiti Ferry port on Tahiti, Gerrod and I found a taxi. There were several right next to the terminal, and we found one to take us to the airport for 2000 Francs.

We got there around 6pm and we found that all the things were... closed. We asked some airport information people and they told told us we couldn’t check in to our flight until 11pm! Luckily, Gerrod and I are getting very good at wasting time. We ended up eating McDonald's for dinner since it was the only thing open, and waited in an exterior atrium room until we could check in for flight. After we checked in, we headed to the Priority Pass lounge and had some snacks while we waited to board.

Until next time!

Lauren (and Gerrod)

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