Doing a Double-Take: Moorea with Kids?
When I tell people that our family has traveled to the island of Moorea in French Polynesia three times, I sometimes get strange looks and I always get plenty of questions. Here are some of the questions I hear most often and my responses:
1. Where is the Island of Moorea?
Moorea is a small tropical paradise in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. It’s located about nine nautical miles away from the island of Tahiti, which is the largest of the 118 islands and atolls that constitute what is officially known as French Polynesia. All international visitors to Moorea will arrive via Fa’aa airport which is located on the island of Tahiti in the city of Papeete. Confirm with the French Consulate, but at time of writing, U.S. and Canadian visitors did not need a visa for trips of less than 90 days. The only documents required for entry to French Polynesia are a passport valid for six months after the return date and a round-trip ticket.
2. Isn’t Moorea a honeymoon destination?
Sure, you can go to Moorea for your honeymoon. Plenty of people do, but most honeymooners only spend a few nights on the island and then fly off to Bora Bora. Moorea is an ideal destination for family travel, especially if you have younger, pre-elementary school children and you have the flexibility to travel outside peak times. (High season includes July, August, December.) Even if you have school-age children, Moorea is a great choice because the best weather is during our summer (June-August) and the island never really feels crowded.
3. Doesn’t the flight take forever?
Yes, the flight is long, but it’s only a few hours longer than the flight to Hawaii. Most flights take about eight hours from Los Angeles and for people who manage to sleep on planes you can take the overnight flight to Papeete, the only international airport in French Polynesia, and arrive in paradise the next morning. Once you arrive on the island of Tahiti, you are just a 15-minute taxi then a 30-minute ferry ride away from Moorea, unless you decide to take the quick 10-minute flight over.
4. Is it expensive to travel to Moorea with kids?
No lies. French Polynesia is relatively expensive. Just like Hawaii, most products need to be imported so costs for food and luxury items like sunscreen and batteries can be high. However, there are heaps of ways that you can travel to Moorea on a budget. You can even stay in a top-class resort like Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa (our family’s choice). Keep your costs down by packing plenty of snacks, getting breakfast included in your hotel stay and exploring “Kids Fly Free” air fares on Air Tahiti Nui. Rooms at Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa easily accommodate a family of four.
5. Are there enough things to do in Moorea for my family?
Are you kidding me? You won’t find theme parks or mini-golf on Moorea, but you can do as much or as little as you want. Swim, snorkel, kayak, sail, stand-up paddle board, jet-ski, hike, fish, whale watch, to name a few options. But the best part about Moorea is that the pace of life is slow and your body can not help but adjust to the calm rhythm of island life. Find a beach lounger, read a book, play with your kids in the calm waters of the lagoon and just relax!
6. Will my kids starve?
Definitely not. If you have an adventurous eater, you are in luck. The island’s signature dish, poisson cru (raw fish marinated in coconut) is ubiquitous, but so are crusty baguettes and gourmet French cheeses. But even if you have a picky eater like I do, restaurant staples in Moorea are total kid-pleasers: stone-fired pizzas, pasta, crepes and of course French fries, or frites. (Moorea is a French protectorate after all.) Local supermarkets are well-stocked with cereal and the most delicious tropical juice boxes your child will ever drink!
So what are you waiting for? Book your flight, reserve your hotel and go on an adventure to Moorea that you and your family will never forget.
You may also enjoy:
- Things to do in Fiji with Kids on a Short Visit
- Best Things to do on Oahu with Kids
- Best Things to Do on Hawaii’s Big Island with Your Family
- Tips for Vacationing During the School Year
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A self-proclaimed Jersey Girl (with a soft spot for Jon Bon Jovi), Amy currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and 11-year old daughter. She picked…