Moorea, French Polynesia, a Magical Romantic Destination
Where is Moorea? Moorea is an island in the South Pacific. It is one of the Society Islands. Sounds exotic doesn’t it? The best part about Moorea is the journey isn’t that long from Los Angeles. Direct flights to Tahiti from LAX are about 8 hours long. Moorea is a quick 30-minute ferry ride from Tahiti.
Why should you put Moorea on your travel bucket list? Think lush, green, volcanic mountain peaks reaching out of the sea. Think Honeymoon over-water bungalows and snorkeling right from your own deck into the lagoon.
Bonnie will show why you need to add Moorea to your bucket list and how to travel to Moorea for less. Moorea is a magical, romantic destination.
Walking to the top of Magic Mountain
Bora Bora & Tahiti were always on the top 5 of Bonnie’s bucket list. She was saving the destination for a 20 or 25-year Anniversary trip because everyone told her how expensive it is. Her dream was to stay in an over-water bungalow but they are over $600 USD a night.
If you know Bonnie, she loves staying at 4 and 5-star resorts but she only stays in them if she gets a good deal. She will rarely spend over $250 a night for a hotel. She heard stories of people spending $10,000- $15,000 a week in the French Polynesia. Guess that’s why it’s considered a dream destination.
Travel using Credit Card Points
How it happened? One night when Bonnie’s husband was away on business. She started playing with American Express points. She has a loyalty rewards account with almost every American Express Airline partner. In her experience, transferring American Express points to the partners are better than using the direct online American Express pay with points.
Air France had tickets available from Los Angeles to Tahiti for 60,000 miles. (In February 2016 a total of 132,000 miles and $440.99 in taxes paid had Bonnie jet-setting off to the French Polynesia for her 17 year Anniversary) Why not travel to Tahiti??
HELLO MOOREA! A red-eye flight and quick ferry ride will have you in Moorea by late morning.
You can go to the ATM at the airport once you arrive in Tahiti to grab the local CFP Francs. Keep in mind some taxi drivers in Tahiti will take US dollars.
(We used francs to get to the ferry terminal. It was approximately $30 USD from the airport to the ferry. It was a $20 taxi ride from the Intercontinental Tahiti to the airport on the return.)
Their flight was delayed in LA. The morning traffic was slow in Tahiti so they missed the Aremiti Ferry. Luckily they didn’t purchase tickets in advance. There is another ferry line, Terevau that runs opposite times so just their luck one was leaving in 30 minutes. It was perfect and they had a cappuccino machine in the lounge where you wait. Rise and shine! You are in Tahiti about to travel to Moorea!
One ferry tip – go up to the top with your camera for some amazing photographs of Tahiti and Moorea from the sea. The wind in your hair and the sun on your face will wake you up 🙂
Bonnie booked Toreanui Transports for transportation from the Ferry terminal to the Hilton Moorea Resort & Spa. The company was understanding about the delayed flight and traffic and informed her the driver would be there. The driver was friendly and informative about the island. He even stopped by the grocery store for water, snacks, and wine. They charged 1,000CFP per person from the ferry terminal to the Hilton.
They will take USD too. Bonnie paid $40 USD for 2 people RT upfront when she met her driver. Our return transportation was from the Hilton to the Moorea airport.
Did you know Moorea means Yellow Lizard? The driver was like a personal tour guide. She highly recommends this company.
The Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
Bonnie chose the Hilton Moorea Lagoon and Spa because it is ranked #1 one on Trip Advisor. She found a 40% sale in the Spring of 2016 and her husband has Gold Hilton Honors status. Hotels in Moorea are expensive and so is the food. Bonnie’s husband has Marriott Gold status and she found a link for a Hilton Honors Status match.
Currently, Hilton will match your status from another Hotel loyalty program and you will have that status through March 2019. Here is the link- Hilton Honors Status Match
Gold status is important because it gets you complimentary continental breakfast every morning. The best perk is that you can upgrade to the hot buffet for only $10 a person each day. You will see people filling their water bottles of fresh juice, taking bread back to their rooms. The food is expensive so you definitely will appreciate Gold or a higher Hilton status. This will save you money.
Dining at the Hilton Moorea….
Don’t miss the 2 for 1 Happy Hour Drinks Eimeo Bar! They are delicious and the sunsets from the deck are amazing!
Rooms at the Hilton Moorea Resort & Spa…
The first two nights Bonnie booked a garden king bungalow with private plunge room. She booked the first night using 50,105 USAA credit card points and paid $5.74. The second night she booked directly with Hilton the same room for $355.50 USD. Once you start comparing hotel prices this is a deal.
Bonnie loved the garden rooms. They are more private than the over water bungalows. The plunge pool patio is a nice quiet place to sip wine and read a book. If she were to stay at the Hilton again, she would book 2 nights in a garden bungalow and 2 nights in a overwater bungalow.
A tip from Bonnie
Most people don’t like to change rooms but it’s fun to have variety. Schedule tour days when you have the garden bungalow to save money on your hotel room. Spend your last couple of nights in the over- water bungalow when you don’t want to leave your room and celebrate a romantic anniversary
Once you have an OWB, you never want to leave the room. The Hilton staff makes the change to a new room easy. Just pack up in the morning and leave at checkout time. Leave your bags in the room and the staff will take care of them for you. Have fun exploring Moorea, buy some fresh juice and rum for your new room. Come back to the hotel and get your new room key.
It’s like a dream come true when you walk into this…..
And it’s gets better….
Bonnie booked a 40% Flash Sale direct with Hilton Hotels and got this amazing OWB room for $504.27. Spending $500 USD for a night in an OWB is a great deal. They are usually over $600 a night in Moorea. She watched the Hilton weekly and booked the moment she got an email of a flash sale. It was one of the lowest prices she had seen in all of 2016.
She was in Bungalow 96. Yes, it was expensive but it was a dream come true and she never wanted to leave. For Bonnie’s personal review of the Hilton Moorea Resort & Spa click here to TripAdvisor. One thing to look for is a an over-water bungalow with a second deck. Bonnie loved being so close to the water with only a few steps. You will too.
Things to do in Moorea
- Learn about Moorea! Take a FranckyFranck Tour around the island. This tour is ranked #1 in Outdoor Activities in Moorea. Moorea is about the land. It’s one of the most beautiful islands Bonnie has ever been too. Don’t stay at your resort, get out and experience how beautiful the land is. Take this tour on one of your first days in Moorea to get a feel of the island and where everything is located. Here are a few pictures of this tour. It was a highlight of the trip.
Get amazing photos on his tour
Drive up this road to Magic Mountain
This tour was fun. Franck is such a character and his humor is on the shocking side. He will make you laugh as he teaches you all about Moorea. You will go to the top of Magic Mountain, visit pineapple fields, taste Rums at the fruit distillery, visit a Vanilla plantation. The places he takes you will allow for amazing photographs to document your trip and leave you knowing more about the beautiful magical land of Moorea.
#2. Get to the top of Magic Mountain– If you don’t go to the top of Magic Mountain with Francky Franck, make sure you go! It’s a crazy steep drive to the top so don’t drive it on your own. The views at the top are worth it. Wear comfortable and easy to walk in shoes. There is a short steep trail to the top. Don’t miss the views!!!!
#3. Rent a Mo-ped and drive around the Island – the roads are windy, paved and in excellent condition in Moorea. The island is so beautiful so you will want to take photographs and stop at scenic points. You can also tour the shops at your own pace all over the island. This was fun. Bonnie rented from the Hilton Activity desk. The company picked her and her husband up and soon they were off exploring the island.
#4. See the island from the water- Take out a kayak, book a boat tour, cruise on a ship to Moorea. See the island from the sea. It’s another angle to get photographs. Bonnie booked a sunset sail with Arnaud of Voil’a Moorea. He even sailed us in the ocean for a more exciting ride.
#5. Relax – on your deck, on a boat, at a bar with a good drink. You are on vacation after all.
#6. Shop- Buy your pearls in Moorea. They are less expensive here than in Bora Bora. Bonnie rented a moped on Sunday and was excited to shop. Almost all the shops are closed on Sundays. Luckily she found Nancy’s Creations open in Ha’apiti. Nancy’s has unique jewelry and she makes her own jewelry. Souvenirs are always the best when you purchase from the local artist. Every time she wears her Tahitian pearl earrings she remembers meeting Nancy in person. Nancy also has a great selection of hand painted Pareos.
#7 Dine out at Rudy’s- Rudy’s picked up Bonnie and her husband up at the Hilton. She didn’t have a reservation but it was late close to closing time. Bonnie’s advice make sure you have a reservation! It is a small restaurant and it has good reviews. The food was some of the best food they had on their entire trip in the French Polynesia. Bonnie loved her shrimp curry. It’s good to have some spice in your life! Order dessert too!
Oh and order dessert too
There are so many fun-filled activities in Moorea. It’s hard to do them all. Most importantly take time to relax and unwind and book tours that are of interest to you. After reading, “Moorea, a magical and romantic destination”, Bonnie hopes she helped with ideas to save money when you visit. It truly is a dream destination to celebrate a honeymoon or anniversary vacation. Bonnie felt like she was on her honeymoon. This trip was even better than her honeymoon to Riviera Maya.
She felt magic there and longs to re-visit again someday.